Monopod recommendations?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by the.growler, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. the.growler

    the.growler Mu-43 Regular

    Any first-hand experience with monopods for landscape/nature photography?

    Thanks in advance for your suggestions!
     
  2. dagaleaa

    dagaleaa Mu-43 Veteran

    252
    Jun 4, 2011
    Naples, Fl
    Dawn
    I own one, but I hate to say I haven't really used it!! I guess I should drag it out and give it a try!
     
  3. Grant

    Grant Mu-43 Veteran

    I have a Manfrotto 681B with a 486RC2 head which is a stunner but I tend to use it for long heavy lenses. For occasional walk around use I have a string pod that I made myself for under $1.00.
     
  4. SMaturin

    SMaturin Mu-43 Veteran

    243
    Apr 30, 2011
    New York's Backyard
    Mark Berkery has a nice discussion of using just an ordinary walking stick to brace your camera when shooting macro/close up work:

    Macro Illustrated « Nature's Place

    I have used similar technique with walking sticks when trying to steady multiple exposures for HDR with good effects. I have a monopod, but have no idea where I put it or when I last used it. That shows how useful I have found it. If I am going to carry a gadget to mount a camera that is not a full tripod, I would rather have a little clamp that fits in a pocket. With a clamp, you would be surprised what will serve as your tripod: tree branches, chairs, park benches, doors, cars, or a sturdy stick:

    Amazon.com: Pedco UltraClamp Assembly: Sports & Outdoors

    Some telescoping hiking sticks have a 20-1/4 screw on top to mount a camera. If you are going to buy a monopod, make it useful for other things, as well.

    -Steve
     
  5. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
  6. Exposed

    Exposed Mu-43 Regular

    136
    Apr 13, 2011
    Central Washington State
    Randy dawson
    I use a Manfrotto also but use it with my Nikons. I purchased a Tracks walking staff and put a small ball head on it. I have used it with my e-pl2 and it works very well. I just drive it into the ground, steady the staff and use the self timer. For most things, works very well.

    Randy
     
  7. s0nus

    s0nus Mu-43 Veteran

    424
    Dec 13, 2010
    Chicago
    For a recent trip I picked up a Pedco Ultrapod, which features a velcro strap which I planned to use to attach it to a trekking pole, effectively making it a monopod.

    To be honest, I barely used the setup. For the most part, I was able to get sharp pictures with traditional body position (bracing elbows against the body), or by actually tensioning the neck strap to minimize at least some camera shake. It was simply too much of a hassle to setup even a monopod when hiking.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    I had the Neotec... I sold it barely used. Didn't collapse enough, doesn't work well as a walking stick (which I need during hikes), and a bit heavy. Probably good for a sports photog with heavy telephotos that need to adjust quickly with single hand action.

    This is what I take on hikes and long walks:

    Gitzo Series 1 Monotrek 3 Section - monotrek monopods

    This is what I pack:

    Gitzo Series 3 Carbon 6X Monopod - 5 Section with G-Lock - carbon monopods

    This is my table tripod that goes with me quite often:

    http://www.manfrotto.us/product/837.../_/Digi_Black_Table_Top_Tripod_with_Ball_Head



    If you take along some bongo ties (bungees or similar), you can strap your monopod together with two sticks out in the field and make a decent makeshift tripod. You can also just strap the monopod to things as well.
     
  9. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    You don't get much out of a monopod for landscape, perhaps a stop or two. For wildlife and long lenses, it can be great. Whatever you get, make sure it is long enough where you can stand up straight when you use it--if you have to crouch, you are wasting any gains in stability.

    BTW, when using a monopod, it is recommended to turn off IS--the frequency of camera shake when held compared to mounted is different. So is the gain in stability greater with IS or the monopod? I don't have the answer, but it is something to think about.

    For landscapes, I prefer a tripod.
     
  10. Pan Korop

    Pan Korop Mu-43 Veteran

    479
    Mar 31, 2011
    Phare Ouest
    I have monopods, don't use them except the one which extends to 3 m, but that's a panorama pole.
    However, I use my Gitzo tripods as monopods when I need a bit more mobility: I just extend one leg and fold the others against it. KISS method, I guess...
     
