Author Topic: Using a monopod  (Read 10636 times)

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Offline Clive

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Using a monopod
« on: January 04, 2011, 02:48:27 PM »
This thread is a spin-off from this thread.

As noted in the above thread, I use a monopod for almost all telephoto shots. It helps stabilize the image in improves image sharpness. 

For casual use such as web or small prints, hand holding works just fine. However, if you are looking at decent prints, there will be a noticeable difference between hand holding and an MP or TP. A monopod is not as good at stabilization as a tripod, but using a MP vs. "not using a tripod" is the best policy.

With a telephoto lens, even with stabilization and a monopod, I don't like speeds less than ~ 1/500 and strive for faster speeds. I'd rather shoot at ISO 400 and 1/800 second than at ISO 200 and 1/400 second. 

Here are some You Tube videos on using a monopod.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edIKz_9Otbc

Monopod portion at 3:35
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCNf6HRvOpk&feature=related

Good comments regarding using the MP as a tripod
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHtH9RZK5Lc


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Offline ronny

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 04:52:32 PM »
This I hope will be a great thread, thanks Clive for starting this.

I have been interested in monopods for some time sense I can not hold the camera still.
Using lens up to 100mm are OK, its the longer lengths that cause shake an movement.
Old age maybe the cause but a younger person can also benefit from a stable platform.

My son has a cheap MP and I find it not vary stable, tubes are vary small an hard to hold because of the size. Top tube is about 1" diameter.

The questions are what MP do you and others use most often and what do you like and dislike about the one you have?

What ball head do you find usefull and does it have any adjustments for the tension of ball.

Does the pod have feet or legs that spread out for a more stable placement?

How do you mount the camera or lens to the pod.  On top only or use the ball as pendulum on the side. Is the side mount more stable or have advantages for better positioning of the lens.

Thanks to all for your input.

ronny
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Offline rannari

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 06:30:45 PM »
Hello ronny,

I use Benro MC-91 monopod with Cullman ball head. Cullman has a friction control which is a very nice feature giving you more stable handling.

Benro is very sturdy (rather large diameter of body) and it also has small additional legs (about 15 cm) which are hidden inside the first part of the leg.

http://www.benrousa.com/products/details.asp?ID=231


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Offline Clive

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2011, 07:06:18 PM »
I have been interested in monopods for some time sense I can not hold the camera still.
Using lens up to 100mm are OK, its the longer lengths that cause shake an movement.
Old age maybe the cause but a younger person can also benefit from a stable platform.


Agreed. Every bit helps. I am 63 and although I don't have an issue holding the 70400G it is heavy and it wriggles noticeably when shooting freehand. For a lot of casual photos, it is not necessary to use a MP or TP. But when shooting birds, I like every advantage I can get.  That one method shown (in one of the vids) in which the MP leg was placed ahead and tilted back to the photographer....thus forming a "tripod" with the photographer's legs...does work quite well.

The questions are what MP do you and others use most often and what do you like and dislike about the one you have? What ball head do you find useful and does it have any adjustments for the tension of ball.

My MP is the Manfrotto 679B. One of the legs was slipping slightly so I tightened it recently..an easy fix.  The ball head is the MF 222. Here. I've had it about three years and it has been great. The ball grip is normally rock solid and the grip pressure is adjustable. However, the grip gets looser when it is below freezing. Presumably the components have different coefficients of expansion.

Does the pod have feet or legs that spread out for a more stable placement? Not mine. I can see some advantages. Kurt may wish to comment further.  I can also see that they might get in the way. Kurt? 

How do you mount the camera or lens to the pod.  On top only or use the ball as pendulum on the side. Is the side mount more stable or have advantages for better positioning of the lens. With the 70300G (I had previously), the camera was mounted on the MP head and the head had to be tipped for vertical shots. The 70400G has a ring collar to rotate and that's how I've been taking verticals .. keeping the ball head upright. And the ball head is also upright for horizontal shots.

However, I was just out for a while and tried tilting the head to the right and flipping the camera body/lens on the ring collar so the cam body was horizontal again. This could be a benefit and I'll explore this more.

Clive 
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Offline balacau

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2011, 10:29:26 PM »
What MP do you use most often and what do you like and dislike about the one you have?

My monopod is a Manfrotto 682B, self standing model with a tripod screw-on attachment. Its the only one I have.  Its got a pretty nice adjustment level and a solid feel to it so those are both a plus.  As a negative side...the head I bought with it is of the 3-way tilt type; not sure if there's a better one I could have got when I think about it now.

What ball head do you find usefull and does it have any adjustments for the tension of ball.

N/A really.  Although I have a RedSnapper RSH-12 ball head on my squat tripod which I use on my 682B monopod from time to time.  This is only the case when the tripod-attachment is used.  When used as a typical monopod, the extra stiffness of the 3-way tilt head keeps the lens stead but allows some movement.

Does the pod have feet or legs that spread out for a more stable placement?

Yes, a screw-on tripod attachment, the legs of which are stored inside the body of the monopod when not in use.

How do you mount the camera or lens to the pod.  On top only or use the ball as pendulum on the side. Is the side mount more stable or have advantages for better positioning of the lens.

Not quite sure what you mean by "pendulum"?  I have used both the monopod main screw, a 3-way tilt head and my ball-mount on various occasions.  The ball-mount is used only when the tripod attachment is in use. 


Hate to do it really, but I must ask something here.  Is there a general concensus of what type of head is better used on monopods?  Typically I take pictures of something that is more or less on eye level with me, so something with a high degree of elevation isn't really required.  Often I can get away with mounting the camera/lens directly onto the main screw; however what reccommendations are there?

