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View Full Version : Monopod Advice for 70-300 lens


madasadad
5th May 2009, 08:47 PM
I just recently discovered the joys and far reaching abilities of this lens. I took 1300+ shots with it recently during a rugby tour to Tralee in Ireland. As you would expect, I've some great shots, but some are either blurred or out of focus or both. The out of focus ones I blame on using my E510 in single AF rather than continuous, you live and learn, whereas others are blurred when trying to follow the action at the greatest reach. So having seen ALL of the professional photographers at these events using monopods, I'll have to follow suit! My leaning is towards one with a ball head, but it must have a friction adjustment to facilitate following the action without flopping about. Or would a 2 way tilting head be more appropriate and cheaper, since the monopod will facilitate panning movements. Finally the choice of monopod. I appreciate this is a can of worms type question, however given the light weight of the E510 and 70-330 combo, would the Manfrotto 790 suffice, with the majority of my budget going on the head? I've looked at the Slik 200 lighty, Redsnapper, Tundra combos, has anyone any experience of these particular items?
As ever, your wealth of experience is most gratefully received.

Archphoto
5th May 2009, 09:38 PM
I have a sturdy one for the past 20 years or so and used it upto 6x6: the Manfrotto 134B WITHOUT a head.

You actualy don't need a head on it as you can move forward, backward, sideways with it and pan.
If you have IS on your camera do turn the up-down IS off.

The best thing you can do anyway is try a couple of mono's in a store and see witch is best for you.

Peter

Nick Temple-Fry
5th May 2009, 09:44 PM
I just recently discovered the joys and far reaching abilities of this lens. I took 1300+ shots with it recently during a rugby tour to Tralee in Ireland. As you would expect, I've some great shots, but some are either blurred or out of focus or both. The out of focus ones I blame on using my E510 in single AF rather than continuous, you live and learn, whereas others are blurred when trying to follow the action at the greatest reach. So having seen ALL of the professional photographers at these events using monopods, I'll have to follow suit! My leaning is towards one with a ball head, but it must have a friction adjustment to facilitate following the action without flopping about. Or would a 2 way tilting head be more appropriate and cheaper, since the monopod will facilitate panning movements. Finally the choice of monopod. I appreciate this is a can of worms type question, however given the light weight of the E510 and 70-330 combo, would the Manfrotto 790 suffice, with the majority of my budget going on the head? I've looked at the Slik 200 lighty, Redsnapper, Tundra combos, has anyone any experience of these particular items?
As ever, your wealth of experience is most gratefully received.

Before you splash out on a monopod can I just make sure that you have checked the shutter speed on the blurred shots - the 70-300 is not the fastest lens and at full crank you may need to up the iso to keep the shutter speed above about 1/250.

Nick

vincent
5th May 2009, 10:58 PM
If you have IS on your camera do turn the up-down IS off.

Peter

Correct me if I'm wrong, Peter - but as far as I'm aware you can't turn the "up-down IS off", can you? On my E-3 it's the side-to-side IS which is disabled by choosing IS 2 - to enable panning shots. Or have I got that completely wrong?

I must confess it's puzzled me: whether it's best to engage IS when using my monopod, or not. With the 70-300 at full stretch it's hard to avoid a bit of sideways dither - and there are many occasions when a shutter speed of 1/600 or faster is just not an option.

Anyone have the definitive answer to this one?

Archphoto
5th May 2009, 11:36 PM
Sorry about that I was talking about the E520 that has that.

Peter

madasadad
6th May 2009, 04:43 PM
Went to Jessops today and came home with the Manfrotto 234rc and 790.
Will give them a try this evening. The 790 may be a bit light, but the range on offer was almost non existant, very poor show by a major retailer. It was either the 790 or a Velbon 400, which was much sturdier, but not as well finished.

madasadad
6th May 2009, 06:21 PM
The 790 is far too light, you cannot brace against it to aid stability. Back to Jessops tomorrow:o.
The 234rc is spot on and will fit the bill nicely.


Nick
Most shots were at or around 1/250-1/320 at 100iso (iso setting on auto)
What would the equivalent shutter speeds be at 400 iso?

Nick Temple-Fry
6th May 2009, 07:10 PM
The 790 is far too light, you cannot brace against it to aid stability. Back to Jessops tomorrow:o.
The 234rc is spot on and will fit the bill nicely.


