Pros: Stable, great ergonomics, compact, inexpensive, light weight, reliable.
Cons: Nothing significant found so far.
Any stick can be a monopod. But of course, photographers would perfer something more compact that can clamp on to their camera. Monopods seem to have evolved more slowly than tripods over the years, but have always remained an essential tool for sports photographers, wildlife photographers, and any other shooter needing a steady shot in low light with a long lens. With improvements in materials and manufacturing processes, monopods have become lighter and stronger, enabling photographers to carry less with just as much support. Induro's improved Alloy 8M "stick" is one of the best yet.
- Material: Aluminum Alloy
- Maximum Height: 61.3" (1558mm)
- Folded Length: 19.3" (490mm)
- Load Capacity: 26.4 lb (12 kg)
- Leg Sections: 4-Section
- Leg Lock Type: Moisture and dust-resistant locking grips
- Male Thread Size: 1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16
- Weight: 1.1 lb (0.5 kg)
As of summer 2011, the Induro AM-24 is priced at approximately $57 from reputable, online vendors in the United States. Included with the tripod is a protective cover for the grip, two wrenches for adjusting the head plate, and an instruction manual. This monopod comes with a two-year warranty, which can be extended to five years with online registration.
For years, monopod design had been dominated by non-finger friendly levers that often loosened unexpectedly, and just at the wrong time. Those designs are still utilized by Manfrotto, Vanguard, and other low-end manufacturers. I'm not sure who invented it first, but the Gitzo-style rotational leg-locks quickly caught on among photographers who needed fast and reliable support. The attraction is easy to understand. With one hand, up to three leg locks can be quickly rotated into the open position, allowing the monopod to instantly extend to its maximum height. With lever locks, each lock must be opened independently, which is a slow process and not a fun task in the winter with frozen fingers. Although the AM-24's rotational leg locks are very similar to the Gitzo leg locks, there are some ergonomic differences. Most importantly, Induro uses larger, rubber locks that are easier to grip, at least for me. These are identical to those found on Induro's tripods, such as the AT-313, although slightly smaller to match the diameter of the tubes.
In the field, these leg locks have proven very reliable. One small twist and all three unlock, instantly extending the monopod to its full height. For this reason, I made sure the AM-24 had a maximum extended height that was fairly close to my eye level when used with an Arca-Swiss clamp, camera plate, and camera attached (for reference, I'm about 5 feet 10 inches tall). Compared to monopods with lever-style locks, I quickly noticed the speed advantage of this Inudro. Each leg lock must be independently closed of course, but Induro makes it easy with just half a twist needed to completely lock the leg. And I mean completely. Even if I press my weight onto the top of the monopod, the legs refuse to collapse. Shooting with a pro-level 80-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens and a larger camera body was underwhelming for this great little pod; it can easily handle more weight.
Significant temperature and humidity changes have little effect on the performance of the AM-24. On one occasion, I noticed one of the leg sections stick very slightly when I tried to extend it. Perhaps I didn't open the leg lock as much as I thought I did, but my impression at the time was that hot and humid conditions giving way to cool and dry conditions were likely responsible. It's probably not worth mentioning this issue as just a little tug was all that was needed to extend the leg section completely, and this could be an issue with just about any support system. Interestingly, rain, snow, and sleet have not caused any problems for the AM-24. Induro claims that the leg locks are moisture resistant, and it appears they really are.
The top plate where the camera or a clamp is mounted has a hard rubber surface the improves contact with the camera, while also dampening vibration slightly. Some manufacturers claim that a rubber surface is undesirable because of its compressability. On the contrary, a thin layer of dense rubber, as used on the AM-24, does not appear to suffer from this problem at all. In fact, it does a great job of keeping my Arca-Swiss clamp firmly in place, and I haven't had to tighten the clamp on the monopod since it was first purchased. Induro provides a security screw in the base of the plate for even more security if the monopod is to be used with a head, but I have yet to need it for my clamp.
I like Induro's monopod feet, which are very similiar to their tripod feet. A dense yet grippy rubber makes for reliable contact with just about any surface, even in wet conditions. Sure, it will slide a little on ice, just like everything else. Otherwise, the foot has worked perfectly without marring any of the floors I've worked on.
The dense foam grip is large enough for the largest of hands and provides comfortable control of the AM-24, even in harsh conditions. I've found that it insulates well in cold conditions, both by eliminating contact with the metal and trapping some heat against my hand. It still looks as it did when I first bought it - no tears, discoloration, etc.
As of this review, Induro does not make a three section (2 leg-lock) monopod. I've used these in the past from other manufacturers because I prefer to have as few sections as possible to lock in order to save time. However, the trade-off with this four section monopod has been a significant reduction in size that has allowed me to much more easily strap it to my camera pack for hikes into the mountains. Given the increased speed of the twist-style leg locks, I don't feel that I've really lost anything in the process. Interestingly, the AM-24's weight is slightly less than comparably priced three-section monopods from other manufacturers, despite the additional leg lock and leg section material required.
Induro's alloy monopods are a joy to use, provide reliable support, and are suitable for work in many harsh conditions. At only 1.1 pounds and a mere 19.3 inches compacted, this monopod goes with me everywhere, and is very easy to recommend. For $57, it is unbeatable value.