Heads

Weight 408g
Load capacity 34kg
Recommended price $260

 Really Right Stuff Monopod HeadThe pros

Monopods are a great tool to stabilize your camera—they’re more agile and lighter than a full tripod and can be used in confined spaces like a safari vehicle or a boat. But, without a proper monopod head, you’ll quickly get frustrated. A monopod head allows your camera or lens to tilt relative to the monopod, while panning is achieved by rotating the monopod itself. Really Right Stuff’s (RRS) monopod head, the MH-01, is fantastically and simply constructed to get the job done without fuss. It’s compact but very well made. It is rated for a larger load capacity that anyone is likely to need, and operation is intuitively simple. A large tilt lock knob controls the tightness of the tilt action, while a clamp with a quick-release lever holds onto Arca-Swiss style plates that will be fixed to your equipment—camera body or lens foot.

In wildlife photography, monopods are often used for long lenses with lens collars. If your lens has a rotating collar, you can achieve portrait or landscape orientation. If you want to rather mount your camera body to the head for small lenses, you can switch the orientation of the monopod head’s clamp by 90 degrees with a few turns of a hex key to get the same fore-aft tilt action.

The cons

This is a very well made and perhaps the most recommended monopod head, so the only real con is cost—Really Right Stuff products are expensive. A few additional points to keep in mind are that to get portrait orientation with your camera mounted to the head, or without a rotating lens mount collar, you’ll need to buy an L-bracket. You’ll also need brackets for all the lenses and bodies you plan to use with the monopod. To keep things simple, it’s best to make sure that all your tripod and monopod heads use interchangeable plates, and all your lenses and bodies have their own. If you plan to frequently switch between mounting to a lens and to a camera body, RRS offers a more expensive monopod head (MH-02) where the orientation of the clamp can be changed more easily without the use of a hex key.

Tripods and monopods

Weight 1500g
Load capacity 18kg
Maximum height 125cm
Minimum height 10cm
Folded length 47.5cm
Recommended price $910

Really Right Stuff TripodThe pros

A tripod is an essential piece of kit, especially for landscape, seascape and wildlife photographers. The key is to get one that fits your needs in terms of stability, load capacity, weight, size, and price, and most manufacturers offer a range of products.

For many, Really Right Stuff’s series 2 carbon fiber tripods will be a great fit. The company builds extremely solid, well-made, and well-respected products and their carbon fiber tripods are no exception. They offer four lines—Series 1 to 4, where higher numbers mean higher load capacities (and heavier, bulkier tripods). Series 2 is a good fit for photographers with medium to heavy gear, such as long wildlife lenses, who want a portable, travel-friendly tripod. Within each series, there are options for minimum and maximum height and number of segments. The ideal minimum and maximum height will depend upon the photographer and intended subjects. More segments mean the tripod can pack up smaller relative to its maximum height, but that there are more joints contributing to instability.

The Really Right Stuff TVC-24 Versa Series 2 tripod is great because it offers surprising stability for such a small and light package. It folds up small enough to fit in a carry-on bag, and can comfortably be strapped to a backpack. Operation is simple—unscrew the leg-lock screws to extend or contract each segment independently. This can be done with one hand. A spirit level is built in for easy levelling, and the legs can splay way out for a minimum height of just 10cm—fantastic for macro work, landscapes, and using the tripod on surfaces other than the ground. The whole thing can also be easily taken apart to clean, and maintenance is very easy.

The cons

The trade-off of this tripod’s small size and weight is a relatively low maximum height. Unless you’re very short, you’ll need to bend over to look through the viewfinder. Often for wildlife and landscapes, you want to be lower to the ground anyway, so this isn’t really a major problem. The joints in the legs can get gunked up with sand and dust so that they don’t operate as smoothly, but cleaning them is relatively easy. The final con is the cost. This tripod is expensive! There are other options available (heavier aluminium is cheaper than carbon fiber), but make sure you get one that is plenty sturdy enough for the weight of your gear. A cheap, shaky tripod is almost worse than no tripod at all.