Choosing our photography equipment will always depend on our needs: how we are going to use it, where and how often. The way we stabilize the camera works the same way.
Comparing tripods and monopods can be a passionate discussion and depending on who you ask you will get different answers …
Today we will look at the characteristics of tripods and monopods, along with some concepts and tips to help you choose the one that suits you best.
A monopod is a single pole that supports a camera , video camera, or other type of equipment. This is sometimes known as a kickstand (monopod or unipod in English).
A monopod allows for a more stable photography by reducing vertical plane shake.
These accessories are easily stored and transported . They can generally be folded back like tripods. When you don’t have your camera connected, the monopod can also be used as a walking stick.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to carry a tripod with us . When we need photos without any movement, the monopod can help to achieve this. They are easier to carry and it is more stable than holding the camera by hand.
The camera can be mounted directly on top of the monopod, however it limits the entire composition to being horizontal. To solve this, you can buy a head that allows the camera to rotate 90 degrees for vertical compositions.
Here Are Some Of The Situations In Which You May Want To Use A Monopod :
Climbing , Excursion, Hiking, Etc.
Sporting Events : In some events, tripods are not allowed, so a monopod is ideal. The monopod takes up very little space. The actions are fast in almost any sporting event, and sometimes the lighting is not the best.
Wild Nature Photography: Wild animals won’t wait for you to mount your tripod.
Museums : This is another one of the places where we are probably not allowed to use a tripod. The lighting is dim and the monopod takes up little space and is easy to transport.
When we use a very heavy lens, such as a 400mm style telephoto lens. These lenses are very large and heavy, and the monopod will make it much easier to hold the camera.
A tripod is a portable three-legged frame , used as a platform to support weight and keep the camera stable. A tripod provides stability against vertical and horizontal forces.
The function of a tripod is quite simple: hold the camera in a precise position .
The question here is, when will a photo taken by hand holding the camera have movement?
The general rule of thumb is that the shutter speed should be equal to or faster than the focal length being used so that movement is not noticeable .
This indicates that for a 35mm camera, the exposure time has to be at least as fast as the focal length in seconds . In other words, when using a 100mm focal length on a 35mm camera, the shutter speed should be 1/100 second in length – otherwise it may be difficult to avoid blurry images.
For digital cameras with cropped sensors , convert to 35mm equivalent focal length.
The reason this rule depends on focal length is because zooming in on a subject also magnifies camera shake.
Long exposures, such as capturing light trails , or star trails .
Constant shots of the same object / subject at the same height, such as taking pictures for a time-lapse .
Low light situations.
When maximum sharpness is desired.
However, Tripods Have Some Disadvantages Over Monopods:
They are more expensive
They are bigger
More difficult to transport
Can’t move as fast as monopods on the go
It takes a few minutes to set it up and get it ready for shooting
Flexible tripods are an interesting alternative to traditional tripods. These are lighter and more compact than conventional tripods and also have their advantages and disadvantages, but we will see this issue in another post …
The fact is that some models are specially designed to firmly support any SLR camera and are a good option to go on a trip without carrying a lot of weight.
Monopod Vs Tripod – Conclusions
After analyzing these two accessories, we realize that each one has its advantages and disadvantages, and that each one is better depending on the situation.
Personally, I prefer to use a tripod despite its downsides. But as I said before, it depends on your needs and the uses you give it. I do a lot of night photography, which requires long exposures, and in that case I wouldn’t be able to use a monopod.
If photography is your job or if you are an amateur and you take it very seriously, you may end up buying one of each, but if that is not your case, I recommend you analyze everything said above about monopod vs tripod, and think carefully. how you are going to use it, so that you can make the best decision.