Anything carbon fiber is freakin awesome and this Oben CTM-2500 5-Section Carbon Fiber Monopod is no exception to that. If anyone is looking for a super lightweight, durable and sturdy stick to either hold your camera up, hold your lens up, hold you up or bring someone down, this is one to consider.
Sports and wildlife photographers that need the convenience of mobility over a tripod will enjoy the stability that this will give your large lens and the weight savings compared to an aluminum monopod or tripod.
Features and details
With a whopping five sections, this monopod shrinks down to a mere 17,” extends out to 65″ and weighs in at a featherweight one pound. It can hold 26 times its weight and can use either a male thread size of 1/4”-20 or 3/8”-16 to secure your own tripod head or your camera.
The sections are secured by twist collars, which some may object, but I personally enjoy since that makes this quality stick more sleek. They’re pretty smooth and allow the sections to extend and retract without much hassle. They’re obviously not going to get snagged on things like the alternative clips would do.
I’ve been used to twist collars on my tripods and I’m used to the process of loosening them all and tightening them all, whereas if you’re used to clip collars it’s only just a little bit different. There’s a good amount of rubber to go around the collar, probably about an inch and a quarter wide for all that.
At the bottom, there’s a metal spike that does what it needs to do — keep your tripod in the same spot. It is retractable and is able to by simply twisting of the bottom foot that holds the nonremovable spike. Now you have a part-time javelin or a one-time-use-self-defense-spear.
Build quality … and more details
Carbon fiber is always pretty nice and light, but isn’t always created well. Thankfully, this isn’t the gimmicky kind of thin carbon fiber that is only pretty and light. The tubes have minimal flex when you’re trying to actually bend them while it is fully extended and don’t really wiggle at all when they’re locked. Oh, and it looks good. Seriously, it’s my favorite.
The twist collars have rubberized covers on them, and they’re pretty smooth. I reiterate that since only the top two of the collars are super smooth, while the bottom two feel pretty standard with a bit of grit. The rubber is textured, but one shouldn’t have any trouble turning them with or without gloves.
The top plate is pretty built to be pretty standard for holding a 3/8″-16, but it is removable with three simple screws. On the other side, you’ll see a little socket that holds the tripod head/camera mounting screw and it is hex shaped. The plate that holds it in place is a plastic covered metal piece that feels pretty solid. I wish that there was cork or rubber on top though, it seems tough enough to eventually cause scrapes on a camera if you spin it on.
The foam grip is a foam grip. I never really have been a big fan of grips like these, since over time they’ll crack. Since this is new, it sure looks good though. It’s branded right on the foam and is about 8 inches or so long. It’s a good amount of cushion though.
That cushion holds the ring, that the strap is connected to, up to the bottom of the mounting plate which allows it to spin. I perceive over time the foam could wear down from that alone, but unless you’re spinning it around like some crazy ninja, you probably wouldn’t have a problem with it.
The nice nylon strap has a clip on it — which I’m kind of confused about — kind of looks like a belt clip for your tripod … which to me, isn’t something that my brain automatically gets excited about. It is a thick plastic and that clip is connected to more nylon webbing that is secured to the ring.
It does get pretty tall, and just for scale, here’s my door and the messy shoe rack that probably lets to know too much about my life.
The thing works. It holds your camera as steady as you can hold the pole up. It can hold you up even. It is smooth, pretty and light. It has a spike and doubles as a weapon. It’s a bit of money, and it does seem more like a luxury item (but isn’t that the kind of look you’re looking for — Luxury?) … so if you’re not looking for that high quality expensive look that screams, “look at what I can afford,” you can shell out for a $23 monopod that weighs four times as much. Otherwise you can bring this home for a Benjamin from B&H.