J. Ramon Palacios
a friend about this article
could use your monopod with no head at all, of course,
by attaching the camera directly to it, or using a quick
release shoe and quick release plate for your camera
or long lens; but your gear mobility is not only greatly
of the monopod goes to shreds when inappropriately positioned
to tilt the camera.
frequently used head, for the purpose of having a good
angle is a very economic option: the Manfrotto 234 swivel
head, previosuly known in the USA as the Bogen 3232, used
with a good Arca Swiss style quick release shoe. Kirk modified
it for better performance, having a fixed integrated clamp,
now discontinued. Kirk has now produced its own and very nice newer MPA-2. Markins offers its superb Q3 ball head.
Kirk MPA-2 is made of duraluminum alloy and designed
-90° to +90° tilt with cameras with small
to medium lenses without tripod collars. With a good
quick release clamp on top you can continue to use
industry standard Arka-Swiss type dove-tail plates. It weights 397 grams / 14oz. It
successfully used with superguns for typical sports angles
even better solution is to top the monopod with a small
professional ball head. As someone has correctly written:
"One thing that you don’t need on a monopod
is some sort of fussy ball head (or pan-tilt head) to
adjust." Of course, and that is why by professional
I mean one with enough load capacity for total peace
of mind and with a "sweet
spot". Having a sweet spot means, a friction
setting that will allow for movement of the camera-lens
setup under your pressure but with no creeping and without
having to touch the controls of the ball head at all.
have too quickly discarded this solution because
have not enjoyed a ball head with the above mentioned
characteristics, therefore thinking they need a
operation to move the camera and an extra free hand
or a tail to do it. A pity, because a monopod with
ball head is what gives the most effortless flexibility and great results.
professional ball head will allow not only for straight
and upward tilt movements, but also for side movements at
an angle and even panning, and without rotating the monopod
if you don't want that. It will also allow for flopping your
gear into the open channel for quick vertical composition,
if you don't have a lens with a tripod collar or an L-bracket
when with lenses with no tripod collar.
of those discarding the use of a ball head on a monopod insist
that you need to adjust it. As said before, with a pro ball
head you don't need to adjust anything, that is only required
with a "fussy ballhead".
some others insist that you don't have a free hand -if needed-
because one hand is holding the monopod and the other is shooting.
Well, you will see in the next section that is not necessarily
true. You can place both hands on the camera-lens. The monopod
is not going anywhere, it is firmly attached under your gear.
started using a Markins M10 for the task. It functioned
very nicely on my heavy monopod but on my lighter one
it felt a bit top-heavy.
I use a Markins Q3 "Emille", specifically
designed at our suggestion for monopods and light tripods,
weighting only 385 grams / 13.5 oz, with a load capacity
of 30Kg / 66 lbs. Total bliss. Ready for all lenses, from wide angles to the really
tripods and even more than tripods, monopods need your
to do the job well. Let's get into that next.