Andy Westlake tests the MeFoto WalkAbout Air
MeFoto WalkAbout Air at a glance:
- Available in seven finishes
- Price: £49
- Website: www.mefoto.com
Monopods can be extremely useful when you need a bit of extra support for your camera, but require more mobility than is afforded by a tripod. They’re particularly handy for taking the weight of large telephoto lenses that are tiring to handhold for a long time, but can equally be useful when you’re out walking and don’t want the inconvenience of carrying anything larger.
The MeFoto WalkAbout Air is an unusually small, lightweight example that has recently joined MeFoto’s brightly coloured range. Available in seven finishes – silver, green, blue, orange, purple, red and black – it only weighs 415g, but is rated to support a substantial 10kg load. Its six-section aluminium construction allows an extended height of 1.5m, which should allow comfortable eye-level shooting for users up to about 6ft tall. A translucent silicone grip makes it comfortable to hold, while a thick nylon wrist strap with a chunky sliding plastic lock gives an extra degree of security. Yet it all folds down to a travel-friendly 34.5cm, using a Hyperlock design that allows all of the sections to be unlocked and locked together with a single twist of the large rubber foot. In practice, I found it was prone to slipping when not quite fully tightened, and more reliably locked off in several stages. This makes it just a little less straightforward to use than conventional twist or lever lock models.
When it’s fully locked, though, the WalkAbout Air is surprisingly strong. As usual, I’d take the manufacturer’s claimed load with a pinch of salt, but I’d be quite happy to entrust it with a 400mm or 500mm telezoom. It’s not a replacement for a professional model, and there are also cheaper monopods available that will support a similar load. But few are as lightweight and easy to carry around.