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Thread: Tips for monopod

  1. #1
    arith's Avatar
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    Tips for monopod

    Has anybody got any tips on how to use a monopod? I bought one today and it is more difficult than it looks.

    I want to get a sharp image on about 1.5 seconds so that I will be able to do interior HDR, I've got an image in mind where the longest exposure was 3.2 seconds at 100 iso, but if I boost the iso up to 400 then I would get away with 4/5 1/5 1/20 plus the time it takes to do the shots.

    Or isn't it possible because the best I can manage is 1/3 second at the moment but that is at 50mm and I plan to use 17mm, and I'm not sure that is sharp.

    1/2" at 50mm
    Tips for monopod

    1/3" at 50mm
    Tips for monopod

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Hi Steve,

    With anything like this, I'd take several to be able to select one good sharp one from.

    Regarding the pics above, the first is rubbish, but the second is OK, but I bet you could get a good 1/2 second one if you tried a few times.

    When you had a thread called "Tips for monopod", I was imagining a request for the pointy bit at the bottom end

    Sorry, I'm in a silly mood tonight,

  3. #3
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    I tried that above method Dave, with the monopod leaning forward, but I found it easier if it was leaning back and it was with it leaning back that I could consistently get reasonable on 1/3 seconds. Also if I didn't think about it I could occasionally go up to 1 sec, that is one in every ten goes.

    All of them is better with stability on, so unless I can improve my technique tenfold I am not going to be able to do interior HDR and the only HDR I could do would be what I could already do handheld with my prime lenses but had difficulty doing with this big 600gram thing.

    The reason I got it was that the tripod is extremely heavy and awkward to move around in places like the midland railway museum where you have to walk a mile on a hilly path or pay 15 train fare, and Crich which is an average 1:5 incline sometimes much steeper.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    OK, I should have known you'd have 'done your homework'

  5. #5
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    It is a good tip though Dave, if I only want one ordinary LDR. I suppose with practice I can get the full four stops out of stabilisation plus a little bit. Still not as good as a professional showing off with 70% success with 2 second exposures hand held.

  6. #6
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Here we are; they was 1 second but hand held and I want to do 1.5 seconds but have the drive running taking multiple shots in that time. Is that too much, I will get bored very quickly if I find it very difficult.

    http://www.tamron-usa.com/B005specia...w_okamoto.html

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Everyone will admit that a three-legged tripod is more stable than a monopod. I like to use my monopod as one leg of a three-legged support with my legs being the other two supports. I like to have my monopod directly below my camera perpendicular to the surface on which I am standing. I hold the monopod with my left hand which is looped through the monopod strap and hold the camera using my right (operating) hand.

    The pod being directly under tha camera, perpendicular to the ground is a much steadier hold for me than tilting the pod or even trying to wedge the pod against my foot. I push down on the monopod which provides a solid support for the camera. The loop around my wrist helps me do this. If you connected a line between my two-legs and the monopod, it would roughly form an equalateral triangle.

    I do not use a ball head with my monopod. Rather, I use a Really Right Stuff L-Bracket and a Kirk Swivel Monopod Head. This allows me to point the camera up or down while still maintaining the pod at 90 degrees to the surface on which I am standing. It also allows quick release of the camera/lens and ensures that the camera's center of gravity is directly over the pod when in the portrait position. This is most critical when I am using a lens without an "L" bracket. Using an Arca Compatible lens mount also allows you to adjust the center of gravity of the camera/lens so that it is directly over the pod. There are different length Arca Compatible lens mounts. When I use a very long/heavy lens, I tend to use my left hand under the lens/lens mount rather than holding the pod itself..

    Some photographers insist that the Kirk head is not strong enough for long and heavy lenses. I tend to agree. The longest/heaviest lens that I use is the 400mm f/5.6L on my Canon 40D camera which is not a very heavy rig. When I carry the camera/lens attached to the pod, I rest the lens, not the pod on my shoulder. As an example of how this is done. please see:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMgZ13X_pr4

    Of course, Scott doesn't use a swivel bracket. However, he uses a heavier camera/lens combination than I do and he also doesn't need to tilt his camera radically up or down when shooting American football.

