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Would a monopod be a good idea?

Discussion in 'Other Cool Gear, Camera Bags, Camera Straps' started by BostonRott, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. I am going to be photographing the US Rottweiler Club's 2007 national show down in PA. It's a 3 day event, and mostly I'll be shooting conformation rings, and a few working events.

    I'm starting to think a monopod would be a good investment. I'm planning to shoot with 2 bodies (D200, D70), the 80-200 and the 28-70 (one on each body) and the 12-24 kicking around "just in case."

    While shooting conformation, a lot of my day will be spent standing still (or sitting) and shooting a dog relatively in front of me (except when being gaited).

    I'm thinking of Gitzo's 2560T (carbon fiber, supports 9.9lbs), and the RRS modified head.

    It's not a cheap set up (about $300 for monopod, Bogen swivel head and RRS clamp), but one that I think will last, and as I don't anticipate owning any big heavy glass any time soon, I think the 9.9lb limit will be just fine.

    Does this seem a reasonable idea to help ease up the weekend?
  2. Snipps


    Oct 7, 2006
    I think that it will only end up getting in your way unless you already find the 80-200 to be quite heavy.
  3. I think it would be a big help! for that kind of event particularly.
  4. I don't think you'll need it Gretchen, not for the lenses/body combinations you'll be using. How long will you be shooting each day? I think you'll be fine with comfortable next straps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 4, 2007
  5. For a multi-day event, a monopod would be helpful just so you won't have to be carrying the weight around your neck/shoulder especially if you're working with a couple of bodies. If you do go with a monopod, check out the Bogen 685B. Compared to the Gitzo you mentioned, the 685B is slightly heavier but cheaper. The reason I like the 685B is that it is the quickest monopod to set-up and easiest to adjust height. Good luck!
  6. Thank you gentlemen!

    I do have a nice Optech strap for the D200. The D70 is on the regular Nikon strap.

    I'll be on site from probably 7:30 to about 5p each day. However, that will not be continuous shooting time.

    One of my concerns is if the light is poor (due to overcast conditions). This will be an outdoor event. Hmmmm.....guess I could just bring down the tripod and if it's really poor lighting, then I'll have good support.

    Thanks guys for helping me think through this! :smile:
  7. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005

    A monopod may or may not be useful for you, depends on your shooting style and subject.

    In regards to recommendations, I would suggest the manfrotto/bogen 694 in carbon fiber, light and great clamps, no twisting, this is the monopod I use.

    Also, the 680B or 679B are good choices and even cheaper, and also use the clamps I prefer over the twist locks.

    Just my thoughts,

    I used my monopod this past weekend at the cafe Gathering, but probably didn't need it with the 105VR.


  8. Thank you Wade! :smile:
  9. No matter what, I think having a monopod is great! I have one and find it quite useful when shooting dirtbikers - I just need a different head for it though! There are times I find the mono better than the tripod. But, that's my opinion! SOmetimes I don't know what I'm talking about! :wink: :redface: :biggrin:
  10. An overcast day would be the best shooting conditions in my opinion. You won't have to battle with the sun, and shutter speed won't be an issue. If you get to the point where you think you need a tripod/monopod, you can just bump up the iso a bit, and you should be fine.

    I guess flash will be an issue for the dogs, huh? If you can't use flash, get some faster glass, 50 or 85mm - 1.8 will work just fine if you don't want to spend the big $$ for the 1.4's. The 35 f/2 has also been getting good reviews here lately as well. If you're able to use flash, you shouldn't have any problems.
  11. dagored


    May 4, 2005
    Outside can be great. More room and unless it rains, better light. I will be shooting at the American Boxer Club speciality in May and it is all indoors. It is in a hotel in Fort Mitchell, KY.

    I use a mono-pod. There is always a heavy crowd around the ring. A tripod would not work if you saw the room and the crowd. This goes on for 4 days.
  12. Carman,

    That's unfortunate that they're holding it indoors. The USRC is not an AKC affiliated club. All shows are outside (always), as the minimum requirements for a ring are 50yds x 50yds (far larger than an AKC ring).

    I have shown my own dogs at AKC shows, and am quite familiar with the poor lighting and crowds of people who mind neither themselves nor their dogs (gotta love the idiots with their dog free-ranging at the end of a 6 or 10' flexi). :mad: 
  13. Keith,

    I don't use flash around dogs. It can be distracting, and especially for the working events, it can go off at a very inopportune time. Having been an exhibitor at indoor events where flash was used, I know how much it can screw up a performance. :frown:
  14. Well, Gretchen, here comes MY 45 cents worth, up due to inflation.

