Tripod Vs. Monopod – Which One To Choose For Wild Bird Photography

Tripod Vs. Monopod – Which One To Choose For Wild Bird Photography

Support equipment fundamentally important. Shooting freehand is not ideal in most situations. The use of a tripod is often essential; at other times it is convenient to use a monopod although its use is more restrictive. On the tripod there is a head that allows you to perform horizontal and vertical movements with your camera. There are also specialized tripods for each type of photography.

Mounting your camera can improve its stability and give you the ability to take pictures at very low speeds. This is often one of the first goals of a new photographer. These mounts can allow you to use longer lenses without straining on the neck or back.

The two main supports for photographers are the tripod and the monopod. Some people have asked “what are the differences?” Should a bird and wildlife photographer to use one or the other? We will see it better in this handy guide.

Using either of them will add value to your photographs. The substantial differences lie in the ease of use. The tripod is more stable but more difficult to move, while the monopod is more versatile but less stable. As you might imagine, the choice of your equipment depends a lot on the type of photography you are going to do. Let’s do a little comparison.

Comparison Between Monopod And Tripod

Both are accessories designed to support a camera of any type, from DSLR to mirrorless. The key differences are in the number of legs and what changes based on how many legs there are. The tripod obviously has 3 legs. The monopod is a stand that has only one leg. The structure is, largely, the same; both have an adjustable height and have quick release plates to quickly remove the camera. Most manufacturers that make monopods also make tripods. While tripods and monopods aim to do the same work, there are several advantages and disadvantages between the two.

Why Use A Tripod?

Tripods are much more stable. They can be used to take longer exposures than a monopod. Vibrations caused by wind or sudden movements will be reduced. This is the best way to avoid blur in your pictures. It allows you to step away from the camera to do anything; which you absolutely cannot do with a monopod. What good would it do?

Why use a tripod

A tripod allows you to take selfies, use slow shutter speed for waterfalls, or take multiple photos at the same time with you in different positions, even when you are alone. The tripod is used to maintain the camera fixed a position. Using a tripod is also useful when taking macro photographs or when you need to capture panoramas. Tripods are usually the most popular option among photographers. There are certainly many more models available on the market than monopods.

To sum up:

  • More stability
  • Higher weight

Why Use A Monopod?

So why should photographers use a monopod? Well, as you have read from the disadvantages of the tripod, a monopod’s small size and the lower weight are certainly the main advantages of using a single leg support. They take up less floor space; if you’re shooting in a crowded place you won’t need a lot of space and you can shoot just about anywhere.

Why use a monopod

They are much more versatile; just think about having to photograph a football match that you have to constantly move from one side of the pitch to the other, or when shooting birds and wildlife and you’re required to swiftly change position, moving around the bush and trees. With a tripod you will move very rarely, with a monopod you can move much faster.

To sum up:

  • Much lighter and more versatile
  • Less stability

Biggest Mistake In Choosing A Tripod Or Monopod

The biggest mistake you can make when buying a tripod or monopod for photography is to think about buying one that will work for all kinds of photography.

Biggest mistake in choosing a tripod or monopod

Sorry to tell you, but for studio photography, you need a different tripod than a tripod for travel photography. For landscape photography, you will need a different tripod than a tripod you’d use for theatre photography.

The first thing you need to ask yourself is: what photographic genre am I looking for a tripod for?

Which Is Better; A Tripod Or Monopod?

So what is better in the end? Surely both are useful to take the weight off your neck; they offer a level of resistance to vibrations greater than the free hand. The tripod is more stable, but tends to be very bulky and can slow you down. On the other hand, the monopod is not as stable but is much more versatile.

So, which option should you choose?

You have to know and understand what type of situation you are going to shoot in. If you have to be mobile and fast on the move you have to choose the monopod. If, on the other hand, you have to take long exposures (for example, blur the water of a waterfall), a tripod is better.

If you want flexibility, you may need both. Some tripods are two in one! They easily convert from tripod into monopod in a matter of seconds. There are usually two models. The first converts the central tripod pole into a monopod. The other option works by removing a leg and connecting it to the central column. Usually the latter models have more limitations, but they also have more stable blocks.

You can also buy both to take less time to convert, but it is certainly a less economical and, above all a more tiring option. The three feet are ideal for long exposure photography and macro photos. Monopods are great for stabilising long lenses while on the go for sports and wildlife photography.

If you’re looking into buying a tripod or monopod, or a combination model, we recommend you check out our recent article on “The Best Tripods For Birds And Wildlife Photography”. Here you will find a comprehensive guide of the best tripods and monopods currently on the market.