9 Best Monopods for Wildlife Photography (2024)

An adult titmouse stands on the snow covered ground next to the roots of a tree

9 Best Monopods for Wildlife Photography (2024)


Capturing the raw and untamed beauty of wildlife through the lens of a camera is an exhilarating experience that many photographers dream of. However, the challenge of wildlife photography is not just in finding and framing your subject but also in combating the elements that stand between you and the perfect shot. Camera shake and slower shutter speeds can turn what would be a breathtaking image into a blurred disappointment, highlighting the need for extra support. Enter the monopod: the wildlife photographer’s secret weapon.

Unlike the traditional tripod, monopods offer a lightweight, compact, and versatile solution to stabilize your camera, especially when using long lenses crucial for zooming in on distant wildlife. With features like a ball head for smooth positioning, a wrist or shoulder strap for added security, and quick release plates for swift setup, the right monopod can significantly enhance your shooting experience. From the dense forests tracking elusive predators to the sports field capturing fast-paced action, monopods cater to a wide range of scenarios, providing the perfect height and support for eye-level shots or angling for unique low perspectives.

In this article, we dive into the “9 Best Monopods for Wildlife Photography,” exploring options that promise to be the perfect solution for your needs. Whether you’re drawn to the Manfrotto Monopod for its renowned build quality and weight capacity, intrigued by the iFootage Cobra for its innovative design, or considering the Legged Thing Punks Trent for its blend of strength and lightweight design, we’ve curated a list that includes these and other top contenders. We’ll compare different monopods like the Sirui P-306 and Vanguard, examining their leg sections, head types (tilt head, gimbal head, and more), and unique features like twist locks and central columns that make them stand out.

Designed for photographers who need to move quickly without sacrificing stability, these monopods are the best choice for anyone looking to elevate their wildlife photography. Whether you’re shooting with mirrorless cameras or DSLRs, telephoto lenses or video cameras, this buying guide will help you navigate the different options to find the monopod that’s fast enough, strong enough, and has just the right equipment to help you capture wildlife in its most authentic form. With the right monopod, slower shutter speeds and the challenges of low light conditions become manageable, allowing you to focus on capturing those once-in-a-lifetime shots with clarity and precision.

Disclosure: I am an Amazon and an Adorama affiliate. If you make a purchase using one of the affiliate links in this article, I will earn a commission at no cost to you.

A Pinterest pin for 9 Best Monopods for Wildlife Photography (2024)

Table of Contents

9 Best Wildlife Photography Monopods

1. Manfrotto XPRO 5-Section

The Manfrotto XPRO Over 5-section carbon-fibre monopod is praised for its lightweight design, compact size, and durability, making it an excellent choice for photographers on the go. It offers an impressive size-to-weight ratio due to its carbon construction, weighing just 620g with a maximum extension of 176cm. The monopod features a dual thread for compatibility with most heads, a quick power lock system for solid locking, and a redesigned leg-warmer grip for a firmer hold. It’s ideal for photographers who prioritize small size and lightness without compromising on stability and support.

Manfrotto MVMXPROC5, Xpro Fluid Video 5 Section Carbon Fibre Monopod, Fluidtech Base, Quick Power Lock System, Portable, Professional Videography, Black

2. Vanguard VEO 2 AM-264TR

The Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR monopod stands out for its unique tri-feet design, providing added stability similar to a tripod but in a more compact form. It features a lightweight aluminum construction, a maximum height of 163cm, and supports up to 6kg. With a foldable length of 55cm and weighing 890g, it’s ideal for on-the-go photography. Additional highlights include a smartphone connector, Bluetooth remote trigger, and a ball joint for smooth panning. Its affordability and rich feature set make it a valuable tool for both traditional and smartphone photographers.

Vanguard VEO 2S CM-264TR Carbon Fiber Monopod with Smart Phone Holder and Bluetooth Remote (VEO2SCM-264TR),Black/Gray

3. Benro Adventure MAD38C

The Benro Adventure MAD38C is a carbon fibre monopod noted for its strength and lightweight design, featuring an 8-layer carbon fiber build and high-grade flip locks. It extends to a maximum height of 158.5cm, collapses to 52.5cm, and supports up to 16kg. Ideal for adventurers seeking a durable and portable camera support

Benro Adventure 3 Series Carbon Fiber Monopod (MAD38C)

4. 3 Legged Thing Alan

The 3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0 and Docz2 monopod and stand kit offers stable support for large, heavy lenses, making it excellent for video shooting on the move. It features chunky leg locks for easy adjustment and a removable stabilizer stand. However, a wrist strap is not included. Rated highly for its performance and stability, this monopod kit is ideal for photographers and videographers needing reliable support in various shooting conditions.

