Recently, I've got into the world of video, mostly using the video function on DSLR cameras. Maintaining a steady picture isn't as simple as using a standard video camera, as unlike these, DSLRs do not have the same image stabilisation built in. There are several solutions to this, including custom, handheld rigs that can cost hundreds of pounds. As I'm starting out, I'm not ready to invest or to learn how to use such a thing, so I've gone for a monopod which should help me get a little more stability, and it only cost £8.49.
A monopod is also great for anyone getting into photography, it's especially useful for taking photos in low light without a flash, where a steady hand is required to avoid blurring. Also, unlike a tripod you can jump from place to place without having to fold it up and down, making you more manoeuvrable. I use tripods too, when I'm going to be static filming for a long period of time, which of course makes you completely stable. The monopod eliminates most shake and minimises camera movement. The other downside compared to a monopod is, that you can't let go.
I decided to go for this monopod from Konig, primarily because of the cost. £8.49 is a ridiculously low price considering it also comes with a case and included postage. And by looking at the 80+ reviews on Amazon, most people were more than impressed with the quality too. The monopod at its shortest measures 60cm, but extends to 178cm. This is way above my head! I was really pleased about this, which I didn't realise until I unpacked it, because this will allow me to get overhead shots, using the articulating screen on my DSLR. You can of course adjust it to any height between 60 and 178cm by collapsing the leg to your desired height. The leg comes in 4 sections and they securely lock into place using a flip-lock mechanism.
The monopod is made of an aluminium construction and feels very rigid when fully erected. It also comes with, what I thought would be a very handy footrest, which folds out. In use, it kind of just flaps around (I now secure it to the monopod with an elastic band) and it doesn't reduce any forwards/backwards movement as it's quite loose. I suppose it could be an extra lifeline, if you forgot what you were doing and took your hand off the monopod.
The Konig Monopod itself weighs 600g, but can support a camera up to 3KG in weight. When I carry it around in the supplied bag (black, single zip, fairly cheap material, shoulder strap) it's so light you can barely notice your carrying it.
Putting the camera on top, a slight concern I had was the quality of the tripod head and handle. It seems to be made of a very cheap plastic, with no quick-release base plate. You just screw it into the camera's tripod mount. As well as tilting the whole monopod, you can use the handle to tilt the camera up and down. Although it feels cheap, I'm sure the very expensive camera that's attached to it will be fine (fingers crossed)
If you're thinking about buying, this or any other monopod, I can recommend it because they're really quite versatile. Want to take an aerial photo or video of your family? Put the camera in timer mode, then place the foot of the monopod on your chest, whilst holding it half way up for a super high angle shot. Alternatively, say I want to film something at a very low angle, for example, to give the viewpoint of an animal walking along, I hold the monopod upside down, with the camera almost touching the floor. (I then flip the image 180 degrees in my editing software)
There are some downsides to this monopod, but they're not worth complaining about when it's so cheap. Ideally I'd like a loop-strap at the top of the monopod in case it slips from my hand and the head and mount is cheap. Maybe I should have paid more for these features. Still, it's a great monopod for the price, and if it lasts me a few years I'll be perfectly happy!