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Monopod/quick release tripod head question

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by k4t, Apr 24, 2011.

  1. k4t

    k4t Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    At some stage in the future I know I'm definitely going to need a decent tripod but I'm working on some temporising measures to defer that cost. I'm planning to try the camera mount on my pacer poles to create a light weight monopod. That will at least be a big improvement over handheld for video in the city and in the long run I think it will coming handy while hiking.

    I found a blog with some great demo photos here. She uses a quick release plate with a GF1. It looks to me like the quick release plate makes things a whole lot less fiddly.

    I haven't done any research on tripods yet but I want to know if I should be looking for a release plate system that can grow with me to a tripod in future and save buying a second set of equipment? Any suggestions?

    (For what it's worth I highly recommend pacer poles to anyone who's in the market for a set of hiking poles. But I should probably save that for an OT thread.)
    • Like Like x 1
  2. WJW59

    WJW59 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Feb 20, 2011
    I do something similar. I have a Tracks walking stick with a Mag Mount ball head that I use as a cane. I have a QR mounted to the bottom of the normal knob top and can switch it out for my camera quickly. I'll take a pic and post it later. I've been pleased with the Mag Mount for my lighter cameras and glass.
  3. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    If you want a QR system that can "grow" with you, by all means go for an Arca-Swiss compatible camera plate and tripod clamp.
    There are dozen of manufacturers around the world who follow this de facto standard. You might look up for Hejnar eBay store, a small manufacturer who seems to offer good deals.

    With a monopod or hiking stick, you could consider an Arca-type L plate, which allows to frame vertically without the need for a ball or tilt head.
    To me, the slight increase in volume and weight on a mu4/3 body is more than compensated by convenience and shock protection.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. k4t

    k4t Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Thanks for the tip Pan Korop. That's exactly the sort of information i was looking for. The arca swiss style plates are not cheap but they look like they'll last forever and so many variations and combinations possible. I'll definitely give it a look
  5. KellyinPA

    KellyinPA Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 2, 2011
    k4t, Did you get the Pacer Pole mount? If so, how is it working?

    I have a regular tripod with an Arca-Swiss compatible quick release clamp and plate on my camera. I've wondered about something like a mount on a hiking pole for when I'm in rough terrain, but worry that the clamp might be too big on top of the pole.

  6. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    And you would be right! Been there, done that.

    First, I would recommend against the Arca-Swiss system. In addition to being bulky (as KellyinPA in points out) and expensive, it has IMHO a fatal flaw for use on monopods:

    Every Arca-Swiss base I have seen uses a screw or some other manual clamping mechanism to secure the plate in the base. So you're with a group, walking through the Amazon rain forest and you want to put your camera on the monopod. Camera in one hand, monopod in one hand, and one hand to tighten the clamp. ... Oh, wait! You don't have three hands? Only two and you just dropped the camera? Oh, good! It was just the monopod you dropped. Where did those fire ants come from?!!? .... and so on.

    You want a QR system where, when the plate is inserted into the base, the plate is automatically captured. I know of three, though there are probably others:

    Gitzo. G1276M for example. This is a lovely piece of hardware and works very well but it is pretty big. I admired mine for a while and then sold it.

    Manfrotto RC2 system. This is also a very nice system, used on a number of their products. Their ball head numbering is a little goofy though, so you'll have to study dimensions carefully to find the physically smallest option -- the one you probably want. Or just ask the BH guy in this forum. He is very helpful. I have fiddled with them in shops but have not actually used one.

    Velbon has a couple of systems. (Lineup of Head of Velbon) They are decently made and inexpensive, but not at the quality level of the other two. The one I use is on the QHD-41Q head, selected primarily because I had some of that hardware around when I decided to modify my big Benro ball head to take a snap-insert QR system. (The Benro Arca-Swiss base and plates languish in a cabinet somewhere, pristine and unused.).

    For your purposes I'd suggest the smallest Manfrotto RC2 head you can find. If I were starting over, that's the system I would select. But the Velbon stuff is entirely adequate and it is cheaper. You probably wouldn't regret going that direction either.

    BTW, you will need a ball head on your stick. But the good news is that a small, cheap ball head will work just fine. The rap on the cheapies is that they are not smooth for small movements but, with a monopod, you will make the small movements by tilting and twisting anyway -- so you don't care.

    Any of these systems can grow with you. For example, I have my modified Benro B01 head for the tripod and the Velbon ball head I mentioned on the monopod. Modding the Benro head took a little time on my precision milling machine, though, so unless you have that kind of capability you'll probably be better off in the Manfrotto system or by mounting one of these QR-systems' stand-alone components onto your heads via the 1/4"-20 screws.


    Edit: Forgot to mention: Do NOT consider the Manfrotto "monopod" head. It is a brain-dead design that is useful only for horizontal-format shots.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. applemint

    applemint Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 24, 2012
    My Slik SBH-100DQ Ball Head with Quick Release does the job, is small and light and inexpensive at £25/ $25. I use this on both my Slik tripod and on my Manfrotto monopod, although for ease of use I am thinking of buying another one and keeping one head on each and the qr plate on 2 different bodies (as a spare qr plate at £15 is only £10 cheaper than buying the whole ballhead!).

    Just be aware that the head has no safety lock for the qr plate, so don't catch the lever on your shirt etc (not a problem in practice, I just have the wrist strap of the camera on my wrist when carrying it attached the tripod - but anyway I usually try and avoid the bad habit of carrying the tripod with the camera attached as it's pretty much only takes a second or two to attach or release the camera with the qr plate).

    The smaller Manfrotto head is, I think, the Manfrotto 494RC2 which is around £40 in the UK.
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    Excellent point and one I missed. The Gitzo does have a lock and IIRC the Manfrotto RC2 does too. The Velbon definitely does not.

    I often use my monopod as a walking stick with the camera attached, so that's another consideration when looking at the safety lock question.
  9. elavon

    elavon Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 1, 2012
    Tel Aviv Israel
    I also have the SBH-100DQ it is very lite and has great value.
    The only problem is that when using the P45-200 it tend to drop a little after fastening the ball head. When shooting macro I tend to up compensate a little for this slight drop. I keep the QR plate on the camera, it is very light and does not block the battery door.
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