Manfrotto has just released the lightest video monopod kit in the world – the Element MII.
There are many video shooters who still depend on a good video monopod – including us. No camera IBIS in the world can replace an effective video monopod. And it’s safe to say that shoulder rigs are a thing of the past for mirrorless, DSLR and small cinema cam shooters.
But while there are several good video monopods that are well suited for heavier cameras and shoots that are gear friendly, sometimes you want the lightest and most portable monopod you can get.
Years ago when the market still didn’t have a good solution for portable video shooters, we actually created our own lightweight video monopod, using the smallest Manfrotto photo monopod, along with an old Manfrotto 701HDV fluid head – which is discontinued now but still the lightest fluid head ever made – and then we epoxy’d feet to the monopod base to make it a video monopod.
Thankfully those DIY days are over as Manfrotto’s Element MII has the whole kit ready to go. It weighs only 1kg, or about 2.2 lbs, featuring both a fluid drag system on the head and Manfrotto’s own patented fluid base.
The Element MII is the first Manfrotto video monopod to incorporate their new ergonomic twist locks. They’re supposedly easy and comfortable to use, yet still gives you maximum grip.
If you use a video monopod in your work, you live and die by the locks, whether they’re twist or flip style. You’re adjusting the height hundreds of times a day, loosening and securing as you go, and if it’s at all frustrating or the lock isn’t completely tight (making your camera slowly depress down during a shot), then you feel like chucking the whole monopod.
In the Element II, there are four twist locks, which enables the monopod to fold down to less than two feet.
Even though you’re not going to use a video monopod like you would a professional video tripod, there are still times when you want smooth pans and tilts, at various speeds. There are all sorts of tricks to get the camera movement down, including placing the head handle under your armpit, or holding the whole camera close to you as you pivot with your body, or sticking to quick moves to better hide the monopod’s imperfect motion.
But tricks aside, a solid fluid base and head makes the whole operation smoother and more reliable. The whole point of a portable video monopod is to be able to get a vast variety of shots, quickly and effectively, while knowing that each shot will be shake-free and usable.
The Manfrotto Element MII video monopod comes in both a stand-alone version with only the aluminum body – which supports a whopping load capacity of up to 16 kg (or approximately 35 lbs) – and a kit which incorporates a non-detachable fluid head that supports up to 4 kg (or approximately 8.8 lbs).
And if you’re curious about the name, Manfrotto launched the Element MII collection last year, building a range of products that they are proud to say is “Made In Italy” – hence the MII acronym.
The Element MII kit can be ordered at B&H Photo here. More info at manfrotto.com