Monopods

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writing4me

Hello everyone,
Would you please give me your thoughts and comments on choosing and using a monopod? I shoot 50-100 speed slide film mostly. I like to shoot handheld when I can, but have had to lug around my tripod too often lately. I enjoy that extra crispness that can be had by locking down a camera on a good tripod, but it is sometimes a bit overkill when I want to just have fun and be able to shoot say 1/15 or 1/30 speeds with a 50mm lens in a busy place. Are these speeds reasonable to get with a monopod and a small lens like a 50? Thanks for any advice and tips.
Best,
-Lynn L.
 
try the manfrotto 479-4B with the 331 head... it comes with an auxiliary leg... making it a sort of tripod when needed... ligther than a tripod... more stable if needed than a straight monopod... but same weight...
 

pkipnis

Well-Known Member
>I've used a SLIK monopod for almost 20 years. there's a large range of prices, but any monopod is 100% improvement. One trick is to use it tucked into your belt. It's not as good as using it on the ground, but it really helps steady the camera.
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Lynn:

Greetings

I have been using a Bogen carbon fiber monopod for photography and after making a smooth cap for it, as a walking stick for a couple of years now.

I keep it with me at all times now.

Some situations it seems to be a bit awkward to compose a moving object like a bird, perhaps misplaced use, but if in the field and set up for a landscape and an Eagle flys by. I have become acquainted with it now. If you have ever wanted to have something to hold a camera over a ledge, for a waterfall or stream, they work great.

There aluminum model is a little lighter, less expensive and also works as well.

Good Luck

Gilbert
 

mcp

Active Member
Hi Lynn! Ever thought of using a cl& instead of a tripod? I've assembled one out of a cl& for light from Banfrotto/Bogen with a little head on it. It's not that light as one would assume and you need some time to fix it somewhere, but it works fine. I once bought a monopod from Berlebach (out of wood). I never used it, because it is too long and embarassing when you walk. Take care Martin
 

wilsonlaidlaw

Well-Known Member
I have tried using the Minox mini-monopod, which will unscrew into a = tripod if you need it, to try and get low light shots on a Minox with slow = film. I have to say that I notice no difference in the shots taken with or = without the monopod so I assume it is not making a great deal of difference. I = know from using shooting stick(s) in taking standing shots in target sporting rifle shooting, that you have to make a tripod with your legs and the = stick support. I always see people using a monopod in a vertical position, = which from the experience of shooting, I know does not work. In shooting you always have the stick support off at an angle to one side, slightly = forward and brace against it, which also has the advantage of an alteration of = the angle giving variable height. If I buy a longer monopod or can manage = to modify my Leki extendable aluminium walking stick to work as a Monopod, = I will report further.
 

bobbl46

Well-Known Member
Hi (again) Lynn!

Monopod.....best low-priced bit of kit I ever bought! Manfrotto 079-4. I nearly lost it to my better half....until she insisted on me buying her one for Christmas! She got a black 479B. We both use Manfrotto quick-release heads.

I too shoot mainly 100 speed tranny, and once wedged against a fence or similar, it's nearly as solid as my Benbo! I can use shutter speeds well under the usual 1/focal length rule! E.g. shooting with 300mm at 1/125th and even 1/60th once braced against something (and you can usually find something!)I'd say you would have no trouble with 1/15th on a 50mm, once you got the hang of it. It's sooooo much quicker than a tripod when you are on the move!

Where I find it very useful, is shooting close-ups of Dragonflies and other insects. I used to find trying to arrange 3 legs in amongst the undergrowth both tedious and counter-productive. The little buggers would generally fly off at the slightest "wrong" twitch of a piece of undergrowth. Now, I place the Monopod foot down on a convenient patch of earth and slowly lean into the shot. If you set the tension of the tilt head just right, you can adjust the angle of the camera and lens as you lean futher down, by just a bit of pressure on the camera and lens, as you hold them in both hands. Far fewer missed shots these days!

It is also very handy to test water depth and how solid a pond's waters edge is if I have to get my feet wet to get the dragonfly shot that I want. Also, for testing if the ground is too boggy....for when I don't want to get my feet wet! Doubles as a trekking stick, for those uphill climbs, too!

Cheers, Bob.
 

swoolf

Well-Known Member
Quite frankly I often shoot at 1/15 and 1/30th handheld with reasonably sharp results , however , I would recommend a monopod unreservedly . I have used mine for all sorts of things and different lens/exposure combinations , right up to my Tamron 300mm F2.8 with 2x converter for surfing pics! I also think it helps if you're in a dodgy area with all your expensive gear - not many thugs are likely to take on someone with a big metal rod swinging menacingly in their hands! Steve
 
S

spluff

Hello Lynn,

I've got a Manfrotto monopod - but occasionally, I've found I cannot use it because authorities at certain locations will not permit the use of a monopod - a good ex&le being historic locations like castles etc. However, I 've managed to get around this by buying a walking stick from a c&ing shop - and a camera adaptor which cl&s on the side of the walking stick - so the whole set-up looks quite discreet.