  11. usayit

    usayit Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    If the extra stability can aid in wildlife or any subject for that manner, it can also assist with landscapes. Landscapes and not always shot with wide angle AND the monopod does provide a way to anchor the camera. For example holding it firmly against a post tree rock etc... or like I mentioned a make shift tripod. I do believe a tripod is better but many times monopod is simply more convenient. tripod >monopod > IS > handheld no IS Its simply deciding at what level of compromise you are willing to accept for a particular situation.


    As for IS and monopod, many systems need a little motion in order to operate properly. This is the reason why they recommend turning it off for tripods (for any camera at rest on solid support). To avoid feedback loop. You do not need to turn off IS while on a monopod braced by a person as there is still a small amount of motion.
     
  12. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    Remember also to slightly extend the mono out in front of you so you can put a bit of lean into it ... then sorta hook it with your foot (your ankle on the out and foot on the inside) ... takes a little practice but this increases the stability.

    G
     
  13. shoturtle

    shoturtle  

    823
    Oct 15, 2010
    I use a cullmann magnasite CF, but I only use that with my canon setup.
     
  14. jlabate

    jlabate Mu-43 Regular

    132
    Nov 22, 2010
  15. angloasturian

    angloasturian Mu-43 Veteran

    Monopod

    Extremely small and light.Works fine with my E-P1 and E-PL1 - no ball head necessary - just lean to frame. Hold against tree, wall, fence for extra stability. Half price at Amazon UK

    Velbon Ultra Stick L50: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics
     
  16. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    The motion on a monopod for in-body IS has the wrong frequency. I am unsure of lens IS as I am unsure of the parameters.
     
  17. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    SoCal
    I think that the latest and greatest IS systems have address the tripod stability issue.

    G
     
  18. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    Bob
    I took a fairly tall walking stick/staff and drilled a hole straight down in the top. I cut the head off of a quarter-twenty bolt and epoxied the bolt into the hole. I then add a small ball head. Works great for hiking and as a DIY monopod.
     
  19. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 All-Pro

    Oct 1, 2010
    USA
    I have carried a monopod all over the world for tourist photography, so I guess that includes landscape/nature. :)

    Mine was bought on eBay, is made of aluminum tubing with knurled lock sleeves and is 16" long collapsed. It is a premium quality item, weighing around a pound/550 grams. Unfortunately, there is no manufacturer's name on it, so I can't give you a recommendation.

    Things learned:

    1) There are many ways to brace a monopod for additional stability. Between your knees if you are sitting, against a tree or a railing, against your spouse, ... If I were a birder, I would carry a couple of bungee cords to lash the monopod to small trees for stability. In most cases I don't think I'm giving up much by not carrying a tripod.

    2) Length and weight for me are critical because the lighter and smaller the monopod is, the more likely I am to carry it when I "might" need it.

    3) A good ball head with a quick-release is also critical. It is a PITA to be standing in the jungle trying to screw the monopod onto your camera in a hurry, before the monkeys get away. I just bought a Velbon QHD-41Q (Lineup of Head of Velbon) to replace a slightly larger two-piece setup and I couldn't be more pleased. It is compact, well made, and works beautifully with my G1s. It is not Arca-Swiss compatible, being smaller, but that isn't important to me.

    I have been trying to justify buying the Sirui P-326: http://202.105.179.207:8000/EN/frm_ProductInfo_En.aspx?ProductID=85 but it only saves me an inch in length and 100 grams, so it's really hard to say the investment would be worthwhile.

    Re walking stick monopods, look at maximum height to see if you can get to eye level with your camera and look at their minimum height to see if you can pack it in whatever suitcase you might use for travel. Most IMHO are short when extended and long when collapsed.

    Well, maybe a monopod with no IS could be equivalent to no monopod and a camera with IS, but both together can be better. So I don't think one replaces the other. Consider, for example, shooting from a moving vehicle like an open safari jeep.
     
  20. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Jason
    Funny thing is, all this talking of hiking and monopods...I just use a tripod. I use the modo maxi 785B tripod that for some reason, has been discontinued. Holds 2.2lbs, folds down small enough to fit into a backpack, and even has a grip ball head.

    I have found the trekking poles/monopod idea out of the question. Most trekking poles are pretty short. A monopod would need to be at least 68" or more for me to use it properly.