With cameras now being both affordable and feature-packed when it comes to video specs, the need for affordable accessories for videographers and hybrid content creators is on the rise. Manfrotto knows this and they have answered the call with the Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod.
The Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod is an all-in-one kit that comes with everything you need to keep your gear stable and secure while you’re creating. I’ve been testing it for a few weeks now and I have been pretty impressed with it considering its price. It’s under $170. There is one caveat, though. Let’s talk about it below.
Editor’s note: Manfrotto sent us the Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod to review and keep. However, this is a completely independent review. We have not been told what to say. All thoughts and views about this product are from the reviewer. We tell you this as we always want to be honest with you, our loyal readers.
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Easy to carry when closed
- Silky smooth pan and tilt operation
- Nicely priced
- Hand strap and a few plastic parts feel a little cheap compared to the rest of the monopod
- Not tall enough to be used at eye level
Consumer guide: Check out the best cameras for YouTube creators and more here.
Manfrotto Element MII Video — Technical specifications
All of the technical specifications are taken from the official Manfrotto website:
- Closed length: 23.82 in
- Min height: 24.21 in
- Maximum height: 54.21 in
- Material: Aluminum
- Head type: Video/Fluid head
- Leg lock type: Twist lock
- Front tilt: -90°/+65°
- Panoramic rotation: 360°
- Safety payload weight: 8.82 lbs.
- Minimum working temperature: -22° F
- Maximum working temperature: 158° F
Manfrotto Element MII Video — Ergonomics and build quality
The Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod is for videographers who travel a lot. What this means is that the build quality is exceptional while the weight and size have been kept down. When the monopod is collapsed and the metal feet are folded up, the Manfrotto Element MII Video is compact.
Measuring in at just over 23 inches and weighing just over 2lbs (2.31lbs to be exact), you can slide this monopod into the side pocket of a camera bag and not worry about it becoming a burden. No camera bag? No problem, the monopod is easy to just lug around in your hand.
The Element MII Video looks just like a single leg of a tripod with feet. Shocker. Starting at the base you’ll find three metal feet that deploy and retract easily. Just above the feet, you’ll see the metal fluid pan base. Then as you go up the four-section monopod you’ll find the nicely textured rubber twist-locks.
The red and black design looks as good as ever on the aluminum column. Under the pan head is a large rubberized grip that allows you to get a good firm grasp on the monopod.
The video head feels just as premium as the monopod. It’s all-metal apart from a few adjustment knobs that tighten the arm and the plate. However, those plastic parts do feel a little cheap, which is unfortunate. This is also the case with the hand strap. Still, the strap does its job, I just wish it had a little padding or a better finish.
Having said this, the Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod feels solid and the ergonomics make carrying it around hassle-free. I have used it a lot during the review period and it has stood up well to everything I have subjected it to.
Manfrotto Element MII Video — In the field
This monopod is a piece of cake to use. The Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod comes pre-assembled in the box. All you have to do is unpack it and you’re ready to go. There’s nothing complicated about setting it up. You simply unfold the metal feet, adjust the column until it’s at your desired height, attach your camera and you’re up and running.
The video head that comes with the monopod is a delight to use. Adjustments are easy to make thanks to the layout of the controls. The camera plate is large and locks into place positively. So, you don’t have to worry about the plate sliding out of the bracket when you tilt the head to extreme angles.
Tilting the head, by the way, is a great experience. The fluid head gives one of the smoothest experiences out there. You can easily create silky-smooth up and down movements, which is what we all want when creating video.
It’s silky smooth
The silky movements don’t end there. Thanks to what Manfrotto calls a fluid cartridge in the base, you can pan and tilt the column without fear of stutter or jitter as well. Indeed, when I was panning and tilting my camera it was effortless and smooth. The monopod also remained stable as well.
Height adjustment is easy too. The twist locks work well and feel secure and the sections glide smoothly when you extend or collapse them. With a minimum height of just over 24-inches, you can shoot fairly low to the ground, or could even plant the monopod onto a table.
The only negative I can think of when using the monopod is that it doesn’t get high enough to record talking head segments. I’m 6 feet 1 inch, and it sits at chest height up against me. So, you’re going to find yourself tilting the camera up, which is not ideal at all. Otherwise, there’s not much to the Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod. It’s a simple tool that provides a solid and stable platform for videographers.
What gear can it hold?
I used the Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod with various cameras and lenses and didn’t run into any issues. So, the monopod and the video head can hold 8.8lbs of gear. It might not sound like much, but trust me, that’s a lot of weight. When you consider that most mirrorless cameras these days weigh under 2lbs and most lenses, (apart from the Sigma 150-600 DG DN which weighs 4.4lbs) weigh between one and three lbs., you can see that you’ll have a lot of flexibility.
I have loaded my Lumix S5 with the Sigma 24-70mm F/2.8 DG DN and the Sigma 100-400mm onto the monopod without issues. I have also used it with a Pentax K-3 III and a Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8. The monopod remained solid and sturdy and at no time did I feel like the monopod couldn’t handle what I was asking of it. I felt nothing but confidence in its abilities.
Manfrotto Element MII Video — A stable entry-level monopod for the masses
The Manfrotto Element MII Video monopod is inexpensive yet incredibly well built. The monopod is light, sturdy, easy to use and folds down into a compact unit which makes it easy to travel with. This is a high-quality monopod that will serve hobbyists and enthusiasts well. It’s not the most premium monopod out there, however, I think a lot of videographers who shoot for themselves (think YouTube) or perhaps do light wedding, documentary or event work will find it more than good enough.
Manfrotto Element MII Video Monopod
Small, solid, and stable, the Manfrotto Element MiII Video monopod is an inexpensive monopod that’s the perfect size and weight for creators who like to travel light. Thanks to the fluid head and the fluid cartridge in the base, panning and tilting movements are silky smooth. You don’t need to worry about your gear either as this monopod can handle up to 8.8lbs of cameras and lenses.