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01-02-2017, 08:38 AM   #1
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What to look for in a mono pod?

I have a Mannfroto tripod with a quick release head. I'd like to stay with Mannfroto and get a mono-pod that has the same release system. They have a huge assortment...I have no idea what the advantages and disadvantages of each are.

I want something that is sturdy and easy easy to use.

One interesting thing I'll note is that I have a bi-pod gun rest that works really slick in that you can operate it with one hand. By squeezing a lever just below the head and you can slide the legs up and down and then lock them by releasing the lever.
Has anyone seen anything like that?

Thanks

01-02-2017, 08:57 AM   #2
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Monopods are simpler because you have to hold it anyway. There's no inherent stability or weight limits in them.

It pretty much comes down to ergonomics: weight of the monopod, size folded up, clips, durability, etc.
01-02-2017, 09:35 AM   #3
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There's lots of online info: both written and videos. Several vidoes on good technique - well worth checking out. This link covers a lot of the salient points.

Monopod Reviews, tips on using monopods, their features and advantages

Don't #1: get a cheapo with a fixed head. Lots of opinions on whether to use a head, and which one. I use a basic manfrotto 484RC ballhead, I fnd with long lenses being able to tilt the lens without shifting from a braced position is beneficial. Cheap clone manfrotto QR plates are readily available very cheap. PS I ended up making long plates to balance several of these long lenses.
I acquired a s/h calumet CF for a good price. it's not really that its lighter, choice of head affects weight more, it's more rigid than alu. But apart from that I can suggest that functionality between models is mostly the same.

Last edited by marcusBMG; 01-02-2017 at 09:46 AM.
01-02-2017, 09:40 AM   #4
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My dad uses this one: Manfrotto 334B Automatic Monopod (Black) - Supports 17.6 334B It adjusts via a grip handle like what you mentioned. Just transfer your existing ball head over or add a small Manfrotto head and you'll be set.

01-02-2017, 01:47 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone. The 334B looks really good. I'll check into it further.
01-02-2017, 01:52 PM   #6
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Out of practicality, I like a monopod that doubles as a walking stick; ideally one that supports at least 30 lbs.
Iʻve had too many leg flip locks break, so now I prefer less convenient but more durable twist locks.
Iʻve seen aluminum legs accidentally bent and rendered useless, and so I prefer carbon fiber as it is also lighter. Sirui, Benro, Induro, and FLM all make very good versions, with Gitzo the quality king at a premium price.

If you can live with aluminum, then MeFoto has a ridiculously inexpensive monopod with all the other features (sans head) and in NINE colors!
MeFOTO WalkAbout Aluminum Monopod (Green) A35WG B&H Photo Video

At that price, you could buy all nine for the price of one Gitzo.
01-02-2017, 02:44 PM   #7
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I own a manfrotto column clamp 349 designed for a 25-28 mm columns. I want to find a monopod where I Could use this clamp in the highest sections. Any suggestións ?
01-02-2017, 02:46 PM   #8
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So after reading reviews I like the Manfrotto 685B.
Ball head with quick release or swivel head?

01-02-2017, 03:42 PM   #9
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Some feedback using three different monopods

G'day,

My apologies as my posts are long-winded, I tend to write novels but hopefully the following will be of assistance.

Executive summary

  • Try and stick to the lightweight options for both the monopod and head but be aware that using a heavy lens should be considered when you make your purchase as changing to FF exceeded the safe working limits of one I found suitable for APSC.
  • I have only used one type available though the extra stability of the monopod with feet is my preference having used it. Note: they are heavier and might not be suitable for all your intended uses.
  • The weight of the head will add to the instability of the top heavy load though my recommendation is to find one that; only tilts if you're using a lens with a collar, or one that moves in multiple directions like a ballhead with adjustable resistance (for stability and a straight horizon when tracking your subject).
  • A shoulder strap is next on my list of things to round out my monopod set up, as carrying multiple lenses plus a camera and the monopod is a bit of a juggle. I'm not sure what lens you're intending to use, whether it's for sports or extra support in low light but a shoulder strap is likely to be useful for freeing up hands or covering longer distances.
The novel

I've been using monopods for sports / action over several years and this is my experience with the monopods I've used.

