Definition: Monopod

Definition: Monopod | Glossary entry


A form of support for the camera. Normally monopods are constructed as one upright, described variously as a ‘leg’, staff or pole. Modern monopods are built in aluminium. The camera is screwed on the platform which is mounted at the top.

The monopod is used to hold the camera steady while in the field. It is not as steady as a tripod since it has only one leg. This allows movement in the horizontal plane, but prevents up and down movement. The monopod is therefore a compromise between lightness and flexibility and the steadiness provided by a tripod.

The monopod allows the user to gain a little more stability for the camera so that longer exposures can be taken.

For reasons of storage and carriage the monopod is often built in three or four sections. These slide into one another forming a compact single unit. The individual sections, when extended, are held in place by clamps built into the joint between each of the sliding sections.

Monopods are useful for their lightness and easy-carry, compact format. In high quality units the engineering of the joints is tight to prevent wobble or joint movement. This enables greater stability for the camera.

Many monopods also have ‘heads’. These are independent units mounted on the top platform. They allow the camera to move up and down relative to the upright position of the monopod. The main aim is to allow the camera to take a landscape or portrait format shot or to be set at an angle for inclined shots.

Monopods conform to the same standards as tripods with respect to screw fittings. The camera can mount on either a 1/4in x 20 UNC format screw, or a 3/8in UNC screw.

Monopods have been known previously as unipods.

Comments, additions, amendments or ideas on this article? Contact Us


Contribute A Definition?

Send us a definition of a photographic word or phrase...

Send us a definition for our list of photographic words and phrases. Simply write a clear definition and send it in. Include an original picture if you wish. Give us your name and a link to your website and we will credit your work.

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

find out more...Photokonnexion tips by email
If you enjoyed this article please sign up for our
daily email service.
                                                 Find out more