    First, yes the monopod will help if for no other reason than to get the weight off your neck. As to the monopod, I love my Gitzo tripods, have a Gizo monopod and a Bogen monopod and almost always grab the Bogen rather than the Gitzo, simply because of the leg locks, much easier to set up and the weight just is not that much different. I have much the same setup as shown on the RRS page, but I have not bothered with added the Arca-Swiss base, I just screw the monopod into the bottom of the tripod foot or lens plate. Since you won't be changing things much on the monopod, all the Arca-Swiss base really does for you is to take money out of your pocket. I do, however, have the Bogen piece on the top, it is nice to be able to tilt the rig without the need to lean.

    I don't know if they are planning to have you shoot the "trophy" shots or not of the winners, but a lower angle works, in my opinion, much better for these shots.

    So, my recommendation to you is to get one of the Bogen monopods with the Bogen swivel, forego the RRS piece and save yourself 2/3's of the cost, at least. I use this combination all the time with a D200, MD-D200 and 400mm f2.8, weight is not an issue at all.
  15. Baywing


    Feb 22, 2005
    CT USA
    I bought my monopod at Walmart for about $20. Works just fine. It's light and will easily support 10 lbs, I've had my 80-200 AFS on a D2x with a 1.4 tc and SB800 all on it. I have a Bogen tilt head, just a device that tilts in one plane, rotation I can do with the collar. I wouldn't use a ball head, flops around too much.
    I think a monopod is a good idea for what you want to do. I'm usually quite tired at the end of 2 hours shooting handheld with a tele on the D2x.
  16. tanglefoot47


    Oct 18, 2006
    Tulalip Wa
    I have just began to use a monopod and it's a bit awkward but I am finding the more I use it the more I like. Went to the zoo last week and got some of my best zoo shots ever while using the pod. I have the Feisol CM-1471 with the manfrotto 3232 head and the RRS clamp. Good set up and the head does allow yoou to tilt which I find useful for my old bones, easier to use.
  17. Bill,

    Yes, I'll be doing both shots of the trophy table, as well as all of the winners, posed with judge, trophy, flowers, etc. :smile: I agree, being down low is good. Also for the puppy classes (4-6mos, 6-9mos) .... these guys are often quite little and being low will be good. I suspect I'll be on my belly (thank goodness I'm not too far along!!), so no need for a monopod there. :wink:

    I appreciate your thoughts on which model, and the clamp. :smile:

    I've never even looked to see if my local Walmart has monopods. Will have to check into that.

    I wondered about that too.......how long will it take me to get used to it? With the snizzle coming out of the sky lately, I feel like I won't have any time to practice out doors before the event. :rolleyes: 
  18. You might consider, if you don't already have one, a right-angle adapter for your viewfinder. This way you can look "down" instead of laying on the ground to look "through" your viewfinder.

    A couple of comments on monopod use that might help. First, loosen the tripod ring so you can rotate your camera easily. This will enable you to do Portrait Orientation shots quickly as well as allow you to keep the horizon somewhat level if you find yourself panning. Second, figure out which "grip" is most comfortable for you. I prefer my left hand on top of the lens, right hand, obviously, on the grip by the shutter release. Some folks prefer left hand either on the monopod just below the camera, or on the top of the tripod foot. I think the only time it really matters is using really long lenses where you want the "hand on top" to help dampen vibrations, although Rory I believe has found that it works better to be between the tripod foot and lens body. To me this is the second most crucial thing to determine. The first is the height of the monopod. Find where you like it, you want a comfortable height, not leaning over all the time.

    You can set up and "learn" to use the monopod quite quickly in your living room, piece of cake. The other advantage to having the tripod collar loose is that when you go to set your camera down, you can rotate it so it "sits" right on the ground, with the Pod straight up at your side. Really easy to pick it up that way as well as to carry it.
  19. rsprouse


    Jan 25, 2006
    Encinitas CA

    I think the key question is how much you will be moving around. If the answer is "not a lot" I think you would be better off using your tripod. Monopods are great, but not as great as a tripod - but they are more mobile. One great thing about the tripod is that it stands up by itself! So you can have one rig mounted, and quickly step away from it and use the other rig.

    That said, a monopod might be the answer if you will be wandering around the venue shooting from all different angles and positions. I have the setup recommended on the RRS site - Gitzo 1578L monopod with a 3232 swivel head, but I put a RRS Lever-Clamp on top rather than a standard clamp. This setup is great when I am out shooting birds and such, as I am always moving and a tripod would just be too much.

    My rule of thumb is, tripod when feasible, monopod second best, and hand held when even a monopod would get in the way.

    -- Russ
  20. Thank you Ray, your suggestions are excellent and appreciated. :smile:
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