Nick

Most shots were at or around 1/250-1/320 at 100iso (iso setting on auto)
What would the equivalent shutter speeds be at 400 iso?

Not sure - would also depend on f-number and whether camera was altering that - 1/250 is towards/at the bottom of the range especially as the target is moving so you would not be as well balanced.

Perhaps one of our more experienced sports/action shooters could comment

Nick

Nick

madasadad
7th May 2009, 09:30 PM
Well, back to Jessops today and came home with a Velbon UP 400, monopod. Far superior, in terms of stability, than the 790 and 1 cheaper.
Now waiting for our next rugby match, to see if this purchase has been worthwhile!

madasadad
15th May 2009, 07:19 PM
I replaced the 234rc with a 484rc ball head, after the penny dropped that I couldn't do quick landscape to portrait adjustments. What a difference, the ball head can be adjusted to allow a bit of drag that the angle of the camera can follow the action. Our last rugby match was on an afternoon full of mizzle. I turned the ISO up to 400, set the came to continuous focus and got some very good shots using this monopod/ballhead combination. I've still a lot to learn in terms of technique and the functions of my E510, but I'm looking forward to my next outing.

michaelavis
22nd June 2009, 08:32 AM
Interesting thread. Although I'm trying to expand my range, my main phtography is sports - my children playing either rugby, hockey or cricket. Nick was right when he said 1/250 was at the low end of shutter speed, I always try to stay well above that. Basic settings I found worked well are shutter priority, high speed burst, C-AF and set ISO to Auto, having set the ISO auto limit at 800, WB Auto.

Picture mode settings are a preference of course, but I use Vivid with sharpening -2 and noise Filter low (as per the wrotniak article) for sports.

From a technique perspective, I use hand held and leave IS on, although I had been advise to try IS-2 so as to capture a blurred background if panning a player running across my frame, but to be honest, my shots are often running towards me or at an angle as I like to get facial expression within the action. Key priority is of course keeping the shutter speed up, I'm happiest at 1/400-1/500 at f4/f5.6 with ISO being no more than 400, but with a long lens, it needs to be bright day, hence allowing the ISO to rise to 800 if needed via the auto. On dull days, I'd rather live with 1/320 at 800 ISO, than 1/640 at 1600 ISO. I shoot jpeg for sport (for speed) so noise removal needed at high-ISO is limited.

If it's a particularly bright day or you choose to use a shorter lens for a few shots and these shutter speeds are being ahieved with an aperture that's going over f6.3, then I would turn the ISO down rather than let the shutter speed keep rising and keep a relatively shallow DOF to ensure the background of spectators/trees/cars/stands etc etc, detracting from the action.

Don't know about you, but I find C-AF takes a bit of getting used to and it slows the camera down in burst mode too, but it's effective for increasing hit rates.

I have a monopod, a basic jessops model that I know isn't up to the job, my E-3/50-200/EC14 is too heavy and there is just the basic fitting to the lens clamp rather than a ball-head that you have mentioned. I take it you're happy with your set up? Is it nice and small and light? Do you really need the ball-head? I think I should get a decent monopod, not just to get sharp shots, but to also preseve my arm and shoulders!

Archphoto
22nd June 2009, 02:04 PM
Sorry to barge in, but if you need a good monopod for your 50-200: have a look at the Manfrotto 134B.....
I bought mine for my Rollei SL66, a heavy MF (medium format) camera.

Peter

michaelavis
22nd June 2009, 02:58 PM
Sorry to barge in, but if you need a good monopod for your 50-200: have a look at the Manfrotto 134B.....
I bought mine for my Rollei SL66, a heavy MF (medium format) camera.

Peter

I think that must be a discontinued model? I can't find it. I web researched against "compact but sturdy" criteria and took a look in my local jessops and favour a Manfrotto 680B/484RC2 head combo.

Its not as light as the Velbon, which is a nice monopod, good choice, but it seems to only come in silver and I wanted black. The 680B is a bit heavier and chunkier that the Velbon, but not too heavy and the 484RC2 is a small but strong ball head with a max load of 4kg (E-3/50-200/EC14 is well inside at about 2.4kg) so I think it will be a nicely balanced set up (and all black *yes) probably keep the lens clamp on it permanently.

