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Thread: Tripod vs. stick

  1. #1
    PopsPhotos's Avatar
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    Tripod vs. stick

    I carry a tripod and a monopod in the vehicle, at all times. The stick is in there because I sometimes need a walking stick and the monopod collapses to a convenient size.

    I've found that I use the monopod much more often than the tripod. Partly because I have it with me.

    I'd like to get some feedback on your feelings on this. Is the monopod sufficient for most occasions or not usable for most occasions? Is your opinion based on the type of shooting you do or on having tried and decided?

    Pops

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    It depends on the type of shooting that you do but whatever works for you is fine. Monopods are designed for "ultimate portability" and where extra stabilization/support is required, but giving you the freedom of moving from location to location easily (without having to fully break down). It's why you see monopods used by photojournalist, sports shooters, and event coverage photographers uses them with very large lenses.

    I use a monopod whenever I use the larger primes, but with standard telephoto lenses; I can easily go without with IS or VR enabled lenses. For long exposures or to guarantee sharp images, I will use a tripod. For long lenses, do not forget to use sand bags to dampen vibrations from mirror flipping up, or just use mirror up mode.

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    Quote Originally Posted by PopsPhotos View Post
    Is the monopod sufficient for most occasions or not usable for most occasions?
    If it gives you the results you're after then a monopod is fine

    Personally, if I'm shooting a 16 minute exposure then a monopod just "ain't gunna cut it" - on the other hand, if I'm shooting 1/3200th then it's overkill!

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    At this time of the year (winter) I have usually included a monopod in my camera pack (Lowenpro Mini Trekker) just in case I need it for a longer lens or slower speeds; but although it fits neatly into the bag and can help at times I find it just doesn't work as well as a tripod, particularly with close ups of insects, etc.

    My Manfrotto tripod is far too big to fit in the bag and too heavy to carry for a couple of miles just in case I might need it. So I have just ordered a Velbon Luxi-L tripod which is lighter and should fit inside the Trekker, with a bit of a squeeze. But for serious work when the weather improves, the Manfrotto will be back in use.

    I find that a reasonably lightweight tripod with the legs together is just as good and versatile as a monopod for those quick action shots but has the option of instant conversion to a stable tripod.

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    I find that a reasonably lightweight tripod with the legs together is just as good and versatile as a monopod for those quick action shots but has the option of instant conversion to a stable tripod.
    During my recent trip to the snow country over the holidays I discovered that a tripod configuration is not the best for use in knee-deep snow. Even in fresh powder conditions the angle of the legs can prevent it from sinking deep enough through the snow to hit the ground. After a few failed attempts I just started using the tripod as a monopod by not spreading the legs. I could have saved myself about three pounds of gear if I'd had a very lightweight tripod or a monopod

    Roger

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    It's much the same thing when searching for wildlife amongst the brambles and assorted undergrowth.

    Sometimes when using a closed up tripod, I set one leg a fraction longer than the other two so it swivels more freely.

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    The monopod is very portable. In fact, I recently switched from a Manfrotto 681 aluminum monopod which weighs about .77 kg. (1.7 pounds) and collapses to 67 cm to a Calumet 8103 carbon Fiber 4 section monopod which weighs just .43 kg and collapses to 51 cm. Both of these monopods have approximately the same load capability and the shorter collapsed length and lighter weight of the Calumet makes it easier to carry just about everywhere.

    I almost always carry the Calumet monopod when I am out shooting. This unit does a very good job stabilizing my camera/lens combinations (especially with IS equipped lenses) but, there are times when nothing will suffice except a tripod. This is certainly true for long exposures during night shooting and a tripod makes a better platform for multi-image photography such as panoramas, high dynamic range (HDR) and super resolution photography. These techniques are fully explained in the book, Photographic Multishot Techniques by Juergen and Ranier Gulbins, Rockynook Inc. published 1998 ( http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...hot+techniques )

    When a tripod is needed, there is always a need to choose between the most solid platform and the lightest tripod available. A tripod which is not stable is worse than no tripod at all, however a tripod which is left at home because it is too heavy is also of no use. I have found that one tripod is not what I need. I use a pair of tripods. My main tripod is a Giottos MT-8180 which is a rock solid performer but, even though it is of carbon fiber construction, the tripod and head weigh about 3.25 kg which is a bit heavy to carry long distances and which is certainly too heavy to fly with. When I travel or when I know that I will carrying the tripod long distances, I use a modified SLIK Pro 330-DX with a Flashpoint F-1 head and a short center column. This tripod/head combination weighs a little over 1 kg but, will support my 40D camera and 70-200mm f/4L IS lens with relative ease. It is a fairly short package but, I can live with a bit bending to have a tripod of this weight. I can also use a right angle finder to reduce the stress of bending.

