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  1. #1
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Anyone use a monopod?

    I find a monopod invaluable for certain types of shooting. I have a Bogen that I use a lot when shooting outdoors with a longer zoom lens. I also recently got a Gitzo carbon fiber that I use for the big guy - 400 2.8. It is funny that over time my idea of what is heavy has shifted up the scale and I now handhold things that I used to use a monopod for. But shooting outdoors in the field, even if you can handhold, the monopod makes it a lot easier when you are shooting for a long time.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  2. #2
    Registered User drjman's Avatar
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    I use a monopod for football mainly. Even in daylight or bright lighting, it gets me faster shutter speed and when using a zoom, provides stabilization for distance shots (cause you know they have to be cropped/enlarged!).

  3. #3
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Which monopod do you have, and what camera/lens do you use it with? Do you have the lens mounted directly to the monopod base, or do you use a head to swivel or tilt?
    Mike - Been Converged?

  4. #4
    Registered User drjman's Avatar
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    I use the Manfrotto something or other. It was the most popular. Pretty light and sturdy; I use a geared head, but I've seen the swivel (ball) head that looks infinitely easier. I use the head with my tripod also.

    Mostly use the 70-200mm f4.0L (couldn't afford the f2.8 IS just yet) and the lens is mounted to the monopod. The bracket for the lens was about $100. Sheesh.

    I really do like the monopod especially for distance shots--I can be a lot steadier with a faster shutter which helps when I have to crop. Photoshop unsharp mask is nice too.

    Not the sharpest but perfectly acceptible especially with some adjustments.

    This was cropped, but shot from about 50 yards.


    Here's a wider shot at night with monopod in bad light (high school football stadiums are notoriously dark, you know).

  5. #5
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Nice, I especially like that second one there.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  6. #6
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    This was one of my shots from soccer season... I believe this was a Sigma 120-300 f/2.8 with a TC1.4 teleconverter.



    I was using a monopod for that shot... the Bogen 679 with the 3229 tilt head. I find the tilt head to be pretty nice, but for bigger lenses, it greatly reduces the rated weight limit of the monopod. I just bought a 400 2.8 to use for field sports, and at 17 lbs. for the lens alone, this monopod combination can't handle it. The 3229 is only rated at about 5 pounds I believe, although I know people push it a lot higher than that. This is the one I have right here... Bogen

    For the big lens, I bought a Gitzo 1588. I bought it used, but new prices comparison the Gitzo is $279 vs. $69 for the Bogen. Easy decision. On top of that, I had to get an arca swiss plate and quick release mount for it, which added another $150. I was lucky to get all of the above used and save some money, but that monopod and mount is over $400 alone! A lot of money for a fancy walking stick.

    Gitzo

    As far as usability.. the Gitzo is solid as a rock and has a really nice feel to it. The upper grip doesn't slip like the one on the Bogen when handling a big lens. But, the twist release legs have thus far given me fits, compared with the snap release legs on the Bogen. For the life of me, I can not figure out how to extend the thing without taking it completely off the lens and extending it... which is a pain. So the jury is still out on that one.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  7. #7
    Registered User drjman's Avatar
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    awesome header shot.

    I shot soccer a lot in college (many years ago--when I really didn't know anything about photography)-- with my film AE-1. I loved it because you could get really close to the action, you can see the faces, there are lots of emotional expressions, and it's so easy to get useable shots. I really had to work at football, though and really didn't get any good at it until I went digital after a number of years of layoff. Actually bought an ebay drebel when my wife was pregnant with our daughter to make sure I would document everything (and I do mean everything), then kinda got the photography bug again about a year and a half ago--the problem if you can call it that is that I have the means from my "day job" to afford a lot of stuff. Then people started asking me to do things and before long it was taking far more time than I could give up without some sort of compensation. So I started a business. Actually started turning a little profit this year (although I poured a good $5 K into it over the past 2 years buying equipment). But I've got more work than I can handle now.

    I narrowed my focus to what I really like: football and weddings (hows that for contrast!). No one can fault me for enjoying shooting beautiful women, right? But I love football so much it's a blast for me to be on the sidelines any way I can get there--and I can be creative with my ability to penetrate security measures. I love portraiture too, on location.

    I'm going to really go after basketball this weekend--one of the local colleges has a star senior forward whose brother is the star QB of the football team. Their parents bought a ton of shots from me last year--the mom wants basketball shots and portraits of the brothers this spring.

    I'm thinking of hand-holding that 24-70 since it worked so well in church league and I'm likely to have better lighting in a college gym, and I'll take the 85mm as you suggested. A fantastic lens.

  8. #8
    Registered User drjman's Avatar
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    BTW I've read a lot about how wonderful the gitzos are--bogen seems to be consumer grade from what I understand, but if it serves the purpose, a lot cheaper.

    What I basically decided was that IF I can afford it (and IF I get my permission slip signed) I'm going to get the best available. My biz doesn't have to turn a profit for another 2 years (as far as the IRS is concerned)!

  9. #9
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Before I got the 200 1.8, I was shooting basketball with 2 bodies also, but I put a 135L on a 1.6 crop body, and the 85 on a 1.3 crop body, and it was pretty close to the same as having what I have now... 85 on 1.3 and 200 on 1.3. But a lot of college you can do with 2.8. If so, then the 70-200 is really the ideal instrument if you can get to the sidelines. However, I have found that especially for close court shooting... the benefit of a small prime like the 85 for quickly following the action, vs. a big zoon you are trying to move around, is worth something. When the action is farther from you (like in football and soccer), you have more time to react with the bigger lenses.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  10. #10
    Registered User drjman's Avatar
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    I tried the 135mm once and it seemed like it was too close--of course I was under the basket--where is your preferred position?

  11. #11
    Editor and Site Administrator Convergent's Avatar
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    Right... I was meaning to use the 135 to shoot action on the far end of the court with the second body. This will let you get some good defensive action. They two basketball shots I posted in the other thread entitled "hs basketball) were shot full length down court with a 200. The 135 on a 1.6 crop camera is pretty close to the same range. I always shoot baskeball along the baseline, usually between the corner and the lane. Sometimes, if the gym is large enough, I'll go directly under the goal, but many of the gyms I shoot in only have 3-5 feet to the wall from the court.
    Mike - Been Converged?

  12. #12
    Photographer Orgnoi1's Avatar
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    I currently have a Samigon... but since I am looking to get a new lens sometime in the next century or so I am already looking at some new monopods... I have been known to handhold everything I have for lenses now... until Mike had me take a look at his 400/2.8...
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