Looking for some advice re monopods and quick release plates

turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
edited February 2013 in General Discussions
Long time lurker, first time poster. Maybe I've not been using the search feature effectively, but I can't find any threads that recommend specific monopods. I'm a rank amateur, reading a lot trying to get better. One thing I've concluded is that I need better support when I am out and about. I have a low-level tripod that gets the job done when I have time to use it, but considering that I am usually trying to squeeze in photos without annoying my family too much, I think I need to get a monopod. But I don't have a ton to spend. So with that background, any recommendations? On a related note, I've seen a lot of discussion of quick mounts for mono- and tri-pods, but when I Google the recommended products, they tend to be quite pricey. Any recommendations for quick release on a budget?

Thanks!
Post edited by turnthedarncranks on
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Comments

  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    Manfrotto makes some nice monopods that don't cost an arm and a leg ($54-$90). I'm not sure what to recommend, since you haven't mentioned what gear you'll be using with it. If you need an inexpensive head for a monopod, Manfrotto also makes a head just for use with monopods (Manfrotto - 234RC).
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    edited February 2013
    Thanks. I should've mentioned that I shoot with a D7000. Nothing special -- or more to the point, nothing huge -- on the lens front -- I have two kit lenses (the 18-105 and 55-300) and the 35mm 1.8.

    Thanks again!
    Post edited by turnthedarncranks on
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,265Member
    edited February 2013
    I like my Induro CM25. Supposed to support up to 22 lbs., which is a lot more than I'll be putting on it anytime soon. (see my sig) Light and easy to handle.
    Post edited by dissent on
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    here is a link to the Arca Swiss conversions and a lot of talk on heads in general

    http://forum.nikonrumors.com/discussion/136/arca-swiss-conversions-of-tripod-heads/p1

    I would recommend the RRS monopod head as it can be easily converted from right to left to forward back tilt. And, IMO, having just converted from Manfrotto to ARCA Swiss plates, start with ARCA Swiss and save your self a lot of money in the future. With an "L" plate, this is so easy to work efficiently and quickly in venues where you are doing both vertical and horizontal shots.
    Msmoto, mod
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    I agree with msmoto (I have just converted all my supports to Arca style plates and an 'L' plate for my camera) and...

    If you are only going to use the head on a monopod it may not be worth getting a very sophisticated high price one. My experience of using a ball head on monopods is that you normally just lock it in a level orientation and tilt or rotate the monopod itself as necessary for framing. Indeed for years I used a monopod without a head at all, just screwing the camera straight onto the monopod- you are limited to horizontal shots only then though, but I was poor! If you are needing to manipulate and lock a head in an intricate way - for flowers for instance- you probably should be using a tripod anyway. Monopods are, I think, most effective for portable, rapidly manipulated support with moving subjects in the field- animals, sports etc.

    On the other hand, if you intend to transfer the head between the monopod and a tripod, it may be worth investing in something more sophisticated.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    One more thought...I recently shot the NAIAS in Detroit, Michigan and for all the wide (10.5mm, 24mm on full frame) I was on the monopod with a forward-back tilt. This was not an RRS, but a knock off converted to for and aft tilt. This allowed me to get the fisheye up and "in the face" of some of the entertainers, and it allowed the 24mm to gain a perspective I prefer for car shows...or at least something a bit different...
    Here are the example photos:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/sets/72157632584664847/
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I also use a Manfrotto

    but try before you buy, they make quite a big range

    I also have a converted window cleaning pole, which goes up to 34 feet
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    @ sevencrossing
    Can you get someone to snap a shot of you with you holding the camera overhead at the end of the 34 foot pole? Or is this a mechanically attached unit.....I am still laughing at the picture of this in my head... :))
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I have used it "free" but i tend to strap to a fence or street furniture using cable ties . I also use a bicycle repair stand to support it
    sorry no photographs of me using it. I am often working in places were I shouldn't
  • framerframer Posts: 489Member
    I use a 16 foot pole. I consider it a two person job. One to hold the pole and one to control the laptop to take the image. It uses a wireless USB cable and Nikon Camera Control software. I never tried to use it solo. Since putting the unit together I've just experimented with it.

    To Msmoto, very nice NAIAS photos, well done.

    framer
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    I have the manfrotto 680B with the 234RC head. Love it and use it all the time. It is nice that the plate clips into place and it is plenty sturdy for anything. I think this setup was around $100 total.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,973Member
    I love this forum, someone asks for budget (low cost items) and most users suggest high end expensive items. :))
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    @ PB_PM

    Of course, there is a perverse and obtuse reasoning behind all this....some of us have found that to purchase the higher end in the beginning is the least expensive overall...

    So, while it is a bit funny, it could be that prioritizing the budget in a different way can be a good thing.


