I shoot quite a lot of motor sport, using an ancient, dirt cheap & much repaired monopod with a very simple (also dirt cheap and very old) head. My wife sprained her ankle badly while at Mugello and used the monopod as a crutch for several days. This did not do the thing a lot of good.
So I'm hoping for some expert guidance on what to select.
I use a Manfrotto 055 PROB tripod with a 486RC2 (quick release plate) ball head for my normal landscape work, but its far too heavy & cumbersome to use at race tracks.
My first thoughts are to keep it simple, maybe even without an adjustable head? Although a QR release would be useful and I've already got three Manfrotto 200PL-14's. I tend to use three lenses at these events, a 28-70,70-200 and a 170-500. The first without an adjustable head would be a problem, but the other two can be swung from landscape to portrait with the lens collars. I could maybe use the 28-70 handheld?
Monopods are more skill-oriented than tripods so weight and ease of use are the primary factors, a tripod stands by itself so design is much more important. I just got my Gitzo GM5540 and it's HUGE as far as diameter is concerned (to the point where I'd probably recommend the GM3550 unless you like a beefy feel) and the leg locks are much faster than my 1325's. Many people here prefer the Manfrotto monopods but I haven't used one myself.
As far as heads are concerned you can mount the camera directly to the monopod or add just a QR clamp and use the monopod for all alignment. The Manfrotto 3232 (or the Kirk-modified version) provides a fairly inexpensive single axis of movement A good ballhead like a Markins Q3 provides more axes of freedom plus gives you a sweet spot for hands free motion. I've played a little with my Q3 and it's great, I hope to experiment with the Kirk-modified 3232 soon to see the differences. I've also got a plain QR clamp that I can try out to round out the options.
If you go the QR route, try to switch over to the more available Arca-Swiss style QR plates and clamps. Kirk sells an adapter for a Manfrotto QR system or you can replace the clamp. The A-S systems have the benefit of offering custom-fit plates for a much better feel.
>I just got my Gitzo GM5540 and it's HUGE as far as diameter is >concerned (to the point where I'd probably recommend the GM3550 unless you like a beefy feel) >
Jeff, Do you have any pictures of your GM5540 monopod with some kind of point of reference ( like a hand around it ) that would show how big it really is? I've looked at pictures of it, but can't really get a feel for how big it is.
I use a Manfrotto 679 monopod. It's plenty for handling a Bigma or an 80-200/f2.8. I have Arca QR plates on my lenses (and an L-bracket on my D2h) so I transfer my Markins head from the tripod to the monopod. It's heavier than the 'pod by itself, but it's certainly a QR solution and, since I've got the head for the tripod anyway, it's no additional cost.
I could put the lenses directly on the monopod, but taking the QR plates off the cameras and lenses is a major pain.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!
>>you could get a kirk QR-3 arca mount and screw it directly >>onto the monopod, or you could get the kirk modified >>manfrotto 234 /bogen 3232 2D head with arca style mount. > >But this head is only valid for lens collars, isn't it? > >http://www.kirkphoto.com/g3232.html > >The head can only rotate in one sense, it would not work for >camera QR plates.
I have this setup, but with the RRS B2-Pro arca qr and it works just fine with my D200 L-clamp and the qr foot on my 70-200.
I have the Gitzo 1568 Monopod with the B/M 3232 Head. I have problems using it as I have to choose whether I can tilt it forward and back or side to side before I mount the camera. I'm not happy. My Acratech head seems to do a much better job.