Induro CM34 Monopod Review

Photographers have endless options when it comes to getting the shots they need. There are lenses for everything. Lenses for wide angles, lenses for long distances, and lenses for perspective change. Most work flawlessly on their own, but it’s the long lenses that can be tricky in certain situations.

Live music photographers are among the many that face these situations on a daily basis. Although long lenses are amazing at reaching out to far off subjects, vibration and lack of stability can taint your images if not dealt with in the proper manner.

Wildlife photographers tend to use tripods and vehicle mounted solutions for their ultra long lenses, while most music photographers use monopods for versatility and mobility. Some live music photographers even use tripods too, but only on rare occasions.

Music photographers don’t use monopods in the pit though, there’s no room for that and frankly there would be no advantage of doing so. Monopods get used on occasion when live music photographers are instructed to shoot photos from the soundboard. At that distance, vibration reduction can have a hard time helping live music photographers get professional quality images without some sort of stability. And even with the best VR, do you really want to be hand holding that 400mm for 15 minutes straight? Probably not.

The soundboard isn’t a pleasant place for many live music photographers, but it’s where the 300-600mm prime lenses get a work out. And if photographers don’t have one of those on hand we like to push the limits of our 70-200’s. Either way, monopods are a great tool to assist in stabilizing lenses and reducing arm strain regardless of how much glass you have.

I’ve had the chance to tote around the Induro CM34 carbon fiber monopod for some time now. The CM34 monopod tends to lean on the more affordable side of carbon fiber monopods opening up its availability for consumers not wanting to tackle a premium price tag. There are many on the market similar to it, but this one tends to blend affordability and quality very well for its sub-$200 price point.

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Monopods need to be light and highly mobile. Carbon fiber helps with this, making it a better choice than an aluminum monopod in my opinion. The Induro CM34 is light, rigid, and looks great. It’s not plastic or metal, but carbon fiber, kind of like an evolution of its cousin, aluminum.

Induro has even upped the CM34 to 8X layered carbon fiber, a nice upgrade over previous iterations of this model. The extra sturdiness makes this perfect for demanding music photographers.

The Induro CM34 has all the fixings that photographers come to expect from a mid-range monopod. The section locking mechanisms work, but aren’t the best, though they are on par with the quality of the rest of the monopod. The CM34’s rubber grip leg locks are easy to set up and fast to break down when finished.

I like this monopod. I’ve used a few and this one is pretty decent. It works and it’s a quality piece of gear. It’s not top of the line, but it’s not bottom of the line either, that’s for sure. Unless you need an expensive brand name or have some extra cash for a monopod built a little better or with nicer materials, then I think you’ll do just fine with the Induro CM34.

As a live music photographer I do run into some problems with the CM34. While at the soundboard I like to stand on a stool to get above all the crazy fan’s hands in the air. Well, when I do that, the monopod isn’t tall enough to reach my face up on the stool. This really isn’t an issue with the functionality side of the monopod, but would be something to take into consideration if you’re seeking an extra tall monopod.

I think this monopod and many other company’s monopods would benefit from being an extra foot taller. This would help me on my stool at concerts and most likely the taller photographers in the industry. For the time being I just make room on the stool and try not to fall over.

There aren’t many taller monopods than the CM34 and it’s the tallest carbon fiber model that Induro makes, but there are various other companies that make a taller carbon fiber monopod at a more premium price.

Overall I think the Induro CM34 would be a great investment for any photographer. It’s not going to break if you give it a light beating and I’m certain it will live up to most live music photographer’s standards.

You can pick one up from Amazon here for under 200 bucks.

 

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