I preface every review with the same disclosure. I am not a professional. I do not shoot test charts. I do not try every lens with every camera. All opinions are my own, and are only based upon my own experiences with the gear. I haven’t had a ton of gear, or all of the expensive gear. I won’t list every specification or test for every specification. My review is not meant for professionals – if you are a professional, you shouldn’t need a review from an amateur. The information below is simply my own observations while doing normal photography, and is for other car enthusiasts and amateurs like myself.
I purchased my Feisol monopod over a year ago, when I decided that I wanted to upgrade from my cheap Zeikos model. The Zeikos had started slipping a little bit when I had it loaded down with my heaviest gear, so I decided that I would just spend the money once and get a top quality monopod, as they are fairly inexpensive.
At first, I looked at the Gitzo carbon fiber monopods, but they were way to expensive for what they were. Many people recommended the aluminum Manfrottos, and those are a good, inexpensive choice, but I wanted to go with the larges lightweight one that I could find. After reading many, many threads, I found that there was one that kept being recommended by sports shooters, and that was the Feisol.
Feisol makes two normal carbon fiber monopods, one is the CM-1401 and the other is the CM-1471. The 1401 uses an upper leg diameter of 28mm, which is basically a Series 2 diameter based upon Gitzo specs. That was obviously good enough for my 80-200mm AF-S, but I didn’t want to ever be where I needed to buy another, and the price difference was only $15 between it and the Series 5-sized 1471, so I went with the 1471.
It’s big – really big. It is so large that I’ve noticed other photographers staring at it. It doesn’t matter though to me, as it is easily capable of holding any lens that I might ever purchase/rent, and I have total confidence in it. While it is heavier than the 1401, it is still very light compared to any tripod, including my lightweight traveler tripod. At 1.5 lbs, it balances out well, and doesn’t feel like it is too lightweight to be sufficient.
Construction of the monopod is very impressive, as the quality is apparent as soon as you first touch it. The finish over the carbon fiber is smooth and uniform, and there is no flex from it. The twist locks are smooth and precise, allowing quick extension and collapse. The foot does not have a spike, it is just a smooth end plate, but it has never been an issue.
The foam is comfortable to your hand, and is large enough that you can wear winter gloves with it without the fear of loosing grip on it. If you are worried about looking grip, it has a quick release wrist strap that comes with it, that gives you options. I haven’t needed it, and would probably use it as a QR tab mounted to a bag, if mine didn’t already have tripod pockets built on them.
The top plate is solid metal, and has a 3/8″ screw firmly anchored in on top. This is so that you can mount a monopod head or clamp on top, or bolt it directly to a lens/camera with the supplied 1/4″-to-3/8″ adapter.
The monopod also comes in an unpadded carrying case that has a short shoulder strap sewn on it. This is probably my biggest complaint about the monopod – the shoulder strap. It’s just too short, and the bottom mounting point is too close to the bottom of the case, which means it doesn’t stay straight up and down when you are carrying it, it swivels vertical. It’s a little irritating.
For my use, I do not tend to swivel up and down, so I chose not to get a monopod head for now, and instead bought a Arca-Swiss compatible quick release clamp to mount on top of it. I did a lot of research and found the one that I liked the most was the Sunwayfoto DDY-64 discal clamp. It is just slightly larger than the top of the monopod, and fits my lens plates and my D600 RRS plate perfectly.
After buying it, and using it extensively, I feel very confident in saying that I don’t expect to ever need to buy another monopod again, baring some random act that would completely destroy it, or it getting stolen/lost/etc. I highly recommend the Feisol CM-1471 as it is easily the best quality monopod at the price.
I purchased my Feisol monopod from Kerry at ReallyBigCameras.com as they had excellent customer service, and the best prices that I could find. Right now, it is only $99 for the CM-1471, which makes this a steal of a deal.
|Maximum Extended Height||
|Closed Length||55cm/21.7 in||53cm/20.9 in|
|Weight||0.69Kg/1.52 lbs||0.36Kg/ 0.79 lbs|
|Max Load||11Kg/24.2 lbs||7Kg/ 15.4 lbs|
|Maximum Leg Tube Diameter||37mm||28mm|