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Discussion in 'Accessories' started by littlefish, Oct 10, 2011.

  1. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    I have G3 and 45-200 lens I want to start using for bird shots and taking pics from a distance of our non-stop 2 year old. A tripod is too unwieldy for either task so I was contemplating a monopod.

    I've never used a monopod and don't know anyone who has. Any thoughts on how useful one might be? I was contemplating one of the Manfrotto 'automatic' models: either the sturdy 685B or the lighter 334B.
  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I use one all the time. I find tripods are only good for stationary things. Some may be able to make them work but I need to move a bit.
  3. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    I have a Manfrotto 'self-standing' monopod, which I love. It provides the flexibility of a tripod base when I need it, along with excellent monopod performance. I don't know the model # off-hand but I can look it up when I get home if you want to know.
  4. Christopher

    Christopher Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 8, 2011
    I'd also recommend trying to find a lens collar of some sort that might fit.. It would make it less front heavy.. I have one on my Nikkor zoom and it's great.

    for laughs, here's an iphone photo of my gf2 + nikkor 80-200 2.8 lol
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    p.s. I also use a manfrotto monopod.. well i bought it, never used it
  5. BarefootPilgrim

    BarefootPilgrim Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Dec 23, 2009
    Westchester, IL
    I use a Manfrotto 679-B monopod along with a Manfrotto 322-RC2 ball head quite often for my DSLRs and find it to be a huge help when using long lenses and shooting stuff that moves fast (the grandkids, BIF, hummers). It's also great for shooting stuff that doesn't move fast when you don't want to lug around a tripod: very steady, easy to manipulate and very portable.

    It's one of the few monopod/head combinations I've found that will raise the camera to my full eye level (I'm 6'4" tall). So it's comfortable to shoot with, too. Add the quick-release plate and you can attach or disconnect it instantly. Very convenient. :thumbup:

    Have lately begun using it with my E-PL2 and any lens longer than 70mm because the E-PL2 is just too small for my big hands to hold steadily (even with the VF-2 in the "traditional" camera-to-eye position).

    The 322-RC2 head is very handy because you can release the tilt-swivel lockdown just by squeezing your hand. I use it on the left and operate the camera with my right hand, but you can switch the grip to whichever side feels best for you. Even operate it standing straight up, if that's more convenient. Should also add that it's absolutely great when shooting video on the E-PL2.

    Looks kinda funny with the PEN attached because the grip is bigger than the camera! But it works like a charm.
  6. hkpzee

    hkpzee Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 5, 2011
    Hong Kong
    I use a monopod for 2 primary purposes. When I take video, or if I use my 4/3 50-200mm SWD on my E-P3. As Christopher mentioned above, I put the monopod on the lens collar that comes with the 50-200. It provides great support, and balance out my camera. Otherwise, my wrists will require serious therapy if I hold the E-P3 with that lens on for too long!

    I just use a cheap generic Japanese twist-open monopod, which is extremely light weight and sturdy...
  7. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    For me, very useful. I carry one when I travel. I would never consider the bulk of a tripod.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    This photo (in India) was made possible by the monopod:
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    Things learned:

    Collapsed length is important to me. I have a very nice monopod bought on eBay that collapses to 16" overall. Unfortunately it does not have a brand on it, so I can't tell you how to get one. The one I currently have my sights on is the Sirui P-326, which is an inch shorter and a couple ounces lighter than what I have. Hard to justify a hundred bucks for such small gains, however.

    The tradeoff for short collapsed length is the number of sections to the monopod. If you don't care about collapsed length, you will find monopods with three sections like the Manfrotto. (Mine has five, the Sirui has six.) This means a little less screwing around when extending it.

    I am using a Velbon QHD-41Q ball head, chosen primarily for its small size. It's nicely made and adds only 2 1/2" to the assembly. (The photo shows a different head; I only recently found the Velbon.)

    IMHO a quick release is required. It is surprisingly difficult to get the screw exactly perpendicular to the camera base to get the threads to engage. This is because having a ball head makes it difficult to get the screw aligned with the monopod axis.

    So, for compactness and lightest weight, AFIK the Sirui with the Velbon is the winning combination. The Velbon QR plate is not Arca-Swiss compatible, though, so if that is important you might want to select another head.
  8. another option

    Invested in a lightweight cf tripod. Was also considering a mono, but more times than not in need for the additional stability of the tri. Found in most situations where a tripod has not been absolutely necessary the ois has been an ok option.

    But for the conditions where the additional stability of a monopod would have been nice & the clunky factor of the tripod is a hindrance I convert the tripod into a pseudo monopod by just squeezing the legs together.

    Tripod & ballhead (cheapo Benro B-00) weighs in at bit over 1kg and folds down to 35cm.
  9. littlefish

    littlefish Mu-43 Regular

    Aug 22, 2011
    Glos., UK
    Profuse apologies for not responding sooner. Life with a 2 year old can be all consuming at times and I've been having way too much fun with her to spend time on techie stuff :wink:.

    Thanks to everyone for the replies, comments and advice. I've had a chance to try a few monopods and really couldn't get on with them. Also the size and weight of these things surprised me and not in a good way: my cheapo lightweight tripod from 7DayShop is far easier to carry and use.

    The other problem is that any support used in a bird sanctuary (Slimbridge, Glos, UK) invariably gets, er, 'bird lime' on the feet and it's foul stuff to clean off. So....

    I'm always intrigued by little gadgets that make life easier and the SteadePod caught my eye. Reviews generally are favourable so it's on the Amazon wishlist for Santa to find. Until Christmas comes I'll stick with O.I.S.
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