    Or, folks have gotten so addicted to the "really right stuff" they simply want others to join in.
    Msmoto, mod
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks, all. Very helpful. The recommended monopods all seem within what I can go with as a reasonable price. The ballheads, not so much. But it seems like I can maybe sidestep that by now by buying a quick release plate system and just using that on the monopod because swiveling won't be something I really need to do -- I can just move the monopod instead. At least that's what I understand DJBee49's point to be. Is that right? In other words, am I missing something, or is that a reasonable strategy?

    Thanks again!
  • DJBee49DJBee49 Posts: 133Member
    Well, yes, sort of! If you don't have a ball head, or something on the top of the monopod, you can just screw the camera onto that and in my experience won't really need a fancy head at all- you can just tilt and swivel the whole monopod. The problem is, of course, that you are then limited to landscape format shots only. You could overcome this by buying an 'L' bracket for your camera (Kirk for eg.) and put an Arca style clamp onto the monopod. The 'L' bracket will allow you to change from horizontal to vertical format quickly and easily using the Arca clamp. However, these two will cost about £150 or so and I think you could actually get a reasonable ball head for about the same amount, so it still leaves you with a dilemma.

    What msmto says is true but on the other hand if you cannot afford- or justify the expense- it may not be possible to get the best at the outset. I stand by my assertion though that you don't need a top end ball head for most work on a monopod but you probably do need a way to switch orientation.
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    If you get a monopod you will at least want a head of some sort. I used mine for a day or two without and it isn't that useful. I didn't look around, but the one I mentioned above works great and at least lets you move from landscape to portrait. I think you will struggle without a head at all.

    Once you lean the monopod past a few degrees you really lose any usefulness of keeping the camera steady. You can combine it with having it rest on something, but then at that point you are really defeating the purpose of having it.
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    Mon pods are often used to support farily heavy tele lens and some sort of head is essential
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    Interesting observations...when I am shooting the race cars, almost all the pros are shooting with the 400-500mm lenses on a monopod and have no head at all. Weight is the issue and they also have a 70-200 around their neck.

    For my special work, e.g., at the auto show, I needed to be able to change the camera angle for the overhead shot, go from landscape to portrait, and use the monopod with camera held inside a vehicle. So, this was the rational for the head I used. On the big telephoto shots...600-800mm, I like to be able to have the entire camera/lens held up all the time, so I can take a break and not have to hold on to anything. Thus, tripod/gimbal head.

    But, for the younger, physically fit folks, there are more options than a 70 yo female who is not in good shape :-) LOL
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    I agree with MS moto says there are times when a head may not be necessary but unless you trying to keep the wight of you bag to a minimum, I think it is nice to have the option of adding a lightweight ball socket
  • turnthedarncranksturnthedarncranks Posts: 116Member
    Thanks again. I am now somewhat confused, but will try to hit the one remaining camera store in DC to play around a bit and seeing if being hands-on brings some clarity.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I am not certain how much you want to spend, but this Induro looks good.
    Induro AM34 Alloy 8M AM-Series Aluminum 4-Section Monopod Any of the major suppliers, Amazon, Adorama, B & H should have this for about $75.

    I have the Manfrotto 682B Self Standing Monopod (Black), which is nice but about $100.

    Maybe this helps. I would suggest at least a 20 lb. capacity.
    Msmoto, mod
  • tcole1983tcole1983 Posts: 981Member
    edited February 2013
    My experience could differ from yours msmoto. I don't have a huge lens like you. Using with my non-vr 17-55 I have to have.a head to switch from landscape to portrait. On my 300 f4 where I us it on my tripod collar I could rotate the lens in the collar but I find it easier still to use the head.

    Lastly for leaning the monopod...in my experience it just doesn't seem that beneficial once you lean it a little bit over. The stability comes from it being totally vertical and as you move away from that it takes more of you holding it steady instead of the monopod being the support. It aldo depends on how you are using it...body or lens collar, landscape or portrait and what you are shooting. I don't see any need for me to get a ball head and I actually like less adjustment in head compared to the ball head...easier to keep level.
    Post edited by tcole1983 on
    D5200, D5000, S31, 18-55 VR, 17-55 F2.8, 35 F1.8G, 105 F2.8 VR, 300 F4 AF-S (Previously owned 18-200 VRI, Tokina 12-24 F4 II)
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    edited February 2013
    Mmmm...another forever thread.... I actually use the monopod for overhead shots. With the long lenses, I use a tripod/gimbal head. And, absolutely when leaned over...not much good....

    I think maybe I could use the monopod for landscapes, but usually I am on a tripod.
    Post edited by Msmoto on
    Msmoto, mod
  • kanuckkanuck Posts: 1,291Member
    +1 on the Manfrotto monopod suggestion. They are reasonably priced and very well made. I prefer Gitzo but they are very expensive. Really Right Stuff Ballheads and quick plates have never let me down either :)
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited February 2013
    I love this forum, someone asks for budget (low cost items) and most users suggest high end expensive items. :))
    when it come to camera supports, cheap ones can be very expensive
    anyone else had a cheap tripod collapse on them?

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
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