Wildlife photography is definatley one of the most popular photography niches going and with spring and summer just around the corner, we are guessing more and more photographers are going to heading off on hikes to capture some snaps of wildlife in their local area. With wildlife photography being such a popular niche, we always see large numbers of photographs asking a number of questions about different camera accessories that they can invest in the get the best image quality possible.
At the time of writing, one of the most frequently asked questions that we keep seeing people asking is based around the best monopod for wildlife photography. Due to each passing month seemingly resulting in more and more photographers reaching out about monopods, we have decided to publish this article sharing our thoughts on what monopods are worth purchasing if you are wanting some image stabilization while out and about on your wildlife photography.
Now, our regular readers will likley already be aware that we are huge fans of the Sirui P-326 and think that it is one of the best monopods ever made. Although we would happily recommend the P-326 to any of our readers looking for a monopod for wildlife photography, its excellent versatility makes it our go top monopod for a large number of popular niches. This means that adding the Sirui P-326 to your collection of camera accessories adds a solid way to improve your image quality in a large number of niches rather than just when photographing wildlife.
The low price tag of the Sirui P-326 has also managed to earn is an absolutely huge user base of photographers and videographers who use it in a large number of different niches. Many of them have published their own independent reviews of the monopod going over their experiences when using the P-326 too offering some solid insight. If you have the time available, skimming over a few of them can be well worth it as they offer some great reviews from other wildlife photographers using the monopod.
On top of this, the P-326 is a part of the main Sirui flagship line up so you can purchase the extremely popular Sirui K-20X Head and the Sirui T2205X Legs if needed to basically build up one of the best tripod rigs available. That said though, for the rest of the article, we will just be focusing in on our thoughts on the Sirui P-326 as we take a more in-depth look at the monopod and why we feel that it is such a great bit of kit and well worth adding to your camera accessories.
Performance And Functionality
Coming from Sirui, it should be no surprise that the P-326 offers some of the absolute best performance and functionality available for the best possible price tag going. With the great design and build quality that Sirui are known for, the performance of the P-326 actually beats what some of the higher price point monopods on the market offer without you having to break the bank.
The P-326 offers an absolutely massive twenty-two-pound maximum load capacity allowing it to support some of the heavier wildlife photography rigs out there either ease. Although the smaller and lighter mirrorless camera setups are increasing in popularity at a rapid pace, a large number of people still use the heavier and bulkier DSLR camera rigs. The massive load capacity of the P-326 ensures that you can mount a heavy DSLR rig to the monopod with ease without the risk of the monopod buckling or breaking under the weight of your camera rig.
The P-326 also offers a slightly above average maximum usable heigh of just over sixty-one inches when fully extended too. This will be eye-level operation for the majority of our readers while having the excellent image stabilization of a monopod to capture your photographs or video footage of the wildlife while you are out and about. If you are waiting for animals to get in the ideal location for your image then being able to keep your camera up in the aim without having the strain of having to support its weight can be a godsend.
Due to even a light mirrorless camera rig being able to take its toll on your back, shoulders, and arms if you have to keep it at eye level for long periods of time without the support of a monopod or tripod, having the additional support for an animal that’s taking its time when it comes to looking photogenic. If you are planning to hike out to a remote location then the lighter nature of a monopod over a tripod just makes the Sirui P-326 the better option due to being so much lighter, smaller, and easier to pack that a full-blown tripod.
Considering that the P-326 offers a maximum usable height of over sixty inches, its minimum closed length of just under sixteen inches is tiny in comparison to the closed lengths of some of the compeating monopods on the market from other brands with a sixty-inch maximum height. The rubber foot at the base of the monopod ensures you get a great hold on slippy surfaces with ease but the rubber coat is fully removable to reveal a metal spike for using the monopod on soil or rock to get a firm and secure position.
Considering that the Sirui P-326 offers all of this and is usually retailed at less than one hundred dollars from most vendors, it is easy to see why it has managed to earn itself such an outstanding reputation amongst wildlife photographers and videographers. As the months come and go, the P-326 just seems to increase its user base and reputation and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon either.
User Interface And Control System
Due to the Sirui P-326 being a simple monopod system, the user interface and control system is minimal when compared to what some of the Sirui tripods offer. This is not a drawback or a negative for the P-326, it is simply due to the fact that a monopod is designed to do one thing to the best of its ability and doesn’t need an advanced or complicated control system.
The Sirui P-326 uses the simple twist-lock system to ensure that you are able to quickly and easily lock each of the monopods leg segments in place with ease without having to risk wasting any time. Although some of the early twist-lock systems did have their flaws, even from the premium tripod and monopod brands, these modern twist-lock systems like the ones on the P-326 are excellent. They offer the speed and other advantages of the traditional twist-lock system as well as the firm, secure hold of the flick lock system without the additional activation time.
The actual wrist strap on the P-326 is of great quality for the price point of the monopod and serves its perfectly. It comes with an included compass and although the majority of people who will be using the Sirui P-326 for remote hikes to capture photographs of wildlife will likley already have a compass, it is nice that they include a backup that you can use in needed.
The handle grips on the P-326 are outstanding in all fairness and are one of our favorite features of the monopod by far. One of the main drawbacks of the monopods in this price range in the market is that their grips are terrible and transfer the cold from the body of the monopod to your hand. The grips on the P-326 are fully insulated and very comfortable to hold ensuring that you can always get a solid grip of the monopod and that the cold will not transfer to your hands.
Build Quality And Design
The Sirui P-326 is available in two different variants, the aluminum alloy variant and the carbon fiber variant and in all fairness, both of them are excellent and have a great build quality. As you would imagine, the carbon fiber variant is around double the price of the aluminum one but the aluminum one has a usable life of three to five years where the carbon fiber variant will easily last you for over a decade.
For any of our readers who are looking for a great monopod for wildlife photography and you are in it for the long haul then the carbon fiber variant is the better option as it will last you longer but have a higher initial cost. If you just want to try your hand at wildlife photography and keep your costs down then the aluminum alloy version of the monopod will definatley make a solid addition to your camera accessories.
The monopod has a six-section construction so in the unlikely event that a single section does break, you can often order the spare part online and then either replace the damaged section yourself or get your local photography store to do it for you. More and more tripod and monopod brands are starting to integrate this philosophy into their products and we love it. It is much cheaper to replace a single section of your monopod than it is to purchase a new one and the replacement system is extremely straight forward and easy.
The Sirui P-326 is compatible with a quarter-inch and a 3/8 inch mounting thread allowing you to mount any head that you wish to get the most out of your monopod too. This is another advantage for the P-326 over some of the compeating monopods in this price bracket that only support the quarter-inch mounting thread restricting the head that you can mount to your monopod.
That brings our article going over what we feel is the best monopod for wildlife photography currently on the market to a close. In our opinion, the Sirui P-326 is in a league of its own, especially for its low price tag and it can easily compeating with monopods in higher price brackets with ease. We have no doubt in our mind that the P-326 will help you improve the image quality of the whole life you photography or record and make a great addition to your camera accessories.
Like we touched on back at the start of the article, a ton of photographers and videographers have published their own third-party reviews of the Sirui P-326 online. They are definatley worth skimming over, especially if you have not decided if the P-326 is the right monopod for you as those reviews offer some excellent insights in the performance of the monopod. They can offer a great insight into its performance and the image stabilization that it is able to provide in pretty much every photography and videography niche that you can think of.