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11-18-2009, 10:23 PM   #1
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Does having a STURDY monopod matter?

I recently the effects of SR with a 300mm lens. Since then, I tested the effects of throwing a monopod into the mix. Very much to my surprise, I found that, even with SR on, the monopod at best made no difference, and in some cases made things worse. The only place where it helped a little was at 3-stops less than 1/focal length.

So the only explanation I can come up with is that my monopod is too flimsy. I did notice that, while the amplitude of the movement was less with the monopod, there was more of a high frequency wobble when using it. Maybe the SR is less suited to handling this type of high frequency movement, as compared to how it handles the lower frequency but higher amplitude movement associated with pure handholding.

So my question is, does having a sturdy monopod make a big difference compared to a flimsy one? Should I go out and a get a better monopod (mine is a real cheapo one), or am I better off just going either handheld with SR on, or on a tripod with SR off?

Thanks!

11-18-2009, 10:28 PM   #2
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Turn off your SR when using a tripod/monopod. If you don't it can result in more "shake."
11-18-2009, 10:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ramair455 Quote
Turn off your SR when using a tripod/monopod. If you don't it can result in more "shake."
I know that's the case for using a tripod, but I don't think it's the case for using a monopod. When I used to use a monopod with my Canon system and an IS lens at 400mm, I had the impression the IS was helping (or at least not hurting). And it was not one of the lenses that can automatically turn off IS when it senses it's on a tripod. Perhaps the Pentax SR system is not good at handling the type of shake associated with monopod use, where the Canon IS system is?
11-18-2009, 11:09 PM   #4
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I use a monopod all the time with my Pentax DSLRs. Turn shake reduction off.

11-18-2009, 11:12 PM   #5
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I would turn off the SR if you are using a monopod, unless you are using a shutter speed well under the normal adviseable one. Any SR won't help a steady monopod shot. But if you're too steady, any stabilization might jiggle on you.

Beyond that, just go ahead and try.
11-19-2009, 12:09 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by snofox Quote
I use a monopod all the time with my Pentax DSLRs. Turn shake reduction off.
So are you saying the results for you are worse with a monopod with SR on?
11-19-2009, 12:11 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ratmagiclady Quote
I would turn off the SR if you are using a monopod, unless you are using a shutter speed well under the normal adviseable one. Any SR won't help a steady monopod shot. But if you're too steady, any stabilization might jiggle on you.

Beyond that, just go ahead and try.
Ya - the problem is, it seems my monopod shots aren't so steady. As I eluded to before, it could just be that my monopod is too wobbly, and I should invest in a more sturdy one. Because man, a monopod is great for taking the weight off a heavy lens
11-19-2009, 03:01 AM   #8
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Get a more sturdy monopod and compare results with your old monopod with SR turned on and off. I also soot with my SR off with my "El Cheapo" monopod as it aint sturdy at all when fully extended.........


Last edited by res3567; 11-19-2009 at 08:47 PM.
11-19-2009, 05:48 AM   #9
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I use a Manfrotto 681B monopod with my K200, 300mm combo all the time. I have tested my shots with SR on and off. I leave the SR on when using the combo now.
Not everyone can hold a monopod so still in every scenario.
11-19-2009, 06:10 AM   #10
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I think regarding stiffness the limits of monopod effectiveness are fairly clear:

(1) No stiffness is equivalent to no monopod.
(2) Infinite stiffness restricts the camera to rotation around the monopod's support point and increases resistance to camera motion.

In between all bets are off - it is conceivable that slight changes in monopod stiffness might make big changes in camera vibration motion - like the resonance of a violin string at a particular frequency. (this implies a monopod might be "tuned" to avoid resonance! Hmmmmm....)

I'll be interested to hear your results. (I use a pretty flexible shooting stick & am pleased with the results.)

Dave in Iowa

Last edited by newarts; 11-19-2009 at 07:27 AM.
11-20-2009, 08:54 AM   #11
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I use a monopod all the time with my telephotos, I get much better results. It does need to be sturdy as that is the point of using one. Mine also doubles as a hiking stick.
11-20-2009, 10:04 AM   #12
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If I am shooting sports with fast shutter speeds, I turn SR off. If my shutter is slower, I leave it on, since I can see through the VF it isn't nearly as steady as a tripod (wrt to left/right movement, even when bracing it against my thigh and inside of foot)

Have not done real tests.

Last edited by Eruditass; 11-20-2009 at 12:03 PM.
11-20-2009, 12:01 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
I think regarding stiffness the limits of monopod effectiveness are fairly clear:

(1) No stiffness is equivalent to no monopod.
Unless... you're just in a place where physically holding the camera (and your arms) up is taking your steadiness away. Stiffness is of course better, but taking up the weight counts for something.
11-20-2009, 12:20 PM   #14
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I tend to use a monopod as a walking stick. I like a solid one.
11-20-2009, 12:37 PM   #15
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Stiffness might not matter as much as one might think at first.

I think the camera motion that gives rise to the 1/f rule is rotation about the camera's lens (like nodding yes or no). The nodding "no" motion can be easily frustrated by a monopod with a big rubber foot compared to a monopod with an easily rotated hard pointed foot. The nodding "yes" motion can be frustrated by a non-pivoting mounting of the camera to the monopod.

Other motions, like swaying sideways and to-and-fro from the hips are much slower frequency than the nodding motions, hence are of secondary importance. A stiff monopod has a natural vibration frequency like a pendulum on a clock which is pretty slow.

I suppose as the monopod gets more and more willowly and/or twistable, high frequency vibration & twisting modes can be set up; this is a good problem for engineering mechanics analysis. Unfortunately a brief google search for such analysis turned up little of use.

Has anyone seen any test results? These should be easy tests to do.

Dave in Iowa
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