3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0 Carbon Fibre Monopod - Travel-Friendly Camera Monopod for Professional Photographers and Videographers - Metallic Slate Grey (ALAN2.0)

5. Gitzo Series 2 Traveler GM2562T

The Gitzo GM2562T Series 2 Traveler Monopod stands out for its ultra-lightweight and compact design, made from carbon fiber for enhanced strength and rigidity. It can extend up to a height of 142 cm and fold down to just 36 cm, making it ideal for traveling photographers. This monopod can safely support up to 18 kg of gear, despite weighing only 405 grams. It features Carbon exact tubing for increased stiffness and durability, and its compact size does not compromise on the support it offers for professional photography equipment. 

Gitzo GM2562T Series 2 Traveler Carbon Fiber 6 Section Monopod (Black)

6. Steadicam Air Monopod

The Steadicam Air 25 Monopod distinguishes itself with a gas lift and spring-activated height adjustment, supporting up to 25lb (11.33kg) despite its lightweight carbon fiber construction. This monopod features three sections, including one twist leg lock allowing 360-degree rotation, and a rubberized foot pedal for easy height adjustment from 28″ to 62.5″. Its design offers great support for large and heavy digital cinema cameras, providing a comfortable operating height and stability on various surfaces. However, it cannot adjust height while being carried.

Steadicam AIR-25 Carbon Fiber Monopod with 3-Leg Base

7. Manfrotto XPRO Monopod Aluminum

The Manfrotto MVMXPRO500US XPRO Monopod offers a sturdy, aluminum build, extending over 6.5 feet while being compact enough for travel. It uniquely combines a fluid base with a video head for smooth pan movements. However, its panning functionality is located in the foot rather than the head, and the small feet might limit stability. Despite these nuances, its height and compact size make it a valuable tool for videographers looking for a blend of functionality and portability.

Manfrotto XPRO Aluminum 4-Section Monopod (MPMXPROA4US)

8. Gitzo GM5561T Series 5 Carbon Fiber Monopod

The Gitzo GM5561T Series 5 Carbon Fiber Monopod is part of Gitzo’s high-end lineup, designed for professional photographers who need reliable, sturdy, and lightweight support for heavy camera setups. These monopods are known for their exceptional build quality, incorporating Carbon 6X fiber to achieve a balance between strength and weight. This material choice not only makes the monopod lightweight but also ensures it can handle significant loads, making it suitable for large lenses and professional cameras.

Gitzo GM4562 Professional Photography Monopod, Series 4, 6 Sections, for DSLR and Reflex Cameras, Camcorders, Video Cameras, in Carbon Fibre, Holds up to 35 Kg

9.Benro Adventure 3 Series Monopod

The Adventure 3 Series Monopods are known for their robust build, lightweight design due to carbon fiber construction, and versatility, catering to both amateur and professional photographers. They typically feature twist locks for quick height adjustment, a compact folding design for easy transportation, and a significant load capacity suitable for heavy camera setups. These monopods are favored for their balance of stability, portability, and durability, making them a reliable choice for outdoor and adventure photography.

Benro Adventure 3 Series Carbon Fiber Monopod (MAD38C)

Each of these monopods brings something unique to the table, whether it’s the materials used in their construction, specific features designed for stability and ease of use, or their suitability for different types of wildlife photography. When choosing a monopod, consider factors such as weight, maximum height, load capacity, and, of course, the type of terrain you’ll be navigating. These models are widely appreciated among wildlife photographers for their reliability and performance in field conditions.

How to Choose the Best Monopod for Wildlife Photography

Choosing the best monopod for wildlife photography involves considering a variety of factors to ensure it meets your needs for stability, portability, and compatibility with your camera gear. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make an informed decision:

Stability and Durability

The stability and durability of a monopod are paramount. Look for models with sturdy construction and comfortable grips, possibly featuring flip lock mechanisms for secure setup without slippage. Materials like carbon fiber or aluminum alloy are preferred for their balance of strength and light weight.

Size and Weight

Consider the monopod’s height and weight, as these impact its usability and portability. Taller monopods offer higher angles but may be bulkier. Conversely, lightweight models are great for travel but might not provide as much stability for heavy camera setups.

