A monopod, also known as a unipod, is a single pole that is used to help support a camera so that less camera shake is detected and slower shutter speeds can be used with focal length lenses.
Camera monopods can be standard or collapsible for ease of carrying and are quick to set up. Using a monopod eliminates camera shake in the vertical axis, but when used to form a bipod it can also reduce any horizontal motion. However, it is not possible for a monopod to support a camera independently, which may limit the shutter speed that can be used.
A beltpod can be used whereby the foot of the monopod rests against the photographer's belt, ensuring that the camera is not in motion in relation to the body.
Using a special adaptor, a monopod can be converted to a chestpod. This will keep the camera steadier but also mobile and is used in videography when the photographer has to move with the subject. A ball swivel allows the photographer to tilt and pan the camera whilst the monopod remains still.
A strap that fixes to either side of the camera when it is attached to the monopod and slipped around the photographer's body below the arms will help to keep the monopod steady when placed on the ground and stop it falling forward. Alternatively, a wrist strap can be used on the camera.
Attaching a camera
There are two ways to attach a camera to a monopod. It can be screwed into the base of the camera and is suitable for use with smaller, light lenses . When using heavier, longer lenses it is advisable to fix the monopod to the lens with a tripod mount ring which will provide better stability and balance, and stop the monopod from rotating in your hand.
There is a range of monopod fixing heads available. A ball head offers the most flexibility, enabling the camera to be angled and adjusted to accommodate the slope of the monopod.
Most monopods are made from a lightweight carbon fibre for ease of movement, but fixing a camera on top will make it heavier. Collapsible monopods reduce to a convenient size for ease of transportation and can be fitted into or onto a range of camera cases and bags. It is portable, quick and easy to set up, and is suitable for stabilising long, telephoto lenses.