“When choosing a tripod, buy the most expensive one you can afford, and the biggest one your wife can carry.” —Chuck from McBain Camera
Unlike my pal Mark Toal, I’m not an expert at shooting video but I do know that you’ll need a steady camera even if you’re just shooting a YouTube clip of your cat Mr Fluffy playing the piano I especially like monopods for shooting motorsports but there are lots of other uses, especially if you need a little extra support and don’t want the bulk of a tripod.
To me a monopod seems like a better solution for shooting video than a tripod and at last year’s WPPI Expos I had a chance to take a look at Sirui’s line of P-S Series Multifunction Photo/Video Monopods. These monopods have three sturdy fold-down support feet that let you to pan the monopod 360 degrees and tilt 20 degrees without worrying that the monopod will move because you can step on the feet for greater stability! To tilt the monopod in any direction, Sirui uses a ball head located in the base of the monopod. Just by turning a knob, you can control the amount of drag that you need. The legs have rubber feet for use on slippery surfaces, which can be replaced with a stainless steel spike for outdoors.
But the Sirui P-S is more than a monopod with legs: The legs remove and convert to a table-top or down-low tripod. When the legs are detached it become a traditional monopod. Models are available in aluminum or carbon fiber for added strength, increased load capacity and vibration reduction. I’ve been using the P-324 S carbon fiber monopod that weighs less than three pounds and makes a great walking stick for hiking as well.
Barry Staver and Joe Farace are co-authors of Better Available Light Digital Photography that’s currently out-of-print but while new copies are available at collector (high) prices, as I write this you can purchase used softback copies for seven bucks from Amazon.