Amazon is 36 each item, Jessops were more for Manfrotto, plus my store didn't have that particular ball head in stock today in any case, they only had a larger one which was over the top for me.

Archphoto
22nd June 2009, 03:15 PM
You are right, the 134B has been discontinued and replaced by the 681B.
Both are called Professional and take a 12 kg load.
I have the 134B for the past 20 years and has been given me great support.

For a 70-300mm it would be a tad oversized I gues....., for the much heavier 50-200mm I think it would be a nice one.

Mind you, I have not tried it under my E520 jet, my lenses are too short for it, but I will be using it for my heavy Mamiya RB67.

Peter

Archphoto
22nd June 2009, 03:21 PM
@Vincent:
Sorry, I have an E520, where you can choose between several IS settings:

Off
Horizontal IS on
Vertical IS on
Horizontal AND vertical IS on.

Olympus states that IS should be off when the camera is mounted onto a tripod, on a mono-pod that would mean to shut-off the vertical IS.

I did some tests with the IS on a tripod and at close inspection the shots with the IS off were sharper.

Peter

michaelavis
22nd June 2009, 03:51 PM
@Vincent:
Sorry, I have an E520, where you can choose between several IS settings:

Off
Horizontal IS on
Vertical IS on
Horizontal AND vertical IS on.

Olympus states that IS should be off when the camera is mounted onto a tripod, on a mono-pod that would mean to shut-off the vertical IS.

I did some tests with the IS on a tripod and at close inspection the shots with the IS off were sharper.

Peter

So that recommended monopod setting would be IS-2 (vertical off), when the camera is being used normally (landscape) and IS-3 (horizonal off if the E520 was flipped 90 degrees (portrait). Given the E-3 doesn't have IS-3 and I think the E-510 is the same (always been surprised that isn't a firmware upgrade given it's switching somethign off that is already there) IS would need to switched off instead.

In fact, I might go without IS altogether on the monopod, especially at sports shutter speeds, in the heat of the moment I can well imagine forgetting to change IS settings just because of changing perspective.

michaelavis
22nd June 2009, 04:03 PM
You are right, the 134B has been discontinued and replaced by the 681B.
Both are called Professional and take a 12 kg load.
I have the 134B for the past 20 years and has been given me great support.

For a 70-300mm it would be a tad oversized I gues....., for the much heavier 50-200mm I think it would be a nice one.

Mind you, I have not tried it under my E520 jet, my lenses are too short for it, but I will be using it for my heavy Mamiya RB67.

Peter

Ah, yes, saw that one, very nice and very similar spec in every way to the 680B, other than the 681B trades more max height and load weight (12kg rather than 10kg) for a smaller min height (which I thought could be useful for low-down macro work) and size when being carried due to an extra tele section on the 680B.

madasadad
25th June 2009, 08:26 PM
During my own research, the type of head is of greater importance than the monopod. There are many suitable monopods from 25 up. The 484rc head cost me 35 and is the perfect compromise of cost v useability and I'd recommend trying one before buying anything more expensive, unless weight is an issue.

Archphoto
25th June 2009, 08:42 PM
Micheal,
For low down macro work I have a Manfrotto 709 table-pod with a 482 mini-ballhead that works good and a couple of other table-pods, some from ebay.
On ebay I found a mini-ballhead that works well with the E4xx and E5xx: cheap but good: Ebay # 170348010535

On the other hand, my Manfrotto 055XDB can go very low too, but is much heavier.

Peter

Melaka
16th October 2009, 07:09 PM
Can anyone recommend a monopod for use with E3, HLD and Bigma please? My Jessops works well enough with lighter kit but sags a bit under the weight of this outfit - as do I!

michaelavis
16th October 2009, 07:29 PM
I got the 4-section manfrotto 680B with the 484RC2 head and use this combo with my E-3/EC14/50-200SWD for sports photography. I have never experienced the heft of a bigma, but I'd be amazed of this monopod and head would have any problem with it, with my set up it's a breeze for the monopod, its sturdy and clearly well made in all respects. there is a 3 section manfrotto which I guess would be even more sturdy with the trade off being slightly longer when collapsed.

Melaka
8th November 2009, 12:48 PM
Thanks for that advice. I've bought one and it's very steady even with the Bigma on it.