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08-30-2013, 08:05 PM   #1
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Tripod vs monopod

Hey everyone. Im going to get a k5ii and a 150-500 sigma for christmas as i do bird photography. I want to get a tripod or mono pod but i dont know what would be better. I would like it to be under $150. If i got a teipod i would get this.. Oben AC-1310 3-Section Aluminum Tripod with BA-0 AC-1310/BA-0

But i dont know what monopod.

Thanks for your help.

08-30-2013, 08:49 PM   #2
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Tripods are a bit cumbersome if you plan on moving around much. I don't do birds, but I use a monopod from time to time with the bigger lenses.

Its a Manfrotto 679B that has only 2 clamps, with a tilt head. I think the whole thing was $80 or so.
08-30-2013, 08:53 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
Tripods are a bit cumbersome if you plan on moving around much. I don't do birds, but I use a monopod from time to time with the bigger lenses.

Its a Manfrotto 679B that has only 2 clamps, with a tilt head. I think the whole thing was $80 or so.
Thanks ill check it out also what head would you recomend? I was thinking a ball head maybe?
Thanks
08-30-2013, 08:58 PM   #4
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I have some tilt-type with a tightening screw, can't remember which.

08-30-2013, 09:23 PM   #5
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For a monopod I prefer a tilt only as SpecialK recommends.

I use the Manfrotto 234 head to which I have adapted an Arca Swiss clamp since I use Arca Swiss plates.
Manfrotto 234 Swivel/Tilt Monopod Head - Supports 5.5 lbs 234
08-30-2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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What specifics about bird photography do you shoot? I only find a monopod useful for slow moving or static birds that are on a somewhat straight plane, like a few waterfowl. Same can be said for a tripod aimed at raptors who are sittin' on a dead limb. Both supports slow me down too much when shooting more challenging fare such as songbirds and birds in flight.

My monopod is a Giottos, sturdy but light. I liked it better than the similar Manfrotto.


M
08-30-2013, 09:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
What specifics about bird photography do you shoot? I only find a monopod useful for slow moving or static birds that are on a somewhat straight plane, like a few waterfowl. Same can be said for a tripod aimed at raptors who are sittin' on a dead limb. Both supports slow me down too much when shooting more challenging fare such as songbirds and birds in flight.

My monopod is a Giottos, sturdy but light. I liked it better than the similar Manfrotto.


M
I do enjoy doing BIF's but i usually shoot pirched birds and anything from pardelotes to kookubarras. When i do BIFs its usually eagles that are really far away or pacific bazas about 10m away but they fly slow.

Also i was thinking if i got the tripod and didnt put the legs out but extended them, would it do the same job as a mono?
Thanks
08-31-2013, 02:17 AM   #8
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For Birding a tripod is better than a monopod. as you will have to stand still for longer periods of time while waiting for the birds. Then you can rest (and have a drink or so). (and yes, there can be long waits for the birds to come back if you scared them off with some noise).

08-31-2013, 02:44 AM   #9
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It really depends on your shootingstyle: a tripod is more suitable when working from a hideout, a monopod is more mobile.
I think you better start with a monopod (and tilthead) because you like to do BIF`s too and the small budget. (I`ve got a manfrotto 680B for €50,-)

But, FWIW, I find the sigma150-500 quite easy to handhold due to the OS. But I do have a batterygrip on the K5 for balance.
08-31-2013, 07:20 AM   #10
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I find for shooting birds my tripod and monopod are both almost useless, except when I'm sitting in a miniblind, then I use a monopod occasionally. I'm usually only using one small opening, so it's feasible. Even then I normally shoot handheld, with no swivel head it's difficult to shoot anything above me. Walking around or sitting in one place either one hinders me when shooting birds, especially flying. By the time I get it pointed in the right direction the bird is long gone. So when walking around I never carry either one, even if I plan to sit on a bench on one of the nature trails. I shoot almost all hand held, I missed too many shots early on trying to use a tripod. I tried it for several months, after missing a bunch of shots because I couldn't be instantly pointed where I needed to be, I started leaving it at home. (OK now I have 4 I think so one is always in the Jeep too)

Yes a tripod will double as a monopod quite easily, I usually just extend one leg, that's all I need. But it is heavier than a monopod. To keep it from opening by accident a short bungie cord can be wrapped around it, won't add much weight.
08-31-2013, 01:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
I find for shooting birds my tripod and monopod are both almost useless, except when I'm sitting in a miniblind, then I use a monopod occasionally. I'm usually only using one small opening, so it's feasible. Even then I normally shoot handheld, with no swivel head it's difficult to shoot anything above me. Walking around or sitting in one place either one hinders me when shooting birds, especially flying. By the time I get it pointed in the right direction the bird is long gone. So when walking around I never carry either one, even if I plan to sit on a bench on one of the nature trails. I shoot almost all hand held, I missed too many shots early on trying to use a tripod. I tried it for several months, after missing a bunch of shots because I couldn't be instantly pointed where I needed to be, I started leaving it at home. (OK now I have 4 I think so one is always in the Jeep too)

