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TimothyD Mar 25, 2010 11:59 AM

Attach ballhead to monopod?
I am considering purchasing a monopod and one question came to mind. Do you use a monopod with a tripod head or just attach camera directly?

I recently saw that RRS now has a small head designed for monopods. But I just thought that you aimed the camera up or down by leaning the 'stick' forward or backward. I would think that it would be difficult to hold a monopod with one hand and try to adjust a ball head at the same time. Seems like a sure fired way of having the camera go crashing to the ground.

Tips on how you use monopod would be greatly appreciated.

shoturtle Mar 25, 2010 12:05 PM

Actually I know of couple of people that use a monopole with a ball head. But when they adjust the head, the camera strap is around their necks. It can be useful if you know the horizontal plane you want to shot at, and all you need to do is pan left or right and still have the pole completely up right. But to each their own on this one imho. So like have the ball head on a mono, some don't

JohnG Mar 25, 2010 12:12 PM

A lot depends on what you are planning on shooting. For example, a ballhead is more trouble than it's worth for sports work as the ball-head makes the setup less stable. But for some birding (static birds, not BIF) where angles are more up it can be beneficial because you can keep the monopod vertical. For BIF I think a monopod is too restictive because you can't pan quickly enough - if you're using heavy enough lenses where you need support there then a gimbal is in order.

So, what are you using the monopod for?

TimothyD Mar 25, 2010 12:16 PM

I was thinking of using monopod on short hikes (<5km) in Yellowstone this summer with 500mm reflex lens. Was thinking of using this as an option to lightweight Manfrotto 728B tripod with pan head.

shoturtle Mar 25, 2010 12:21 PM

well with a monopole, it can act as a hiking pole also. And actually I have seen some design for both purpose where the included a hand grip design of hikers.

One thing if you attach a ball head to a monopole, you can add a quick disconnect. And it would make the transition faster between the pole and the camera.

But since you are hiking, the monopole may be a better option then a tripod. Less to carry in you backpack.

mtngal Mar 25, 2010 2:21 PM

I have an REI pole that is both a trekking pole and a monopod. I have a ball head on it which has a quick-release plate and I do mount the camera occasionally that way. I don't carry the camera mounted on the monopod (don't trust it that way), and often just use the top of the monopod to rest the camera on, for a bit of additional support. The main reason why I use the ball-head is not so much for the ability to adjust the angle as to have the QR plate and flat surface. I hate screwing and unscrewing my camera from some mount. Even if it's securely screwed onto the monopod, the camera will be a lot more in the way for using the 'pod as a walking stick, so I always carry the camera either around my neck or in a camera bag.

The ball head I have is pretty light-weight and isn't the best, and the QR plate doesn't fit the camera well enough to stop a heavy combination from rotating under certain conditions. But since I don't expect a monopod to do the things a tripod will, I don't use it that way. But it works well for the occasional use and does provide me some extra stability.

The only disadvantage I can see is that a monopod doesn't give you the stability a tripod does. It helps quite a bit with what I shoot, but the longest lens I have is 300mm. Not sure you'd get enough stability out of it to work well with a 500mm lens, even reflex lens. Something like the REI pole I have isn't expensive and does a decent job as a walking stick, so its worth buying and trying out long before your trip.

TimothyD Mar 25, 2010 2:55 PM

Thank you for all of your responses. I definately have a better idea of the nuances of using a monopod. I evision that having a quick release mount is a high priority, did not think about it, but having to use the screw mount every time would be a real pain.

Think I will stick with the Manfrotto tripod for the time being. I have an Induro C313 that needs a head, so I should probably outfit it first. Heck if I get in a little better shape I can lug that monster around with me.

Again thank you for your advise.

pbjunkiee Mar 25, 2010 7:23 PM

and if you are going to be hiking, id recommend checking out either the spider holster, or the hold slr.

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