Lightweight monopod advice

Started Jan 25, 2014 | Discussions thread
MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 36,014
Re: Lightweight monopod advice: Velbon L50

sderdiarian wrote:

Tom Caldwell wrote:

sderdiarian wrote:

I've been on a similar hunt for my E-M5 with 75-300mm zoom, combined weight 2 lbs. (just under 1 kilo). I want a very small yet sturdy monopod to keep my kit weight down and size compact for hiking and travel. Price is also a consideration for me.

You might check out the Velbon L50: 60" extended, 14.6" collapsed, rated for 5.5 lbs. (2.5 kilos), weighs 10.6 oz., $45 at B&H. It's gotten favorable user reviews on B&H and Amazon:

Velbon also makes a smaller M50: 52" extended, 12.8" collapsed, rated for 3.3 lbs. (1.5 kilos), weighs 7.4 oz., $40. It's also gotten positive reviews, but I need 53" height for my VF to be at eye level and its smaller diameter makes me question rigidity.

Steve this is the one I have had and used for years. It is rigid enough to have carried a Canon 5D with battery pack and 70-200 f2.8. So that is a good test. It is shorter but I have never felt that restrict my use. If it were larger extended then it would not be as compact and light folded. I see it more as a steady-handle, against a wall or when used "hand held", or as support seated. I use it easily when folded as a rest on my lower chest with smaller cameras. It is much more versatile and easiily carted about than any tripod.

And they make a more robust R50: 61" extended, 14.8" collapsed, 7 lb. (3.2 kilo) rating, 12.5 oz. weight, $60. It seems more than I need but, if curious, there's a user review here:

Great input, Tom.

I love the idea of the M50 with its very small 12.8" collapsed size and less than 1/2 lb. weight, both amazing specs provided its still rigid fully extended with my 2 lb. kit attached. I could deal with its 52" height as well, being blessed with short stature (first time I've said that ).

I've been assuming I should bump things up to the L50, however. It would allow me to leave 5" unextended, that being about the length of the thinnest portion of the tubing, thereby stiffening things up further. And it has a higher load rating and tubing a bit thicker than the M50's to start with, providing a comfort margin for only another $5.

Downside, it's about 2" longer and 3 oz. heavier than the M50. Still quite small, but packability means a lot to me.

For me it comes down to rigidity fully extended. Sounds like you've found the M50 serviceable even with a heavy 5D/battery pack/lens combination (around 6 lbs., much higher than the M50's 3.5 load rating), but bracing it in various ways.

Have you used it purely as an unbraced monopod with a 2 lb. load, and if so, any flexing? Be curious what you'd advise, M50 or L50, given your long usage of the former and my criteria of no flex fully extended with a 2 lb. load.


I have the Velbon Ultra Stick 50LX as well.  It is of larger diameter and slightly heavier construction but I think the main object is that it is capable of being extended further. The smallest tube is of slightly larger diameter though.  In truth I have never worried particularly about flexing.  Maybe I have not trusted full weight enough?  With all these twist and extend type sections I am more worried that I have not properly locked them - although if you have not you soon find out. Maybe it is because I see the monopod as a steading device rather than a crane?

I just got both of these monopods out and extended them and tried them for flex - yes they both flexed a bit (more like swaying slightly than any feeling of impending disaster) - as I have said it is something that I have not thought about myself and something that has not caused me any grief so far.

I rarely use the larger monopod as I find the smaller one much more convenient.  As cameras get smaller I use my heavy gear less.  My big bazza lens is over 5kg and it always goes on a large tripod with a gimball head.  No messing with monopods there.

How ever more often than not I usually have the convenient little "50" with me and more often than not these days the camera is something like the GX7 (in actual fact a Ricoh GXR or NEX6 - but the NEX6 is fitted up with electronic adapter to take EF lenses and can be graced with a Canon 85mm f1.2 MkI which is no lightweight. The combination would probably meet your 2lb criteria, and I have had a 70-200mm f2.8 IS on as well recently which certainly would.

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Tom Caldwell

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