Now, please don't laugh, but could somebody explai

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Equipment' started by Mark in SD, Jan 24, 2003.

  1. Mark in SD

    Mark in SD Member

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    Sorry, ran out of room in the subject line.

    "Now, please don't laugh, but could somebody please explain to me how to use a monopod?"

    My birthday is in a week and I am thinking of getting a monopod. There are many times that I would like an extra stop or two but don't want the hassel of lugging around my tripod. I understand that you can get 1-2 stops using a monopod so I think that would be a good choice for me. Of course, it won't do me much good if I'm not using it properly.

    I asked this question on Photo.Net some months back but never really got an answer other than either "why bother" or "you don't already have a monopod?".

    Also, if anybody has anything that I should definitely look for or avoid in a monopod, that would be helpful as well.
     
  2. RAP

    RAP Member

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    Briefly, a monopod is like a walking cane for a camera. It is a fast and easy way to balance a heavy camera without setting up a regular tripod. They are probably best suited for those large heavy telephoto/zoom lenses that usually have a screw mount right on the lens barrel. Most photographers when using them, keep them attached to the camera, ready to shoot. Then they just plant, aim and shoot. They also are good in cramped areas where the spread legs of a tripod won't fit.
     
  3. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    The monopod becomes the third leg of a tripod with your own legs providing the other two. They have the benefit of being much faster to use then a tripod. They have the disadvantage of being not as stable.
     
  4. George

    George Member

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    Mark, a good question! Most people don't use them right! You should incline the monopod so that the camera is leaning a little against you - only then you get the maximum stability with it. Also, as for shooting with a gun, one leg should be slightly behind the other, you keep better balance like that.
     
  5. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Monopods are pretty individual I think. Some people can use them to get a couple of extra stops, others can't. I'd say try one out if you can and see if iit works for you.
     
  6. steve

    steve Member

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    How you use it really depends upon the camera, weight, etc. For example, using it with a Leica M6 with a 35mm lens would be totally different than using it with an SLR with a 300mm lens. So, you will have to develop a technique for each application.

    I like to use monopods and have two of them. As stated above, you need to consider it the third leg of a tripod with your legs forming the other two. I like to wrap the camera's carrying strap around one of my elbows and gently apply pressure to the camera while holding it against my eye. This seems to aid me in stabilizing the whole affar. The biggest lens I use it with is an 80--200 zoom (not a huge lens by wildlife or sports photo standards) and can readily use down to 1/15 second exposure.

    Using it with my Plaubel Makina 6x7, I have pulled off 1/2 second exposures. It takes some work & practice, but I'm sure you could do it too. I will say that years of target shooting have aided me in doing this as I am well aware of my breathing and heart rate. I find that, just like with shooting, pushing the shutter with a gentle exhale helps.

    With target guns you can work with the trigger action & double set triggers, etc. for a really light release. Unfortunately, you can "tune" a camera release system to that level. But, what you can do is learn the amount of pressure it takes to release the shutter, and push down on the shutter button just short of releasing it. Then when you make the exposure, gently push the rest of the way & hold so that you don't get a "stab & release" that jerks the camera.

    What you're trying to do is take all of the extra travel out so that you're minimizing the motion & pressure required to release the shutter. Like most every endeavor, this will take a little practice until you develop your techniques and sense of where the trip point is for your camera. I'd suggest using your camera with a range of lenses & no film and practice "dry firing" the camera until you become used to the camera and monopod.
     
  7. Lemastre

    Lemastre Member

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    As already noted, when properly used, the monopod is the third leg of a tripod for which the photographer provides the other two. Even when the monopod is not inclined to rest the camera against your head, it stabilizes the camera a lot.
     
  8. harry

    harry Member

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    a little late, but I'd like to add that with longish lenses, it helps to
    throw your arm over the lens. I shot this one with a long lens
    at either 1/4 or 1/2 second, I can't remember which:

    http://homepage.mac.com/harrystone/gallery/photo5.html

    The grain is from 3200 speed film. Yes, it was *very* dark.
     
  9. Mark in SD

    Mark in SD Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (harry @ Apr 2 2003, 06:53 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> a little late, but I'd like to add that with longish lenses, it helps to
    throw your arm over the lens. I shot this one with a long lens
    at either 1/4 or 1/2 second, I can't remember which:

    http://homepage.mac.com/harrystone/gallery/photo5.html

    The grain is from 3200 speed film. Yes, it was *very* dark. </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Hmmm...Impressive (at least to me). I didn't get the Monopod yet (still hauling around my tripod). I think I may need to revisit this.