View Full Version : Monopod advice
December 13th, 2004, 12:15 PM
I'm looking at getting a monopod and head for my PD170 and am looking for some advice. Bogen has many to choose from and looks to have them priced in my range.
The models with legs that come out from the bootom look interesting, but the legs don't appear to be very sturdy. Anybody use one of these?
What about 3 vs. 4 section monopods? Other than one being more compact that the other, are there any other pros and cons?
And I think need a small "tilt" head to go with it. I borrowed my friend's monopod without the head and found that not being able to tilt it was awkward. Small and simple (cheap!) seems to be the way to go. Again, any advice?
December 13th, 2004, 01:26 PM
I use a Bogen 682B. Thats a model with the feet. There are pros and cons to it, I'll try to give a brief rundown for you.
1st, I use PD150's so it's the same as your camera as far as weight and dimensions go. Thats important because there is a "sway" factor to using a monopod. Too big or too heavy a cmaera and it will rock all over the place. I do not use it when using my full sized camera. I have a BOgen 501 head on the pod which for me makes things a bit easier. I can use it almost as a glidecam by holding the monopod under the mounting plate and grabbing the pan handle, but you have to watch your feet, yours and the monopods, as it's can be easy to kick the feet of the monopod and then you've got a rather large BUMP. As for stability, well, it depends. You have to hold the pod LIGHTLY, too tight a grip and your arms start to tense up and shake and that transfers to the pod (at least my arms tense up) not enough pressure and any movement around you and the pod will sway slightly. I did a ceremony in a church right off a main and very busy street with a lot of truck traffic and found I had to hold on for dear life whenever one passed by. I had no room for a tripod and dolly so I had no choice but to use the monopod. I prefer NOT to use it for ceremonies whenever possible but I DO use it at receptions, intros, toasts, even the 1st dance but I use it more like a glidecam AND it's great for getting overhead shots especially with a WA lens attachment. You need to be careful setting it back down on the floor however as you can get bumps when you do so.
All in all I like using it with the 150's but if I had my choice I would use a tripod. I use it when the situation warrants it or I have no other choice. I have also used it in place of a tripod when placing a locked down camera on the altar and hiding it in a corner so it will be less noticeable but again, watch the sway factor.
IT is nice to have the feet as it gives me a place to put my camera when I'm not holding it BUT I lower the sections as far down as possible to lower the CofG so there's less chance of it falling over. All in all it works for me.
My opinion, I would rather have it than not.
Hope that helps
December 13th, 2004, 01:43 PM
Thanks Don, that does help.
You said you use a 501 head with the monopod (that's the head on my tripod). I can see using a small tilt head, but not a full sized video head. You've certainly used this combination enough to know what works so why did you decide to not use something smaller?
December 13th, 2004, 02:02 PM
Simply because I had a 501 head laying around and it uses the same quick release plate as the 503 and 516 head so moving from monopod to any of my other tripods is a fast easy and uncomplicated move.
December 13th, 2004, 03:51 PM
Here's some tips on using a monopod and keeping your cam still. As above, monos may not be right for heavy cams. But if you have a smaller cam, these might give you enough stability. This was written for still cams but should work with camcorders just fine.
December 13th, 2004, 08:20 PM
I've got a Bogen monopod and I'm going to get a Gitzo or some other monopod instead. I may be the ONLY guy this has happened to, but my Bogen stick always wants to thread into the complete bottom plastic of my camera... not just into the threaded mount. The Bogen sticks use a "dual-screw" where a 3/8 threaded stud surrounds a 1/4-20 screw (the standard mounting size) and you simply tighten the monopod to your camera and the 3/8 stud "sinks out of the way"... but unfortunately this action isn't so pure and after using my monopod several times it finally managed to bust the mouting out of the bottom of my dvx. Bummer huh? Yeah I didn't even know it was happening until I heard the little "pop".
I guess if you're using a head then who cares about this, but it's annoying enough that I'm only using sticks with reverseable studs, not "dual" studs.
Hey if you can find a light enough tilt head for your monopod then I say go for it, but be sure to post back 'cause I can't imagine what it could be. I use a monopod when I need quick and light, and a big head under a midsized cam (such as yours or mine) seems like it would create a rather hefty rig.
So that's my .02 on it. I like manfrotto stuff, but in this case I'm going to shift my business from one side of the company to the other... plus the Gitzo pods go WAY short. Is that a Gitzo monopod in your pants or are you happy to videotape me?
December 13th, 2004, 08:41 PM
I borrowed a 4 section bogen unit equipped with a small tilt head (3229) this weekend and I'd say I was pleased with it. You have to be careful with a heavy load because the clamp on this head goes from locked to loose with not much of a handle turn. Of course there is no fluid or fluid-like motion, but the head is small and doesn't add much to the overall weight.
One more question for Don, do the legs actually retract into the 682B monopod?
December 13th, 2004, 10:20 PM
The base where there is a small rubber tip unscrews the legs fold (fall) open and then you rescrew the base in. Once you get the hang of it, it doesn't take very long at all. Maybe 10 seconds or so, but I prefer not to have the camera on the head for obvious reasons.