Looking at Gitzo monopods? The list of professional photographers who use them is very impressive. But, is a monopod from Gitzo worth the investment? Serious amateurs who won't settle for anything less than the best monopods use Gitzo too.
One close-up look at Gitzo and you can see the workmanship and understand why they're priced as they are. Gitzo has been in business for almost a century. Their commitment to quality is second to none when it comes to camera accessories.
The perfect monopod needs to be able to adjust fast to precise heights to get to the perfect shooting position quickly. It also has to be lightweight but still rigid and strong enough to support your camera.
Gitzo market their monopods through Manfrotto, so it's easy to get confused with the Manfrotto-Bogen line of monopods.
Gitzo offer three lines of monopods: aluminum, carbon and monopod-walking sticks designed for backpackers and hikers.
Additionally one of the unique features of Gitzo monopods is that optional specific-use tips are available.
This long monopod spike pictured on the left is used when you are in soft ground or sand and you want your monopod to stand on it's own. It could also be used to fend off wolves or aggressive hikers. (just kidding)
Even the images on the Gitzo website evoke a feeling of precision and excellence. When I was in photography school, the photography "cage" where all equipment was stored and lent out for use by photography students, was stocked full of tripods and the Gitzo were the sturdiest you could possible use.
Three premium features that are available on some of the Gitzos are G-Locks, 6x carbon fiber legs, and an Anti-Rotation Leg system. Are any of these features necessary for you to take great photos? Of course not! You don't have to use a DSLR camera to take great photos either, but your performance and experience may be radically better.
G-Locks are very easy to use and are smaller than the traditional twist locks that were used previously. All G-locks can be loosened at once, then tightened in any order because of the Anti-Rotation Legs. Because of their design, when a load is put on the monopod it make the lock even tighter.
Carbon fiber is the preferred material to use in a monopod for two reasons. It's light and absorbs vibrations. Carbon fiber monopod legs feel warm to the touch in cold weather, a pleasant change from grabbing a cold leg in frigid weather.
The anti-rotation leg system allows you to loosen all of the legs at once and then tighten them back up on an individual basis. One unique feature built into this system is that it's temperature independent, meaning it won't fail to work at extreme heat or cold.
New monopods and tripod upgrades aren't released nearly as frequently as new cameras, so when it happens photographers pay attention. Here is a video from a recent Photokina with the highlights of a new monopod from Gitzo.
You can join the video where the discussion starts on what is different about Gitzo's new offer in the monopod arena.
Many professional photographers sue Gitzon tripods and monopods and here's just a few of the accomplished pro shooters who do. David Duchemin use a Gitzo GM3551 Monopod. The Gitzo GM3551 employs the G-Lock system for securing locking, 6x carbon fiber tubing, and has 5 sections to facilitate a compact size.
Joe McNally uses a Gitzo Traveler Series 5 Carbon, 6-Section monopod. It can be fully extended in just 6 seconds, allowing an unsurpassed flexibility of use. All new monopods feature the new Gitzo belt clip. This clip, incorporated in the wrist strap, is a smart carrying solution that allows you to hang your monopod on belts or pockets.
A photographer who's had a big personal influence on my own shooting, Ed Heaton, is a dedicated Gitzo tripod user. Outdoor Photographer refers to Ed as a "Landscape Master." You won't see Ed without his Gitzo when he's shooting.
The Gitzo GM3350XL Series 3 Aluminum Monopod is what photographer Joe DiMaggio (not the late baseball player) uses. It's a 5-section aluminum monopod that extends to a healthy 73 inches. It has the same features as the carbon fiber monopod. All Gitzo aluminum monopods now feature the Anti Leg Rotation (ALR)
Here's the deal.
With all of the digital photography accessories I use and review, I don't have enough time to be an expert on monopods. When I need a place to go to for reviews I use Amazon and Youtube.
Youtube is the 2nd large search engine in the world. Sometimes you have to weed through some crappy videos to get to the worthwhile ones, but you can learn a lot.
Amazon is the King Kong of photography reviews sites. The reviews are written by regular, everyday photographers, not biased review sites or bloggers. There are more worthwhile reviews there than any other website on the internet.
Can you justify the investment in a Gitzo for you situation? Hey, listen. I'm just like you. Sometimes you want to give yourself a little reward, a spluge for all the hard work you do, and purchase a supreme quality accessory for your photography.
At other times you want to save a little. I did some research for you. I have access to statistics on what camera equipment people buy after leaving this blog. As an affiliate partner, I discovered that the most popular, higher quality monopod people purchased was the Sirui P-326 6-Section Carbon Fiber Monopod.
This website has quite a few posts about camera monopods and most of them are not about Gitzo. Holding your camera along with its lens in a ready-to-shoot position can be a taxing endeavor. This is particularly true with wildlife and sports photography where you are using a bigger lens.
You really need to be constantly prepared to shoot a scene that presents itself in an instant without warning. Devour the articles on monopods like a famished lion and you'll grow to appreciate the value of using a monopod.
Monopod Heads and Tripod heads. I added this article which has a few more thoughts, photos and a video on monopod heads and tripod heads.
Opteka Monopod Reviews. Four specific models of Opteka Monopods are reviewed.
Manfrotto-Bogen Monopods - Reviews. Not as highly priced line as the Gitzo, the Manfrotto and Bogen Monopod series.
Slik Monopods - Reviews. Slik is referred to as "The most copied line of tripods today" at its main web site. It's most popular monopod is the Easi-Pod.
Best Monopods. Reading the monopod reviews of other photographers is one good step in evaluating which is the best monopod for you. It is better to start with some thoughts on what features you want and how you are going to use your monopod.
How to Use a Monopod. Proper (and largely unknown) techniques on how to use a monopod the right way to get the best photos without blur.
Monopod Tips. Three tips on why and four tips on how to use a monopod in this video.
Please take advantage of all of the other digital photography tips on this web site. There are dozens of articles on camera equipment, photography accessories, portrait posing, photo lighting and composition, nature and macro photography, depth of field, photos of young and old people, and tips on how to avoid the most common photo mistakes as well. Happy Shooting.