    Additionally, I really like the combination of monopod and IS assisted lens.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 8th September 2010 at 03:51 PM.

  8. #8
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Tried again today and did 15 HDRI's out of which 12 were acceptable in that only one frame in them was being moved and less than 8 pixels, but they wasn't of an HDR subject and foliage and CA mean this one is the only one good enough.

    The max time that worked was about 1/2 a second for the three exposures although I did get some to line up with 1.5 seconds but these was over exposed.

    Tips for monopod

    ps it is a bit of an odd picture because the left hand side should be going uphill, I tried to correct the optical illusion of the river on an incline but both sides were pulled down.

  9. #9
    David's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Steve - It may be a trivial point that you do already - but I hold my breath when I press the shutter. Otherwise the technique described by Richard is my basic approach.

    David

  10. #10
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Cheers Richard, cheers David. It looks like it is something I will need to practice. These were not really a HDR subject and only used to find the best technique and are inconclusive since they nearly all lined up. I found that just using two frames is better because of the blur in the foliage but was ok for the solid structures on all three with at most a 3 pixel shift in these.

    So with the monopod leaning back 1\

    Tips for monopod

    The monopod leaning forward and wedged on my instep 1/

    Tips for monopod

    and just to prove HDR wasn't needed a singleton with IS or VC on the monopod leaning back 1\

    Tips for monopod

    The longest time was over 1.5 seconds in the middle pic but the two frame version shown is about 1/2 seconds or a long way to go.

  11. #11
    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Are you using MIRROR UP?

    At Tv = 1/15s to Tv = 2s, it can make a difference.

    WW

  12. #12
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Cheers Bill, I didn't think of that.

  13. #13
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    I'm up to 1.3 seconds now.

    Tips for monopod

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    William W's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Crikey, that's really, really good.

    Yes I did download the picture and have a close look at the line of bricks . . . and the writing on the sign.

    Bravo.

    Is that 1.3 seconds "regularly" like: 3 outa 5 or "hit and miss" like 1 outa 5

    What can you pull hand held?

    WW

  15. #15
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Crikey, that's really, really good.

    Yes I did download the picture and have a close look at the line of bricks . . . and the writing on the sign.

    Bravo.

    Is that 1.3 seconds "regularly" like: 3 outa 5 or "hit and miss" like 1 outa 5

    What can you pull hand held?

    WW
    Cheers Bill

    I've only tried two so far and both came out fine. Before the monopod I could manage about an eighth of a second with VC or stability on. I regularly get better than half a second since all my HDRI's turned out and my camera can only manage 6.5 frames per second.

    It seems to be quite easy if you lean against something and keep the shutter release pressed in untill the pic is done.

    Tips for monopod

    Stability is switched off in HDRI's.
    Last edited by arith; 24th September 2010 at 11:06 AM.

  16. #16
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    This was actually the hardest even though it is slightly longer than 1/3 seconds without VC/IS; I was kneeling but I'm disabled with a heavy backpack on, I don't know why I always carry it around, I think it is because it is padded and waterproof.

    There wasn't anything around to lean against but I liked the barren look and sun shining through the Georgian windows.

    Tips for monopod

    I don't think it will win any competitions but still it is practise to try and get feeling into something that can be identified or is recognisable.

  17. #17
    Nass's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    Crikey, that's really, really good.
    I'll second that. This thread is making me consider purchasing a monopod.

  18. #18
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Tips for monopod

    At first I thought what have I got this thing for, but actually it is quite good; you can use it in a museum where they definitely would say something about a tripod and in most situations the exposure is going to be less than a second, so I'm confident I can take the shot mostly wherever I go.

    It has the added advantage that it can be used as a walking stick or even support to get up from kneeling.

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