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Author Topic: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice  (Read 4306 times)

illogict

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Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« on: December 03, 2011, 05:40:45 AM »
Hi all.

I've been looking for a monopod (or a tripod) for some time now. I currently have a Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom with a Joby Ballhead X (so Arca-Swiss compatible); it's great, I've been able to take many shots (especially group) using whatever was available to put it on, but still, you don't always have something to do so.

My gear is currently made of a 500D (Rebel T1i), kit 18-55 and 55-250, 28 1.8 and Lensbaby Composer Pro.
I'm thinking of buying a 85 1.8, a 430EX Ⅱ (or 320EX), and 100macro, nothing heavier, due to my bad back.

So the heaviest lens I currently have is the 55-250, the heaviest I'm ever likely to put on it would be a 100macro USM.

I'm searching for something a bit lightweight (again, due to my back), and that extends quite a bit (I'm 183cm). Yes, I know you don't need something that extends that much (size of head, camera, level of your eyes), but I'd rather get something a little bit bigger for versatility.

My research made me think about the Giotto's GTMML 3290B, which seems pretty bang-on. Unfortunately, It seems the carbon version one (2290) is nowhere to be found — I live in France, btw, don't mind ordering overseas.

Does anyone have a better suggestion? I'm still not decided for lever or twist locks: what are opinions?

Any head suggestion? I'm thinking more of a ballhead than the Manfrotto 234.

Moreover, my current bag is the unconspicuous Domke F5XC, which I love; I can put everything I need inside it: body with lens attached, two more lenses (never do so, but still), the Gorillapod with head, a 50cl water bottle, some filters in a B+W pouch, and a book :)
For the monopod, I'm thinking about a Gitzo GC3320 holster, so that I can put either the Gorillapod or monopod on it — any record with it?

Thank you all ;)
Canon EOS 500D — EF 20mm f/2.8 USM, 28mm f/1.8 USM, 85mm f/1.8 USM, 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM — EF-S 18-55mm IS, 55-250mm IS — Lensbaby Composer Pro, Double Glass — 2×Speedlite 540EZ, 2×430EZ — Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom + Ballhead X — Domke F-5XC

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Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« on: December 03, 2011, 05:40:45 AM »

JR

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2011, 07:24:50 AM »
Hi there,

I have back problem as well and I got a Gitzo carbon monopod for when I am using my 70-200 zoom.  I love it!  It is very light and the built quality is very good too.  I have the 2541 which does not extend quite like you want but if you find one that suite your needs, don't hesitate to order it from oversee.

Gitzo gear is bit more expensive, but if it fits your budget it will last you for ever!  Good luck.
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candyman

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2011, 08:34:41 AM »
I, personally, like the idea of flexibility. And something light to carry.

So I purchased a tripod that includes a monopod. So two-in-one! Meaning I can detach one leg and use it as a monopod. The tri-/monopod is carbon. Very light to carry. And in its smallest size it is only 45 cm so easy to take in a / or on a backpack
Mine is a Redged TSC-428G (special edition)

I am using a Manfrotto 496RC2 Light Duty Grip BallHead and a Manfrotto 234RC Monopod Quick Release Head.

So, a fine solution      
« Last Edit: December 03, 2011, 08:38:01 AM by candyman »
5DIII w/grip  |  6D  |  16-35L IS  |  24-105L  |  24-70 VC  |  70-200 f/2.8L IS II  |  70-300L  |  35 f/2 IS  |  50A  |  135L  |  1.4x III

willrobb

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2011, 10:18:43 AM »
Depends on what you are planning to shoot.

If you are planning to use your long lens in low light with a bunch of other photographers in the same space, or for wildlife where you don't have time to set up and you want some basic stabilisation, go for a monopod. If you want long exposures at night with any lens you currently own, or have time on hour hands, get a tripod.

Basically your gear at the moment doesn't sound too heavy. Get a decent tripod and put the legs together and use it as a monopod if needs be, then you have all your other bases covered.

unfocused

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2011, 11:20:29 AM »
Depends on what you are planning to shoot.

Exactly. Both are steadying devices, but each has different strengths and weaknesses.

Monopods are great for providing a little extra support with a heavy lens and for squeezing a bit longer exposure out of a camera. They are good for sports and wildlife with a long lens because they help provide some support. They are super portable, so if you are trying to follow something that moves, they work very well. Also, you don't have to be so careful about setup, since you can often just tilt the monopod one way or another to frame the scene the way you want it. A monopod used with the lens' IS can be a good combination in some circumstances. But, a monopod will do you no good once you get into long exposures.

Tripods are great for long exposures that are impossible to hand hold. If you need rock-solid support a tripod is the way to go. But, tripods take time to set up and frame the shot. It's hard to use a tripod on any moving subject and you're likely to lose pictures trying to set up and take down the tripod. IS is useless on a tripod and in fact, can cause problems.

