December 17, 2014, 09:47:18 PM

Author Topic: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?  (Read 2449 times)

DigitalDivide

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« on: March 25, 2014, 04:56:03 PM »
I'm about to pull the trigger on a monopod and tilt head. The monopod will mainly be used when I'm travelling to add a little stability in low light (especially having switched to the 24-70 from the 24-105 and losing the IS). I have a couple of tripods but on the rare occassions when pack one I tend to find that I end up not carrying it with me when I need it.  A light and packable monopod seems like a better solution.

My question concerns the choice of head. My basic travel kit consists of a 5D2 with 24-70 f/2.8 II and 70-200 f/2.8 IS II lenses. I sometimes bring my 17-40 f/4 or my 300 f/4 IS as well, so I anticipate needing to switch between a lens foot mount and direct camera mount quite frequently. From the forum I became aware of the problem with the plates being at 90 degrees to each other, so I'm looking at the RRS MH-02 Pro head which I saw recommended by Neuro. So far it is the only tilt head I've found which can be rotated 90 degress without a special tool, which seems really convenient. Is the MH-02 actually the only head with this option? I'm sure it's a fantastic bit of kit (as it should be for the price), but it is quite heavy and seems like overkill for my current lenses.

I'm leaning towards the Gitzo carbon fiber GM2541 monopod over the Manfrotto CX694. I tried a CX694 in the store and it was very nice, but I think I prefer twist locks to lever locks.  I like the idea of the G-locks, but the store didn't have any Gitzos to play with.

The Gitzo is slightly lighter but also a couple inches shorter.  However, I'm five ten and I think with a head it will be tall enough, even when shooting on a hillside.  I hope I'm right! ;D  The Gitzo also claims to support 26 lbs versus only 11 lbs for the Manfrotto, butI don't know if the ratings from different manufacturers are directly comparable.

Other than that, I'm going with L84 and L-brackets from RRS and a Kirk QRC-1 clamp which I'll attach to my Black Rapid strap (also based on Neuro's advice). This sounds like a great way to simplify the frequent switching between the strap and monopod for both the camera and lens foot mounts.

Any other comments on this setup?

canon rumors FORUM

Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« on: March 25, 2014, 04:56:03 PM »

johnf3f

  • Canon 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 344
  • Canon 1Dx
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2014, 05:19:05 PM »
I use the Gitzo GM2541 and can thoroughly recommend it. It is very light and exceptionally strong. Incidentally, forget Gitzo weight ratings as they are meaningless. They will actually support something like 5 to 10 times what they say.
My only criticism of the GM2541 is that it looks too spindly when supporting lenses like a 600 F4 or 800 F5.6, though it is fully up to the job!
I have a Sirui L10 tilt head which is pretty good (not as good as the RRS or Kirk ones) but they seem to have doubled in price here in the UK. At it's current UK price I don't think the Sirui is good value but it is OK with  lenses up to a 300 F2.8 Max.

DigitalDivide

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2014, 06:45:05 PM »
Thanks johnf3f.  Does the Sirui head allow for 90 degrees rotation without having to use a special tool, like the MH-02 does?  That's the feature I'm really looking for.

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ************
  • Posts: 15191
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2014, 11:47:14 PM »
I'm not aware of any other monopod tilt heads that allow that tool-less 90° orientation change.

But...how about bringing the mountain to Muhammad?  Instead of changing the monopod head orientation, change the orientation of camera's attachment point.  The RRS B2-mAS clamp ($60) has a bottom dovetail at 90° to the clamp.  You could connect it to the bottom plate or the upright part of the L-bracket, as needed, to connect the body to a fore-aft monopod clamp.

Which brings up another point...there aren't many Arca-type tilt heads (RRS, Kirk, and Markins come to mind, all are robust, pretty heavy, and not cheap).  Many of the others (Benro, Oben, etc.) have proprietary plates.  The Sirui L-10 (no personal experience) lists compatibility with Arca QR plates.  Another option, which I used before switching to RRS (to support a 600/4) is the Manfrotto 234 with the Wimberley C-12 clamp.  It must be the 234 (not the 234RC which has an integrated RC2 clamp).  I prefer the Wimberley clamp to an RRS for that application, the C-12 has three set screws that prevent the clamp from turning on the platform (without those, Loctite could be used).
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

johnf3f

  • Canon 6D
  • *****
  • Posts: 344
  • Canon 1Dx
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2014, 07:21:24 PM »
Thanks johnf3f.  Does the Sirui head allow for 90 degrees rotation without having to use a special tool, like the MH-02 does?  That's the feature I'm really looking for.
Looking at your original post I assume you are thinking of the different orientation of QR plates on your cameras and larger lenses. If you do the same as me - I align my QR plates along the center-line of my long lenses (equipped with lens feet) and at 90 degrees on the cameras. If this is the case then - no the Sirui does not accommodate this without the use of tools.
If the above is not the case then I may well have got your post wrong

DigitalDivide

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2014, 07:43:36 PM »
Instead of changing the monopod head orientation, change the orientation of camera's attachment point.  The RRS B2-mAS clamp ($60) has a bottom dovetail at 90° to the clamp.  You could connect it to the bottom plate or the upright part of the L-bracket, as needed, to connect the body to a fore-aft monopod clamp.