    An old trick to make a monopod into a really solid platorm is to carry a couple of lengths of double back 25mm wide Velcro strapping. Securing the monopod to a post or a fence with the Velcro will provide as solid a platform as a tripod. The downside is that you cannot always find a suitable post or fence. Still, at the weight of only a few grams and a low price, the Velcro is well worth including with the monopod. You can simply wrap it around the monopod for storage when not in use.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 30th January 2010 at 05:56 PM.

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    The idea of Velcro is a good one, but I have found that the Velcro gets dirty pretty quickly in the environments in which I find my self. I bought some sleeping bag straps which I use for that purpose. They are just as light and work quite well for strapping the monopod to available trees and such.

    A trick I have used in the desert or on farm land is to kneel and strap the monopod to my calf. Not a perfect support, but better than just having it loose. If I strap it in two places, I can stand up and walk about, looking for a different angle, without unstrapping it.

    I use a monopod I bought for rifle shooting and adjustable cane/walking stick. It is not advertised and sold for camera use, but works quite well for that purpose. I keep the V-support in my shooting bag and the monopod in the front seat of my rig. (Right alongside my tall tripod.)

    Pops

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    I have just joined CiC, so perhaps this comes in a bit on the late side. I have a tripod used for photo's & archery (spotting scope). The tripod can be cumbersome at times when space is needed. Closing the legs can be useful as a monopod but still a bit on the heavy side & time consuming. I often use a "string pod". Home made, low cost, lightweight & stick it in your pocket.
    I used a spare mounting screw from an old piece of equipment I no longer use, plaited a length of 'string' to my eye hight plus a bit extra to stand on.
    Just screw the string to the camera bush, stand on the lose end & pull up. Frame your shot & shoot
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    Quote Originally Posted by cliveanne View Post
    I have just joined CiC, so perhaps this comes in a bit on the late side. I have a tripod used for photo's & archery (spotting scope). The tripod can be cumbersome at times when space is needed. Closing the legs can be useful as a monopod but still a bit on the heavy side & time consuming. I often use a "string pod". Home made, low cost, lightweight & stick it in your pocket.
    I used a spare mounting screw from an old piece of equipment I no longer use, plaited a length of 'string' to my eye hight plus a bit extra to stand on.
    Just screw the string to the camera bush, stand on the lose end & pull up. Frame your shot & shoot
    Hi Peter,

    That's something I haven't heard of before. How well does it work for you?

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    That is quite an old idea, Colin.

    You have to keep quite a bit of tension on the string, which shouldn't stretch too much; and tie a loop in the end which goes around your foot.

    It will remove a bit of camera shake but obviously isn't as efficient as a proper, and expensive, tripod.

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    That is quite an old idea, Colin.

    You have to keep quite a bit of tension on the string, which shouldn't stretch too much; and tie a loop in the end which goes around your foot.

    It will remove a bit of camera shake but obviously isn't as efficient as a proper, and expensive, tripod.
    It works well for me

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    That is quite an old idea, Colin.
    I'm old - surprised I haven't heard of it then!

    You have to keep quite a bit of tension on the string, which shouldn't stretch too much; and tie a loop in the end which goes around your foot.
    Sounds like I should try some heavy anchor chain instead of string!

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    I use a monopod because museums don't know what to make of them and mostly if I can lean against something I can capture mostly everything.

    It isn't scientific but this is 3.2 secs @ 50mm on a unsupported monopod:

    Tripod vs. stick

    and this is HDR with supported monopod:
    Tripod vs. stick

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    I\ve taken quite a few landscapes by bracing the monopod on a branch/fence or other solid item. Gives pretty good results. Doesn't beat a tripod, but the flexibility of a monopod can sometimes be the priority.
    Great in museums as mentioned, I obviously need assistance in walking () and so I take it with me inside.
    Now I just have to try to get them to understand that I am visually challenged and I need a very bright light to see the exhibits properly.

    Graham
    (actually not that infirm, honest)

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    Re: Tripod vs. stick

    My first attempt at panorama with my stringpod

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