A very interesting thread.  Perhaps a similar type one should be started about tripods? 

Best regards

Gavin
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Offline chappo1

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2011, 10:54:03 PM »
Agreed. Every bit helps. I am 63 and although I don't have an issue holding the 70400G it is heavy and it wriggles noticeably when shooting freehand. For a lot of casual photos, it is not necessary to use a MP or TP. But when shooting birds, I like every advantage I can get.  That one method shown (in one of the vids) in which the MP leg was placed ahead and tilted back to the photographer....thus forming a "tripod" with the photographer's legs...does work quite well.
Clive
Clive is an "old bugger" but obviously a Strong "old bugger".  I am a youngster (only 62) but a weak youngster and the 70400G would be too heavy to carry for long so I use the 70300G.  I do however have exactly the same monopod and head.
I can recommend with complete confidence.  When walking, I carry the camera mounted with the lower monopod leg fully extended.  If we stop the camera can rest on the leg at about waist height.  The important thing is that the clasp for the upper extension is in easy reach of the hand and can be raised to shooting height very quickly.  Important when you are chasing birds around .... john
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Offline rannari

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2011, 10:16:21 AM »
Is there a general concensus of what type of head is better used on monopods?

All my friends use ball head, but I don't know is there any consensus about this  ;-)

Rather often I use monopod without any head and like chappo1 said monopod/tripod is a good way to carry camera on your shoulder.

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Offline REX (aka TG)

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2011, 12:46:57 PM »
Is there a general concensus of what type of head is better used on monopods?

All my friends use ball head, but I don't know is there any consensus about this  ;-)

Rather often I use monopod without any head and like chappo1 said monopod/tripod is a good way to carry camera on your shoulder.

kurt

I have also Benro with ball heat Manfrotto. I use it as Clive 1st video clip it is very good but with (Manfrotto 200PL-38 Rectangular Plate 3/8).

Normally is not allowed to carry the camera attached on tripod/monopot. Personally i never do it since manufactures doesn't recommend it.
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Offline balacau

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2011, 02:13:49 PM »
I've only carried the tripod/monopod with camera mounted a few feet before setting up position again.  I feel it is quite unbalanced but for very short distances should be ok as long as it is secure.

On long hauls, I'll take either tripod or monopod along in its separate bag, helps balance the load if you are walking with 3 or 4 lenses in the bag.

As for monopod heads, this one confuses me.  The RS-PG01 "Pistol Grip" from RedSnapper.  Now if you were at an airport with a big lens on that, expect security to come running!

Best regards

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Offline paul_b

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2011, 02:31:27 PM »
I attach the camera straight to the monopod for more distant subjects or objects moving across the frame, or use the manfrotto 322RC2 where subject movement is more up and down.
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Offline rannari

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2011, 03:07:50 PM »
Does the pod have feet or legs that spread out for a more stable placement? Not mine. I can see some advantages. Kurt may wish to comment further.  I can also see that they might get in the way. Kurt?

Sorry, missed this one earlier. I have used these small legs in a few occasions, mainly when I've been on a lower position eg. sitting on a stump or ground. Legs give some extra stability, but the ground should be rather flat (even) to get full advantage.

I've carried my equipment quite many years monopod or tripod attached and have never encountered any problems ... I am too lazy (old dog) to change my 'style'  ;-)

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Offline Bigbreakfast

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2011, 04:00:07 PM »
It has been explained to me that there is a knack to using a mp. You are a bipod -inheritently unstable. If you use a mp incorrectly it will be just that monopod and not stable. Use the mp as the third leg to add to yours and you have a tripod. It won't be rock solid like a tp but pretty good. This doesn't worl without a head. The camera will be pointing to the sky.
I use a cheapish mp but a decent ball head. Practice makes perfect but you should be able to get well below 1/500- I use mine in crowds at airshow and motorsports when 1/250 is the fastest you want to still show movement.
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Offline Clive

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2011, 04:15:15 PM »
Bigbreakfast summed it up well.  A MP is not as good at stabilization as a tripod. But it is way more versatile, faster and easier to use.

Whereas sharp pictures can be taken with telephotos without a MP or TP, every bit of stability helps. The longer the lens, the more need for stability. A monopod helps reduce camera shake compared to hand holding in most instances.

I've no intention of being "anal" here ... as a lot of you know I am a minimalist when it comes to camera gear ... use two lenses of 95 percent of my photos ;) I just prefer to use a monopod and almost always carry one when I am walking with a camera and telephoto.

Regards

Clive
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Offline balacau

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2011, 04:37:05 PM »
I agree with Clive.

I always pack either the monopod or tripod when using the "Bigma" lens.  I can hand-hold it to shoot, but considering how I use this lens (from static positions for shipping), mobility isn't really an issue here.  Plus you can be hanging around for a while for ships to appear so its much better to have such support as and when required.  This is another reason why I chose the 682B self standing model, as I can keep the lens in the bag until what I'm waiting for arrives, then its quickly mounted and you are all ready to go.

Best regards

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Offline ronny

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Re: Using a monopod
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2011, 06:15:41 PM »
I knew this tread would be great. 

What a wealth of info.   Thank you to all who has shared your experiences.

I am finding I like a MP and because its light and so far helps me to be more stable.
When I was younger I could hold a 1/15 sec shot by hand.   Now it seams not the case.

Its been 1degree F around here snowing.  So I am modding a table top pod to a monopod.

Being tubes that screw together with a 1/4-20 threads I am adding a length of pipe on the end to extend the height to eye level.  Have all the parts so it was cheap.

If interested I will post a shot of mod.

http://www.trek-tech.com/products/tripods.html
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