Just wondering what type of head is 'typically' being used on a monopod? I have a cheaper SLIK monopod with a pistol grip ball head but am considering getting a Manfrotto monopod and head to compliment my current tripod and three way head setup. The pistol grip took a bit of getting used to on the monopod, as you need to be careful to maintain stability when swivelling, but I have found it generally gives a good level of control (except when used with a long lens). I do not have a particular style of photography and am still finding my way, but am probably starting to lean towards bird photography.
I don't think a three way head would be practical on a monopod. Am I better off looking at a gear head, a ball head, or have some of you found using a pistol grip head is the better way to go? Also, have you noticed if there is an appreciable difference in the friction lock between pistol grips (joystick) and other ball heads in a similar price/quality range?
The Kirk looks pretty good. I hadn't stopped to think about it before seeing this but with a monopod you probably really only need rotation on one axis, as you can simply rotate and tilt the monopod for the other axes.
I am considering a ballhead. I think it would be more versatile than the tilt heads, as I would also be looking to use it on my tripod. After asking my question I noticed the thread near the top of the page with all the information I need for an informed choice. I should learn to read before I leap!
I use a Q3 on my monopod. One of the reasons I chose that head was that I wanted a backup head and/or a very lightweight head. The Q3 is a very capable head that will, in most cases, perform so closely to its bigger siblings that I suspect a lot of users would not notice the difference.
As the lens gets heavier, the problems of mounting a ballhead under it become more obvious. The main problem is the tendency for the lens to flop over if tension is not set quite right.
A 600/4 is much more problematic lens than a 70-200 or 300/4 and your 150-500 is probably somewhere in between but much closer to the 70-200 than the 600/4 of course.
Always trade-offs . Just trying to explain the subtle differences in the ballhead verses single axis tilt designs.
I generally use my Q3 on a monopod with a 70-200 or collarless lens. If I did a lot of monopod shooting on my 500/4 I might consider a new tool for the tool box, just for that lens. I'd probably still keep the Q3 though, for a lot of reasons, because it has its own unique qualities.
>With the Kirk head (mentioned by Jrp) or the RRS MH-01 I >believe you need a tool to loosen the clamp and reorient it.
Yep. With the RRS, an Allen wrench is needed to reorient the head. I believe what Chris is using (ID 15) is the Acratech Long Lens Head, and as I recall that does not need a tool for reorientation. But the price goes up again, compared to the others, for the convenience.
Fred you're correct. The Acratech Long Lens Head comes in two configurations. An "indexable clamp" model and one that is not indexable. The indexable clamp can be reoriented without using a tool. The non-indexable model would require an allen wrench to change the clamp orientation. The indexable model is $30 more than the standard one which sells for $300.
Thanks, Chris, for the additional info. When I was looking at heads for the monopod, the Acratech was either in the RSN stage of delivery (Real Soon Now), or always out of stock, and I don’t recall their having two versions to offer. I “couldn’t wait” so got the RRS. Not having to use the Allen wrench to reorient would have been nice, but I am nonetheless pleased with the RRS.
Hi Dean, Like Bruce here, I have a MH-01 also, have not regret it and find this head very smooth to control, albeit quite expensive
Another use I have found is the ability to mount the MH-01 on top of the BH-55, have found this to be great for tracking BIF or fast moving objects Admittedly, I do not have a side-kick yet but hope to test my friends mid July so will be able to see if one is better than the other to operate, Here is the "piggy-back" system I'm using ATM
The big difference between the MH-01 type single axis swivel head and the gimbal is that the gimbal is essentially friction-less. The MH-01 needs a fair amount of tension because the weight is above the pivot. You could never get the lens balanced well enough to have it sit there with no tension applied to the head.
The result is that it is always easier to track a difficult fast moving subject with a friction-less gimbal. It can be done on the MH-01, but not as effectively because there will always be significant drag compared to a gimbal.
>Hi Gary, > >The big difference between the MH-01 type single axis swivel >head and the gimbal is that the gimbal is essentially >friction-less. The MH-01 needs a fair amount of tension >because the weight is above the pivot. You could never get >the lens balanced well enough to have it sit there with no >tension applied to the head. > >The result is that it is always easier to track a difficult >fast moving subject with a friction-less gimbal. It can be >done on the MH-01, but not as effectively because there will >always be significant drag compared to a gimbal. Tks for the "heads-up" Neil, I'm finding mine well balanced, but in saying that, I am talking about an AF-S 300 f4, I virtually have the tension off when in use and find the BH-55 smooth as would be the Markins which I have had the opportunity to use also, I'm now looking forward to the comparison using my friends sidekick in a couple of weeks or so Regards, Gary
I used to have a photographic memory but never got it developed
I guess I'll get a monopod head one of these days, but so far I'm still using my Markins M20 (Q20 these days I guess). So far I've had little need to have a head on a tripod at the same time that I'm using the monopod, so I just use the head off my tripod. I keep saying that I'll get another head and I guess it's been about five years now...
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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