4.28 lbs. (1.94g)
24 3/4” (630mm)
17.6 lbs. (8kg)
62 3/8” (1,585mm)
53 3/4” (1,365mm)
- Take Your Best Shot: Essential Tips & Tricks for Shooting Amazing Photos
- The Complete Photo Manual: 300+ Skills and Tips for Making Great Pictures
- Digital Photography: An Introduction
- Complete Digital Photography
- Photo Op: 52 Inspirational Projects for the Adventurous Image-maker
- 110 Perfect Photography Tips for Beginners!
- 50 Photo Projects - Ideas to Kickstart Your Photography
A monopod can be a magic wand in the hands of photographers who understand it offers them a number of advantages that tripods can’t match. Both of these camera platforms share some similarities that help stabilize your camera and reduce the effects of movement. The tripod is a better tool, however, when you want to shoot at very slow shutter speeds, so you can trip the shutter remotely, without touching the camera or tripod. Although a monopod won’t allow you to use such long exposures, it has enough stability to make it easier to produce sharper images when shooting in low light than simply handholding your camera. Plus, monopods have some unique benefits.
Weight, Space and Cost
These are very practical advantages, especially if you travel often for photography in other parts of the world, or must hike into the backcountry for your favorite wildlife subject matter. You can make a monopod a regular part of your gear package for much of your photography because its size and weight allows you to carry it more places. Even pictures of your family during holidays or vacations are apt to show improvement if you use a monopod to steady your camera.
Vanguard Monopod/Tripod Comparison
Features and Specifications
ABEO AM-284 monopod
ABEO 283AT tripod
1.19 lbs. (0.54g)
20 7/8” (530mm)
Maximum load capacity
17.6 lbs. (8kg)
Minimum extended height
Number of leg sections
As you can see, the monopod has many of the same features as the tripod, but is approximately 3 1/2 times lighter and cost 2 1/2 times less. This is not to suggest that the monopod is a substitute for a tripod. Each can be a better choice based on the type of photography you are pursuing. For example, if you like macro, wildlife, astro or product photography, then a tripod is absolutely necessary. Many news and sports photographers prefer monopods because it is easier to move quickly with one and they will attach directly to long telephoto lenses to provide even more stability. It’s likely that the further you advance in photography, the more likely you’ll find it beneficial to include both a monopod and tripod among your gear.
Using a Monopod
Another primary benefit of a monopod is how much easier it is to use than a tripod. Attach your camera or lens, extend the single leg and find a good, solid surface on which to place the tip. A tripod has 3 legs to unfold and extend and it requires considerable set-up time if you want to place it on an uneven surface. Each leg must be a different length and you’ll need a level to make fine leg adjustments, so your camera is parallel with the horizon.
Creating with a Monopod
A monopod will act like an extension of your arm much more so than a tripod. You want to photograph a street scene, but remain unnoticed. You can stand around the corner of a building or behind a wall or tree and extend the monopod to its longest length until the scene is visible to your camera. You can then use a shutter release cable or wireless shutter control to take pictures. You can attach a wide-angle lens and hold your camera low to the ground without having to kneel or lay on the ground; or hold the monopod/camera at a high angle for another creative opportunity that wouldn’t be available handholding the camera or using a tripod.
Before you choose to buy a monopod, it may be a good idea to rent one for a weekend to determine if its advantages truly benefit your photography. It’s likely you discover that you can “extend” your creativity in ways that weren’t previously possible.
Order the Vanguard ABEO AM-284 Monopod from Amazon
Order the Vanguard ABEO 283AT Tripod from Amazon
People who read this PhotographyTalk.com article also liked:
Photo Copyright © 2012 VANGUARD
Your feedback is important to thousands of PhotographyTalk.com fans and us. If this article is helpful, then please click the Like and Re-Tweet buttons at the top left of this article.