Akin to the store brands that are found next to the name brands on the shelves in a brick-and-mortar supermarket, AmazonBasics products have become a go-to for equal quality at a budget price in the online realm. Daily-use items have traditionally been the mainstay for AmazonBasics, but more recently they’ve expanded and driven further into the comparatively niche markets, including photography. In this review, I take a closer look at the AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber Monopod which was released in April 2017.
AmazonBasics offers two types of monopods: an aluminum version and this carbon fiber model. Along with some spec differences, the aluminum version is far less expensive. However, in a monopod what’s really important is having a rigid construction so that there is no bowing or vibration from the weight load of a camera with only one leg to stand on. This is exactly what this 8X carbon fiber is going to offer over aluminum.
One of the main reasons I bought the AmazonBasics CF Monopod is that it collapses down to a minimum height of 17.5 inches. Compared to other name brand monopods in the same price range, this was on the short end of what I found. This is good for both travel compactness as well as how I like to sometimes capture wildlife. Getting low as possible can be a great angle, and it’s here that can also be a pain to hold steady and level for long periods of time peeping at the tilted LCD display without support. Other monopods seemed to hover around 20 inches or so at their shortest.
The five-section, twist-lock monopod can extend out to 61 inches, and if paired with a ball head or tilt head, the camera’s viewfinder rises over my eye line as a person just short of 6 feet tall. When I take care not to expand each leg to its full potential, therefore further increasing rigidity, the viewfinder sits just right.
The uppermost 8X carbon fiber tubing is around 1.25 inches in diameter (1.75 inches including the hand grip). Tapering down in each of the five sections, the bottommost tubing is about 0.8 inches in diameter.
In total, the monopod weighs 0.95 pounds and can support loads of up to 22 pounds according to the product description. So if you’re using a $10,000-plus super telephoto prime lens attached to a 1D X Mark II with a speedlight and Better Beamer on this, watch out! For me, I’ve kept it well within the safety zone by using a mirrorless camera and comparatively lighter telephoto lenses such as the Sony FE 70–200mm f/2.8 GM and FE 100–400mm f/4.5–5.6 GM. At no time have I thought the materials were being strained and affecting the stabilization.
What I Liked
- The hand grip is made from a comfortable material and its large circumference feels good to hold steady in your hand.
- The rubber base can be switched with a screw-in metal spike (included) if you’re constantly working in the grass or sand. The threading can also be used with a floor stand (not included).
- Having used this monopod exclusively outdoors in grass, dirt, and sand, I haven’t had any issues with debris getting caught up in the legs or locks.
- Travel-friendly and low-angle ready with its 17.5 inch collapsed height.
- Comes with a basic slim profile carrying case with strap.
- It’s covered under the AmazonBasics one-year limited warranty.
What Could Be Improved
- I’d like a kit option that would pair a three-footed floor stand for more stabilized video work.
- Having a shoulder strap included that could be affixed directly onto the monopod, no separate carrying case needed.
- Even though the monopod has twist locks, they only release and lock at one point during the twist rather than having a gradual tensioning. There’s a noticeable “click” you feel when twisting to know when the leg section is now loose/tight. This is probably fine, I’m just never used to it though going back and forth from my Gitzo tripod.
The AmazonBasics Carbon Fiber Monopod is priced at $69.99 and is available now.