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I have manged to have the Canon 100-400 lens for the weekend and am heading back to the zoo (yes, I have a zoo fetish) to take pics of the new baby polar bear tomorrow. Since the odds of me having this lens again are slim, I don't really want to invest right now in a monopod. How easy is it to use the tripod as a monopod?

 

Would I just drop one leg, or drop all three but keep them bound together? Would it be stable? I would think so, but have never tried it.

 

Jill

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Will the zoo allow you to have a tripod with you? I doubt that their rules are so specific that you can carry around a tripod but can't open the legs. I see that 100-400 zoom has IS on it, so why not use that and raise the ISO? I have several tripods, table pods and clip pods. They are very useful tools . . . but not so useful with animals that move when they feel like it. 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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I used the 100-400 at a motorcycle event back in October and used it hand held with shutter speeds of around 1/250-1/400 at ISO1000+ (awful weather!) on a Canon 1Ds3 without too much problem but I was  panning which helps stabilise things. Holding it on a fixed point waiting for the right moment is trickier with a long, heavy lens, then a monopod/tripod will be useful. The 100-400 is not really much heavier than the 70-200 f2.8 and 2x convertor which I believe you have used Jill.

 

As a sports photographer I found a good approach for holding fast long lenses on a fixed point (when a monopod was inappropriate) was to swing it into position, pause, shoot and ease it down again, repeat as necessary. You will soon find out how long a pause you can use, you may be surprised how long it is.

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Will the zoo allow you to have a tripod with you? I doubt that their rules are so specific that you can carry around a tripod but can't open the legs. I see that 100-400 zoom has IS on it, so why not use that and raise the ISO? I have several tripods, table pods and clip pods. They are very useful tools . . . but not so useful with animals that move when they feel like it.

I have seen people with monopods but never with tripods. I will raise the ISO, but like to avoid that when I can. Supposed to be cloudy (of course, it always is when I go shooting) so that will be a downside. Shutter will have to be at least 1/500 anyway if using full zoom, and I think for the cute baby pics, I will be at 400. I may call the zoo as they don't say anything on the site itself, or maybe just go and see if anyone tells me I can't use the "monopod". It isn't very busy this time of year, but it is March break starting this weekend and the zoo has a bunch of special events for kids planned from tomorrow till the following weekend.

 

I will try without the monopod, but my son tells me it is about the same size at the 70-200 which I have used before, but heavier.

 

Should be fun. Polar bears and Arctic Wolves, my favourite subjects. Have enough on Alamy, so outside of the baby bear, might upload some to microstock.

 

 

Martin P Wilson, on 07 Mar 2014 - 12:07 PM, said:

I used the 100-400 at a motorcycle event back in October and used it hand held with shutter speeds of around 1/250-1/400 at ISO1000+ (awful weather!) on a Canon 1Ds3 without too much problem but I was panning which helps stabilise things. Holding it on a fixed point waiting for the right moment is trickier with a long, heavy lens, then a monopod/tripod will be useful. The 100-400 is not really much heavier than the 70-200 f2.8 and 2x convertor which I believe you have used Jill.

 

As a sports photographer I found a good approach for holding fast long lenses on a fixed point (when a monopod was inappropriate) was to swing it into position, pause, shoot and ease it down again, repeat as necessary. You will soon find out how long a pause you can use, you may be surprised how long it is.

I did use the extender and the 70-200 but did find it heavy and the only decent shots were of a sleeping polar bear and a sleeping wolf, both situated where I could rest my arms to take the pics.

 

 

Jill

Edited by Jill Morgan
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There are usually oodles of used monopods for sale on Craigslist. People tend to buy them and never use them. You might be able to pick up a decent one for a song.

 

I still have a Cullman monopod that I bought in the 1980's. It seldom leaves my cupboard and looks brand new.

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There are usually oodles of used monopods for sale on Craigslist. People tend to buy them and never use them. You might be able to pick up a decent one for a song.

 

 

Yes, but not before tomorrow.

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Unless you're a sports shooter, where there are several subtle reasons a monopod can be helpful, I think it's a BS piece of gear. 

 

I believe I mentioned this before, but perhaps it can be repeated: In Oxfordshire, I hand an aluminum ladder with a tripod head welded to the top of the U shape. I would have it in my car and I could use it to stand above the crowd, giving me a higher view and a steady base. Sometimes when traveling, if I was going to be in a city for more than a few days, I would buy a light ladder and use a clip-on pod in the same way. Here in NYC the cops would wrap the thing around my neck. 

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I have a couple of monopods a lightweight with ball head and heavy duty one with a gimble ,  which I sometimes use when I am trackside photographing motorsport and I would maybe use the lightweight monopod with my 300 f4 and converter in low light as it doesn't have VR, but given the choice I would rather hand hold when walking around zoo's etc as there is usually something to lean against and brace yourself...and it wouldn't be the first time my wife has been asked to stand still whilst she has got my 500mm lens and d700 resting on her shoulder  ;)

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I've found my lightweight monopod useful for taking the occasional wildlife photo when travelling. I have a ball head on mine, but I still find it fairly useless for verticals. It's often better to lean on something and handhold IME.

