Old 31-07-2011, 07:26 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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Using a Monopod for birding-any advice?


Just wondering if anyone here regularly uses a monopod,and if it improves your results in your field of photography?

I have had the loan of a Manfretto 676 'Digi',but I found it was not tall enough for me.My kids used it with there cam corders and it helped a bit.I the saw these Manfretto 681B monopods at footy,I had a go and thought they were good,and might be good for birding-so purchased one,I put a Manfretto 484 CR head on top,and its very tall,and solid.But I think it might be learning curve to get the best out of it,thought someone here might have some knowledge to get the best results out of it.

So far,I have felt that its a bit cumbersome,and takes up time.Its good at footy snipping away from the sidelines-great for human interest shots.

But,birds are much quicker than humans.if I had a Canon 100-400 L I think it would be needed,But the 400L prime is much lighter and not as long and I am wondering whether it will get as much use as I first thought.

Your suggestions and thoughts most appreciated.-Chris
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Old 31-07-2011, 07:51 PM
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Hi Chris

I haven’t worked with a monopod for BIF shots so I cannot speak to that.

I have used a tripod with a Gimbal Mount when stationed by the seashore and then I just wait for the birds to approach. Generally, it can be fatiguing to constantly hold up, aim and follow without some kind of support and although the monopod would offer some relief from the weight of the camera/lens, it still requires you to hold and stabilise it so you can never really let go and rest in the quieter moments.

When I have gone purely hand held, it tends to be for spurts of activity with periods of inaction in between and I think that a monopod may have proven too restrictive on those occasions.

I guess it really boils down to your shooting location, what wildlife is present and how it is behaving. If a bird is reasonably static (ha – that’d be the day!) then I guess a monopod would help support the lens and restrict the range of movement.

I wouldn’t look to a monopod for support in the same manner as a tripod, more as a device to support the camera/lens to save your arms, neck and back!


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Old 31-07-2011, 08:13 PM
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dannat (Daniel)

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Chris I don't get how you feel it's cumbersome? R u comparing it to hand hold? The problem with birds is the height I reckon..it varies a lot from ground to ree - the footy is usually at a constant level
I find tripods cumbersome to travel in bush though.
I have a pistol type grip head so it works easily/quickly with one hand.
R u lens mounting on monopod

Nither pods are great, hand hold is my preferred way,
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Old 31-07-2011, 08:16 PM
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mswhin63 (Malcolm)
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I have a monopod, I don't use now as I am more into fixed photography. Mine has mini tripod legs inside.

I may sell it if interested.
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Old 31-07-2011, 08:18 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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re monopod

Yeah,thanks Dennis-I appreciate your thoughts-as look up to you as a wildlife photographer.I should have given you a call-before I got this 681B.

As I feel,your comment "spurts of activity" is right.On the football field it was great to get those human interest photos,But I think in our field of interest might not be as useful as I thought.

No drama-The Manfretto 484 CR ball head came from the observatory and I did not purchase it for this episode,the monopod was $105 posted,and I have to return the one I have on loan,so the 681B might get a bit of use.

Cheers Chris
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:14 PM
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Been using a Monopod for some time now. An absolute necessity for long focal length photography of animals. It can take some time to be accommodated with it, how for shapr shots of birds this is the best device and more portable than a tripod.
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Old 07-08-2011, 07:32 PM
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hotspur (Chris)
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re mono

Not sure if I can be really bothered humping it about,Paul-may be right on dusk could be good.

I am finding,If I am taking my time and be calm,and take same approach as when I am hunting,I only fire a few frames when I feel is the best time,rather than just blazing away at high speed,and just hopping.I am getting some good results.

Here is a Yellow Robin image I took today,in the scrub with clouds,no IS ,speed 160 iso 800 F 8,I took ten frames over a few minutes,just took my time and waited,and fired,when the glint was in the eye,and thought this not too bad-hand held.

Cheers Chris

PS these monopods are very good for sports,and is up for sale =should anyone be interested give us a PM
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Old 08-08-2011, 03:06 PM
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Very nice Chris, nice and sharp i reckon.

I don't use a mono pod, and reckon hand held is quicker, if your after birds, but that is just IMHO.

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