How to Use a Monopod

While a good, sturdy tripod is often best for stabilizing your gear, there are times when a monopod is more convenient and/or can be a big help in supporting larger camera/lens combinations. In keeping with Nasim’s mention in the Focus and Recompose Technique article that we would be doing some posts on basics and Tips for Beginners and since we have had a couple of monopod reviews, it occurred to us that some people may not know how to use a monopod properly, so we decided to share some pointers. The main differences between the three methods that we will discuss here is where you place the foot of the monopod.

Method 1: Straight Out in Front

Monopod straight in front

Most people will first use this method as it is the logical way to use a monopod. With their own legs standing square and spread to approximate shoulder width, they will put the foot of the monopod roughly centered between their legs and straight out in front of them so that the foot of the monopod forms a triangle with the photographers two feet. This more or less mimics a tripod with two legs supplied by the photographer and the third from the tripod. To increase the stability, the wrist strap should be utilized by using it to firmly seat or push the monopod foot into the ground.

monopod with wrist strap

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Oben CTM-2500 Carbon Fiber Monopod Review

For low light shooting or when using a large lens, a tripod is generally your best bet but wildlife and sports photographers often will opt for a monopod when a tripod is not convenient or when they need a break from hefting a heavy rig. In this review, we will take a look at the Oben CTM-2500, a 5-section lightweight carbon fiber monopod as well as a tilt head, the Oben VH-R2. Both items have been kindly provided by B&H.

1) Product Specifications:

Monopod:
Maximum Length 65” (165.1cm)
Closed Length 17.3” (43.9cm)
Load Capacity 26 lb (11.8 kg)
Material 6x Carbon Fiber
Leg Sections 5
Leg Lock type Twist lock
Male Thread Size ¼”-20 and 3/8” -18
Weight 1.05 lb (470 g)
Head:
Head Type: Tilt (180 degrees)
Load Capacity 11 lb (5kg)
Quick Release Type Yes, RP-20 QR plate (included)
Male Thread Size 1//4” or 3/8” (with included bushing)
Height 2.6” (67mm)
Weight 10.2 oz (290 g)

2) Handling

2.1) Monopod

The first thing that you notice about this monopod, is its size, at barely over 17 inches in length (collapsed) and one pound in weight, it is small and light. It will easily fit in luggage, a backpack or even on a belt with the included belt clip. Despite being lightweight, it will support a professional body and lens up to 26 lbs. when attached directly to the monopod. However, if the VR-H2 head is used, the weight limit drops to 11 lbs.

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Oben CTM-2400 Carbon Fiber Monopod Review

This is a review of the Oben CTM-2400 4-Section Carbon Fiber Monopod. I have often thought a monopod would be useful to have in low-light situations such as wedding receptions. There are times when there’s almost enough light to get the shot, but my shutter speed is low enough that I’m worried about motion blur. A tripod can be cumbersome, especially at a wedding reception, so a monopod seems like the ideal compromise between having a stable camera and not taking up a lot of floor space with a tripod.

Oben CTM-2400 Monopod

1) Product Specifications

Maximum Height – 59.2″ (149.8 cm)
Folded Length – 18.3″ (45.7 cm)
Load Capacity – 22 lb (10 kg)
Leg Sections – 4
Leg Lock Type – Twist lock
Male Thread Size – 1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16
Operating Temperature – -22 to 140°F (-30 to 60°C)
Weight – 0.85 lb (0.38 kg)

Other Features
Supports Up to 11 lb
Collapses to 20.9″
6x Carbon Fiber Construction
Retractable Spike in Foot
Twist Locks & Anti-Rotation Shaft
Wrist Strap with Belt Clip
Lightweight – Just over 1 lb
RP-20 Quick-Release Plate Included

2) Packaging and Field Use

The Oben 4-Section Monopod comes packaged separately from the VH-R2 head. Both are packaged very well in attractive retail packaging. Included with the monopod are a carrying bag and an allen wrench. The head includes a quick release plate.

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