Best monopod for DSLR photography: 6 top models tested and rated

Want support for your camera without lugging a tripod around?

Want support for your camera without lugging a tripod around? We put six sensibly priced monopods to the test to find out which is the best monopod for DSLR photography enthusiasts.

Any decent tripod will give a stable shooting platform, but tripods are heavy, bulky and time-consuming to set up. With only one leg, monopods are more manageable.

A greater number of leg sections enables a monopod to fold down smaller for carrying. The trade-off is that setup time is slightly longer if you need to extend all the sections, as there are more clamps to operate.

Each clamp is also a potential weak point that can introduce unwanted flexing. Another factor to bear in mind is that the more leg sections you have, the thinner and more spindly the bottom sections will be.

Monopods that feature tilting heads enable shooting in portrait orientation (upright) as well as in landscape orientation, so are far more versatile.

If your chosen monopod is lacking this tilt facility, you may need to factor in the expense of adding a tilt head or ball head separately - unless your lens has a rotating tripod collar.

Best monopod for DSLR photography: Velbon Ultra Stick M50

Best monopod for DSLR photography Velbon Ultra Stick M50

Price: £30, $45
Buy it: www.velbon.co.uk
Most of the monopods on test here are sturdy beasts that, by their nature, are quite big and weighty. The Velbon bucks this trend, folding down to only about 32cm. It also weighs a mere 210g, so is very light to carry around with you.

The flip side is that it only extends to a relatively lowly 131cm, and its maximum load rating is just 1.5kg. Even so, it's well able to support most SLRs with a standard zoom lens.

With a five-section leg, the bottom section is very thin - just 9mm in diameter - and the Velbon feels a lot flimsier than other monopods in the group we tested. It extends through progressive twisting of the foot, so there are no fiddly clamps to operate.

Pros… Easily slips into a bag and is very light for carrying.
Cons… Relatively flimsy, no tilt option, short maximum height.
WE say… A decent lightweight option for the long haul.

Score: 3/5