I don't really agree that a closed tripod is a good substitute for a monopod, but that's just me. I tend to use my monopod about 4 to 5 times more frequently than my tripod, but again, that's just my shooting style.

BTW, I just spent a week in Provence end of Sept., early October. We flew into Nice, drove to the Canyon du Verdon, then went to St. Remy-de-Provence, where we rented an apartment for a week. The light is incredible. I can really see how it could drive Van Gogh insane trying to capture the light. I'd go back in a second.
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illogict

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2011, 11:24:43 AM »
Thank you for your replies :)


[snip]
Gitzo gear is bit more expensive, but if it fits your budget it will last you for ever!  Good luck.

I studied Gitzo proposals (plus they're originally french, even if manufacturing is now in Italy ;D): even if good quality, they're kinda pricy (the Giotto's is 48€, whereas your Gitzo is 199€); as everything I'll be putting on it is lightweight, I guess I don't need something that sturdy.
I also watched Manfrottos, like the 680B and 294A4, which seem pretty neat, except that they don't extend as much as the Giotto's.

I, personally, like the idea of flexibility. And something light to carry.

So I purchased a tripod that includes a monopod. So two-in-one! Meaning I can detach one leg and use it as a monopod. The tri-/monopod is carbon. Very light to carry. And in its smallest size it is only 45 cm so easy to take in a / or on a backpack

For the monopodable-tripod, it's a neat idea, but it seems that they are pretty big when in monopod mode, and can't extend that much.

Mine is a Redged TSC-428G (special edition)

It's the first time I hear about Redged, how do they compare? Yours is kind of pricy, too, I'm looking about the other models.

Depends on what you are planning to shoot.

If you are planning to use your long lens in low light with a bunch of other photographers in the same space, or for wildlife where you don't have time to set up and you want some basic stabilisation, go for a monopod. If you want long exposures at night with any lens you currently own, or have time on hour hands, get a tripod.

I'm more thinking about using it while wandering about, be it in the city, or in the country (planning a road-trip in Ireland for next St Paddy's). My point was that I could use the monopod while walking, and the Gorillapod for long exposures at night.
I'm not a sport photographer nor wildlife, I'm more a "casual" one, mostly with friends or when walking around.

Basically your gear at the moment doesn't sound too heavy. Get a decent tripod and put the legs together and use it as a monopod if needs be, then you have all your other bases covered.

That's an interesting point, I didn't really think about it.
Canon EOS 500D — EF 20mm f/2.8 USM, 28mm f/1.8 USM, 85mm f/1.8 USM, 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM — EF-S 18-55mm IS, 55-250mm IS — Lensbaby Composer Pro, Double Glass — 2×Speedlite 540EZ, 2×430EZ — Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom + Ballhead X — Domke F-5XC

illogict

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 11:37:55 AM »
Exactly. Both are steadying devices, but each has different strengths and weaknesses.

Monopods are great for providing a little extra support with a heavy lens and for squeezing a bit longer exposure out of a camera. They are good for sports and wildlife with a long lens because they help provide some support. They are super portable, so if you are trying to follow something that moves, they work very well. Also, you don't have to be so careful about setup, since you can often just tilt the monopod one way or another to frame the scene the way you want it. A monopod used with the lens' IS can be a good combination in some circumstances. But, a monopod will do you no good once you get into long exposures.

Yes, supposed so.

Tripods are great for long exposures that are impossible to hand hold. If you need rock-solid support a tripod is the way to go. But, tripods take time to set up and frame the shot. It's hard to use a tripod on any moving subject and you're likely to lose pictures trying to set up and take down the tripod. IS is useless on a tripod and in fact, can cause problems.

Strangely enough, I'm more than extremely patient with people, but not while doing stuff :)

I don't really agree that a closed tripod is a good substitute for a monopod, but that's just me. I tend to use my monopod about 4 to 5 times more frequently than my tripod, but again, that's just my shooting style.

I also think that I'd use more the monopod than a tripod.

BTW, I just spent a week in Provence end of Sept., early October. We flew into Nice, drove to the Canyon du Verdon, then went to St. Remy-de-Provence, where we rented an apartment for a week. The light is incredible. I can really see how it could drive Van Gogh insane trying to capture the light. I'd go back in a second.

Didn't get the opportunity to go to South of France, but it's planned ;) One of the most incredible things I saw was the sunrise on the Grand Canyon during a road trip in the USA in summer 2009. It was amazing, breathtaking!
Canon EOS 500D — EF 20mm f/2.8 USM, 28mm f/1.8 USM, 85mm f/1.8 USM, 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM — EF-S 18-55mm IS, 55-250mm IS — Lensbaby Composer Pro, Double Glass — 2×Speedlite 540EZ, 2×430EZ — Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom + Ballhead X — Domke F-5XC

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2011, 11:37:55 AM »

candyman

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2011, 12:16:24 PM »

For the monopodable-tripod, it's a neat idea, but it seems that they are pretty big when in monopod mode, and can't extend that much.


