When and How to use a Monopod instead of a Tripod is closer to the debate whether four legs were better for human instead of having two. Both has pros and cons. Both is designed either by human or Nature to get certain advantages with some compromise. It is really the fact, that four legs confers more stability of a dog. I do not know about the readers’ experience, but I have seen an unmindful dog to get unbalanced when his left rear (lack of better terminology) leg accidentally slipped inside a drain, beside which, he has standing and shouting. The impact of the accident was lesser than that could be imagined with a two legged human, but still, he basically got unbalanced. So, somehow acceptable inference is – a four legged will have better balance than a two legged one. The title of the article throws two questions :
- When to use a Monopod instead of a Tripod
- How to use a Monopod instead of a Tripod
Some other questions can arise, but of lesser importance. Practically, the answer to the question; When to use a Monopod instead of a Tripod clears one’s doubt of even having a Monopod, if the result of buying is itself doubtful. The tripods are considered an essential element to every photographer, but they have their flaws – they are bulky, heavy and can sometimes results in very slow execution of photography itself. In any case, as we all know, more in the stable way you can hold the camera, more the photograph will be potentially sharp. Hence this monopod was ‘discovered’ to lessen the cons of a Tripod.
We wrote about Tripod in details before, you can have a look at them if you want :
- Tripod in Digital Photography
- How to Choose a Tripod ?
- Is Tripod is Really Useful ?
- Details, Types and Parts of Tripod head (Quite important for current article too)
When and How to Use a Monopod Instead of a Tripod : The Monopod itself Matters
When you are planning buy a Monopod, possibly you should look for more or less the same features of a tripod in terms of stability, weight and height. It is preferable for a Monopod to have smaller number of segments for the height that you want, as each segment not only adds instability but makes it to weigh more as some parts are actually get doubled in a tube inside a tube fashion.
There are monopods made of carbon fiber, some of them are state of art have great rigidity and are quite light. You can use a monopod without head, people in general opines that a ball head of good quality is perfect for Monopod sufficient to have a good rotational capacity. But, you have to consider the investment from various points like the total weight as it would make buying a monopod and adding a heavy head possibly useless.
When You Will Use a Monopod ?
When you are using the monopod, you have to consider the practical fact that you are not using a real substitute for a tripod. In the situations where you practically need to hold the Camera in more stable manner, either precisely for few seconds or for longer time where there is only small amounts of light, such as night photos and you do not love to crank up the ISO to end with lot of noise, your demand is for shots that require the full stability, Monopod, to be honest is not what you are looking for. The reasons are two :
- You need at least one hand to hold it making one hand busy
- There is no way to stabilize the side wise movement – that is practically controlled by the hand which is holding it
The monopod is suitable specially in travel photography, where we need a kind of mobility and want to reduce the overall weight of our bag. It never means that you can not take sports photo, wild life photo with a Monopod, but you are in a compromise.
When and How to Use a Monopod Instead of a Tripod : Conclusion
So, unfortunately, many possibly who thought to buy a Monopod, after reading this article decided to think twice. To sum up, here are the gross Pros and Cons of a Monopod :
Pros are :
- Reduced Weight
- Provides an extra stability for long lenses
- Holding the camera at an angle to the horizontal plane steadily
Cons are :
- Not a substitute a tripod specially in the dark
- People formulated many stabilization techniques for monopod, in turn it will demand minimum investment of time
Monopod is referred to as a jacob staff when used to support a compass – it eliminates the reading errors. Monopod is also known as unipod. Monopod has few other usages – if you hold the end of the Monopod leg by hand and turn the Camera’s lens towards you, it becomes a way for self portrait. This is possibly the usage when the Monopod is less used by the user for choosing incorrectly.