I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with monopods. To be fair, mostly hate. This is due to the very reasons that YC Onion’s new carbon fibre Pineta monopod (buy here) addresses. Mostly, it’s the fact that you have a leg assembly comprised of multiple parts, and each needs to be unlocked and locked again manually every time you need to adjust the height. Ultimately, for me, they’re more hassle than they’re worth.
The YC Onion Pineta, on the other hand, is a breeze to operate in comparison. The reason is that it has just a single lever that locks and unlocks all leg segments simultaneously. This makes for very quick and easy height adjustments out in the field when you need to respond quickly. We took a sneak peek at the aluminium Pineta at IBC 2022, but now they’re back with the carbon fibre version at NAB 2023, so we had to stop by and take a look.
YC Onion Pineta – Fast!
The big advantage that the YC Onion Pineta offers over its competitors is its locking lever. There’s a single lever at the top of the monopod that allows for quick and easy adjustments out in the field with just a single hand. Two are being used here because there’s no camera mounted to the monopod. If there were, you’d be able to keep your right hand on the camera at all times and adjust your height quickly and easily with your left.
It’s a problem that plagues 99% of monopods out there. It’s why I only own one monopod. The Manfrotto Neotec 685B (which is sadly no longer available) has been my monopod of choice for at least the last fifteen years. For years, it was pretty much the only single-handed operation monopod on the market. Now that the Neotec 685b is no more, it looks like YC Onion’s Pineta might now be able to claim that title.
Quick Release Everywhere
As with many monopods these days, particularly video monopods, the Pineta features a low-profile base with three feet. This allows you to take a bit of the load off in low-wind environments when you just need to stand the camera up and have your hands free. It also gives you a central point around which to pivot and move the monopod while filming, making for smoother shots.
The Pineta attaches to an detaches from the base through the use of a quick release, letting you quickly turn it into just a single-point base monopod. There’s also another quick release at the top of the monopod, which lets you easily swap out different tripod heads as necessary. Perhaps you’ve got multiple heads for different camera rigs. There’s a 53cm extension section, too, with a quick release on the top and bottom that lets you extend the Pineta’s height up to around 2 metres at full length.
The modular quick-release design of the monopod allows for a lot of functionality, use cases and filming options. If you just need a tabletop stand, for example, you can mount your tripod head straight to the three-footed base without the monopod at all. Or you can use just the extension if you only need a little bit of a height increase and the closed-up monopod is too long. Of course, you’ve got the monopod itself, offering a variety of heights from 75cm up to 145cm (plus the height of the feet and head).
The top of the Pineta monopod sports a 3/8-16″ screw thread. This is the same thread found on a typical fluid head. This might sound like a bit of a disappointment to those of you with tripod heads that feature a 1/4-20″ thread underneath, but have no fear! That spring-loaded 3/8-16″ thread actually pushes down to reveal a 1/4-20″ thread inside it. This provides compatibility for both 1/4-20″ and 3/8-16″ tripod heads without the need to mess around with thread adapters.
Having the 1/4-20″ thread hidden away on top of the monopod also means that you can screw other 1/4-20″ devices onto the top of it. Devices like gimbals. It would effectively be a very heavy rig to hold onto, especially at full length with the extension installed, but it means that you can do those fake drone shots with full-size mirrorless cameras and a gimbal to keep things steady.
I think it might be time to retire my faithful old Neotec 685B and pick one of these up instead!
Price and Availability
The YC Onion Pineta is available to pre-order now in a headless aluminium version for $239 and carbon fibre for $339, respectively. It’s also available to buy as a kit with a fluid video head in aluminium for $299 and carbon fibre for $399. Shipping is expected to begin in June.