I've been using a monopod without a head for many years, and I never ever had the feeling I was missing something.
Especially a 3-way head on a monopod seems completely superfluous to me. Two of the 3 'ways' can be done with the monopod, so no need to unlock a head, adjust it, and then relock it. If you want to rotate 90° to the left, it's a lot easier to rotate the monopod.
The only thing the head possibly needs to do is to allow vertical shots, when the lens has no collar. So IMO there's no need for a complex 3-way head.
The Bogen 3229 (I don't have the Manfrotto number at hand) is the recommended swivel tilt head with quick release for monopod use. Others (like me) may prefer the use of the 3265 grip action ball head as most vertical shots are made by rotating the tripod collar of medium to big lenses, not the ballhead.
Shame on me. Surely it is possible to buy quick release separately. It is just to many things to consider not missing anything.
So it seems the ballhead with quick release is the right option.
I fully understand your rational behind and it is close to mine. But my opinion about the waste is different here.
Formally speaking If you have extra freedom it is a waste. But If it comes fo free ( no extra money or extra weight to carry) it more sounds like more comfort to me.
You can say that I do not need that extra freedom at all. But to my mind it is not so. First, we have to move the body up and down. It is not always possible with monopod only. Fine. It can be done with both options. But what if we need to compose a vertical shot and move the body up or down ? It is not always possible.
100% agree that 3way head it is to much for monopod But two way may be required. Nevertheless in some cases no need for a head at monopod at all.
>However, a ballhead on a monopod is a waste in my opinion
jrp, i found that with basic swivel-tilt head(s) it is rather inconvenient to do vertical shots... since you have to unscrew the head from the camera and rotate it 90° thus i use ball head on monopod and find it much more convenient
We are just sharing with you our own experiences. You need to raise the body? Increase the height of the monopod. Extra features are not "freedom", but added things to take care of. If you have the time, use a tripod, not a monopod, then a ballhead might be great to have.
My point might not be practical, but how it is possible to take a vertical photo with monopod without any or one-way head if, for example, you have to move camera down or up at rather big angle (which is quite a common case). Please keep in mind that there is no tripod collar on the lens.
The only solution I see are with the use one-way head: Move camera vertically with the head. Then tilt the monopod to the angle needed (not always possible at big angles). Fine. For big angles you can reattach quick release plate. It is possible, but still time consuming for just any similar case. So very light and simple ball head sounds like a solution in that situation.
So it is my simple logic behind in spite of the fact that it is not 100% practical.
I use Manfrotto's 234RC device: Simple tilt head to allow a camera on Manfrotto to be turned 90° to provide either vertical or horizontal format. Provide with quick release camera plate system and secondary safety lock.
Only disadvantage is the sheer weight... May look even heavier on a carbon monopod...
Manfrotto 352RC, light and yet fully functional: This versatile heads is fitted with a quick release camera plate and a secondary safety catch. The head is strong enough to take 35mm SLR cameras medium size lens and light, medium format cameras
After checking in the shop two items mentioned above and Manfrotto 210B I choose the last one.
In spite of the fact that first one is not a ballhead, but it turned out to be the biggest and heaviest (or the most solid one). So I skipped this item. Then it was really a tough choice between 352 and 210b model. The problem is that there was not much difference ( only height and weight). So I choose the lightest (210b). I made a decision not to attach the quick release to it as the convinience of it is not so important to me as sacrifize of the compactness ant might be extra weight.