Friday, August 19, 2016

REVIEW: Manfrotto Nanopole: an excellent lightstand for 360 photos and videos

When taking 360 photos and videos, a lightstand is better than a tripod because the legs are farther away from the camera, so they occupy a smaller portion of the frame.  My favorite lightstand had been the Manfrotto Nano stand because it is lightweight and can extend to more than 7 feet if needed. But there's an even better lightstand -- the Manfrotto Nanopole, which can convert to a handheld boom. Here is a preliminary review.

The Nanopole is very similar to the Nano stand, but it has several improvements:

1. The column/shaft is removable and can be used as a boom.  To remove the shaft, you just loosen the knob for the legs, then press a button on the bottom of the shaft.  

It is also possible to remove the bottom of the shaft by rotating it so that its lock (which is indicated with a white line) is aligned with one of the grooves on the bottom.  But you will still have to loosen the knob for the legs.

The shaft is relatively compact but can extend up to 73 inches.  Here is the Nanopole shaft, next to the Monoshot monopod/tripod.

2.  One of the legs can be extended so that the lightstand can be used on a non-level surface.

3.  There's a hook for a sandbag for greater stability.  Note: the sandbag is not included.

4.  There's an indicator to let you know where to set the legs for maximum stability.

Except for these changes and except for the red trim, the Nanopole is otherwise the same as the Nano in terms of height (up to 89 inches, with legs at the tallest position), collapsed length, weight, and materials.  As with the Nano, the Nanopole includes a 3/8 to 1/4 adapter.  Both are made by Manfrotto, a well-respected tripod manufacturer.

Because of these improvements, the Nanopole costs about $20 more than the Nano lightstand.  In my opinion, the Nanopole's extra cost is worth it for the extra versatility.

The more interesting rival to the Nanopole is the Monoshot, a monopod with removable tripod legs. Here are the differeneces:

1.  In terms of the monopod length, the Nanopole is 89 inches.  The Monoshot is either 51 inches or 65 inches, depending on whether you want to use the tripod legs as a handle.

On the other hand, the Monoshot has a foam cover for the handle.  The Nanopole has only a plain shaft (to enable it to be inserted into its legs).

2.  The maximum height of the Monoshot is 63 inches.  The maximum height of the Nanopole is 89 inches.

3.  The Nanopole has a wider base than the Monoshot.

4.  The Monoshot's ballhead is not removable.  The Nanopole has a 3/8 stud and a 3/8 to 1/4-20  adapter, for greater versatility.

On the other hand, the Monoshot has some advantages over the Nanopole:
  • it's lighter, and it's a little shorter when folded
  • it's faster to extend or collapse because it uses flip locks rather than knobs
  • the bottom of the Monoshot is a 1/4-20 tripod insert, which can be used to attach the included spike.
  • it has a wrist strap.

In my opinion, the Monoshot is more convenient for casual use.  However, if I want maximum versatility and stability, I would use the Manfrotto Nanopole.

If you would like to purchase the Nanopole, please consider purchasing one through Amazon (here) or B&H (here), which would support 360 Rumors at no cost to you, so I can do more reviews and tests.  Thank you very much!

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