Table of Contents
|Who is this for
|How I use this
|Whats to like
|Whats to hate
|Where to buy
Why did I get this? I was too lazy to bring my tripod on a family excursion figuring my Gorilla pod could do the trick in a pinch. Well, there was a fantastic group shot opportunity and I couldn’t get the gorilla pod to stand in the only spot available (it was a pretty small spot). I was VERY upset not being able to be in the shot.
So I had to find the middle distance between my lazyness (lugging around a tripod for most of the day and rarely needing to use it) or finding something a little more versatile than the Gorilla pod. I have a regular monopod which I use when I know I have to use my long zoom and I know I should use when the available light gets dim.
So I did a bit of searching and I found 3 different monopods that could self stand in a pinch. These were made by Benro, Manfrotto/Bogen and Trek-Tech.
I’ve always been biased towards Manfrotto don’t know why exactly but their stuff is good! The first piece of non imaging equipment I got was the Benro monopod don’t know why I don’t like it, I just don’t. The Trek-Tech, I’ve never heard of and it comes with a magnetic ballhead that doesn’t appeal to me at all, plus it’s kinda expensive, in my opinion.
I like to research stuff before I buy, then go “play” with it in the shop. Well, the only one available was the Manfrotto 682B. So I bought it.
This monopod is for the photographer who doesn’t mind carrying a heavier than average monopod for the option of being able to make the monopod self stand relatively securely. For example, sports shooters who can’t bring/use a tripod.
Or nature photographers who can use this monopod as a walking stick (coupled with a pistol grip type ballhead).
Or on location, off camera strobists who can use this self standing monopod as a light stand.
I’ve used this self standing monopod as it was intended and as a walking stick and flash stand. Also, it makes me feel a bit safer walking walking around with a big stick, especially through the forests/jungles.
Oh, I’ve taken selfies with this too…
It’s Self Standing! I’ve gotten some nice group shots with me in them so far. I wouldn’t have gotten them otherwise because I would not have carried my tripod (because it’s heavy).
Well it looks like a regular monopod, a really, really big one. It has a foam grip at the top and a wrist strap. The very bottom of the monopod unscrews and attached to the base are 3 mini legs which fold out. You then screw the base back on the monopod and voila you have a free standing monopod.
I also feel a lot safer walking around in the woods carring this big stick, lol.
Note: Head sold separately (unless you find a package deal). You can still mount your camera on it (it has the 2 standard size threads). Just so you know, the smaller thread is INSIDE the bigger one. So if you have the smaller thread the bigger one just slides down when you screw your camera or head on.
1) It’s HEAVY and BIG for a monopod
2) The wrist strap comes undone REALLY easy (no biggie tho, for me)
3) It’s very easy to get ‘hurt’ when setting it up for free standing mode. Let me explain: when you unscrew the base and take out the mini legs, it will unfold by itself (gravity) and if your fingers are near the grooves you will get pinched when the mini legs fall into place. It’s yet to draw blood from my fingers but it’s annoying as heck!
4) The mini legs rattle A LOT when you’re carrying it around.
5) It’s not as sturdy as you might think. The slightest touch (including a light breeze) will make it wobble.
I got a fix for #3, and 4: I use a rubber band to keep the mini legs together…it’s a tight fit back into the monopod but it works. To avoid pinching after you undo the rubber band, just hold onto one mini leg and let the other unfold.
In my mind the size/weight and instability is a reasonable trade off for what I needed, just barely. The deciding factor for me (I’m guessing the other self standing monopods have the same instability issue) was I got to test the monopod and it was cheaper than I could get online. I got a discount tho AND an additional discount because they only had the demo one left.
To make things more convenient I also purchased a belt clip monopod holder so I don’t notice the weight much unless I clip it on my sling bag.
Would I get a lighter one? Probably not because a lighter one may actually get blown over. I used this Manfrotto in intermittent light breeze and it didn’t topple my gripped 7D plus 24-105L (heavy setup). The picture came out sharp too, maybe I got lucky tho.
I won’t say this is a must have because of the weight but it’s worth considering. You’ll have to decide if the weight is bearable to you. It is for me because it’s lighter than my tripod and it’s not so convenient to carry/use a tripod in the places I shoot a lot in.
In the photo you can compare the size (the 682B is in the middle). The tripod on the left is a Manfrotto 190XProB with a Manfrotto 486 R2 ballhead. Just so you know, I use a Manfrotto 222 ballhead on the 682B making it taller (higher center of gravity) and heavier. I may change it tho but so far it’s tolerable (to me).