The Canon Monopod 100 is a basic 4-section monopod that comes with a ball head – all for about $33. That’s not really a bad deal at all considering that it actually performs pretty well.
Keep in mind though that this is an entry-level product and isn’t designed for pro-level shooters who pack around 500mm f/4 lenses. The Canon Monopod 100 just takes care of the basics.
We use monopods to help stabilize our cameras, often times when we shoot moving objects and are panning with those objects or need to change compositions quickly. Otherwise, tripods are generally more helpful for static subjects. Monopods also save our neck, back and arms from holding heavy cameras and lenses for hours at a time. A good monopod is worth more than the most advanced image stabilization system in our cameras and lenses because, at the end of the day, the monopod is just as steady as it was at the beginning of the day. If you’ve been holding a camera and lens all day long, your ability to steadily handhold your camera is not what it was at the beginning of the day.
If you’ve got a DSLR like a Canon Rebel T1i or 50D and you use lenses like the EF-S 18-55mm IS, EF 50mm f/1.8 or EF 75-300mm lenses, then this monopod will likely fit well into your kit. Even Nikon shooters with similar compact lenses will do fine with this monopod if they can get past using a Canon-branded product. ;-)
As noted above, the Canon Monopod 100 has 4-sections. It uses flip-lock levers to secure the leg at various heights up to a maximum of 64.5″ and down to 21.3″ completely retracted. The rated max load capacity is 4.4 lbs. The monopod itself rings in at a light 1.1 lbs.
I was pleasantly surprised at how sturdy the Canon Monopod 100 felt. It’s not like some of the other monopods that you pick off the shelf at a big box retailer. So long as you don’t go too heavy with the lenses, this should handle most setups pretty easily. While there is a bit of flex in the monopod when full extended, I was mostly satisfied with its steadiness while panning moving subjects.
The flip-lock levers are easy to use and secure all extensions fine. I don’t have any complaints about the mechanics of the monopod itself. It does what it’s suppose to do. It could be a little sturdier, but I’m sure that would make it a little more expensive.
The ball head included with this monopod is not a pro-quality head. It’s not as bad as some of the crap out there, but it’s not a real smooth operation. I couldn’t quite get it tight enough to be rock solid and prevent slippage while panning; however, that generally doesn’t interfere with how I use a monopod. I like some resistance most of the time, but rarely do I keep the head locked down to prevent any movement at all. This wouldn’t be a deal killer for me, but if your shooting needs require something tighter, you probably need to keep moving.
There are certainly much sturdier models out there (like the Manfrotto 679B), but considering what you are paying for the Canon entry-level model, it does pretty darn well.
It boils down to budget and performance requirements. If you can part with $50 for a monopod or if you need a solid monopod that will see a lot of use, I would recommend passing on this model and stepping up to something more sturdy like the Manfrotto 679B. (Keep in mind that the 679B doesn’t come with a head like this Canon monopod.) If times are tight and you can only part with about $30 for the combo, you could do worse than the Canon Monopod 100. If it were up to me, I’d pinch a few more pennies and step up to a more solid monopod.
The Canon Monopod 100 is available at B&H Photo.
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