Thanks Neuro, this looks to be a good option. When I first looked at the Sirui on B&H it wasn't clear to me that the QR plate was Arca-compatible. The description only mentions that it has an Arca style base. I've since checked the manfacturer's website, and they make it clear that most Arca-Swiss plates can be used with this head. The only caveat is that the Sirui safety lock feature does not work with third party plates, which is fair enough.

The L-10 looks to be well made, well priced, and it got mostly positive reviews on the B&H site. The specified weight is less than half that of the MH-02, so even with the addition of the B2-mAS clamp it should be noticeably lighter. One reviewer did claim that his L-10 actually weighed 10 ounces without the plate though; if true, the total weight with plate and clamp would not actually be much less than the RRS head.

I guess I need to decide if it is worth the extra complexity of adding an intermediate clamp to save a few ounces and about 140 bucks...

DigitalDivide

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 07:49:12 PM »
Looking at your original post I assume you are thinking of the different orientation of QR plates on your cameras and larger lenses. If you do the same as me - I align my QR plates along the center-line of my long lenses (equipped with lens feet) and at 90 degrees on the cameras. If this is the case then - no the Sirui does not accommodate this without the use of tools.

Yes, that is what I was thinking.  I have never used Arca-style QR plates before, but from reading the forum and looking at the product descriptions this seems to be the way it would work.  I suppose it might be possible to align some types of camera QR plate with the lens plates, thereby avoiding the problem. But since I plan to use an L-plate on the camera body I don't think that is an option for me.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2014, 07:49:12 PM »

mackguyver

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 3048
  • Who Dares Wins
    • View Profile
    • My Personal Work
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2014, 08:21:11 PM »
If you're shooting smaller lenses (i.e. the 300 2.8 and smaller), you can use what RRS used to call the Monopod Solution using a Manfrotto tilt head and one of their clamps.  It's what I use and I love it - you can't beat it for the price.  You can download a PDF here:
http://w9if.net/iweb/photohints/cameramonopod/MonopodSolution.pdf

They still recommend it (http://www.reallyrightstuff.com/s.nl/it.I/id.55/.f):

The Low Capacity Solution

When our MH-01 Monopod Head is more than you need, consider the Manfrotto 234 Tilt Head (formerly known as the Manfrotto 3232). Really Right Stuff no longer sells this head, but we recommended it for years. Great for light loads, this simple and inexpensive tilt head is only rated for 5.5 pounds. Mount our B2-Pro clamp directly to the Manfrotto head and you have a reasonably robust tilt head with quick-release capabilties.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 08:23:00 PM by mackguyver »

DigitalDivide

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2014, 07:23:27 PM »
When our MH-01 Monopod Head is more than you need, consider the Manfrotto 234 Tilt Head (formerly known as the Manfrotto 3232). Really Right Stuff no longer sells this head, but we recommended it for years. Great for light loads, this simple and inexpensive tilt head is only rated for 5.5 pounds. Mount our B2-Pro clamp directly to the Manfrotto head and you have a reasonably robust tilt head with quick-release capabilties.

Thanks mackguyver. I checked to see if the 234 is still available.  It seems no longer to be carried by BH, Adoroma or Amazon, but I did find it in stock at a few other places such as Wolf camera.  I'm sure they pop up on ebay too.  Together with the Wimberly C-12 clamp that Neuro recommended this would probably work fine for my current lenses.  I'd still need the B2-mAS clamp to get around the 90 degree problem though, which means the combined weight has crept up again.

After a bit of thought I have decided to just go with the RRS MH-02 Pro head.  Although it is overkill now, it should last me a lifetime during which I hope to acquire larger lenses ;D.  (I'm dreaming about getting a 300 f/2.8, but not anytime soon; unfortunately I missed the recent group buy on canonpricewatch :( ).  For those times when the weight seems too much I can forego the convenience of the head and just mount the lens or camera directly to the monopod and lean it as needed.  To this end I ordered an extra clamp which I can mount permanently on the pod.  The MH-02 has an Arca-compatible base, which means I can clamp the head on quickly if I need to.  I just hope this works as well in real life as it does in my imagination...


mackguyver

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 3048
  • Who Dares Wins
    • View Profile
    • My Personal Work
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2014, 08:28:38 PM »
It looks like they've renamed it yet again to the 234RC, but I'm sure the RRS head is going to be much better.  The Manfrotto is a decent solution that they created (and I bought) years before they had their own head.  Now that they have their own, I'm sure it's amazing and someday I'm sure I'll upgrade.

neuroanatomist

  • CR GEEK
  • ************
  • Posts: 15191
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2014, 08:52:00 PM »
It looks like they've renamed it yet again to the 234RC

No.  The 234RC has an integrated Manfrotto-proprietary RC2 clamp.  I had the 234RC, had to sell it and get the 234 when I switched to Arca plates.  The 234 has a reversible 3/8"-16 + 1/4"-20 stud for the clamp of your choice, or direct camera mounting.

