Fri 13-May-11 01:26 AM | edited Fri 13-May-11 01:28 AM by ZoneV
It's going to be time to buy a monopod not too long from now.
I want something that:
-Will work well with a 300/4 Nikkor attached to a pro body -Will hold a 500mm or 600mm lens if I need to borrow or rent one -Is sturdy, reliable, and well-made -Comes in at $150 or less for the pole and head -Extends far enough for a man of average height to comfortably use it standing up
I use a Manfrotto 681B, which works great. I got a Manfrotto swivel head with it when I bought it, but I believe the swivel head I got has been discontinued and replaced with a newer model. I use it mostly with an 80-200 f2.8, so can't say from experience how it would do with a 500mm or 600mm lens, but I can't think of a reason why it wouldn't work with something this big.
I like my Benro MC-96M8. I haven't loaded it up with the gear you list but it's rated for 44 lbs. (I believe that rating, it feels solid.) It's black, and it's tall (67" I think). Good ergonomics. I don't think they're currently being made, but you might be able to find one cheap (I paid $110, I think) and have money left over for some kind of head. I don't use a head on the monopod.
Years ago I bought a Manfrotto 679B monopod, more or less on a whim. It was $45. I figured that if I ever really needed a good monopod, I'd get one. Well, then I got into shooting sports - a lot of it - and I use a monopod a lot. The same old 679B. With little lenses like a Bigma, a Sigma 120-300/f2.8, 400/f2.8 and 600/f4. With TCs. I guess I could upgrade it, but to date I can't figure out why I'd do that. Perhaps when I get some real mileage on it I'll know - I only have about 60,000 frames on it.
I do use my regular Markins M20 head on it, which commutes between the monopod and my main tripod.
Oh, I see that it does not meet your requirements: it is not black. (It's aluminum.)
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>-Will hold a 500mm or 600mm lens if I need to borrow or rent >one >-Is sturdy, reliable, and well-made >-Comes in at $150 or less for the pole and head
I am not certain how much faith you will want to put into a $150 monopod and head kit that will adequately support a 500mm/600mm lens, unless you are buying used.
You might want to re-think your budget, or split your purchase into:
First, Monopod w/ minimal head support (Arca-Swiss compatible vs. something else), or no head.
Second (later) something along the lines of the RRS MH-01 High Capacity Monopod Head, or a substantial ball-head over a ball head. You’ll get varying opinions on this; I prefer a monopod head over a ball head on a monopod. The RRS head w/o clamp is $150. There are lighter-duty heads also available, such as the Manfrotto 234 for ~$20 off the Internet, but I would not be entirely comfortable with that even with the 300mm f/2.8.
I think you really need to consider how much lens you would want to put on a light-duty head of any sort, not only in terms of weight, but also balance. Especially a borrowed or rented lens.
As I said, I've used this combo for a number of years and have had no problems. I used to have the Manfrotto swivel head, but it couldn't handle the load of the 400. When another shooter I know that shoots for SI, saw my setup, he ordered two of the heads and he regularly handles the 400 2.8 & 600 4.
The destination is our goal but it’s the journey that educates us. KeithR
Depending on what you are shooting, you might not even need to put a head on the monopod. I shot a lot of soccer with a quick release clamp screwed directly to the top of the monopod. I eventually got a Markins M10 that I share between the monopod and a small tripod, but if you are shooting field sports, you might not need a head at all.
Well, I got the default 234RC head, which should be fine with my lens. I didn't want to go headless because I need the quick release, and it's also nice to be able to tilt the camera down. Baseball and softball are very conducive to being shot with a monopod, and I wish I had one in the past.