Tripod or Monopod??

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by settons, Aug 21, 2008.

  1. settons

    settons TPF Noob!

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    Hi Everyone,

    I am trying to figure out what is the best option for me. It will be used for landscape along with some macro shots. I do a lot of hiking, so I would prefer if it were portable.

    What are the advantages of a monopod over a tripod?

    Please help.
     
  2. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    A monopod is not a substitute for a tripod. A tripod is obviously more stable but bulkier and heavier. I would say that for landscape photography a tripod is the way to go as slow shutter speeds are often required to achieve the required depth of field. A very similar question has been asked in this thread. You may find all the answers you need there.
     
  3. Dmitri

    Dmitri No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Unless you yourself are a tripod, if you want to take serious landscapes you'll need one.

    You can have both, tho. Pack the tripod on your back (mine came with a carry case, I assume most do) and use the monopod until you need the tripod. :)
     
  4. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I would strongly recommend a tripod over a monopod; something like the Manfrotto 190 is a nice, lightweight unit that won't break the bank. A monopod is easier to carry and lighter than a tripod, but much, much less versatile. Tripods are essential for low light images, panoramas, HDR images and a lot of macro work.

    Think of it this way; a tripod supports your camera, a monopod helps to support your camera, but you can't set it and leave (There are a couple of monopods that claim to be freestanding, but I wouldn't trust them an inch).
     
  5. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    The advantage of a monopod over a tripod is speed. Once it's extended, there is no set up. It's great for sports where you might be moving to different locations or having to get out of the way in a hurry. A monopod is also good when you are hiking and you might see some wildlife and wouldn't have time to set up a tripod before it got away on you. Basically, a monopod is for times when you would otherwise be shooting hand held...it does give you extra stability, which is especially great for long telephoto lenses.

    A tripod is for when you have time to set up and you want to maximize your image quality & sharpness. A tripod is at it's best when you are not touching the camera at all...so you should be using a remote release or the self timer. The idea being that the camera doesn't move at all...so that you can use any shutter speed without fear of camera shake blur. You may even want to activate mirror lock up for added stability.

    A monopod is not really a substitute for a tripod because you are still holding the camera when you fire it. But if you are in a situation where a tripod is too cumbersomb, a monopod is better than no support at all.
     
  6. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Monopods are more compact, but you are still hand holding the camera. A monopod will give you additional stability, maybe allowing you to hand hold at a shutter speed 2 or 3 stops slower than normal. A monopod can also be used as a boom.

    A tripod will hold the camera all by itself, allowing for very slow shutter speeds and long exposures.

    I think a tripod would be more useful for landscape and macro, but I can understand the desire not to have to haul one around. Monopods are used when the photographer needs to be mobile, but requires additional support, such as when using long focal length lenses. I have both, and I use my tripod much more often than my monopod.
     
  7. settons

    settons TPF Noob!

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    Thanks very much for your quick responses, I guess I have my answer.

    What do people usually spend on their tripods? This is a hobby for me and I am looking for great pictures, it is not my job. I don't really have a budget because I don't know what to expect. I would prefer something with good value for a beginer like me.

    Suggestions?
     
  8. Ptyler22

    Ptyler22 TPF Noob!

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    I had the same question.
    But do you think there are any tripods that have a detachable leg to double as a monopod? I ask because I see times when I would need a tripod and others when I would want a monopod but I don't want to spend a whole lot. Thanks
     
  9. Mystwalker

    Mystwalker TPF Noob!

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  10. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    There are 2 kinds of tripods. The good ones are sturdy, well built, and repairable, but they are also more expensive (often more than $200), and even the so-called light weight models can be pretty heavy, at least for long hikes. The cheap ones (less than $100) are usually very light weight, less sturdy, and if they break they are often unrepairable.

    The weight difference is so great though, that I think as long as you aren't using a camera that's too heavy they may be the way to go. The cheapies tend to wear out quickly, in my experience, but buying a super light weight $50 tripod every year or so may be worth it for the weight savings. Make sure it has some way to hang a backpack or something from the center column to add weight and stability when shooting.
     
  11. Dmitri

    Dmitri No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Mine cost $30 ( [ame="http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Professional-Photo-Video-Tripod/dp/B0002XQDSS/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1219337179&sr=8-1"]http://www.amazon.com/Opteka-Professional-Photo-Video-Tripod/[/ame] ). Has everything I need, it's light, it comes with a carrying case (and a nice handle on the tripod itself if you don't want to use the case, for example carrying it extended), quick release, a hook on the bottom you can hang heavy stuff on in windy days, 70" extended, blah blah.

    The only thing I don't like about it is the panning handle sticks me right in the chest when taking picture - but all tripods may have this handle. But for $30 *shrug*. I'm a hobbyist like you, so I figure until I gain experience and know what the heck I want I'll get the cheapy :)
     
  12. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Try your local used stores; you can save a lot of money, and as long as nothing is broken or bent, it should be fine. My recommendation is to go for a good-quality unit; Manfrotto, Bogen, or Benbo, with a ball head vice a tilt/pan head.

    There are two key ratings for tripods; one is height, the other is load-bearing capacity. Height is self-explanatory, and the tripod should be tall enough so that you can look comfortably into your camera's viewfinder. Load capacity relates to both the legs and the head; determine the weight of your camera body with it's heaviest lens and a couple of filters, then double it. Look for a tripod leg/head combination that will suppor thtat much weight at least.

    If you're going to buy a good tripod (and why wouldn't you; this is going to hold up thousands of dollars worth of gear, doesn't make sense to scrimp on it) be prepared to spend around $200 used, or $350+ new.
     

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