|Velbon UP-40 Compact 4-Section Monopod/Unipod Review
02/22/2003 - Updated 05/06/2006
The Velbon UP-40 4-section monopod is a nice accessory for my digital
compact camcorder and DSLR camera and it is my first monopod ever.
It is small (18.3"
folded) yet it extends to 61". The UP-40's lightweight makes
it easy to take it with you anywhere. When in the field, or nature,
a monopod is easy to carry and setup, allowing you to use longer
lens, or zoom in close, for steadier shots. It's not meant to replace
the tripod, but in situations where it is impractical to setup
a tripod, the monopod comes in very handy.
Unfortunately, for very low light conditions, or where long exposures
are required, your best chance is to use a tripod (if you want
a decent shot).
|Anatomy of the UP-40
At the head of the UP-40 is a solid metal cylinder. I appears to
be cast aluminum, but could be milled from a round bar stock. It's
about 1 3/16" diameter by about 1" long. There's a slight recess
on top where a dense cork pad is glued in place. A 1/4"-20 threaded
rod is used for the camera mount. As you can see in one
of the picture on the left, the UP-40 is made in China.
The flimsy vinyl wrist strap is attached to the head
with a metal ring to an eyebolt that is secured solidly to the
head. The strap is replaceable but, so far, it is still in pretty
The 4-section legs are made from tubular aluminum. The legs do
not twist due to the single groove in the tube. The clamps are
all plastic, except for the metal pivot pin, and there are no adjustments
for tension, should the clamps become loose. When releasing
the clamps for the first time, I was horrified at how sloppy the
tubes slide within one another, but, after tightening the clamps,
the UP-40 is solid.
The grip/handle appears to be neoprene, or some open cell foam
with the density of neoprene.
I can't seem to find any information on the
maximum load capacity. I know that the UP-40 is very solid with
my TRV950, which weighs about 3 lbs with the large battery pack.
At the bottom is a tapered non-skid rubber foot. It seems to be
pressed in place. I tried to gently pry it out, but it seems
to be locked in somehow. Well, I'd better leave it alone and, not
These photos show the Velbon UP-40 next to Bogen / Manfrotto's
680B. Both are 4-section monopods, compact (UP-40: 18.3",
680B: 20 ") and extends to more
than 60 inches (UP-40: 61", 680B: 60.6"). However the UP-40
weighs only 12.3 oz compared to 28.8 oz for the 680B.
Velbon's UP-40 is a rugged monopod, although I haven't
abused it to determine how tough it really is. When using the
UP-40 with my DCR-PC101 camcorder, I mainly use it like a steadycam.
I would find a balance point on the foam grip where the swing motion
is minimized. Then I can walk around with the camcorder, capturing
very stable video as compared to the nauseous boat rocking I
get when hand holding.
Recently I've added Bogen/Manfrotto's 484RC2 Mini Ballhead with
Rapid Connect 2 to the UP-40. The advantages to adding some type
of swivel/tilt head to the monopod allows you to point the camcorder/camera
down or up. Things that happen on the ground or in the sky, can
be captured. For the camera, the swivel/tilt head is a must. There
are times when you need to capture a portrait shot and the swivel/tilt
head allows you to do just that.
I have to apologize for my first impressions of Velbon's UP-40.
It didn't appear to have the quality of higher end brand names
such as Bogen, but, after a few years of using this monopod, the
UP-40 is durable. From the flimsy vinyl strap, which shows very
little signs of wear, to what appeared to be cheap clamps, which
still hold tight, I'll have to admit, I'm real pleased with it. There
are a few dings in the thin aluminum tube legs, but the dings do
not hinder the legs sliding in or out.
|Material: Tubular aluminum with titanium finish
Still Photography: Yes
Maximum Height: 61" (154.9 cm)
Minimum Height: 18.3 " (46.5 cm)
Leg Sections: 4
Leg Lock Type: Flip-levers
Foot Type: Rubber
Male Thread Size: 1/4"-20
Maximum Load Capacity: N/A
Weight: 12.3 oz (0.35 kg)