A $99 Monopod That Delivers in the Field
I recently started using monopods again for bird and wildlife photography. Monopods provide stability in the field yet are far easier to pack and maneuver when shooting. I wanted to try out something less expensive than my older Gitzo monopods, so I looked at options and found the Oben CTM 2500.
The Oben CTM 2500 Monopod
The Oben CTM 2500 monopod is an inexpensive carbon fiber monopod that is sturdy enough to hold my 500mm f/4 Nikkor lens. However, I’ve done most of my testing using the Nikon 200-500 f/5.6 VR lens and my D850. I was very pleased to discover that this monopod performs well in the field.
The Oben CTM 2500 is a 5-section monopod with a load rating of 26 lbs (11.79 kg). That’s plenty for most outdoor photographers unless you’re using some of the really big lenses. This monopod is able to extend to 65″ (165 cm), which is more than enough height for me (I’m 6′ tall). The legs extend via twist-locks, and the sections have an anti-twist design. I didn’t run into any problems adjusting the height of the Oben during my photo safaris. When collapsed, the Oben CTM 2500 is 17.3″ (43.9 cm) long, and it weighs just over one pound (470 g). That’s one reason I chose this monopod to test; my older Gitzos were much heavier (although rated to handle heavier loads).
Features that I like about the Oben CTM 2500 monopod
- Lightweight yet sturdy
- Reversible mounting stud (1/4′ and 3/8″)
- Compatible with my RRS Monopod Tilt-head
- Built-in retractable foot spike
- Wrist strap with belt clip
- Anti-twist lock screws in the mounting plate
- Price ($99.95 at B&H)
Honestly, there isn’t much not to like about this monopod, especially when you factor in the price. I used it extensively with a RRS Monopod tilt-head and my (BIF)BullsEye Arca-Swiss shoulder stock, and other than having to tighten the lock screws once in four days, it was stable and solid. With larger lenses, you can expect a little flex in the monopod, especially if you have it fully extended. However, I did not find any situation where I was concerned about stability.
Oben CTM 2500 Monopod
Rating: Highly Recommended
Review disclosure: I received an evaluation copy of this monopod for this review from site sponsor B&H Photo.