Lens and Camera Compatibility

Ensure the monopod can support the weight of your camera and lens. Some monopods come with interchangeable feet for different terrains, enhancing versatility.

Maximum Load Capacity

It’s crucial that the monopod supports the weight of your camera, lens, and any additional accessories. This is especially important for wildlife photography, where heavy telephoto lenses are common.

Maximum and Minimum Heights

Your monopod should accommodate a variety of shooting scenarios, from low ground shots to eye-level perspectives. Consider your own height and the subjects you plan to photograph.

Flip-out Feet

Models with flip-out feet offer enhanced stability, allowing the monopod to stand on its own in certain conditions, though they may not be reliable for heavy setups without hands-on support.

Grip and Locking Mechanism Speed

A comfortable grip and quick, reliable locking mechanisms are essential for ease of use and to ensure the monopod adjusts swiftly and stays in place once set.

Material and Build Quality

Materials like aluminum alloy, carbon fiber, and steel affect the monopod’s durability, stability, and weight. High-quality construction ensures resilience to regular use and environmental conditions.

Head Compatibility

Ensure the monopod’s mounting system is compatible with your camera or video head, considering thread size and type. Quick-release systems can offer convenience for fast setup changes.

Foot and Base Options

Look for monopods with retractable or fold-out feet for stability, swivel bases for easy movement, and interchangeable bases for versatility across different shooting environments.

Additional Features

Consider monopods with integrated or optional heads, adjustable leg locks, carrying cases or bags, straps or carabiners for easy transport, and multi-functional designs that offer added versatility for outdoor and adventure photography.

By evaluating these factors, you can find a monopod that offers the perfect blend of stability, portability, and compatibility for your wildlife photography endeavors. Remember, the right monopod will significantly enhance your ability to capture stunning wildlife images, offering support in various terrains and conditions while being easy to carry on your adventures.

A snowy owl has just taken off in flight.
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

When to Use a Monopod Instead of Shooting Handheld for Wildlife Photography

Choosing between using a monopod and shooting handheld in wildlife photography involves understanding the advantages and scenarios where each method excels. Here’s a detailed comparison to help you make informed decisions based on stability, mobility, and the nature of the photography you’re undertaking

.Monopod Use


  1. Stability: A monopod provides more stability than shooting handheld, reducing camera shake and enabling sharper images, especially with long lenses.
  2. Flexibility: Offers greater flexibility compared to tripods, allowing for easy height and tilt adjustments, crucial for tracking moving subjects like wildlife.
  3. Mobility: Ideal for scenarios requiring quick and spontaneous movements, as it’s lighter and allows for faster positioning changes than a tripod.
  4. Less Fatigue: Using a monopod can significantly reduce the physical strain of carrying and holding heavy camera gear for extended periods.
  5. Quick Setup: Monopods have a hassle-free setup, essential in dynamic environments where wildlife behavior is unpredictable.

Best Scenarios:

  • Tracking moving subjects.
  • In situations where you need to change locations quickly.
  • When using long lenses that are too heavy for prolonged handheld shooting but require rapid mobility.

Handheld Shooting


  1. Complete Freedom: Handheld shooting offers unmatched freedom of movement, allowing for spontaneous composition changes without any setup time.
  2. Speed: No time lost adjusting equipment means you can react instantly to wildlife action, which is essential in fast-paced scenarios.
  3. Minimal Gear: Shooting handheld means less gear to carry, making it easier to move through challenging terrains or dense foliage.

Best Scenarios:

  • Capturing fast-moving subjects where immediate camera repositioning is needed.
  • In environments where setting up a monopod could be impractical or when you need to be extremely mobile.
  • For creative angles and perspectives that might be difficult to achieve with a monopod.

Considerations for Choosing Between Monopod and Handheld

  • Lens Weight and Focal Length: Longer, heavier lenses often necessitate some form of support, like a monopod, to maintain image sharpness.
  • Shooting Duration: Longer sessions benefit from the support of a monopod to mitigate fatigue.
  • Mobility Needs: If the situation requires moving quickly without encumbrances, shooting handheld might be preferable.
  • Environmental Conditions: In tight or crowded spaces, or where the ground doesn’t allow for monopod use, handheld shooting might be the only option.