The 234 does appear to have been discontinued, that's unfortunate.
EOS 1D X, EOS M, and lots of lenses
______________________________
Flickr | TDP Profile/Gear List

sagittariansrock

  • 1D X
  • *******
  • Posts: 1524
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2014, 09:50:37 PM »
It looks like they've renamed it yet again to the 234RC

No.  The 234RC has an integrated Manfrotto-proprietary RC2 clamp.  I had the 234RC, had to sell it and get the 234 when I switched to Arca plates.  The 234 has a reversible 3/8"-16 + 1/4"-20 stud for the clamp of your choice, or direct camera mounting.

The 234 does appear to have been discontinued, that's unfortunate.

The 234 was a great advice, and I use it with the C-10 clamp.
I don't know why Manfrotto stopped selling the plain clamp given they have so many products (234RC, window mounts, wall mounts, etc.) based on it. I was actually lucky to get one new from Adorama!
It can be found used under the alternative name 3232, and there are many sellers on eBay who sell it combined with an Arca Swiss plate (of indeterminate origin and quality).
EOS 5DIII, EOS 6D | Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, TS-E 17mm f/4L, EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM, EF 35mm f/1.4L USM, EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM, EF 135mm f/2L USM, EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM, 1.4x III, 2x III | 600-EX-RT x3 | EOS M + EF-M 22mm f/2

mackguyver

  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II
  • ********
  • Posts: 3048
  • Who Dares Wins
    • View Profile
    • My Personal Work
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 10:22:08 PM »
No.  The 234RC has an integrated Manfrotto-proprietary RC2 clamp.  I had the 234RC, had to sell it and get the 234 when I switched to Arca plates.  The 234 has a reversible 3/8"-16 + 1/4"-20 stud for the clamp of your choice, or direct camera mounting.

The 234 does appear to have been discontinued, that's unfortunate.
Thanks, Neuro. I was just doing a quick search and didn't notice the difference!

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2014, 10:22:08 PM »

cdn_photog

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 38
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #13 on: March 27, 2014, 11:19:03 PM »
I have been using a Benro DJ90 monopod head with good success. My heaviest lens is 70-200f4L on a 5D3, so not as heavy as what the OP has. I can't find it on the Benro website anymore, I bought mine at Vistek (in Canada).

http://www.vistek.ca/store/ProPhotoTripods/252936/benro-dj90-monopod-tilt-head/Specs.aspx


DigitalDivide

  • PowerShot G1 X II
  • ***
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 10:51:23 AM »
The 234 was a great advice, and I use it with the C-10 clamp.
I don't know why Manfrotto stopped selling the plain clamp given they have so many products (234RC, window mounts, wall mounts, etc.) based on it.
Yes, that is strange.  Maybe they are just using up old stock, since I imagine these products sell in much lower numbers than the bare heads.  While looking for the 234, I found both wall mount and table mount Manfrotto brackets at Adorama (models 356 and 355 respectively).  I was contemplating whether I could cannibalize one of these for the head, since it appears to be simply bolted on to the bracket.

By the way, I ordered a Kirk QRC-1.75 to mount to the monopod.  It is a bit shorter than the Wimberly C-10 and C-12.  Hopefully this will work okay with the MH-02 head and also for direct mounting of the camera and lens.

I have been using a Benro DJ90 monopod head with good success. My heaviest lens is 70-200f4L on a 5D3, so not as heavy as what the OP has. I can't find it on the Benro website anymore, I bought mine at Vistek (in Canada).

http://www.vistek.ca/store/ProPhotoTripods/252936/benro-dj90-monopod-tilt-head/Specs.aspx
The only Benro model B&H sells now is the DJ80, which seems to come with Benro's own plate design.  I wonder why these manufacturers are discontinuing their bare and Arca-compatible heads?  I suppose they want to lock you into their proprietary QR system, although I recall seeing on CR that Manfrotto is going to start offering more Arca-style products.

canon rumors FORUM

Re: Alternatives to RRS MH-02 Monopod Head?
« Reply #14 on: March 28, 2014, 10:51:23 AM »