Monopods and Shutter Speeds- Help
I am currently doing a lot of 35mm hand-held shooting which just seems to be right on the edge of acceptable shutter speeds. I am not keen to use a tripod as I want better speed and manoeuverabilty (and there is the issue or bulk) but am not sure how much help monopods can give in terms of shutter speed.
'I know this is a bit of a how long is a piece of string' question, but how helpful have you monopod users found them for allowing you to shoot at slower speeds than would be possible hand-held without camera shake being evident?? Of course they do double as a handy quarter staff too!
I was using one last night at a soccer game with a Pentax 645 and 200 lens. I like the general mobility that it allows and as optic focal length goes up, the gains are more noticeable. Monos are especially effective at getting rid of that magnified jitter that everyone has, to some extent. In reality, I would expect you to gain a couple of shutter speeds. When desperate, you can triangulate by leaning, wrapping a leg, etc to gain some control. I've gotten so accustomed to it that I use it more than I'd likely need to but it's also a nice way to balance and transport the camera on your shoulder and can serve as a walking stick in some situations. It also makes a decent perch for film changes when you're in situations that don't allow sitting down, etc.
There are many claims by people of handheld successes but my feeling is that they would have a much higher success rate with more control over their rigs. Your final print sizes have a big effect on this, too. Perfectly acceptable snapshots can be quite dreadful and useless as enlargements. I tend to go out with an 8X10 minimum in my mind and it takes solid technique to consistently shoot keeper 8X10's and larger in the field.
Last edited by craigclu; 04-09-2006 at 01:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I go with Craig on this one, and suggest a 2 or 3 stop advantage would be a resonable expectation.
My experience agrees (for the most) with the above comments. I'd ballpark 1-2 stop improvement, though. I use monopod mostly with MF cameras in square (6x6) format. Works FANTASTIC. My only reluctance with using monopod with 35mm is that it inhibits change of format... horizontal (landscape) framing) to vertical (portrait) framing. I suppose a ball head would fix that but I've never even put a head on my monopod. Give it a try.. they are affordable and I'll guarantee that you'll find it a useful tool.
I have a small little head that bogen made specifically for monopod use, that allows you to go from hortizontal to vertical very quickly, it is just a tilt head....works very well and quickly in those times you need to change orientation...I would say a two stop gain is about the average on a mono over hand held, depending on the technique you develop.
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I got a monopod a couple of years ago and I have to tell you, it is the coolest walking stick I have ever had. It brings up all kinds of photography discussions on the trail. People see it and ask to see my camera. But I have not used it since no more than a month after buying it. Because, I can prop myself up against a tree or on a fencepost or lay down or any number of things to steady myself and I don't have to screw my camera on or off the monopod and worry about walking-stick-like-use damaging the camera that is firmly affixed to it. So, FOR ME, it is the coolest walking stick I have ever had.
"Wubba, wubba, wubba. Bing, bang, bong. Yuck, yuck, yuck and a fiddle-dee-dee." - The Yeti
I'd say 1-2 stops is about right. It does depend on the style of photography and the weight of the camera. Hand-holding involves camera motion in three dimensions. With a monopod the motion is more constrained (roughly along the surface of a sphere with a radius of the monopod height).
I have a small ball head on mine that allows me to adjust the angle. I like the foot of the monopod to be forward of the camera itself.
Other thoughts at : http://www.gapatterson.org/photos/monopod.html
Last edited by grahamp; 04-09-2006 at 12:38 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Punctuation (or lack of it)
I feel, therefore I photograph.
Ha... did forget to mention... my monopod-happiness guarantee... it's not valid for residents of the state of Delaware. :-)
Originally Posted by flash19901
Please, let me footstomp one item mentioned there that hasn't yet been mentioned here... quick release plate.
Originally Posted by grahamp
Since I usually shoot square format I put a quick-release (QR) adapter on the monopod rather than a ball or three-way head. With or without a head, the QR makes life a lot more convenient... especially with TLRs that must be removed from the pod to reload film. The Rolleifix and Hassy QR adapters that I use are secure enough to carry the camera on the monopod for long hikes, but I am reluctant to "throw it over my shoulder".
I've found my monopod to be more usable after I attached a Bogen 3025 compact head (1.2#) to it. It makes for quick horiz/vert changes and is solid enough to control Pentax 67 duties. That's likely about the most one would apply monopods to, I would think? On some longer, more rugged hikes, I've put the camera back into a case and indeed, used the mono as a walking aid. I've got the heavier duty Bogen (can't recall the # as I type this) but it seems capable of pole vault duty and is extremely durable.