iFootage Cobra 2 C180 Monopod and Komodo K5 Video Head REVIEW
In 2016, I had my first visit at CES. It was an eye-opening experience and helped me learn just want I wanted to get from my trips to the conference. As a media professional, I want to be able to capture video interviews from the representatives that are present for the new products coming out. The first year I attended the conference, I had a shoulder rig that was helpful in some circumstances, but constrictive for others. In 2017, I found that using a monopod with my DSLR was the best plan to get the most coverage possible. The monopod as a tool helped me to get some height above crowds and stabilized a lot of my hand-held shots. I found very quickly that there are many different monopods out there and that while I had a very capable mount, there are better options out there like the iFootage Cobra 2 monopod.
This lightweight, durable monopod is honestly the perfect hybrid between monopod and tripod. It features adjustable feet at the base as well as a modular design. There are four main parts to it:
- Quick Release Mount
- Main Body
- Quick Release Low Angle Camera Pod
- Removable Rubber Foot
The monopod is incredibly easy to use and very, very stable. Because of its modular design, iFootage made sure that photographers and videographers alike could use it in a variety of ways — as a video monopod with adjustable feet, as a portable monopod with a single rubber foot, or as a low angle camera pod.
The iFootage Cobra 2 has the distinction of being awarded the reddot design award for product design in 2017. The monopod is available in two premium material options — aluminum or carbon fiber. I have the carbon fiber version, which features superior strength to weight ratio, durability, and a high-quality finish. The mounting plate is designed to work with 1/4” and 3/8” mounting screws. This is compatible with the iFootage Komodo K5 fluid head, which I was also able to use with the Cobra 2. I’ll provide some additional details on that later in this review.
The feature of the Cobra 2 that really sparked my interest in this particular monopod was the quick release mechanism. iFootage had this designed so that users could lock and unlock it with one hand. This is a HUGE help when you are out in the field shooting by yourself. There is no button or twisting to unlock the mechanism. It’s just a simple slide down release. This is at the top of the monopod for the mounting plate and at the bottom for the low angle camera pod. It is a tight lock, but very easy to negotiate when you are using the stand.
The base section of the Cobra 2 is quite impressive as well. You can use it from three different angles — 20º, 50º, or 78º. For my purposes, which is primarily video, I use the 78-degree angle for stabilization of my shots. The feet have a gentle push/click lock that allows for an easy adjustment of the base. This is fantastic for flexibility in situations where many different types of shooting may be called for. The monopod’s base utilizes a ball joint that allows for 0–90 degree of tilt.
The Cobra 2 is extendable. Its maximum height is 47.2” with a closed length of 21.7”. The stand uses a buckle design for locking the legs at specific heights. With a simple flip of the buckle, you can unlock the leg and extend it as needed. The leg has four sections for extensions and it supports up to 22 pounds of camera gear. In between each section is an o-ring that creates a cushion and to keep the monopod clean. The weight support was music to my ears because my Canon 5D Mark IV’s body weighs almost 2 pounds on its own — that’s without a battery grip or lens.
As I mentioned above, I also had the Komodo K5 fluid head from iFootage at my disposal to use with the Cobra 2. I really enjoyed using this head because of its ease of use and simple pairing with the iFootage monopod. The Komodo features a removable assembly design. When disassembled, the Komodo is three distinct parts — the quick release plate, the pan/tilt head, and the pan/tilt arm. I love that it can be broken down like this because it makes it easy for travel/storage. When it’s all put together, the head features a plate safety lock, a tilt lock, a pan lock, a spirit level, and an arm lock. You have a wide range of motion — 360º pan and +90º/-83º tilt. The head is made from aircraft grade aluminum for strength and it’s tested to provide the highest standards of functionality. It mounts to tripods, monopods, and other apparatuses using a 3/8” mount.
The only thing I’m not a fan of is that this head uses the Manfrotto/Bogen style quick release plate and I utilize mostly Arca Swiss plates. To ensure that I could continue using my current Arca Swiss system with the Komodo head, I actually added a second quick release plate to the existing plate. In my opinion, the Komodo head would be even better if it used the Arca Swiss style plate.
Together, the Komodo K5 fluid head and Cobra 2 monopod are quite a pair. I had the fortunate experience to use both on numerous occasions. First, I used the Komodo with the Cobra 2 as a low angle camera pod in our studio. This proved to be a welcome addition because it was the sturdiest mount I’d used with my Canon at the table-top level. In another circumstance, I took some lovely portraits of my grandmother on a local bridge. In that instance, the tripod base really helped me because I had to help her balance and while I don’t advocate leaving a full-size camera sitting on top of the monopod unattended, the Cobra 2 was sturdy enough to hold for a few seconds while I helped her. The bridge we were on is old and rickety and vibrations are felt across it when vehicles travel on it. Fortunately for me, the Cobra 2 held its own and provided me with some really nice photographs of my grandmother.
I feel very confident that the combination of the Komodo K5 and the Cobra 2 will give me the support I need in any convention setting, but especially at CES. The only issue I really have with it is its weight. The Cobra 2 on its own weighs in at 3 pounds, while the Komodo K5 is another 1.7 pounds. Together, that’s almost 5 extra pounds of weight to tote around. It’s worth it because I know that my camera will be secure, but there are definitely lighter options out there.
BUY COBRA 2 FROM AMAZON
BUY KOMODO K5 AMAZON
Originally published at macsources.com on November 20, 2017.