How useful is a monopod???

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by stradibarrius, Jan 1, 2011.

  1. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I have been thinking about getting a monopod to use for those marginal times when I don't want to carry a tripod. A monopod seems like it would be very useful...you see all the sports photographers using them.

    I know it won't replace my tripod for long exposures but what about when you are in the woods and you want to use a larger aperture or the lighting conditions are a stop or two less than what you feel good about unsupported. I know I could try to find a tree or a rock or fence etc. but most of the time those methods change the perspective.

    Do you think monopods are useful?
     
  2. Richard Wasserman

    Richard Wasserman Member

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  3. stradibarrius

    stradibarrius Member

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    I'm going to try it and see! It makes sense...
    Who has tried this?
     
  4. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Depends on how heavy your camera rig is. I've shot plenty of professional sports, and am always puzzled by people who put a monopod on a lightweight 70-200 zoom or a 300 f/4 lens.

    Monopods get the way with small lenses. They can be a tripping hazard for other people.

    I find them useful when shooting with "big" glass, such as a 500mm or 600mm f/4 lens, or with a 300 f/2.8 indoors when the shutter speed is down to a 1/60 of a second.
     
  5. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    I use one a lot, as the equipment is heavier these days, (it is called aging). They can be helpful, but you do have to be careful if surrounded by people, or it can keep them away :smile:
     
  6. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    I have a $50-ish manfrotto monopod.

    I like it for 300/2.8 use indoors or for long periods outdoors. A short game comprised of a series of periods or quarters doesn't make a 300/2.8 heavy enough to need one (for me), but an all day event it is nice to have, such as motorsports multi-day events. You can pan a lot easier with a monopod than a tripod.

    The monopod is also nice with my speed graphic for better-than-handheld stabilization. I like a tripod in the woods, but a monopod is nice to travel with or take for hikes compared to a tripod.
     
  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I use a monopod once in a while, usually for 35mm. Sometimes 120, for TLR. Other than that, use a tripod.

    Jeff
     
  8. photoncatcher

    photoncatcher Member

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    For the "smaller" medium format cameras, or 35mm in low light situations, I use my monopod on a regular basis. It wouldn't do for my RB67, so I'll use my bogen tripod for that. The monopod works well for a walking stick in dicey terrain, and can also be used to ward off the general public whenthey start asking why I still use film.
     
  9. Bruce Osgood

    Bruce Osgood Membership Council Council

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    I generally shoot 35mm film of 100 ASA or slower and the mono pod gives me confidence that may not be necessary, but its' there. The one-time experience that worked only because I had the pod with me was shooting an outdoor graduation ceremony and I could raise the camera well above the crowd (Syracuse University) and fire from the self timer. A shot I couldn't get otherwise. I think everyone should have a mono pod in their arsenal
     
  10. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Subscriber

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    A monopod with a ball head would be awesome. But you need to be able to adjust the angle of the light path to the film other than by just leaning this way or that. But it can come in VERY handy in a pinch.
     
  11. jon falth

    jon falth Member

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    I thought a monopod would be just the ticket at one time.

    Through time, I find I leave it behind, and opt for a tripod, tree, or building to brace my smaller format camera.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Very. I use a Manfrotto 434--a heavyweight 2-lock model--mainly for indoor available light shots with ISO800 print film. With fast lenses, it helps deliver longer exposures than I could possibly handhold with 35mm. Used it last night at parties where space was too tight and a tripod would be antisocial. My only problem was the usual gaggle of "over-refreshed" guests whose digital p&s cameras' batteries only crapped out after hours of shooting.

    I also use a teensy Manfrotto table-top tripod+ballhead against walls, trees, rocks, parked cars, etc.

    BTW, the string thing is only slightly less goofy than the totally crazy "bungee-pod" rig that I saw convert a survivable camera drop into a fatal 3rd story fall when the shooter relaxed his grip and the camera slammed into the ground.
     
  13. Edwardv

    Edwardv Member

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    I use a monopod for football and La Cross. There are times I will use a tripod as a monopod so I do not have to lay down the camera on the ground.
     
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  15. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Very, extremely, incredibly, regularly, almost always!!!!!