The first monopod I picked up is this one: SLIK SLKMP350AF & AF110E Head Monopod Review DC Cameras & Optics It's a lightweight inexpensive unit that came with a pistol grip head and it was fine with the weight of the K5 and DA*300. It was simple to use and carry, the head wasn't too heavy and the quick release plate is always a handy thing to have as often I would swap between the monopod and shooting unsupported or using a fence etc. The problem with the pistol grip head is you have to squeeze the handle to unlock so I would find I'd be holding the camera body with the right hand and the left hand would hold the pistol grip unlocked to allow panning and tilt. As I use a hand grip the camera/lens always felt secure despite this awkard grip approach, though there are better solutions available to avoid holding a head unlocked. The beauty of the pistol grip heads was the stability it had when locked. A ballhead when loose on top of a monopod isn't as stable so having my left hand on the pistol grip actually kept the movement under better control than having both on the camera/lens. I say this as a result of my more recent experiences with different equipment. A point to note here is I was shooting with a long AF prime so I didn't need to worry about zooming with the left hand.

My second monopod purchase was prompted by the purchase of the K-1 and the D-FA 150-450. I went out with the new camera / lens and the lightweight monopod and found the extra weight caused it to flex. I perservered for the one outing but realised it could be an expensive outcome if it were to fail when in use. The Slik monopod is only rated to 3kg, so to continue with that option made no sense. I did some research and based on my previous experience I went out and grabbed this monopod: Manfrotto MVM250A Aluminum Video Monopod with Fluid Base MVM250A It is fine with the extra weight and whilst it's marketed as a video monopod, it's fluid base works like a ball head. The three legs are the real bonus as it's more stable than a 'normal' monopod. It's better for tracking too as you rotate on the base, though I've found the base to be a bit sticky. I think this might be due to fine dirt ingress so I'm looking for a solution. The base also allows tilting so I first tried the K-1/150-450 combo without a head. This worked but not to my liking. I would unlock the tripod collar to keep the horizon level whilst tracking but it all felt a bit awkward. I subsequently picked up a video/photo head: Manfrotto MH055M8-Q5 Photo-Movie Tripod Head With Q5 MH055M8-Q5 but it's heavy and expensive for my requirements. I really only needed a tilt head and finding one to support the weight was pushing me away from the less expensive/lighter options. I also found that having the collar unlocked and the head set up as a ballhead it could become unstable which is not good with so much weight at the top. So I needed some flexibility but with sufficient stability for the K-1/150-450.

Having given up on finding a compact lightweight head rated for the K-1 and 150-450 I decided to jump into a gimbal head and picked up this one: Tripod Heads for Still Photography | B&H Photo Video I've not required it yet though hope to get out soon and see how it goes. I'm hoping this head will sort out my vibration issues with the Geared Head on my tripod when using this heavier combo as well as providing a controllable tilt motion for the monopods.

Monopods? You mean there's more? Alas, this is why I pre-empted with 'my posts are long-winded'.

Of course having made my monopod purchase I was happy until I thought it was time to go back to the coast and capture some surfers. It was at this point that I became concerned of the potential for sand to damage the fluid base, something I didn't think of when opting for that monopod. You can buy the fluid base separately but how often would I have to do this? Anyhoo, a camera store was having a sale and I stupidly looked in and next thing you know I grabberd another monopod: Manfrotto XPRO Over 4-Section Aluminum Monopod MMXPROA4US B&H This has seen only the one outing so far as I've yet to get to a local surfing spot. I liked the light weight and compact form though when I started using it I realised how much I missed the stability of the small tripod foot on my other monopod.

Having written all that I wouldn't blame you for thinking I'd complain if I was given a Ferrari in the wrong colour. Now whilst this is true, I think the above tale is more about adapting to changes and the risks in more complex solutions being less suitable to some environments/uses. So now you see, I could have said all the above in a couple of lines, but then there'd be no novel.

