iFootage Cobra 3 Monopod Evaluate: A Videographer’s Finest Good friend

The iFootage Cobra 3 monopod has huge sneakers to fill, because the Cobra 2 was one in every of my favorite video equipment ever made. Has iFootage managed to enhance on close to perfection?

First, Some Backstory:

One of many single largest discoveries I’ve made in my video manufacturing profession was the primary time I used a video monopod. Earlier than my monopod years, my choices had been actually restricted to supporting the digicam on a tripod or going handheld.

A tripod gives nice stability, however the setup time, weight and huge footprint had been at all times a difficulty when taking pictures on the road. Going handheld let me transfer quick and never take up quite a lot of house, however the jerky video was not often to my liking.

A video monopod (a monopod with floor degree toes on a ball joint) provides me stability just like a tripod, however with very fast setup and a a lot smaller footprint.

iFootage Cobra 3 Monopod Review
The leg locks are nonetheless the very best on the market. Simple to see when it’s locked, and so they don’t budge.

That being stated, I’ve gone by a number of monopods by the years. From Manfrotto, to Sirui, to Steadicam, all of them excelled in some areas but discovered a option to annoy me in others. That each one modified after I picked up the iFootage Cobra 2 monopod just a few years in the past and I might discover nothing to complain about. The construct high quality was excellent, panning ball had a clean movement, and talent to interrupt it down into small ‘hi-hat’ for low angle pictures opened up new inventive potentialities. When iFootage despatched the Cobra 3 monopods for me to check, I used to be curious what might really be improved.

Enhancements over the Cobra 2 sequence

The largest improve over the Cobra 2 sequence, shared throughout the corporate’s total Cobra 3 line, is the for much longer toes. These are noticeably extra steady than earlier than, and I’ve been comfy strolling away from the Cobra 3 monopod with a full body digicam and f/2.8 zoom hooked up. Certain I did that with the Cobra 2 monopods and nicely, however at all times with a way of dread and several other near-disasters. That is the most important improve of the Cobra 3 sequence, and single handedly justifies the replace.

iFootage Cobra 3 Monopod Review
The longer toes of the Cobra 3 monopod (proper) make it way more steady than the Cobra 2 (left).

There are a number of small upgrades as nicely, together with a mount for an included wrist strap (not a fan, it will get caught on issues), a extra slim centre column (feels nice), and it’s now simpler to interrupt down and rebuild the Cobra 3.

This final level gave me blended emotions. It’s definitely sooner and takes much less effort to disassemble these new fashions into their low angle mode, but it surely’s really easy that I’ve unintentionally indifferent the top after I grabbed the short launch as an alternative of the primary column. One specific scenario had me drop a prototype Nikon Z8 with the Nikkor 85mm f/1.2 hooked up. Thankfully there was no harm, but it surely might have been a $7,000 mistake. The Cobra 2 was typically a ache to take aside, however I by no means had the same incident with the older mannequin.

Variations Between Cobra 3 Fashions

The earlier new function are shared all through all the Cobra 3 sequence, however there are actually 4 fashions with their very own options. Probably the most thrilling to me, but in addition the most costly, is the brand new C-180F-P “Pedal model.” This mannequin has a totally new base with a steel pedal that means that you can modify the angle with out getting down on the bottom. Step down on the pedal as soon as to launch the ball, and you may rotate the primary column 40 levels freely.

Cobra 3
The brand new pedal launch is a pleasure to make use of, however has some restrictions.

There’s additionally a friction dial to manage how a lot resistance the ball gives. This gives a pleasant degree of pressure, however not sufficient to truly lock the ball at a selected angle. To lock the model, that you must step on the pedal yet another time, and it’ll keep unlocked till the column is pointing straight up, at which level it’s locked securely. This pedal base is improbable when taking pictures on degree floor with the ball solely often launched, however I’d like to see a model the place the pedal could possibly be used to lock the ball when the monopod is on an angle.

Cobra 3
The function breakdown of the 4 Cobra 3 fashions.

The opposite three fashions have a basic hydrostatic ball with a friction knob. Whereas this does require the operator to get at floor degree to unlock and modify the ball, it additionally gives a large 90 diploma vary of motion, and the ball will be totally locked at any axis. I discovered this to be the higher resolution for taking pictures in additional uneven terrain.

Of those three fashions, you will get carbon or aluminum variations with the basic flip locks, or an aluminum model with twist locks. I’m not a fan of twist locks, as you can’t see whether or not the column is locked or not. Should you desire the twist lock model, I strongly advocate the C180F, as carbon fibre is healthier than aluminum at lowering superb vibrations, and is rather more comfy to carry in excessive temperatures.

iFootage Cobra 3 Monopod Review
The basic twist lock foot remains to be essentially the most versatile possibility.

Simply My Favourite Video Monopod

There are few merchandise exterior of cameras that actually get quite a lot of consideration after I’m out taking pictures, however the iFootage Cobra 3 is one that may be a common speaking level. Throughout shoots, different picture or video hobbyists will discover my digicam, however nearly all of them actually interact once they discover the Cobra 3. I’m blissful to speak about it, as a result of this actually is the very best monopod I’ve ever used and I get enthusiastic about merchandise that I really love.

Should you’re out there for a video monopod, I can’t heap sufficient reward and advice on the iFootage Cobra 3.

Are There Options?

There isn’t a scarcity of monopods in the marketplace from the large names by manufacturers you’ve in all probability by no means heard of, and a few may have many comparable options to the Cobra 3, which costs $329 when mixed with the Komodo K5 fluid head.

For instance, the Sirui P-324FS that costs $419, the Manfrotto XPRO that is priced at $380 (with no video head), or the Benro A48FD that costs a reasonable $210 however isn’t made from carbon fiber are all viable choices, however none of them mix all of the components that the Cobra 3 brings to the desk.

Like I stated, I’ve used monopods from a ton of various corporations and I’ve but to seek out one which manages to satisfy all my wants like iFootage’s does on the identical value.

Ought to You Purchase It?

Completely. These are the very best monopods I’ve examined, and they’re priced under a lot of the competitors. The true query is which mannequin to get. If I might solely have one, I’d seize the C180F with a knob lock, as I’m typically taking pictures on uneven terrain. Nonetheless, one of many nice issues concerning the Cobra sequence is that the bases are interchangeable. For optimum flexibility seize the Pedal model and buy a knob lock base individually. Then nothing can cease you!