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Author Topic: Best Practices for using a Monopod  (Read 5061 times)

neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 10:17:17 AM »
Thanks ... I'd like a gimball head too but for the 100-400 its overkill.

If you have a good ballhead, you might consider the Jobu Micro Gimbal (similar to the Wimberley Sidekick, but lighter) - that would be good for BIF with a 100-400mm. 
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2013, 10:17:17 AM »

J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2013, 10:25:13 AM »
Thanks ... But too bad it says this

Ballheads with Manfrotto, Bogen, or other Round, Hex, Square or proprietary clamping plates WILL NOT WORK with the BWG-M1. We do not recommend stacking adapters to make your own system.

I've got a manfrotto 498rc2 head so I suppose that wont work ... I'll keep looking though!
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2013, 10:33:44 AM »
Thanks ... But too bad it says this

Ballheads with Manfrotto, Bogen, or other Round, Hex, Square or proprietary clamping plates WILL NOT WORK with the BWG-M1. We do not recommend stacking adapters to make your own system.

I've got a manfrotto 498rc2 head so I suppose that wont work ... I'll keep looking though!

Yeah - that sort of thing was one reason I moved away from the Manfrotto plate/clamp system to an Arca-Swiss type system.  The AS system is the closest thing to a universal QR there is, and I use a combination of plates and clamps from Wimberley, Kirk, and Really Right Stuff. 

Initially, I switched my Manfrotto 234RC monopod tilt head for a 234 and removed the RC2 clamp from my Manfrotto 468MGRC2, and put Wimberley C-12 clamps on both.  The other reason was there's a little play with the RC2 when the clamp is locked - it's secure with the secondary locking pin engaged, but there's still play because the clamp design doesn't actually lock down, it just captures the plate.  The AS system actually clamps the plate and there's no play, making critical adjustments easier (not necessary for shooting birds, though). 
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2013, 10:37:12 AM »
First thing will be only using a tilting head on a tripod. Beter is putting this tripod on a belt on your waist. More beter would be hanging the top of the tripod also in a harness over your upper body. Best is putting a frame on your back that extends forward. Hang your camera in that frame. (I use these setups to handle my 400mm f/2.8 "handhold".)

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2013, 10:44:44 AM »


Initially, I switched my Manfrotto 234RC monopod tilt head for a 234 and removed the RC2 clamp from my Manfrotto 468MGRC2, and put Wimberley C-12 clamps on both.  The other reason was there's a little play with the RC2 when the clamp is locked - it's secure with the secondary locking pin engaged, but there's still play because the clamp design doesn't actually lock down, it just captures the plate.  The AS system actually clamps the plate and there's no play, making critical adjustments easier (not necessary for shooting birds, though). 

I too had thought about it but it looks like the 498rc2 can't be hacked. I think I will have to change the ball head going forward.

It's happened too many times to me ... I'm ending up buying the right stuff only in the third attempt and spending 1.5x the money in the process. I made the same mistake with my lenses buying the rather cheaper Ls and now am in the process of upgrading them one by one. Phew!
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J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2013, 10:47:51 AM »
First thing will be only using a tilting head on a tripod. Beter is putting this tripod on a belt on your waist. More beter would be hanging the top of the tripod also in a harness over your upper body. Best is putting a frame on your back that extends forward. Hang your camera in that frame. (I use these setups to handle my 400mm f/2.8 "handhold".)

Thanks! Can you kindly explain what do you refer by putting a frame on my back? I see you are effectively handholding a 400mm 2.8, which weighs the proverbial, "ton", so your technique should be quite helpful with my relatively lighter 100-400.
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 10:58:12 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.

Yes it is. I only have the 300L F4 IS. Saving the gimbal for when I get my 500 F4 IS. When I win the lottery that is.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2013, 10:58:12 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2013, 11:03:08 AM »
Agree that a gimbal is 'overkill' for a 100-400 on a monopod, but I think it can be useful on a tripod.  The great thing about a gimbal is that the load is balanced at rest.  With a ballhead, you have to either hold the camera the whole time or lock it down then unlock it when it's time for the action to start (whatever that action may be).  With a gimbal, you just let go...then grab and track when you want.

Before getting a gimbal head, I didn't see a need for one, either.  After using one, I use it with the 100-400L, too (but in that case, a less robust one than the RRS PG-02 LLR would suffice).
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J.R.

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #23 on: February 13, 2013, 11:04:30 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.

Yes it is. I only have the 300L F4 IS. Saving the gimbal for when I get my 500 F4 IS. When I win the lottery that is.