Good luck

Tas
01-02-2017, 05:14 PM   #10
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Tas,

Thanks for the novel....I always enjoy a good read. Now I'm more confused than ever !

Since I have never used a monopod; please explain the purpose of the fluid base? Does it lock the monopod at angles? I realize it provides stability, but how so more than just the single tip by which you would pivot at any angle...I assume?

Regarding your sticky base, you might want to consider trying "WD-40 Specialist" water proofing and lubricating silicone spray. This is NOT the regular WD-40 which purpose is to displace water. Until you mentioned the problem of the sticky base I would not have thought about this spray for such use. However, I spray my entire Yamaha ATV with it and the dirt does not stick. Mud and water run off and the entire machine can easily be hosed off with no residue left behind for the most part.
01-02-2017, 06:00 PM   #11
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I think everyone has their own preferences when it comes to camera support. I purchased a Manfrotto 3006 junior in the mid-90's for the trails of the Rocky Mountains. It came with me on several tours of Europe, one to South America, and I've lost track on other trips throughout North America. It collapses to fit in a carry-on roller bag and in addition to still and video photography, doubled as a my walking stick.

For the first dozen years, I just added a quick release. About eight years ago I added a small inexpensive Giottos ball head and started to carry a roll of double sided Velcro tape. In a pinch, I can strap the monopod to something like a park bench with the Velcro for long exposures and still adjust the framing with the ball head.

The only maintenance for the past 20 years is the addition of Shoe Goo to rebuild the plastic foot cap. As to that foot... it is one of my preferences. This monopod does not have a spike. When touring, most museums won't permit any form of tripod or monopod, but have no problems with walking assistance devices. Since a monopod can be either a camera support or a walking stick, the differentiator in many cases is the foot. If there is a spike, even if retractable, it won't be allowed.
01-02-2017, 06:07 PM   #12
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Smart - thanks for the tip!
01-02-2017, 07:13 PM   #13
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I have a walking/hiking stick that doubles as a monopod by removing the top ball to reveal a 1/4"-20 stud. I recently bought two Oben QR assemblies and I use one on the ball head on my tripod and the other on a swivel mount I attach to my monopod. This means that I can keep a plate on my camera and mount it to either my tripod or monopod easily. I prefer to use a swivel mount on the monopod as I just find it easier to use than the ball head.

The walking/hiking stick monopod comes with a removable rubber foot that reveals a tungsten carbide tip for icy conditions and a snow basket for snowy conditions. I use it as my regular walking cane when it's not in use as a monopod.

This is the walking/hiking stick monopod: Telescoping Hiking Stick - Lee Valley Tools

This is the swivel head I use: Vanguard PH-10 Camera Pan Head: Amazon.ca: Camera & Photo but it looks like it may have been discontinued by Vanguard now.
01-02-2017, 09:58 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Shakey Quote
Tas,

Thanks for the novel....I always enjoy a good read. Now I'm more confused than ever !

Since I have never used a monopod; please explain the purpose of the fluid base? Does it lock the monopod at angles? I realize it provides stability, but how so more than just the single tip by which you would pivot at any angle...I assume?

Regarding your sticky base, you might want to consider trying "WD-40 Specialist" water proofing and lubricating silicone spray. This is NOT the regular WD-40 which purpose is to displace water. Until you mentioned the problem of the sticky base I would not have thought about this spray for such use. However, I spray my entire Yamaha ATV with it and the dirt does not stick. Mud and water run off and the entire machine can easily be hosed off with no residue left behind for the most part.
Confusion was my aim, so that worked. That or I'm just really bad at explaining stuff...

Anyhoo, this video shows an earlier version of the tripod foot for the monopod I was referring to, hopefully this clears it up a bit:

Tas
01-03-2017, 02:52 AM   #15
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I have used for years the Manfrotto 680B without drama, both with and without tilt heads for big lenses, never quite seen the need for a ball head as you can move the monopod about quite easily.

Manfrotto 680B Mono Pod reviews - Pentax Camera Accessory Review Database
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