There's no shortage of tripods, monopods and selfie sticks on the market, ranging from cheap, basic versions for smartphones to high-end models costing hundreds of dollars. What there hasn't been, however, are multi-purpose products that cover everything from tiny GoPro's to heavy DSLRs, especially not in an affordable, lightweight package.
The Monoshot sets out to change all that. It's now available to buy at retail after a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I've been putting one through its paces for several weeks. Here's how it fared.
Features and Specifications
For a tripod costing under $60, the Monoshot has a surprisingly full feature set. At its core, it's an extendable monopod – but that's just the start. A spike screws into the bottom for use on sand, grass and other soft ground, as does a mini-tripod for stability on harder surfaces.
You can also use the mini-tripod by itself, with both it and the top of the monopod sporting a standard 1/4"screw that fits most cameras. The tripod's legs fold up vertically to save space, extend when you need extra height, and are adjustable through 180 degrees of movement.
You can also attach a smartphone via the included mount, or a GoPro with the tripod mount accessory. There's even a Bluetooth remote, to fire your smartphone camera.
The tripod weighs 1.9 pounds, and fits easily into the reasonably small bag it comes in. The tripod measures 19.5" when retracted for travel, and stands 5'9" high when fully extended.
Real World Testing
I took the Monoshot on a trip through Australia and New Zealand, using it in situations ranging from family portraits to mountain hiking, with a smartphone, GoPro, compact and DSLR cameras.
Transportation was easy – the tripod took up less space than expected in my luggage, and fit easily in a daypack while walking around. Setting up took under a minute, with the tripod extending quickly and both legs and central pole locking firmly in place, and breaking it back down for storage took even less time.
With such a lightweight piece of gear, stability is always a concern when using heavy cameras. While the Monoshot was rock-solid with phones and smaller cameras, it did sway a little with a DSLR attached at maximum extension. I'd recommend using the mini-tripod by itself, or the full kit no more than 50% extended, if you've got a heavy device on the end.
I found that on flat ground, locking each of the tripod legs at a 90 degree angle provided the most stable base. When the ground was uneven, though, it was easy to alter one or two of the legs, then move the ball joint on top to level the horizon as needed before locking it into place.
The smartphone mount kept various phones locked in place in both portrait and landscape mode, even inside their cases, and the Bluetooth remote fired the camera shutter without any extra configuration after initial pairing.
There was no problem with a GoPro either – after screwing it into place and making sure it was level, it stayed firmly locked. Whether you're looking to hold the monopod section in your hand to take a selfie, or use the Monoshot as a traditional tripod, it'll work just fine with smaller devices.
The Monoshot is a well-constructed, ingenious addition to the existing range of tripods for travelers. I always look for travel gear that's multi-purpose, useful and can handle the rigors of the road, and the Monoshot delivers.
It's an appropriate size and weight for all but the lightest travelers, and provides enough features to make it the only tripod most people will need for any trip. Recommended.