Manfrotto 685B Neotec £125, $190
Most monopods are convenient, but the 685B goes one better and ditches conventional leg clamps in favour of a super-speedy pistol grip design. Simply squeeze the trigger and the three-section leg will fall out and lock wherever you release your grip. There’s even a secondary safety trigger to prevent accidental collapse.
This is the only monopod here to have a conventional base with no flip-out feet. Instead, there’s a single pedal that enables you to hold the base steady with your foot and then extend the monopod with one hand. You’ll want to keep this for use on stable ground.
Large-diameter tubing will hold a hefty 8kg of kit at up to 170cm, yet the monopod itself weighs in at just 1.08kg. The collapsed size is not as compact as some of its competitors, though, at 74.5cm.
It’s not cheap or particularly versatile, but the Neotec sure is fast to set up and start using