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Monopod comparison


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14 replies to this topic

#1
Scott_G

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When you start spending money, you might as well get a whole bunch of stuff.  In addition to my new camera and lens, I ordered a couple monopods.  One has pop-out feet and a ball head, but I have the feeling I'm going to prefer the taller, less expensive one with just an adjustable quick change plate and a fold-down foot support.

 

Once I get them, maybe I'll post a semi-scientific comparison.

 

My fallback is a piece of twine connected to a bolt that screws into the tripod connection on the bottom of the camera.  Easier to carry, anyway.



#2
TBonz

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I have a very basic Manfroto...actually two - one is a fairly heavy metal that is probably 10+ years old and still quite sturdy...I also have a younger / lighter carbon-fiber model that I use regularly - also quite sturdy...it has probably survived more abuse than the first and I've probably used it for more images at this point...



#3
Ron

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Scott, what brand and model monopods did you order?

 

--Ron



#4
deano

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i have a fairly inexpensive Manfrotto and it works quite well.



#5
TBonz

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Yea...neither of mine were too expensive...the Carbon Fiber was definitely more expensive, but worth the difference if you carry it frequently - especially with heavy gear attached... I have never found any need to have additional "feet" at the bottom of the pod.  In all honesty, I think they would make it more difficult for my uses...If I wanted / needed additional support, I'd just use a tripod...in most cases for me, a tripod isn't an option...but, feet or tripod, your milage may vary...do what works for you!



#6
Ron

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About the only thing I can add is that if you get a carbon fiber monopod (or tripod) be sure you get a good one. Just because it's carbon fiber doesn't mean that it's rigid enough for critical work.

 

As far as the feet on the bottom... I played around with a Manfrotto in a camera store and thought the feet were pretty cool. They worked well enough to keep the monopod upright without holding. However, the monopod did not have a camera and lens attached so there's no telling how it would react when loaded... or on less than smooth terrain. It seemed like a nice ... if fairly large monopod though. I nearly bought one.

 

--Ron



#7
Scott_G

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Scott, what brand and model monopods did you order?
 
--Ron

Ron:

Yunteng VCT-288 and StableShot 72 Inch Camera Monopod, both from Amazon.  Yunteng arrived today, kinda lists to one side without anything on it.  Seems stable enough with a D7100 and a fisheye on it.  Will play with both hopefully this weekend.



#8
TBonz

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Ron - I completely agree...It has held up well with my D4 and 200-400, but I did a careful test when I first mounted each of the big lenses (also have rented the 300 2.8 and 400 2.8) to satisfy myself that it was sturdy enough...as far as the feet go, when you are trying to get out of the way of, say, a large football player who is already moving at high speed, I wouldn't want to worry about the feet tripping me or causing other issues...I am quite sure that others would find them useful...


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#9
Ron

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I understand about the need for sports photographers to move quickly. I've seen enough NFL games to know that they have to be fleet of feet sometimes.

 

One of the things that attracted me to the feet equipped monopod, in addition to it's stability, was in how little extra spread they added to the device. I often photograph in a butterfly and humming bird santuary at a local botanic garden. The area is closed off and often fairly crowded with other people gawking and jostling for position to photograph the same butterfly or humming bird. Frankly, it can be chaos at times and I often just walk out rather than deal with it. Tripods, while not specifially prohibited, are usually frowned upon because of the crowds and tripping hazard they can be... especially with small children. Monopods are often a much better option. My MO, after checking out likely spots of butterfly or humming bird activity, is to stake out a spot and just sit (or stand) there.... and let the prey come to me. The feeted monopod would allow me to relax a bit between bouts of activity without having to worry about losing control of the monopod.

 

--Ron



#10
TBonz

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My first NFL game I almost got run over by a middle line backer...the size and speed of NFL players is amazing that close...I have gotten run into a few times by high school players, but so far have managed to avoid it in the few college and pro games I've shot...I generally end up protecting the gear first...probably not my best choice :)!

 

Your plan definitely sounds like the footed tripod would work for you...my biggest concern about the feet would be them injuring me or someone else as I try to get out of the way...that's why they have different options! :)!!!


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#11
Scott_G

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Here are the two open, side by side:

DSC_0857.jpg

 

As you can see, the StableShot (sold under the Kodak name) is about a foot taller fully extended.  The Yunteng, with it's three "feet" can stand on it's own on fairly level ground.  However, don't put a camera on it and expect it to stay up.  It might, by why trust even a cheap camera to a self-supporting monopod?

 

The Yunteng quick release plate has a cork top, while the Kodak has a plastic top.  At least for me, the plastic top gripped my camera better than the cork.

 

DSC_0858.jpg

 

DSC_0859.jpg

 

The Kodak top also flips to the side and locks, letting you shoot in portrait mode.

 

DSC_0860.jpg

 

The Yunteng bottom is a ball-and-socket joint, allowing the feet to be swiveled at angles yet let the pole stand upright.  The Kodak bottom has a metal point with a rubber donut that screws down to protect delicate surfaces, and a foot peg that flips down from the main pole.  In this shot, it's simply flipped down.

 

DSC_0861.jpg

 

If you keep moving it to the other side of the pole, it's elevated above the bottom tip, allowing you to exert downward force with your foot.  It seems to hold better this way.

 

DSC_0866.jpg

 

The handle on the Yunteng is larger, and more solid while the Kodak's is thinner.  However, I don't think it's any more delicate.  The Yunteng has a large strap allowing you to sling it over a shoulder, while the Kodak has a wrist strap.  At it's smallest, the Yunteng is only slightly shorter than the Kodak.  The Yunteng has square column pieces, while the Kodak has round pieces with a notch in them so they don't rotate.  Weighing them in my hand, the Yunteng is about 150% of the weight of the Kodak.  (Both also come with zippered covers, not shown in my pix.)

 

DSC_0868.jpg

 

Even though I have big hands, I found the Kodak easier to use.  True, the "key" on the bottom of the quick plate is small and snaps back easily, but that's more than offset by the negatives of the Yunteng: extra weight, shorter pole and no portrait swivel.  You're not going to use either of these as a hiking pole, and neither of the swivel heads are as smooth as even my cheapest video tripod.  But the Kodak is a third of the price of the other one, and saving even a little weight when you're carrying something all day is a good thing.

 

Until I have a few hundred bucks to burn on a better monopod, I'll keep the Kodak and send the Yunteng back.



#12
Ron

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Interesting... thanks for the review. I'm wondering though, are the heads on either of these monopods removable? It's hard to tell, but it doesn't look as though they are.

 

--Ron



#13
TBonz

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I've never had a monopod that came with a head...I did put a simple ball head on my first monopod when I was using a lens without a collar.  I really don't use my monopod without collared lenses these days, so simply a flat base works for me.  I'd definitely want a head otherwise so that I could rotate when I needed to.  Thanks for the review!  I think I would have chosen the Kodak version as well just based on the images and your info confirmed my thoughts...



#14
Ron

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We have a number of monopods here... nothing really expensive, and all but one of them came without a head. The one that did come with a head ... well, lets just say that it's not very stable. For the other monopods I installed ball heads because I got the idea to use a monopod as a third leg...  with my legs making up the other two. In this setup, the monopod sticks out a bit and I let it and my camera rest against my body. I don't know if you can picture that or not, but the result is a rather stable platform... at least for me. But, it wouldn't work without a ball head.

 

Off subject a bit... but I'm really itching to get outside and do some shooting but the heat and humidity is horrible!

 

--Ron



#15
weebee

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I went through 3 different monopods before I found one that I really like. It is a Sirui P-326 carbon fiber monopod. Very sturdy and light. I put a Sirui  ballhead on it. I don't recall the model number. Cost a touch over 200.00 for both. But well worth it.


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