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monopod vs. handheld

Discussion in 'Sports Photography' started by greyhound rick, Sep 27, 2008.

  1. Hello Everyone,

    Would love to get your opinions on the subject of shooting fast action sports with a monopod vs. hand holding the camera.

    At Phoenix Greyhound Park, where I shoot about 5 nights/week, Ive tried both and have mixed feelings about it.

    The one aspect of my most common shooting location that is important to this question is that I am so close to the racers when they run by me that the panning is very aggressive and very quick. As the greyhounds approach the "shooting zone" they are very easy to track and pan with, but of course, as they get closer and are directly in front of me at only about 20+ feet or so they fly by very rapidly! Its tough to stay with them! Also, I have to move the camera both vertically and horizontally as the greyhounds are consistantly changing position!

    I believe I can keep the camera steadier with the monopod, but I have a harder time with that aggressive move as the monopod is a bit restrictive and more cumbersome than hand holding. I shoot at fairly fast shutter speeds, usually 1/1250 or 1/1600 so I might be able to consistantly get away with a bit of shake. When I use my 70-200 VR it helps, but I cant use that lens at night. I use my 85mm f/1.4 set at f/1.6 at night.

    Let me know what you think. Im heading out there tonight as usual and would love to get your feed back for any tips you have for "quick, aggressive, fast moving" panning!

    Thanks for your help as aways,

    my best,

  2. SeanMartin


    Sep 24, 2008
    Watkins, CO
    I've never used a monopod for a lens that small. I use one primarily because my arm gets tired. I'm usually shooting at a high enough shutter speed that a little shake won't be an issue. You are too. I'd stick with the hand held at those shutter speeds. Have you tried any slower shutter speed pans? (sorry new here, so I haven't seen many of your shots)
  3. imo a monopod is not for reducing camera shake but is for support of a rig too heavy to hold for long periods of time and anything smaller than a 300 2.8 should be handheld
  4. I've found that the monopod restricts me too much and for the most part shoot handheld. Of course I'm only using a 70-200, so weight isn't really an issue.
  5. I agree with the other posters about the monopod. I can see it being restrictive with erratic movement.

    On another note, and maybe some others will chime in. It seems like quite some task to be shooting these quick moving subjects using such a small F 1.6 Aperture. It is hard enough using such a small F stop in AF mode with a static subject. In addition, I would think that the less than optimal lighting that you are confronting will not make things easier at F1.6.

    Good luck,

  6. Sauk


    Aug 4, 2008
    Sandy, UT
    The only reason I am using a monopod with my 300 is for all of my flash stuff that I put on there. I would rather hand hold it if possible. Now this a sigma without VR (OS) so it isn't to heavy.
  7. topher04r1

    topher04r1 Guest

    anything under a 400 2.8 should be HH .....
  8. I use a monopod at times with my 200 f/2, but I prefer to hand hold anything under the 400 f/2.8.
  9. Better yet 70-300VR and below HH:biggrin:
  10. I use a monopod a lot with sports. I've used it with my 70-200 and my sigma 120-300. I don't find them restrictive at all.
  11. I hand hold the 70-200, monopod for the 400 f2.8. Since I'm not holding the 70-200 up for too long then it's pretty easy, even after shoulder surgery it's not that hard and lets me be a bit more mobile with that smaller lens.
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