Carp rods

So what's the current consensus on carp rods / carp poles and their durability and strength? Through my searches, Ive only found very old posts about their use. Considering their intended use, I thought they would be a good candidate for pole photography. After all, some carp can weigh as much as 40kg. However, I'm only familiar with people using little point and shoot cameras with them. Has anyone successfully used a heavier camera with a carp pole like an M4/3? Obviously, I wouldn't trust the top sections where the pole is super thin but perhaps lower down where it's still a respectable length? There are a number of carp poles on eBay at dirt cheap prices but you might have to wonder about the durability of the really cheap ones.


  • You will get an immediate appreciation of leverage and gravity when you attempt to loft a medium to
    large camera on a pole ... when you shorten a carp pole, you might as well use a ( stronger, heavier )
    painter's pole.
  • The carbon-fibre carp poles most of us use for PAP have three key properties:
    they are cheap (£100 or less for an 11m pole)
    they are very light (1kg or so)
    they are put-on rather than telescopic - so they have to be assembled horizontally and then lifted into a vertical position
    The last property means that even when using a lightweight P&S camera the top section (1.5m say) cannot be used - so an 11m pole will allow a camera to be positioned 9.5m (31') up. I'm happy to loft my Canon Ixus 960 (weighing, with tilt rig and video downlink, about 500gm) that high. I'd be much less happy lofting my canon s100 or my Canon EOS M that high, but perhaps 7 or 8m with a lighter rig.

  • edited August 2
    Paul oh yes, I learned that lesson when I attached my Panasonic G2 M4/3 camera to my last fibreglass pole which had a maximum extension of about 7 meters. Not much of an issue when adding a GoPro. Though when I added the G2, it was a real struggle to raise it from horizontal to vertical.

    Dave, I wasn't fully aware that carp poles had to be assembled piece by piece. And yea horizontal assembly or extension can be a nuisance sometimes depending on the environment. Though that's impressive that it can handle your 500 gram rig. I believe my Panasonic G6 and Samyang 12mm lens together weigh a bit over 600 grams.
  • Came across a telescopic aluminium pole that extends a little over 7 meters. Supposedly, the diameter is 55mm but I'm not sure if that refers to the top or bottom section. Regardless, it's five sections and they all look very close in diameter (extremely thick looking overall.) And my Panasonic G6 combined with Samyang 12mm lens weighs about 635 grams. You reckon a pole diameter of around 55mm or thereabouts would be enough to support that kind of weight near the top?
  • For the PhotoMop project I've tested lots of poles. And for heavier cameras carp poles are useless, even dangerous.
    For PAP I've found window washer poles to be the best but not all of them as some have good and user-friendly clamps.
    Please take a look here:

  • Peter, thankyou for confirming that the carp poles are not suitable for heavier payloads. It did look they had some potential considering that some carp are pretty damn heavy. Yea those window washing poles appear to be a popular choice for PAP. Some say the multi-sided poles are stronger and flex less but around here, I only see the round ones.
  • For lifting lightweight cameras a £20 fibreglass pole is not necessarily a bad choice.

    November 2008, I bought an 11 metre carbon pole (£80) and an 8 metre fibreglass pole (c. £15-£20). Both are put-over / take-apart poles. The carbon pole is very stiff and the fibreglass pole a little floppy. I use a simple rig (hopefully pictured below) a few variants of the same basic design. I've not used the carbon pole much in recent years because I keep having problems with it splitting even using lightweight cameras (Canon Ixus).
    PAP rig [2]

    I found that carrying the longer carbon pole on my rucksack was a bit of a pain with it moving around as it could only be secured in the lower half of its collapsed length. I might be out walking with pole and kite all day photographing archaeological sites.
    For carrying on a rucksack the shorter fibreglass pole works much better, and is easier to find a place for it in the car.

    I have never had a pole catastrophically split, Soon after purchase I split the lowest section of the carbon pole later it developed some splits around the middle section, it is still usable with great care. I've a few splits in the lower section of the fibreglass pole but it is still usable.

    I think that my biggest problem with splitting is down to bad technique of lifting the camera into the air and bringing it back down again.
    You can just lift the camera into the air holding the fat lowest section - its can be quite quick but seems to put a lot of strain on the pole and you can feel a lot of leverage. You can assemble the pole vertically lifting the camera as you go, its very easily to damage the joints when the heavy part moves.
    I find the best way is to assemble the pole on the ground then put the camera on the end, park/position the fat lower end against something to stop it moving/pushing away. Then from the camera slowly walk back to the lower end lifting the pole as you go and the same in reverse to bring the pole back down again.

    On the fibreglass pole I now use a Canon S110, Canon G1x, Panasonic GX1 (micro four thirds) with 14mm lens and video transmitter.

    Recently (June 2019) I bought a new 8m fibreglass pole (NGT Ambassador) from a seller on ebay UK for £20 delivered, which gives me 6.5m height from the ground. it is a bit stiffer (good) than Grandeslam Energie and seems to work fine at the moment.

    Ron Thompson Muscle Zone. 11m carbon. 9.3m maximum camera height, 1.62m collapsed length. 1060g

    Grandeslam Energie. 8m fibreglass. 6.6m maximum camera height. 1.17m collapsed length. 925g

    NGT Ambassador. 8m fibreglass. 6.5m maximum camera height. 1.15m collapsed length. 960g
  • edited August 7
    I found this flap pole which I thought might be suitable for PAP.

    I told the seller of my plans to add a 635 gram camera to it. According to the seller, this pole weighs 9.8 pounds and the diameter of the top and bottom sections are 55mm. She reckons that this pole could support a one pound weight but thinks that my camera would probably be too heavy for it. I found this really surprising. Considering the above specs, I thought this pole would be more than adequate for supporting my Panasonic G6, Samyang 12mm lens and tilt control system. My gear would only weigh a tiny portion of the pole's weight and it is a super thick pole too. What are other peoples thoughts?
  • Refer to my first post above.
    That pole might support 1 pound, or more, in a direct down orientation. If you attach a camera while the pole is
    horizontal, then attempt to loft the pole 90 degrees to plumb/vertical, you will impose a tremendous amount of
    force on the pole, turning it in to a lever, rather than a simple down-loaded post. I reckon the pole might bend.
  • Paul, I specifically asked the seller if she reckoned that this flag pole could support a 365 gram weight in a vertical orientation (and remaining vertical for the whole time.) Regardless, she thought my equipment would still be too heavy for it while standing vertically. By the way, this flag pole can be extended and retracted while being kept vertical. I admit I'm surprised by the seller's thoughts on this though I guess I'll just take her word for it.
  • I'd say she knows best. It might support a load, but it might also flop about like spaghetti-on-stilts.
  • Paul, true. Always best to trust the seller in situations like this, I guess. Though it looks like it's the same type of flag pole as seen in this video. It looks so thick and solid. And weighs a lot more than my Panasonic M4/3 camera.

    Anyhow, Ive just ordered a telescopic TV antenna mast that extends to 6.5 meters with a 1.5 meter extension. It's aluminium. And the seller assures me that it will be more than strong enough to support the weight of my M4/3 gear. And another added bonus is that it can be extended and retracted vertically. It should be quite an improvement over the fibreglass pole I used to use and eventually broke.
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