I'm currently shopping for a monopod to support 3 lenses, all Sigma's, 70-200 f/2.8 HSM II, 300 f/2.8 HSM and a 150-500 OS. Do I need a ballhead on a monopod to support these lenses? I use them with a D300s and D700 and occasionally in real good light a D2x.
Not only do you not NEED a ballhead, using one would cause you significant difficulty.
>I'm currently shopping for a monopod to support 3 lenses, all >Sigma's, 70-200 f/2.8 HSM II, 300 f/2.8 HSM and a 150-500 OS. >Do I need a ballhead on a monopod to support these lenses? I >use them with a D300s and D700 and occasionally in real good >light a D2x.
With my 70-200mm and 300mm lenses, I generally just screw the monopod directly into the lens' tripod foot.
But with some types of subject - those that are moving arounbd in the vertical as well as horizontal plane such as aircraft at a display - I use a Markins ballhead to allow me to alter the lens' elevation and keep the plane in frame.
Some us a simple tilt head rather than a ballhead, this having the advantage that the lens won't fall over sideways as can happen with a ballhead if you aren't careful.
I don't think a ballhead is a good idea, but equipping your lens feet with Arca-Swiss type plates and putting a clamp on the monopod will make it far easier to change lenses. Since all of teh lenses you mention have collars, changing from landscape to portrait is easily accomplished. You can even leave the collar somewhat loose if you need to adjust on the fly.
You don't need a ball head. And most ball heads have left sour feelings towards them. However, if you want bliss, then use a professional ball head. And by professional ball head I mean one that will allow you to move the camera/lens without having to touch the controls at all -once set- and stay put:
I have the Markins Q3 on my monopod and its a joy. Yes much of the time its locked down but when I need to shoot portrait on my monopod the Q3 is great and its load capacity is fantastic. So do you need one no but it does add versatility as far as I'm concerned.
I use the Manfrotto 3232 Swivel Head - just $21 - with a RRS quick release. It's a very light weight, inexpensive solution. With a monopod, you typically just need movement on the vertical axis so this works nicely.
Have a look at the Really Right Stuff monopod head, MH-01. It's designed specifically for a monopod and can take a very heavy load securely. More importantly, it only swivels in an up down direction (any sideways movement that is required is done simply by rotating your your monopod). I've been using one on my Gitzo GM3551 for about two years now and it's terrific. I've tried a small, high quality ballhead on a monopod and it's not a good choice IMHO.
A ballhead is a negative with a monopod. No need for panning when you can swivel the monopod. A ball head with its greater range of movement makes it difficult to control a heavy lens when it is mounted.
Best monopod head I have found is the $24 Manfrotto 234 swivel/tilt head. Nice also that you can leave it permanently attached to the monopod and leave your ball head attached to a tripod. The 234 head also has a standard 1/4" stud so it can be used to secure a flash head and then the monopod functions very well as a light pole.
Any time a piece of gear can be used in multiple situations and reduce the amount I need to haul around I jump on the opportunity.