Both monopods and handheld shooting have their place in wildlife photography, each with specific advantages depending on the shooting conditions and photographer’s needs. Monopods strike a balance between the stability of a tripod and the mobility of handheld shooting, ideal for certain wildlife photography scenarios. In contrast, shooting handheld offers maximum mobility and spontaneity, valuable in fast-paced or constrained environments. The choice between the two should be based on the particular requirements of your shoot, considering factors like the need for stability, mobility, and the physical demands of your photography session.

Understanding when to opt for a monopod instead of shooting handheld will enhance your wildlife photography, allowing you to adapt to various scenarios effectively and capture stunning images of the natural world.

A portrait of a puffin's neck and face. The puffin is looking off to the right of the frame. Only one side of her face is visible.
ⓒ Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography 2022

When to Choose a Monopod Over a Tripod for Wildlife Photography

Choosing between a monopod and a tripod for wildlife photography depends on your specific needs regarding stability, mobility, and the nature of the photography you’re undertaking.

Stability vs. Mobility

Tripods offer unmatched stability due to their three-legged design, making them ideal for long exposures, macro photography, and situations requiring minimal camera movement. This stability is crucial for reducing camera shake and achieving sharp images in low light conditions or when using slow shutter speeds.

Monopods, while offering less stability than tripods due to their single-leg design, provide significant advantages in terms of mobility and versatility. They are perfect for situations where quick adjustments and movements are essential, such as tracking moving wildlife or changing positions swiftly.

Weight and Space Considerations

Monopods are lighter and occupy less space than tripods, making them more convenient for photographers who travel or work in crowded or narrow spaces. This portability is particularly beneficial for wildlife photographers who need to move quickly or trek long distances to capture their subjects.

Shooting Scenarios

For wildlife photography, the choice between a monopod and a tripod can also depend on the specific shooting scenario:

  • Tripods are better suited for static subjects, landscape shots where the camera needs to be perfectly still, or when using heavy lenses that require solid support for extended periods.
  • Monopods excel in dynamic environments, such as photographing birds in flight or animals on the move, where the photographer needs to be as agile as the subjects being photographed.

Making the Right Choice

The decision to use a monopod over a tripod ultimately hinges on the nature of the photography session:

  • Use a monopod when you require greater flexibility, need to make quick movements, or when working in tight spaces. Monopods are also ideal for reducing the weight of your gear on long hikes.
  • Opt for a tripod when stability is paramount, such as for long exposure shots, time-lapses, or when shooting in windy conditions where a solid base is necessary to prevent camera shake.

In some cases, photographers may benefit from having both a tripod and a monopod at their disposal, as each offers unique advantages depending on the situation. There are also convertible models available that can switch between tripod and monopod functionalities, providing versatility for a wide range of shooting scenarios.

Remember, the best choice depends on your specific requirements, the conditions under which you’ll be shooting, and the subjects you plan to capture. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each support system, you can make an informed decision that enhances your wildlife photography experience.

A pelican is perched on a wooden railing in front of the ocean. The sun is setting and light glistens on the water in the background.
© Lauren McDonagh-Pereira Photography


Exploring the best monopods for wildlife photography reveals a diverse array of tools designed to meet the dynamic needs of photographers in the field. As we’ve navigated through the “9 Best Monopods for Wildlife Photography,” it’s clear that each option offers unique advantages, whether it’s in terms of weight, height, stability, or specific features like quick release plates and twist locks. Now, I’d love to hear from you. Which monopod do you rely on for your wildlife photography adventures? Share your favorites and any personal experiences or tips in the comments below. Your insights could help fellow photographers discover their next essential piece of gear.


  1. “Manfrotto XPRO Over 5-section carbon-fibre monopod review” – Newsshooter.
  2. “Vanguard VEO 2S AM-264TR Monopod Review” – ePHOTOzine.
  3. “Benro Adventure MAD38C Carbon Fibre Monopod Review” – Wex Photo Video.
  4. “3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0 and Docz2 Monopod and Stand Kit Review” – Amateur Photographer.
  5. “Gitzo GM2562T Series 2 Traveler Monopod Review” – Gitzo Official Website.
  6. “Steadicam Air 25 Monopod Hands-on Review” – Newsshooter.
  7. “Manfrotto MVMXPRO500US XPRO Monopod Review” – Videomaker.
  8. “Benro Monopods – A Helpful Illustrated Guide. Review and Comparison” – Better Digital Photo Tips.

Follow Me:

Keep Reading: