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Thread: New Monopod and Tilt Head...

  1. #1
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    New Monopod and Tilt Head...

    My Calumet Graphite Monopod and Kirk MPA-1 head is traveling around somewhere in Croatia. I left it on a bus in Dubrovnic and have never seen it again. I really missed this tool during the rest of my Italy, Croatia, Greece and Istanbul trip because I was using it as a walking stick as well as to support my camera. My wife and I had climbed the City Walls of Dubrovnic; which is a really hard climb for a 73-year old guy especially on a really hot day. I took a bus later and was a bit tired so I didn't realize that I had left the pod on that vehicle until we disembarked and the bus had driven off...

    Calumet had discontinued the monopod I used and Kirk discontinued the MPA-1 tilt head.

    Luckily, Calumet had another graphite monopod on sale which is heavier duty than the one that I lost but only weighs a few ounces more. Additionally, Kirk Enterprises has replaced the MPA-1 with an MPA-2 head. The MPA-1 was always on the edge of being too light duty for my uses (Canon 7D with 400mm f/5.6L or 300mm f/4L IS with 1.4x TC) but, the MPA-2 is heavier duty at only a slight increase in weight.

    The Kirk MPA-2 is less expensive than the comparable RRS tilt head (but, is two ounces heavier) and is a better unit that the Sirui tilt head which is being offered on eBay and other places. I could have purchased a Manfrotto tilt head and added a Arca Compatible Clamp but, this would have resulted in a duplicate of the Kirk MPA-1. I wanted a more substantial tlt-head because I often carry my camera on the monopod over my shoulder.

    I carry my 7D with 17-55mm f/2.8 IS lens and an L-bracket. This allows me to shoot in really low light conditions. I also carry a pair of double faced Velcro strips with which I can secure my monopod to fences or other stable platforms which gives me the stability (but not the versatility) of a tripod.

    Besides, this old guy can really use the help of a sturdy monopod as a walking stick
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 29th June 2013 at 01:49 PM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: New Monopod and Tilt Head...

    Sorry to hear that, Richard.

    I wanted a more substantial tlt-head because I often carry my camera on the monopod over my shoulder
    Be careful. As we agreed in another of your threads, 'if it can go wrong, it will'. I know that Alain Briot, who writes of the Nature Photographer's website, absolutely advises against doing this on the basis that, one day, it will fall off.

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: New Monopod and Tilt Head...

    I have a roll of gaffers tape on order and will make sure that I use it to prevent the MPA-2 from twisting off from the retaining screw in the monopod. I think that the screw type closure of the MPA-2 is safer and more stable than a lever type lock.

    As I mentioned in another post, I had a Chinese "Triopo" lever lock Arca Compatible clamp fall to pieces. Luckily, without the camera being attached. However, I strongly suspect that the RRS lever lock clamps would not have that problem.

    We cannot chastise Chinese gear with a broad paint brush since many Famous Brands are now having their gear manufactured in China and sold under their house labels. My Calumet monopod is an example of this practice as is much of the Adorama Flashpoint gear...

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    Re: New Monopod and Tilt Head...

    Sorry to hear of the loss.

    I would recommend the Sirui brand for monopods. Light, very sturdy, excellent ballhead. I use it mainly in winters as both a walking stick and snow poker. Just feels right in the hand. I handled many different brands in the shops before settling on this one. Plus it has a really really long warranty.

  5. #5
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    Re: New Monopod and Tilt Head...

    Hey Richard, sorry to hear of the gear loss, what a pain. I also use a monopod, Velbon RUP-40 and it serves me well in a number of shots. I just weighted my tripod with head at just under 9 lbs and I plan on carrying that unit and a rented 17x40 F4 lens next week during a week long trip to Oregon, that lens and my 400 L F5.6 should take care of the seabirds and coast shots.

  6. #6
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: New Monopod and Tilt Head...

    I have been working with my new Calumet Monopod and Kirk MPA-2 Tlt Head for a while now and I am very satisfied with the combination.

    My new Calumet 8106 Monopod is taller, sturdier and more heavy duty than my previous Calumet monopod (which has been discontinued). It was on sale and since there is a brick and mortar Calumet store locally, so I was able to handle the pod before I purchased it.

    I am really in love with the Kirk MPA2 tilt head. First off, I like a monopod head with an Arca Compatible Quick Release system. I normally try to have the pod straight under the camera and 90 degrees to the ground. A tilting head allows that flexibility; especially when shooting up or down.

    My previous head was the MPA-1 which, although lightweight, was adequate for my load. However, the MPA-2 (which replaced the MPA-1) is a far superior tilt head. It is heavier duty and is actually easier to use than the smaller MPA-2. I don't need to tighten the controls as tight with the MPA-2 as I did with the MPA-1.

    My present monopod/head combination totals about five ounces (~141g) heavier than the previous combo, but I feel more secure. I often carry my camera/lens on the pod over my shoulder and trust this heavy duty head.

    The MPA-2 head was actually less expensive purchased from Adorama than directly from Kirk since Adorama ships free.

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