Yes a tripod will double as a monopod quite easily, I usually just extend one leg, that's all I need. But it is heavier than a monopod. To keep it from opening by accident a short bungie cord can be wrapped around it, won't add much weight.
Thanks. I think ill go with a tripod as i do just like to sit and wait if i scare a bird away it will usually come back 10 or so mins later. Thanks for everyones help
08-31-2013, 03:53 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
I find for shooting birds my tripod and monopod are both almost useless..........................By the time I get it pointed in the right direction the bird is long gone. ................................I missed too many shots early on trying to use a tripod....................... I tried it for several months, after missing a bunch of shots because I couldn't be instantly pointed where I needed to be.
+1

Been there, done that.
In fact, since buying one (a good Giottos) I find that a monopod is next to useless for all photography, I haven't found any situation where hand held isn't just as good.
I can be useful for a camcorder though.
08-31-2013, 07:04 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paleo Pete Quote
I find for shooting birds my tripod and monopod are both almost useless, except when I'm sitting in a miniblind, then I use a monopod occasionally. I'm usually only using one small opening, so it's feasible. Even then I normally shoot handheld, with no swivel head it's difficult to shoot anything above me. Walking around or sitting in one place either one hinders me when shooting birds, especially flying. By the time I get it pointed in the right direction the bird is long gone. So when walking around I never carry either one, even if I plan to sit on a bench on one of the nature trails. I shoot almost all hand held, I missed too many shots early on trying to use a tripod. I tried it for several months, after missing a bunch of shots because I couldn't be instantly pointed where I needed to be, I started leaving it at home. (OK now I have 4 I think so one is always in the Jeep too)

Yes a tripod will double as a monopod quite easily, I usually just extend one leg, that's all I need. But it is heavier than a monopod. To keep it from opening by accident a short bungie cord can be wrapped around it, won't add much weight.
Yeah, I agree with this approach pretty much verbatim. Extra hardware gets in the way, plus it weighs. Even though I use a Canon 7D & a stabilized lens for birds and sports, I almost always disable IS to gain a bit of reaction time.

M
09-01-2013, 09:19 PM   #14
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Hi Reptilezz,

I've been primarily a Pentax DSLR birder for about 8 years, and I have to disagree with the statement that tripods are essentially useless for this. I shoot opportunistically and never from blinds or using camo, but I prefer to shoot close, and having the camera/lens mounted on a tripod + gimbal keeps it at eye level and ready to go which minimizes my movement (and the birds' reaction to this motion). It also demands much less from me physically, especially when I'm using my biggest glass (300mm f2.8 lenses with single or stacked TCs). I can take my eye from the VF to chimp or check something else without losing my subject in the VF -- target reacquisition with long glass is frustrating and time wasting. I often use a Red Dot scope mounted on my flash shoe as a spotting scope to cut down on acquisition time. Having a stable support base makes this even easier.

My favorite camera lens combo is a K-5IIs with an FA* 300/4.5 + F 1.7x Autofocusing Adapter (510mm f7.7), and I usually shoot this handheld. I used to regularly go out with two bodies, the second with a 300/2.8 + the AFA (510mm f4.8) or with the AFA stacked on a 1.4x TC (714mm f6.7) mounted on a tripod with a Wimberley Sidekick. Lately, my two camera kit is same handheld combo and I have added a Q with probably an adapted DA 55-300 (307mm - 1674mm 135mm EQ) on a lightweight tripod with the Sidekick. On occasion I'll shoot the Q combo handheld and tripod mount the K-5 kit, and this has worked out well also. I'm capable of getting good results with handholding, but get a significantly higher percentage from a tripod.

Bottom line -- adding the tripod/gimbal has made it easier to increase my percentage and consistency in getting the high feather detail shots that I want. Shooting long glass always means slower max apertures for most, and this causes slower shutter speeds. SR is nice, but it's really no substitute for solid support for IQ consistency at slower shutter speeds or with extreme FL EQs with wild subjects. There's less movement involved, and once the birds get used to my presence, they act more natural and give me more and better opportunities to shoot them at close range. This might not be for everyone, but it's far from useless.

Scott
09-01-2013, 11:03 PM   #15
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As a total-neophyte bird photographer, why not skip the tripod and monopod and just shoot on TAv at 1/1000 sec and f/11 ... with the ISO left floating to wherever it wants to go? With a K-30 and 55-300mm lens at 300mm, I've found that this works with airplanes in daylight, using the C Continuous Focus switch setting.

I'd bet that -- theoretically -- there is absolutely zero need for a tripod at 1/1500 second or faster. So then image quality becomes a trade-off between the DOF you want, and ISO. On the K-30, ISO 400 is always acceptable ... and 800 quite often, depending on the picture.

What do you bird photographers think? Toss those tripods?
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