The other day I went shopping for a monopod. I discovered a lot of options: skinny ones, tall ones, ones made from carbon fiber (expensive ones). One thing all of them had in common was a multi-stage design, which allows them to telescope. Most require screwing to adjust. Some have quick-release knobs. But one had something that got my attention: an intriguing twist-locking mechanism that allows the user to reset the height with a single flick of the wrist.
It’s called the Mogopod. And as I tried it out on the showroom floor, it immediately stood out as a product that had been designed with the user in mind. It fits beautifully into your hand, and includes a carrying strap that allows you to sling it over your shoulder between takes. But most impressively, the Mogopod is made from three stages, two of which telescope through an ingenious twist mechanism (which I’ve seen before on more expensive painter’s poles).
Releasing the twist causes the stage above AND below to slide out simultaneously. And locking or unlocking doesn’t require multiple twist of the barrel – just a quick twist of the wrist. The result is a monopod that you can use to dance with your subjects, in my experience, quite literally.
At a wedding I filmed recently, the happy couple took their first married steps on the dance floor together and realized I wasn’t high enough on the stick to get the shot. Instead of having to take a short timeout while I reset the height (possibly missing the moment), I just reached down, made one quick adjustment, and kept shooting.
There are witness marks printed in inches on the side of the sticks that let you know exactly what height you’re at. I found that 50 inches was for me the “just about right” height for shooting while standing. So after going low, I knew immediately where to reset when coming up, saving me time.
At the top of the stick, another user-centered innovation is a dual-threaded reversible collar that allows you to select 1/4 20″ or 3/8 16″ studs. That sure beats those little screw-on adapters that I’m always losing every time I switch up to a video head on my other devices.
Adding a small, flat-mounting video fluid head such as my Manfrotto 701HDV allows quick upward and downward tilting of the camera. In this configuration I found it paired exceptionally well with the Canon C100 MKII for video work.
It isn’t the lightest monopod, as it is made from aluminum. And at 27″ when retracted, the medium sized Mogopod that I purchased doesn’t telescope down as short as many other pods (although the Mogopod Mk III Small, which I didn’t test, collapses to 20 inches). But if you don’t mind the slightly longer length, the increase in usability will more than compensate.
If you shoot like me, that means constantly changing your camera angle and camera height. So a monopod that gives you the ability to do that gracefully and quickly will make your day. It’s got a professional heft, and the red trim is an expensive-looking touch. But at $120, the Mogopod is one of the more affordable monopods on the market. That’s what I call raising the bar.