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I thought that I would do a review of the Manfrotto 685B NeoTec monopod as to why I feel it is such a major part of my camera arsenal.
Lets get a few specs out of the way.
Maximum Height - 66.9”
Closed Height - 29.3”
Load Capacity - 17.6 lbs
Leg Sections - 3
Leg Lock Type – One –handed automatic grip-action release
Male Thread Size - ¼”-20 & 3/8”-16
Weight – 2.4 lbs
5-year warranty after registering
I agree with some that say this monopod has limitations. The closed height is really long and at 2.4 pounds it is almost the weight of a nice carbon tripod. These issues aside this is a great monopod.
First the 17.6 lbs load is very nice for large gear. I have used up to a 500mm on this with a 7D with no issues. Also the thread for attaching your gear is really nice. By default it appears to only have a 3/8” but as you place a camera or lens with a ¼” on the mounting plate the 3/8” slides down and the ¼” comes out and enters your camera. This eliminates the need to unscrew the plate and flip the thread attachment like most monopods. If you do find yourself using two bodies with different treads you can change much quicker then other monopods. Also on the mounting plate is a pad of rubber to protect your camera and lenses from scratches.
The second thing that I have really enjoyed with this pod is the 66.9” height. This height has been helpful in a couple of situations where I wanted to get the camera a bit higher to avoid obstructions from spectators. Depending on the situation I will carry a small step stool to get just a bit extra height. With a nice head on the pod you are easily up to or over 70” in max height.
The most impressive feature is the leg lock type. There are no twist locks or clamps. At the top the handgrip has a trigger that is easy to use. Pressing this trigger allows you to adjust the height with one hand. The way the whole thing works is there is a rubber foot pedal at the base. You step on this pedal and press the trigger and the pod slides up and down easily. The three sections collapse over each other. An internal spring helps this all happen and when you let go of the trigger it locks in place. I have used this pod more then a hundred times and have not had it fail once. This type of system is great for situations like sporting events and dance competitions were you would want to change your height quickly. I have looked at many dozens of monopods and have yet to find one that allows you to change to what you are seeing so quickly.
The 685B NeoTec is a great monopod in almost every way but there are still a few concerns that you might want to keep in mind. As I mentioned it is long when closed at 29.3” and a bit heavy at 2.4 pounds. Most of that weight comes from the fact that it is aluminum. This can lead to another concern and that is getting it wet. I have read some complaints online that after this pod got wet rust built up inside and it no longer slides up and down well. I personally have never gotten the pod wet and when there is a chance of rain I take a carbon monopod instead of the NeoTec. Another thing to keep in mind is that the foot pedal makes the bottom larger. This has been a factor when using with a few bags. Sometimes this pod will not fit in a monopod holder without taking the foot pedal off. And that cannot be done quickly. Also I mentioned that it has a moving trigger. I personally have not had this fail after lots of use but you never know what can happen.
One of the things I love so much about Manfrotto is the quality of product you get. Personally I have yet to get a product that I would consider a dud. Also just about every part on there product can be purchased. I personally have ordered a replacement foot pedal and hand strap for the NeoTec. Note I broke the foot pedal it was not a malfunction of the product. If you have a Manfrotto product and live in the US you can go to http://manfrottodistribution.us/cms/site/mdus/pid/16703 to get replacement parts.
I would really like to see Manfrotto release this product made in carbon to bring the weight down. Everything considered I still give this product 5 stars. I know there are some limitations but this product is made of such high quality and has been such a workhorse I can’t go against it. The big factor for me is when I think back to shots that I might have missed if not for the quick adjustment feature of this product.
If anyone has questions or comments please leave a note in the comments section. I will be sure to get back to you with anything I can help with. Till next time have fun and never stop shooting.
Dance Dad Photo
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