Review: MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod (2 of 6)ISO 2001-480 sec at f - 4.0

MeFOTO’s Walkabout Monopod is targeted at the adventure photography crowd, but also has lots of practical applications for city dwellers and sports shooters. As with everything else from MeFOTO, they come in a multitude of colors to fit your own needs and wants. But they also include lots of subtle design features that make it an item that you’ll actually want to bring with you instead of thinking about it as just something extra.

The monopods are a five section aluminum alloy product that is also meant to function as a walking stick. And it may just be something worth looking into for the adventure photographer.

Pros and Cons

Pros

– Lightweight

– Built-in compass is extremely useful

– Quick to set up

– Nice cushioned grip

Cons

– Wish that the bottom spike split into three sections for even more even stability

Gear Used

We tested the MeFOTO Walkabout with the Olympus OMD EM5 and the Panasonic 100-300mm f4-5.6 lens.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from the B&H Photo listing of the product

Maximum Height 59.1″ (153.5 cm)
Folded Length 18.1″ (46 cm)
Load Capacity 30.9 lb (14 kg)
Leg Sections 5
Feet Single, removable 20 mm rubber, M8 screw thread
Leg Lock Type Twist lock
Male Thread Size 1/4″-20
Weight 1.4 lb (0.63 kg)

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod (1 of 6)ISO 2001-800 sec at f - 4.0

The Walkabout Monopod is a piece of gear that looks a lot like a badass quarter staff or something that a person going to Comic Con might eventually modify and turn into a power staff of some sort. But with all the geekiness aside, it is a simple, practical and functional monopod in many ways.

For the most part, your hand will be placed on the squishy grippy foam material near the top of the monopod. But that is only if you’re using it as an actual monopod. This monopod can also be used as a boom pole for lights, microphones and more.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod (3 of 6)ISO 2001-800 sec at f - 4.0

To extend the monopod, you’ll need to unlock the connectors. The nice thing about the design is that a person can grip them all with one hand and with a simple twist all of the sections will expand. Then you’ll need to tighten each one individually.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod (4 of 6)ISO 2001-680 sec at f - 4.0

On top of the tripod, you’ll see this little knob like attachment that is screwed into place. This attachment is a compass that will be very useful when trying to navigate in the great outdoors. The compass stores away easily into your pocket when the monopod is being used otherwise.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod (5 of 6)ISO 2001-640 sec at f - 4.0

Under the compass are two sections: one is a conversion ring for the tripod screw to go from 1/4 20 to 3/8ths. Then there is a ring that goes between that and the compass, but this ring also has a strap around it. When you don’t need some of these things, they can also be stored away in a pocket.

Build Quality

The Walkabout is a bit deceiving. It is so light that someone would think that it wouldn’t be sturdy at all. However, the tripod is incredibly sturdy and we’ve used it for booming applications, shooting, and even for walking about. Our only quibble has to do with one of the tightening rings on the bottom section: sometimes it required a bit extra turning to really lock it down into place.

We also really wish that the bottom section would split into three sections to make it almost a mini light stand or have some extra stability like a tripod.

That isn’t to bash the bottom spike at all though: when it came to try to capture moving subjects while panning it was really simple and smooth to work with–and that is a bigger priority usually.

Sometimes when walking into shadier areas of NYC, I would brandish the monopod almost as a weapon. Though I’m not really sure how it would fare in self-protection.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod (6 of 6)ISO 2001-1500 sec at f - 4.0

There isn’t a lot to the MeFOTO Walkabout Monopod: it is quick to extend, easy to keep your camera and lens stabilized, and effectively does its job. While the walking stick feature is also a sales point, I’m a young guy and didn’t really personally feel the need to use it like that. In addition what would have been nice is the inclusion of a bubble level somewhere on the tripod–but instead I would need to rely on a tripod head for that.

Conclusions

Most folks won’t have more than one monopod in their kit, and if you already have one we have to be honest and say that MeFOTO’s Walkabout won’t necessarily replace what you have already unless yours is starting to fall apart from excessive use. The addition of the compass and the easy access to two different types of tripod screws is very nice–as is the light weight. But we recommend this monopod for the person that will need one to begin with and that cares about colors, sturdiness and going out on adventures.

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