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Long (and big!) lens support technique


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zuman Registered since 04th Jan 2006
Tue 31-Oct-06 04:55 PM

I've just bought my first "really big" lens, the 200-400mm VR. In the past my biggest glass was the 70-200 VR with 1.4x and the Sigma 80-400 OS, and even though I own a CF tripod, monopod, and ballheads including the Arca Swiss B1, I usually end up hand-holding.
I do a lot of exotic nature photography, but I hardly ever have the opportunity to set up and wait for a shot because I'm nearly always with a group, and often in a vehicle. So my experience with the tripod and monopod is pretty limited and I've never really become comfortable with them.
I know that I will often be able to use a beanbag in a vehicle, but I really want to get comfortable with the monopod, particularly as the D2X/200-400 combination is a muscle-ache waiting to happen. I'm sure many of you have reached the point where using a monopod is second nature, so please share with me how you use it. Do you keep your camera attached, or snap on the QR when the moment arises? What kind of lock works for you (twist or lever)? How do you avoid maiming others around you? Pistol grip or not? What else can you teach me?