Still working on the definive answer on this one....
I use a mono pod with my 70-180 and 80-400VR when hiking for macro (with diopter) and deer. Much better than hand holding, More convenient than my Gitzo 1228, but still a (workable) compromise.
The mono pod is of little use for me when using my 500 mm (with 1.5 crop factor) though (may be my technique), nothing beats the Gitzo 1325 here.
I use a Velbon Sherpa pro CF-7, carbon , sturdy, has twist locks but in contrast to Gitzo mono pods you only need 1 hand to lock them due to a very convenient locking mechanism.
I hate the Bogen/Manfrotto "flip" locks both for the noise they are causing and cause of pinched finger tips..
I'm with you Frank! My stickpod has so many scratches
on it that if I did not know it was Manfrotto I would never
know. Will I ever notice the difference between 1 lb.4oz and
12oz? Probably not. Although I highly recommend the Manfrotto
swivel head for the top.(3232)
Save your money, take your significant other out for dinner!