    :w00t: :happy: :heart: :joyful: :wizard:
     
  16. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    I have a Cullman 741 monopod I bought several years back. I equipped it with a single axis tilt head with QR mount (an earlier incarnation of this Manfrotto item). The tilt device allows adjusting the vertical aim without leaning the monopod, a Good Thing(tm), IMHO. I've used it a few times and it's steadier than hand-held, but in my experience it's nowhere near as steady as a tripod. The one I have closes down to about 17 inches and weighs about 1.2 pounds, including the head. It was bought with the idea of using it where a tripod was either forbidden or too much bulk and weight. I have to confess it hasn't seen much use, but there have been a few times when I wished I had it with me (and didn't).

    I'm not sure, especially in our ever more paranoid society, whether they would be more readily accepted than a tripod in all situations. The idea they can double as a walking stick is true and useful, in fact I recall seeing some adjustable walking "sticks" that had a 1/4-20 fitting on the top. (Limp-a little if you see the rent-a-cops eyeing you. :D )
     
  17. grahamp

    grahamp Subscriber

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    I use one a lot with my medium format equipment. Easy to transport, and makes a useful club^H^H^H^H^H walking aid. I have a little Benbo 1" ball head on mine so I can use it at an angle or flip the camera on its side if I have a rectangular format camera with me. I have the same QR mount on it as I have on my tripod.

    There is at least one thread on APUG about monopod technique. It is one device that seems to polarize people - you either use them or you don't.
     
  18. Trask

    Trask Subscriber

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    I'm with CGW -- I use a monopod occasionally, and a tabletop tripod more frequently. I have a Leitz folding table top with large ball head; not only can you use it as a tripod on surfaces, you can also use it as a chest pod, shooting between heart beats if you're really good. The Leitz tripod takes a beating and comes back for more.
     
  19. mabman

    mabman Member

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    I made up a couple a while back, but using a short metal pipe connector (sorry, don't know the real name of the part) instead of the tube this guy uses because I was going to use it outside in the snow and figured it would be more durable.

    It works, except you need to need to remember to pull up on it to achieve the stabilization - so if your subject is moving, particularly downward, it's not that useful. Also, I sized mine to be used while standing - so, if kneeling, you have to wind up the string/cord to the appropriate height, as opposed to just adjusting the height appropriately on a monopod. I've found I get at least an extra stop vs. handholding.

    So, overall, for a quick, very compact solution at a very good price, it's pretty good. However, IMHO if you can afford a monopod and find you need an extra stop or 2, I would say go for the proper monopod.
     
  20. wclark5179

    wclark5179 Member

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  21. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I will add my vote to the "Very!" category. I began using a monopod with my first medium format camera, and found it invaluable. It's much more portable than a tripod, and allows much slower shutter speeds than handholding. Examples of which cameras I use it with and which I don't are:
    Always (if not using a tripod) with: Hasselblad; Nikon SLR with 80-200 f2.8; Rollei 6003
    Sometimes: Rollei TLR
    Never: Leicas

    My monopod is a Bogen (Manfrotto); I add a Linhof ball head and Bogen quick release.

    And yes, it makes a great walking stick/club when paranoia strikes.
     
  22. brian d

    brian d Member

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    Another vote for the "Very!" group. I just got mine last summer, a cheap Promaster SystemPRO with a Manfrotto322 ball head. I could see a substantial improvement
    in sharpness from the first roll of film I used it with. I have very shaky hands:sad: and a lot of the places where I like to take pictures are not really tripod convenient so the monopod is a big help
    I also agree about it making a good walking stick.
     
  23. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I am going to be the weird one.

    I have a Manfroto mono-pod as well as a tripod. I bought both because I thought having mono-pod will be helpful for times I don't quite need a tripod but could use some assistance. But, so far I have not needed a mono-pod even once. I either need a tripod or could get away with hand holding. I haven't had in-between situations. The longest lens I use is 200mm but on 35mm and it does have an image stabilization. For my Mamiya M645 and everything else, again, it's either tripod or nothing. I do not shoot sports by the way.
     
  24. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Nothing works in every situation.

    I bought mine thinking I'd use it mostly with my longer lenses, 100-200 on 35mm.

    What I found was that it improved every shot I used it for, even with my 35mm lens and that it could do a lot of the work I had been using tripods for. With a camera strap and a post or tree or chair, it does the same job.
     
  25. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    not quite apug related, but we've already gone that way...

    A sturdy simple monopod like the manfrotto is an EXCELLENT video stabilizer for small video cameras like the flip and it's clones. Walk around with a very light hand grip to the monopod, and you can move the camera smoothly while recording. I often keep a flip in my jacket pocket for opportunities that present themself while shooting film or digital still images.
     
  26. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I haven't needed it even once. I'll see how it goes though.