Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by Lonnie1212, Feb 2, 2020.
I thought you owned Manfrotto. Lol.
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Derrel, shush don’t tell the Mrs,
I walked into a camera shop years ago and told the staff what I wanted from a tripod.
After a very convincing demo, I have used manfrotto since. I do own some valbon kit but it’s small light weight tripod and boom arm. The latter was a long hard save to purchase that turned out to be disappointing.
One of the things I wanted was a QR plate that was secure. The staff in the camera shop put a canon 600d plus kit lens on, extended the legs to full reach then swung the whole lot round and round above their head. Yep the camera stained in place.
I use a monopod for travel since it can be used as a walking stick as well as a camera support. I also use a small Joby ball head on it. I assume you are using it in place of a tripod. Unsupported, the monopod is not that much better than hand held. I brace the monopod against a stable object like a post or railing. This stabilizes it almost as well as a tripod. I even carry a Velcro compression strap to attach it. This brings up the need for a ball head. Once it is braced, you have to be able to adjust the camera angle with the ball head. You can even flip the camera to the side to take portrait shots, which would be almost impossible if attached directly to the monopod. The Joby ball head works well with my D7200 and a 70-300 mm zoom. Anything larger would likely need a larger head.
I have a Manfrotto MMC3-01M monopod. I held off getting one for a couple of decades. Here is my experience.
As Derrel said, you don't use 'em for long exposures. In many ways it's not a simpler version of a tripod--it's a completely different beast. I use it to stabilize a really big lens (like a 600mm) when I'm shooting sports or birds. Additionally, some people (mostly hikers and nature photographers) like their monopod to double as a walking stick (so keep that in consideration when you buy one). And most people I talked to had been using them a while had gone relatively cheap (as opposed to buying a tripod where they were willing to pay a lot more for composite or specific traits). Why? Because they get left or lost in a lot of places (because the best monopods are small and light--so easily lost or forgotten a lot).
I'm not sure I see the value in any kind of head for a monopod. Again, the work best stabilizing a heavy camera setup so you're almost never going to be hand-held with them. Additionally, some people liked having a base (4 small feet) that attaches to the bottom of the monopod. Frankly, I'm not a fan of those. The idea is you just leave your camera and lens on top of the monopod and let go because you're not shooting or focusing. Since monopods are almost always light, that means they're going to be top-heavy and easy to blow over (even with a small set of feet on the base). So I wouldn't go for that addition.
It seems to me, you have one primary choice to make: do you get legs that extend and then tighten by a clamp or by screwing/unscrewing? And to me, that seems a matter of preference--what are you most comfortable doing with one hand (because you'll almost always screw your camera body on first and then extend the legs--easier to do it in that sequence than to extend the monopod and then try to screw a 5 foot appendage on to the bottom of your camera when it's got a huge lens on it).
Just want to add that those monopod with small feet are usually for video. I have one dedicated for my 360 camera.
It really depends on what you are shooting whether you need a head or not on a monopod. Several brands are available and high quality ones from Really Right Stuff and Wimberley can work with Arca Swiss plates. I would not recommend a ball head on a monopod as it is unstable during adjustments.
Personally, I use Really Right Stuff plates on my cameras and lenses and clamps on my tripod heads. I have an RRS MH-01 on my monopod and it is a very solid performer.
I've got a manfrotto monopod that I use with my 150-600mm and a gimbal head but I use it for wildlife. Personally I find it really useful but it's more to cut down noise of the camera clunking about when I'm in a wooden hide and take the weight of the camera and lens for extended periods of time. It does really help getting an AF point on small targets at long range. It's not something that'll replace my tripod any time soon though!
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