In my Bird Photography Gear Guide I talk about the fact that I often use a monopod – not so much to steady my shots but rather, to rest my arms because I leave the camera and telephoto lens on the monopod and it keeps my arms and shoulders from getting tired carrying the camera all day.
I use the Manfrotto MPMXPROC5US Carbon Fiber XPRO Monopod+ but I know some of you are on a budget and every dollar counts – so I went in search of a less expensive alternative. Good news! I found one.
The Oben CTM-2500 5-Section Carbon Fiber Monopod is $99.95. That is precisely $115.94 cheaper than the Manfrotto.
Here is a comparison of the two monopods.
They are both made of carbon fiber, have five sections, a hand strap and a grip.
The Oben is actually smaller and lighter than the Manfrotto. But the Manfrotto has two distinct advantages…
1. It is a little taller – although this may not be relevant to most people
2. It employs Manfrotto’s patented Power-Lock flip locks which are the best in the business
The Oben uses twist locks. This is common with many monopods and tripods and it is sometimes time-consuming to open them properly. I find that I can open the Manfrotto product much faster.
(There’s always a but…)
The Oben can carry twice as much weight, is smaller, lighter and cheaper.
Oben makes very good products that are often more affordable than big name companies. I have been using their products for a couple of years and tested many. In almost every case I find that they offer good value for the money – and I also find that most of the time, their products perform well enough that it’s not really necessary to buy the name brand competitor.
The Oben monopod has a nice list of features…
- Reversible 1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16 screw for mounting any camera or head
- Metal spike emerges from rubber foot, for extra stability in grass, gravel, and other loose terrain
- Foam grip protects your camera by ensuring that your grip doesn’t slip
- For a second line of security and more stable shooting, wrap the attached strap snugly around your wrist
- Wrist strap features belt clip for convenient hands-free carrying
I found that I enjoyed the Oben monopod’s light weight and smaller size when I carried it in the field. It’s rigid, supported my longest lens very well, and collapses easily.
With all Oben products, I generally find that if you’re an occasional, weekend shooter, who doesn’t need something at the professional level designed to last a lifetime, you’ll be better off with the less expensive Oben. Also, if the product does fail, B&H stands behind the product with a five-year warranty. For less than $100, I don’t think you can ask for much more.
At the end of the day, you have to decide if the slightly taller Manfrotto (with its superior flip locks) is worth the extra $115.94. I assume that for most of you, it won’t be. I would happily rely on this product and think it is a bargain at under $100. Highly recommended.