 

Monopods can make good walking sticks in rough terrain, though. They're handy for fending off hungry polar bears as well.

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On my monopod I just use a tilt bracket for lenses without a tripod foot. But most long lenses that need support have a tripod mount and swivel around their own axis (like the Canon 100-400 Jill will be using) so I have never really had any difficulty with portrait format when using a monopod. I just set the clamp with a little friction and rotate the camera as I need from shot to shot.

 

For travel shots I don't't carry any support; just brace myself against a wall, lampost or lean on a wall or bollard.

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I have a couple of monopods a lightweight with ball head and heavy duty one with a gimble ,  which I sometimes use when I am trackside photographing motorsport and I would maybe use the lightweight monopod with my 300 f4 and converter in low light as it doesn't have VR, but given the choice I would rather hand hold when walking around zoo's etc as there is usually something to lean against and brace yourself...and it wouldn't be the first time my wife has been asked to stand still whilst she has got my 500mm lens and d700 resting on her shoulder  ;)

 

Well my son is coming with me, so maybe I will use him as my "bipod" to steady the lens. The less crap I have to take with me, the better. I also wish I could afford another camera so I didn't have to swap out lenses when I am out.  Someday, someday.

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Understand that with your image stability turned on, 125th it is like 1/500 (more or less), and you should be fine at ISO800. Just don't try to pet any of the bears. 

Edited by Ed Rooney
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I have a $650.00 GITZO monopod,  it use to be a tripod.....

Long story and not a good one for Bogen.

 

In any event, a lot of public areas do not allow tripods to

be placed on the ground open. 

 

I use my very expensive monopod all the time with a 300

and 600 and it is really handy.  Also good if you are walking

alone in a dark alley in a not so good neighborhood....

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I've carried a monopod to the zoo many times.  Any time I planned on shooting with my 80-400 Nikon lens, it all was on a monopod unless shooting on a beanbag from the car window.  While walking, the camera went over my shoulder with one hand on it, one steadying the monopod. (I always worried Murphy of Murphy's law would cause the camera to disconnect) Quick down and shoot. I have a squeeze handle ball head that allows me to quickly change orientation without having to maneuver the pod itself.

 

My camera and lens are heavy.  I cannot stand with that in my hand waiting for the animal to present the perfect pose because of arthritis in my hands, which I've had since I was in my 20s.  The monopod takes that weight off and gives me steadiness.  If I spent a lot of time hand holding my rig, I wouldn't be able to grip my toothbrush the next day.

 

I love mine, and have nearly worn it out. Back to your question, I have used a tripod as a mono in a pinch, but don't enjoy doing so.  Although I've not tried it with my newer lightweight tripod. The one I tried was quite heavy and it would be a burden to carry around at a zoo.  When I did it, I left the legs folded together.  It just doesn't have the balance a monopod does, though.

 

Betty

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You can try wrapping camera belt on a tree or pole. It's easy and quite stable. I use it where tripod or monopod are not allowed.

 

That made me think that I should try putting the lens through the wrist loop on a walking pole and use that as a monopod when travelling/ walking. Should certainly work for lighter (slower) long lenses especially for a mirrorless camera.

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I was one of the photographers for the Jerry Springer show on and off for 19 years back in my film days and until a few years ago when it left Chicago. Sometimes I'd have to shoot thru a 2x6 opening in back of the stage and stand on an apple box to see over and then duck if the camera panned toward my direction.Having the tripod with the 3 legs together was the only way I could balance my lens and move it quickly. A monopod was too wobbly and tripod with legs outstretched was too wide and no room.

 

I just bought a tripod that fits in the tripod compartment on the bottom of my Manfrotto camera bag.

Just don't ask me if I've used it yet. :-)

 

L

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Heading out to the zoo. Of course it is dark and cloudy but such is life.  At least its above freezing today. Gonna pack the tripod and I'll see how it goes. Probably go down to Lake Ontario tomorrow and take some shots of the ice on the lake (hopefully defrosting  :) ). Just got my email from the zoo that they have named the cub Humphrey, so off I go to shoot Humphrey and his mom Aurora.

 

Jill

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I have an expensive Gitzo monopod that I never use. Recently I've hiked trails where I felt need for a walking stick so I bought a telescoping one on Amazon for just $20. Coincidentally it also has a screw for mounting a camera. I think I'll sell the Gitzo this weekend.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-Adjustable-Collapsible-Telescopic-Integrated/dp/B00CWLLWMU/ref=sr_1_1?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1394285161&sr=1-1

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Cullmann, a Danish company, makes some innovative (and at times, odd) alternatives to tripods and monopods.

 

http://www.cullmann.de/en/results/cat/flexx.html

 

The Cullmann monopod that I've had for over 30 years is well made and very light and compact. I think it cost me about $50 at the time. However, it doesn't look as fancy as Lynn's walking stick and gun support. I can see where the latter feature could come in very handy when dealing with competition in the field. B)

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