Good luck with the lottery ;)
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #24 on: February 13, 2013, 11:11:22 AM »
Agree that a gimbal is 'overkill' for a 100-400 on a monopod, but I think it can be useful on a tripod.  The great thing about a gimbal is that the load is balanced at rest.  With a ballhead, you have to either hold the camera the whole time or lock it down then unlock it when it's time for the action to start (whatever that action may be).  With a gimbal, you just let go...then grab and track when you want.

Before getting a gimbal head, I didn't see a need for one, either.  After using one, I use it with the 100-400L, too (but in that case, a less robust one than the RRS PG-02 LLR would suffice).

But good gimbals are pretty expensive. Last time I checked the wimberley was almost GBP 500+, ouch!.

I've been looking at the manfrotto 393 heavy lens support today, it's substantially cheaper while not having the ergonomics. It appears to function pretty much like a gimbal but funnily manfrotto advertises it as being for heavier lenses on a 'monopod'  ... How would you rate it?

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neuroanatomist

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #25 on: February 13, 2013, 11:22:02 AM »
But good gimbals are pretty expensive. Last time I checked the wimberley was almost GBP 500+, ouch!.

I've been looking at the manfrotto 393 heavy lens support today, it's substantially cheaper while not having the ergonomics. It appears to function pretty much like a gimbal but funnily manfrotto advertises it as being for heavier lenses on a 'monopod'  ... How would you rate it?

I've never used the Manfrotto 393, to me it just looks too clunky. 

For shorter lenses, a Sidekick-type option is a good one - the proviso is that you need to have a good ballhead.  The Sidekick requires a panning base on the ballhead, and the head needs to be dropped into the 90° notch and be able to support the load in that position.  My Manfrotto 468MG would do that just fine, for example.  The Jobu micro gimbal is pretty reasonably priced (US$140), but as you noted above, not suitable for the 498RC2.
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viggen61

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #26 on: February 13, 2013, 12:34:03 PM »
But good gimbals are pretty expensive. Last time I checked the wimberley was almost GBP 500+, ouch!.

I've been looking at the manfrotto 393 heavy lens support today, it's substantially cheaper while not having the ergonomics. It appears to function pretty much like a gimbal but funnily manfrotto advertises it as being for heavier lenses on a 'monopod'  ... How would you rate it?

I have the Manfrotto 393 (aka "Poor Man's Gimbal Head" )  ;), and I use it with a gripped 7D and the 100-400 on a tripod. It is a very stable support for the camera/lens, and I feel it is definitely helping me get better shots.

A few weeks ago, I was shooting a Rough-legged Hawk hunting, and having the steady support really helped. Rough legs hunt by flying over a field, and then hovering in mid-air, when it sees a likely target, and then diving on it. Handheld, I'd have been able to get a few shots, but the bird would end up all over the frame in successive images. With the 393, I could keep the bird rock steady in the center, right with the focus point.

It's a similar story for me with Harriers. They swoop along low over a field (10-15 feet, maybe 20), and the 393 helps me keep everything steady.

The only issues I have with it are that the pan motion friction is not nearly as easy to adjust as on other gimbals, and when shooting birds high and close, the second "side" gets in the way of your shooting hand.

But for less than 1/3 the price of a Wimberly, for me, for now, it is perfectly fine.
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2013, 12:44:43 PM »
Re:  your considering the Manfrotto 393 head....I have not used it but you can google Colin Knight on youtube and watch some of his water bound videos from canoe using this head.  It certainly works, even though as a professional photographer he has apparently now upgraded to Induro Gimbal head for his 500mm Canon F4. He has two different videos that he shot and they both show his setup using the 393.  Very informative for nature photographers.  Check it out. His video shot in Congaree swamp comes to mind. Here's one link. 
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« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 09:46:43 PM by canonmike »

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2013, 12:44:43 PM »

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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2013, 01:41:38 PM »
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.

Brilliant! I did not know such a thing existed, but I will get one.  Combined with a Black Rapid seems like a good match to me :)
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2013, 03:51:06 PM »
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.
Great idea! I just bought a N-series Sirui tripod, from which one leg can be detached, to use as a separate monopod. One of the reasons I bought it, and obviously also the reason I'm reading this topic. But only now does it occur to me that this also means I now have a bipod :D

This might be wonderful for action shooting, can't wait to try it out. Thanks :)
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Re: Best Practices for using a Monopod
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2013, 03:51:06 PM »