I don’t use a monopod often, but when I do I want it to feel good in my hands. It should provide stability no matter what size lens is attached to my camera, and be convenient to use—easy to open and close. I have tried several monopods through the years. Some unscrewed from a leg of a tripod, some were free standing. I never felt terribly satisfied. A couple of the monopods seemed flimsy. One did not twist open easily. Another was too heavy to carry around for a full day. I sold them all. Finally, I recently found a monopod that works for me, the Oben CTM-2500 5-section Carbon Fiber Monopod.
Why Use a Monopod
There are lots of reasons to consider adding a monopod to your arsenal of photographic tools if you don’t already own one. Monopods are great if you don’t want to carry around a tripod all day, or it takes up too much space in your suitcase. Perhaps a tripod isn’t allowed in a location you plan to photograph, or there isn’t enough ground space at the location for three legs. Maybe you are shooting sports, or fast-moving cars and monopods are easier to work with. Or, you are going on a long distance hike or backpack trip into the wilderness and you don’t want the weight of a tripod.
Why The Oben Monopod
I like the Oben CTM-2500 monopod because it is sturdy, yet lightweight due to the 6x carbon fiber construction. The foam cushion on the shaft provides a cushion to hold on to and prevent my hand from slipping. (The cushion will also serve as protection from a cold shaft in colder weather.) There is a strap to wrap around my wrist, to provide additional security and stabilization while shooting. The strap has a belt clip so the monopod can be attached to a belt or waistband. It also fits easily into a carry-on bag or suitcase, when I travel.
The monopod weighs 1.05 pounds, with a load capacity of 26 pounds, which makes it perfect for most camera and lens combinations. The maximum height of the monopod is 65” (164.8 cm) and the closed length is 17.3” (44.4 cm). It has five sections, which open and close by rubberized twist locks. All locks can be disengaged at once so that each part of the leg can be opened quickly.
The top of the monopod has a reversible 1/4”-20 and 3/8″-16 screw for mounting a camera or small head or a quick release clamp. I have attached an Oben VH-R2 tilt head to my monopod, giving me greater flexibility in positioning my camera. (The load capacity of the head is 11 pounds, which is sufficient for my Fuji X-T2, a mirrorless camera.)
The rubber foot of the monopod has a metal spike that can be twisted down, for improved stability on loose terrain such as grass or gravel.
One feature not typically found on a monopod is the attached Allen wrench. I have forgotten to pack my wrench more than once so I find it very helpful to have one attached.
Cost and Warranty
The monopod comes with a limited 5-year warranty. Selling at about $95, it is an excellent choice, particularly when compared to other carbon fiber monopods selling for hundreds of dollars.