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Author Topic: Best Practices for using a Monopod  (Read 5120 times)

J.R.

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Best Practices for using a Monopod
« on: February 07, 2013, 07:33:52 AM »
Hi CR folks!

I've recently developed a problem with my left wrist which makes it difficult for me to shoot with the 5D3 + 100-400 combo for anything in excess of an hour because of the weight. To tide over this problem, I recently purchased a Manfrotto monopod, slapped on a ball-head and things are much easier.

However, I find that the results of using the monopod are less than stellar for me. I've researched on the net and have tried out almost all triangulated foot and monopod positions but I don't think I'm getting very good results. The camera seems to float sideways while taking the shots - my 6-3 height doesn't help either with the center of gravity of the entire column being quite high. The only way I've got good shots is by reducing the height of the monopod and using a sitting / squatting position with the foot of the monopod jammed against the crook of my left foot with the column padded against my right thigh.

What is the best way to use the monopod while standing upright? Help please ... I've got a birding trip coming up this weekend and don't want to be limited at 200mm. 
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Best Practices for using a Monopod
« on: February 07, 2013, 07:33:52 AM »

dolina

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2013, 10:15:14 PM »
ballheads are no good with monopods. look for a monopod head or screw your 100-400 feet directly to the monopod.
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brad goda

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2013, 01:54:06 AM »
are you mounting the monopod to the lens collar or to the camera?

digital paradise

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2013, 02:00:36 AM »
I use a ball head on mine. If I'm shooting sports and sitting I can angle the pod away from me slightly. Helps with birds in trees as well. Even sports while standing. A mono pod is useless for birds or planes in flight.     

J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2013, 03:05:51 AM »
Thanks for the replies ...

ballheads are no good with monopods. look for a monopod head or screw your 100-400 feet directly to the monopod.

Screwing the 100-400 directly on the monopod is not an option given I need the QR for birds in flight. I'll try monopod head and see if that helps.

are you mounting the monopod to the lens collar or to the camera?

Tripod Collar of the 100-400

I use a ball head on mine. If I'm shooting sports and sitting I can angle the pod away from me slightly. Helps with birds in trees as well. Even sports while standing. A mono pod is useless for birds or planes in flight.     

+1. This is the reason I use the monopod with the ball head. The QR comes in handy for the BIF. 

BTW, this is what I did click this weekend ...
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brad goda

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2013, 04:01:27 AM »
JR sounds like youve tried and are trying to customize your monopods stance...
you have to do what you feel works best for you.., I think you are not the problem but the height of the monopod... IS too short...
Ive thought about it and re read your post and ill suggest a kind of custom for you....
since you said you are mounting mono to lens using ball head but still having camera sort of tilt or slide to its side off axis of the ball ... try this.
set the collar 90º to the left while your ball is set 90º right so its sitting in its vertical socket.
tighten the pan but keep the main ball loose... keep the collar tight... although now the camera and lens is set off center you can use the ball like a gimball... not quite but eh close.. put your left hand through the mono pods strap and hold lens through there.... this should help top stability besides your right hand on camera....
use your modified stance with monopod pushed to either you left or right foot....
yes i realize this makes your system shorter but hopefully this will make you more flexible and stable at the same time.. and hope soon you can find the appropriate height monopod.... or get a carbon tripod tall enough... you can use it open or closed...
sorry if this sounds hoakey... but I thought this was an interesting problem... and just making a suggestion... good luck for your trip bro!!

brad goda

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 04:05:38 AM »
ok... back yard fix for your monopod....

use PVC 1 or 2 feet longer than you need to extend your monopod to your height...
put bolt and nut through pvc... that will stop the bottom of your monopod...
if too long...thats good you can use monopod adjustment to now lower to your height...

?? !! lol i dont know... its a redneck fix buy a Hawaii japanee boy... I guess its quite country here...

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2013, 04:05:38 AM »

J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2013, 04:21:27 AM »
Thanks brad goda ... I am indeed looking for the setup stability and will try out your suggestion.

By the looks of it, I think it should work :)
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 06:34:29 AM »
One option to consider might be a monopod belt pouch - used with the monopod collapsed, it transfers the weight to your hips rather than your arms.  Not as good as setting it on the ground, but a lot more flexibility for moving around.
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J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2013, 07:12:29 AM »
One option to consider might be a monopod belt pouch - used with the monopod collapsed, it transfers the weight to your hips rather than your arms.  Not as good as setting it on the ground, but a lot more flexibility for moving around.

Thanks Neuro! I didn't know this existed ... I've ordered one from Amazon right away :)
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rs

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2013, 08:03:30 AM »
Screwing the 100-400 directly on the monopod is not an option given I need the QR for birds in flight. I'll try monopod head and see if that helps.

Why not try one of these?

http://www.manfrotto.co.uk/quick-change-rectangular-plate-adapter
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Plainsman

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2013, 08:26:14 AM »
Pity they don't make bipods for photographers.
Much steadier than monopods - that's why rifle marksmen use them.
Yep twice the weight of a monopod but twice as steady - and one third lighter than a tripod.
A bipod with a good ball head would be ideal steady support for panning shots.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 08:30:55 AM »
A video monopod with larger footprint may help, such as the 568, the head is all wrong, I don't think a 128 or 701 would support that weight of lens, but the 501hdv or 502 should be fine.  If you get a video monopod, lock the horizontal pan on the head when using the monopod, as the pivot base on the foot will work better.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2013, 08:30:55 AM »

digital paradise

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 08:32:36 AM »
Thanks for the replies ...

ballheads are no good with monopods. look for a monopod head or screw your 100-400 feet directly to the monopod.

Screwing the 100-400 directly on the monopod is not an option given I need the QR for birds in flight. I'll try monopod head and see if that helps.

are you mounting the monopod to the lens collar or to the camera?

Tripod Collar of the 100-400

I use a ball head on mine. If I'm shooting sports and sitting I can angle the pod away from me slightly. Helps with birds in trees as well. Even sports while standing. A mono pod is useless for birds or planes in flight.     

+1. This is the reason I use the monopod with the ball head. The QR comes in handy for the BIF. 

BTW, this is what I did click this weekend ...

That is pretty good. I'm just not comfortable using it for BIF.  One day I'll pick up a gimballed head and use my tripod.

J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 08:35:06 AM »

That is pretty good. I'm just not comfortable using it for BIF.  One day I'll pick up a gimballed head and use my tripod.

Thanks ... I'd like a gimball head too but for the 100-400 its overkill.
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2013, 08:35:06 AM »