camera extender Poles
Are They Still Worth It And Buying Tips

Camera Extender poleAre Extender Poles
Any Good


UPDATED: March 29, 2024

It's important to know a few things about the camera extender arm before you find yourself disappointed with how they work. There are two basic types of extenders and they have different purposes, performances and prices. This post will help you understand the differences and help you choose what's best for you.

Benefits of Using A Pole

Before we do the comparison between the two major types along wit the buying tips, let's look at the advantages that make these poles worth the money and still valuable to use in certain situations. Camera extender poles have the following benefits:

OVERHEAD. You can capture stunning overhead shots without using a ladder. As an example if you want to photograph fenced-in horses or other farm animals, the extender pole will raise your camera above wires or boards that would otherwise obstruct your view.

ANGLED PERSPECTIVES. Having your camera extended farther away from your body gives the the added capability of shooting from a variety perspectives without physically moving your position. One of the ways you can separate your photos from the average snap shooter is by creating more interesting views of your subject when you compost your photos.

As an example you could take a photograph with your camera positioned above a babbling brook without having to get your feet wet in the water.

BEAT THE CROWDS. When you're shooting photos in a crowded area you can photograph the scene in front of you without having the back of someone's head ruin your shot. The most popular example of this would be photographing a parade where there are many other spectators between you and the festivities.

HIDING. Want to remain hidden from your subject? Wildlife is often skittish when it comes to seeing a person nearby. You can remain unseen to wildlife and birds by hiding behind something and still photograph your subject by extending just your camera. The articulating LCD screen on your camera makes it easy to compose your photo without having to look at the back of your camera or use your viewfinder.

Features To Consider

Here are 6 things to consider when trying to choose an extender pole.

camera extender tips graphic

Let's take a look at the differences between the two categories of camera extenders.

1. Selfie sticks

For taking a self portrait, commonly known as "Selfie", the smaller and  lighter monopods are sometimes loosely referred to as camera extender poles.  The Xshot, show below, was one of the most well known and biggest sellers of extenders for selfies and GoPro video shooters at the time of this post.

The lighter poles of this type of extender are good for using with your smart phone, GoPro type of compact action cameras, and compact point-and-shoot cameras. Most of these lighter poles are too flimsy to support the full weight of a DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses.

2. DSLR Extenders

The 2nd type of pole, traditional monopods are heavier, sturdier, and capable of supporting DSLR cameras and other accessories. Beware of the lightweight extenders that claim to support DSLRs.

There are extenders that are priced less than $10, rated as good-not great, that may suit your uses with very light point-n-shoot cameras and smaller smart phones.  On the flipside, there are heavy duty monoods like the Gitzo 6-section one pictured on the right that cost over $300.

what extender Pole features to watch for

Camera on a stick-monopod with Blue Tooth Remote Shutter Trigger

Cost.  Remember the long-known rule that You get What You Pay For

Total Length.  Planning on photographing yourself with a large group? Then you'll need a little extra length. Most extenders sag a bit if fully extended.  If you only expand your extender partially, you'll have overlapping sections add to the strength of your gadget.

Number of sections. This affects the sturdiness, total length, and weight of your selfie monopod.

Weight.  All of the selfie monopods are light and easy to hold

Tilting mechanism.  Traditional monopods don't often automatically come with a tilting, or ball head to adjust the angle of your camera.  Just about all of the selfie extenders arms do.

Negative Reviews.  Basing your decision of reading just one negative review of a product might steer you away from an accessory that would be perfect for you.  Look for a source that has many reviewers to get a more realistic idea of the value of a product or service.

The extender is one of the most highly rated by buyers on Amazon.  You can click  to read the reviews (positive and negative) of customers who bought this model.

You can learn a lot about a product by reading the reviews and opinions of shoppers who have experience using any of the photography accessories you are interested in.

The #1 biggest complaint about the selfie monopods, sometimes referred to as a camera on a stick, is that the monopod simply does a poor job of holding the camera securely.  

Whether its the actually mechanism responsible for mounting the camera or the thickness of the pole itself, customers complained about these two issues more than anything else.

most common reason for using a camera extender arm

selfie monopod mirrorSelfie monopod with mirror is cumbersome,
but good for point and shoot cameras to extend the
camera away and see what you are shooting

The most common reason to use a selfie monopod is to include yourself in a photo.  Many vacation and holiday photos are lacking one person, you the photographer.  With one of these accessories there is no need to have anyone not be included in the photo.

These selfie poles are great for couples who want to share all of the fun things they do together.Gone are the days that you have to ask a complete stranger to take your camera in his hands and take a bad photo.

There are other useful ways to get interesting photos by using one of these lightweight monopods.  Read this article on Creative Uses for a monopod.

Also, there have been quite a bit of discussion on the evils of the taking and posting of selfies. Should we really worry about how we use these selfie poles?

If you got something valuable out of this article titled Camera Extender buying tips please share it with a friend. Have a blast with your digital photography

Article published by Bruce Lovelace


Bruce is the publisher of this website. He is the author of the book "Improve Your Photography Instantly."  Read more on Bruce on his Bio Page. He's been known as The Traveling Photographer ever since 1994. Read more about this website.

View some of Bruce's photos on Instagram.   Visit the Facebook Page. Watch him on YouTube.  Bruce runs photo workshops for kids and adults, and provides one-on-one photography coaching.

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