As a rule, I've found monopods tend to work better when braced aagainst something else - eg. the kerb or a small wall. A friend of mine uses them when panning his camera whilst taking pictures at motor sports events - but then he uses a collar around the lens - and this is attached to the monopod.

My favourite, though is the trusty old beanbag - it's light and portable - and with a bit of imagination you can prop it most locations and get excellent shots at slower speeds.

Good luck!!

Rgds, Saras
 
U

urgenta

Hi Lynn

I own a Monopod too. It's a fine thing, but I use it with the nikon or the hasselblad only. With the G2 i work without monopds or tripods. I often take pictures under available light conditions. I find always somthing to hold the camera fixed. The idea with the cushion is very good. I'am going to buy one. If i not use it to take pictures, it helps to hold a little siesta.

Regards

Hans Villars, Switzerland
 
M

mike_nunan

Hi Lynn,

I have a monopod but have never really got into the habit of carrying it regularly. Seeing the responses above has made me realise I ought to change that though! However, my best tip for a compact, lightweight camera support would still be to get a decent table-top tripod, if you don't have one already. I've got the Manfrotto one, with a mini ball head, and I've used it on countless occasions. It beats a full-sized tripod hands down if you want a low angle shot, although you do need an angle-finder for that or you end up lying on the ground. It's also great in social photography when there's a bit of table space available, and can be braced against walls very effectively.

HTH

-= mike =-
 
W

writing4me

Thanks so much for all your great suggestions. I'm so glad I asked! The idea of the monopod doubling as a walking stick is a good one. And further still, the suggestion of using a monopod that looks like a walking stick in places where tripods and such are forbidden has instant appeal to me. In fact, I have been planning day trips to Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin, the Johnson Wax Building and Johnson's Wingspread (all Wright designs) where I think a standard walking stick might be accepted. (Taliesin officials severely frowned on the idea of a tripod)

Thanks too for the idea of how to brace the monopod for use. That does make sense. I'll have to practice a little with that.

Your other suggestions really created new ideas for me. I hadn't thought about it before, but a monopod would be so much handier than a tripod in the early morning dew - I have struggled with those three tripod legs getting tangled or not sitting where I want them in high grass or brush. One leg would be so much easier.

Security wasn't something I had thought about - but that's another good point about dodgy folks thinking twice about bothering a person carrying a metal stick
That's definitely a plus!

And finally, thanks too for the ideas about bean-bags, cl&s, and tabletop tripods. All useful tools. Although I think Hans idea about using a bean bag for a siesta is the most creative


By the way, a link for anyone who is interested. I was reading about walking sticks that are also used for monopods, and found one photographer recommended a stick he got from Cascade Designs. I found their site and found several of their sticks have a removable walnut knob that reveals a threaded camera mount. One folds down quite small - others vary in size. I'm going to check this out. The link is here for the smallest when disassembled:

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Again, thank you! -Lynn L
 

tbc

Well-Known Member
I had a large monopod given to me, but found that a lightweight, compact unit was more useful. I found myself reaching for a light tripod rather than the large monopod when I didn't use my heavy tripod.

The table top tripod is also most useful when you don't carry a larger tripod.
 

bunthorpe

Active Member
Hi Lynn;

Leitz make a small tabletop tripod that is highly recommended. It is quite stable and strong, and the legs spin around so they can be locked at any angle to brace against one's body. It fits readily into the back pocket of a Billingham bag, and does not weigh much. Perfect for a 50MM lens (but obviously not for a long telephoto).

Good luck with it!
 

jsmisc

Well-Known Member
Dear Lynn,
I have something called a CamCane which used to be marketed by Billingham the camera bag people. I have had it for years and I think it is excellent but I don't know if they still do it as I cannot find it on their web site which is
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It is a yellow walking stick with an internal extending column controlled by push buttons on the head and which can be locked at any length. It is made of carbon fibre.
The top is a comfortable unscrewable ball and it "connects" to the camera by resting on a rubber cup which screws into the tripod mount. It is very convenient.
If you require more stability you can buy a bendy head for the monopod which screws into the camera tripod bush like a normal monopod but it is easily adjusted for position.
You can also get a curved screw on handle on which you can rest a lens.
I like it very much and usually carry it on holiday with the optional leather strap. I was mortified when I left my first one at Heathrow Airport en route to New York and when I got home no one had handed it in to left luggage. I bought a new and improved one straight away.
A bonus is that all the rubber parts smell of vanilla!
Best wishes,
John
.
 

ian2u

Member
Leki and others do a proper trekking pole, collapses down, where the handle unscrews to provide a camera monopod. Also there are L shaped cl&s that fit a camera to any trekking pole. Try REI or any Outdoor shop
Ian
 
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