...big in monopod mode.... what do you mean? One of the tripod legs can be srewed off. So you only deal with the leg = monopod

....and can't extend that much..... true. I use my monopod when sitting next to a soccerfield. So the height is okay for that use.
I have to agree, willrobb is right. I searched for something that fits my needs and may not fit your needs

Quote
It's the first time I hear about Redged, how do they compare? Yours is kind of pricy, too, I'm looking about the other models.

The Redged has been compared with other tripods by some photomagazines  And, it actually got very good reviews. That is also why I bought it.
The price, yes, it may be a bit expensive. I paid 299 euros which I thought was not expensive since I got two-in-one. And it is carbon and good quality.

But, as I did, you have to put your list of criteria and make your decision based on those criteria.



5DIII w/grip  |  6D  |  16-35L IS  |  24-105L  |  24-70 VC  |  70-200 f/2.8L IS II  |  70-300L  |  35 f/2 IS  |  50A  |  135L  |  1.4x III

illogict

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2011, 01:22:02 PM »
what do you mean? One of the tripod legs can be srewed off. So you only deal with the leg = monopod

I meant, when closed off in monopod mode, it's quite bigger (like 70cm IIRC) than a dedicated monopod (more like 55cm).

true. I use my monopod when sitting next to a soccerfield. So the height is okay for that use.
I have to agree, willrobb is right. I searched for something that fits my needs and may not fit your needs

The Redged has been compared with other tripods by some photomagazines  And, it actually got very good reviews. That is also why I bought it.
The price, yes, it may be a bit expensive. I paid 299 euros which I thought was not expensive since I got two-in-one. And it is carbon and good quality.

But, as I did, you have to put your list of criteria and make your decision based on those criteria.

It's what I'm trying to do, and all your comments are very helpful ;) Thank you very much!
Canon EOS 500D — EF 20mm f/2.8 USM, 28mm f/1.8 USM, 85mm f/1.8 USM, 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM — EF-S 18-55mm IS, 55-250mm IS — Lensbaby Composer Pro, Double Glass — 2×Speedlite 540EZ, 2×430EZ — Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom + Ballhead X — Domke F-5XC

sct69

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2011, 02:07:42 PM »
I have had a 311 miller solo pod carbon fibre 3 stage mono-pod for a few years now and it has served me very well. I could recommend this as an option on my experience.

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2011, 05:51:46 PM »
Hi,
I use for about a year now the FEISOL tripod CT-3441T, which is quite light weight (1,1kg) but very stable. After several uses on windy beaches of the Baltic Sea this year I'm fully convinced. BTW, with a ball head there is no need to extend the center collumn. It fits perfectly for my height. Like you I'm 1,83m tall.
The FEISOl monopod CM-1401 is also worth a look and would fit perfectly as well. To fully extend the leg should take you less than 20 sec (I tested it with the identical leg of my CT-3441T).
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niccyboy

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2011, 08:53:40 PM »
Depends on what you are planning to shoot.

If you are planning to use your long lens in low light with a bunch of other photographers in the same space, or for wildlife where you don't have time to set up and you want some basic stabilisation, go for a monopod. If you want long exposures at night with any lens you currently own, or have time on hour hands, get a tripod.

Basically your gear at the moment doesn't sound too heavy. Get a decent tripod and put the legs together and use it as a monopod if needs be, then you have all your other bases covered.

great idea... get some carbon fibre legs.

candyman

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 09:42:48 AM »
what do you mean? One of the tripod legs can be srewed off. So you only deal with the leg = monopod

I meant, when closed off in monopod mode, it's quite bigger (like 70cm IIRC) than a dedicated monopod (more like 55cm).

Well, my monopod (when screwed off from the tripod) is closed 41cm and with a ballhead attached it is 51cm. So far from 70 cm)

Look at the pictures

It is a very nice solution
Just to elaborate about the length of the monopod
5DIII w/grip  |  6D  |  16-35L IS  |  24-105L  |  24-70 VC  |  70-200 f/2.8L IS II  |  70-300L  |  35 f/2 IS  |  50A  |  135L  |  1.4x III

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2011, 09:42:48 AM »

illogict

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 11:01:00 AM »
Pretty interesting, thank you :)
On the other ones I saw (not Redged), you had to attach the center column to the leg to use as a monopod, ending up quite big even closed.
Canon EOS 500D — EF 20mm f/2.8 USM, 28mm f/1.8 USM, 85mm f/1.8 USM, 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM — EF-S 18-55mm IS, 55-250mm IS — Lensbaby Composer Pro, Double Glass — 2×Speedlite 540EZ, 2×430EZ — Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom + Ballhead X — Domke F-5XC

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Re: Monopod (or tripod) buying advice
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2011, 11:01:00 AM »