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08-25-2013, 02:20 PM   #1
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Tripod vs monopod

Hi, i am in the market of a tripod (most of all for birds and wildlife but also for landscapes(from time to time) and i step into monopods, i think that a monopod could help more (easier to set up to move around etc) when you are shooting birds or wildlife, they are cheaper too, What do you think? o should i stick to a tripod.

thanks.

08-25-2013, 02:48 PM   #2
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I am not into birding, however I cannot imagine how I would use a tripod for birds. I would be too slow with it. Though I am sure plenty of people use them because they need them for the extreme telephoto lens. It is probably something you get better at with time. However, I cannot imagine shooting landscape on monopod. It would be only marginally better than hand holding and for the cases when you really need stabilization you still have to have a tripod.
08-25-2013, 02:51 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlosodze Quote
Hi, i am in the market of a tripod (most of all for birds and wildlife but also for landscapes(from time to time) and i step into monopods, i think that a monopod could help more (easier to set up to move around etc) when you are shooting birds or wildlife, they are cheaper too, What do you think? o should i stick to a tripod.

thanks.
Makes sense. If you want a tripod, you will have to pay a great deal of money. I had a Hama tripod that is supposed to be good; broke after three weeks.

A monopod along these lines is what I am thinking of:

http://www.foto-video.at/catalog/images/manfrotto_682B.jpg
08-25-2013, 03:20 PM   #4
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Hot about a real tripod that converts to a monopod?

08-25-2013, 03:33 PM   #5
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It would better help if you could articulate what kind of bird photography you are aiming to do. A monopod in my experience is only useful for relatively static birds that are in a predictable location, say floating on a pond on a straight plane. For birds in flight or songbirds that flit among branches, a monopod will slow your movements. It is best to develop your hand-holding technique with long lenses.

A tripod is useful if you are aiming at a bird that just sits on a branch for a period of time--enough to setup your equipment. Bald eagles on dead trees is an example in my experience.

I don't use either a monopod nor a tripod for shooting birds--or sports. Landscapes, however, do benefit from a tripod.

M
08-25-2013, 03:39 PM   #6
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Monopod all the way.

I only use my tripod for things that are completely static and need a long exposure.

If I need to move at all, it's always the monopod



as a bonus, I sometimes use the monopod as a stock when I have one of the heavier lenses on the camera.
Basically rotate the monopod head so that the camera is pointing parallel to the monopod (ie: monopod on ground, camera straight up) then you can either tuck the monopod under your armpit for a little extra stability.

It's not ideal, but it can help.




As for landscapes, tripod every time (unless it's daylight and you don't intend to stitch any images, then you can often just handhold)
08-25-2013, 03:57 PM   #7
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If you shoot landscapes a tripod is better. Fr birding, only if you are dealing with a lens in the 2.5 kilo plus range, or terribly imbalanced otherwise a monopod allows more freedom.. Tripods are good however for shooting from a blind or fixed location, but you can spend as much as some lenses on a good tripod and gimbal head.
08-25-2013, 04:29 PM   #8
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I am still not sure haha, i never owned a tripod and i think i would miss it if i need it in some specific situation, but a monood seems more practical, i am afraid of loosing good images setting up the tripod,
is there a huge diference shooting hand-held and with a monopod? otherwise i think i might take the first pictures hand-held and if the creature stay around set up the tripod.

thanks for your answers.
QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
Hot about a real tripod that converts to a monopod?
can you recommend a good and affordable tripod/monopod?

08-25-2013, 04:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlosodze Quote
is there a huge diference shooting hand-held and with a monopod?
Yes. Any camera support (tripod or monopod) that touches the ground or something solid will result in sharper photos, even with fast shutter speeds (and of course, with slower shutter speeds). Since you can't always take a tripod or monopod with you, read this to make your "handheld" shots even better (and note that he uses solid objects for support).

QuoteOriginally posted by carlosodze Quote
can you recommend a good and affordable tripod/monopod?
For ones that convert from tripod to monpod, look for Benro "Travel Angel" and Sirui "N-series" or "M-Series" tripods. You can find them on eBay for around $200 for the aluminum versions. The ones linked are very good, and even have decent ball heads included (in some cases), and aluminum is not much heavier (but a lot cheaper) than carbon-fiber. For tripods, consider the size of the tripod when closed, as well as when fully extended... if you are really tall, this can make a difference!

Last edited by panoguy; 08-25-2013 at 05:02 PM.
08-25-2013, 05:54 PM   #10
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All the photography books will tell you the best way to improve your images is to buy a good tripod and use it. They are correct. That being said, I don't shoot from a blind and find my tripod is too bulky and awkward for the type of casual birding I do. The best tripod in the world is pretty much useless if it never leaves the closet. I find a monpod much easier to carry around and it seems to work well with my largest lens, a M 400/5.6. Any lens longer than this focal length would almost certainly require a tripod for best results. In any case try both and see which suits your style of shooting.

Tom G

Last edited by 8540tomg; 08-30-2013 at 11:18 AM.
08-25-2013, 06:06 PM   #11
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Monopod for bird photography if you typically walk and shoot opportunistically -- tripod with gimbal head if you typically set up in a fixed location and wait for the birds to come to you. If your gear is heavy enough to make hand holding a challenge, then adding a tilt head to the monopod makes a big difference in the ability to shoot at acute angles while maintaining good support. I use a Gitzo 3 series monopod with a Sirui L-10 tilt head and am very happy with that combo. Pay careful attention to the leg locks -- I had an otherwise fine Chinese-brand carbon fiber monopod that would collapse on me if I hadn't twisted all the leg locks really hard. For that reason I think latch locks are better on cheaper equipment. The Gitzo twist locks take only a quarter of a turn to tighten enough to hold and they tighten up themselves as more weight is applied.
08-26-2013, 07:37 AM   #12
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I shoot birds more than anything else, and the only time I can use a tripod or monopod is when I'm in my mini blind, and even then not often. Time is the issue. Long before I can get a tripod set up, the bird is long gone. So I shoot 99% hand held.

As far as monopod or tripod goes, a tripod can pretty easily double as a monopod, just extend one leg and it's a rather heavy monopod. That said, I prefer a lighter weight monopod if I'm going to use one at all. But for birds, I almost never carry either. I'll bring the monopod along when I set up the mini blind, quite often I'll only be looking out one 4 inch hole, so it's usable. Any other time it's all hand held and I'm so accustomed to it I don't often use the thing even if I have it on hand...
08-26-2013, 10:51 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
I shoot birds more than anything else, and the only time I can use a tripod or monopod is when I'm in my mini blind, and even then not often. Time is the issue. Long before I can get a tripod set up, the bird is long gone. So I shoot 99% hand held.
To the OP, I'd suggest doing this first then figure out if you really need a monopod.
08-26-2013, 11:20 AM   #14
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The bit issue with monopod is balance. If you can balance the lens/camera combo on the lens tripod foot a monopod is a great option. Unbalanced lenses are a nightmare on a monopod
08-27-2013, 07:03 AM   #15
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Have both. Horses for courses. If I need to move about, then a monopod is the go. Much better trying to follow moving objects also. Or if in rough country or lots of people about, eg an airshow. Use a Manfrotto RC2 plate mount on both, so easy to move between them if required.
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