View Full Version : Does anyone use a monopod for shooting motorsports?
22nd of September 2008 (Mon), 22:11
Should i bother taking my monopod to the race next weekend? Would it be useful when panning with a 70-200 (non IS)?
22nd of September 2008 (Mon), 23:10
Leave it at home. Panning is easier without it for me using that lens. For a much longer, heavier lens, it can be useful.
These are with a 70-200 f/2.8 & 2X TC:
POTN at Waterford Hills - Open Wheel Club Racing. (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=543685)
Motorsport Shooting Tips, Tutorials and Advice (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=151056)
Great post by John Thawley:
what settings to get wheel and backround blur for car racing... (http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=353913)
22nd of September 2008 (Mon), 23:53
IF your going to be doing panning shots, its easier without it.
its not heavy or too big so bring it if you can fit it easy.
if you juts want stable aimed shots it can help.
I use it for things like flowers and when im using the lens in one spot for long periods of time, like a game or sport contest.
i did a bmx show without it, and my wrists hurt holding it to my face for 20 minutes straight, used a monopod on the next show, peice of cake
its alot easier to pan and aim without a monopod, but its alot more stable with one.
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 12:14
Unlike the replies you've already had, I find a monopod useful for panning as it helps me to concentrate on nailing the focus point all the way through the pan. It also supports the weight of the camera/grip/lens/etc...... between shooting.
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 12:28
^^^ what he said..
Espcially when used with a ballhead thats quick to adjust..
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 12:29
I think some of it depends on your gear, I find i use my monopod alot simply maybe beccause i am lazy.. lol, The weight of the 1D markIII and 70-200 2.8L just seems to get really heavy after a few min of shooting.
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 12:33
Yes, I use a monopod. I won't pan with one but I will use one for head on and three quarters shots as I'll typically use shutter speeds of 1/200th to 1/125th for those and I dislike IS for sports work.
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 13:35
I am with Glenn on this one. Head ons and 3/4 if I am using a 300 f/2.8 or larger.
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 16:28
Never used one with the 100-400L, but I'm not saying it wouldn't be easier with one. :)
24th of September 2008 (Wed), 23:50
I suppose i could just take it and try both ways to see which way the pictures come out better for me.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 00:43
I suppose i could just take it and try both ways to see which way the pictures come out better for me.
That is a good idea. What works for me may not work for you. Advice is like sand, sometimes you get glass and others an uncomfortable bed.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 06:55
A fellow 5d shooter at Knockhill lent me his monopod for a try, and frankly I didn't like it for panning.
But then when I was shooting a hill climb at Forrestburn, my 100-400 was getting blown about in the wind, and I could have really used a monopod.
So I'm a bit equivocal about it at the minute.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 07:10
I use one with the 400 f/2.8 however do not with the 70-200 I prefer the freedom when panning.
It did take a while to get used to using a monopod, once I got the 120-300 it didn't take long to realise I just was not fit/strong enough to hand hold it for a whole weekend!
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 09:29
I liked using one with my 100-400 but never really used it with my 70-200. I tried a monopod with my new 1.4x on my 70-200 just to try it, and I think i did a little better, though it was more awkward. I want to try it with a ballhead though, that seems ike it would help a ton.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 19:17
Shooting correctly with a monopod - is my advice. I shoot everything that has a tripod collar with a monopod, but there are at least three ways of doing it, and most people use it incorrectly first off, and then give up on it after about five minutes.
When you shoot without a monopod, your body has to control the vertical, diagonal and horizontal movement. Using a monopod correctly, eliminates the vertical and diagonal movement, leaving you only one plane to mess up. It takes practice, but you should be able to use much lower shutter speeds when you have got the hang of it.
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 19:19
care to share the correct technique?
25th of September 2008 (Thu), 20:26
At the end of the day, the monopod is there to support the camera and help stop movement. Screwing it directly into the collar, or the body, is great when you have static, or near static subjects to shoot. I would consider that method under those circumstances correct. However, screwing it that way when you have to chase a moving subject, means that it actually restricts the movement and the camera is forced into an arc that the photographer doesn’t want to follow, because it doesn’t match the movement of the vehicle. I would consider that method in those circumstances incorrect use.
When the monopod is mounted directly onto the collar, there is a HUGELY complex geometrical equation flowing between; the fixed position of the feet, the rigidness or bend in one, or both of the knees; the twisting movement of the hip joints; through to the twisting of the spine and neck; the movement of the arms; pushing through camera body that is fixed at the face; down the length of the lens; and then back down the monopod to another fixed point on the ground a couple of feet in front of the photographer. Regardless of what the body does during a pan, the result under those circumstances is that the camera is forced into a large unwanted arc – the camera is low at the start of the pan and at an angle that points the vehicle downwards in the frame. Then in the middle of the pan, the camera raises too high, often resulting in the vehicle being low in the frame, then at the end of the pan, the camera is low again and at an angle that points the vehicle upwards in the frame.
This is when most photographers give up and carry on without the monopod because it actually gives them worse results than when they were shooting without it.
There are two methods that I use that mean that the monopod acts in a manner that helps the photographer, rather than fights against him.
The first way to reduce this unwanted arc, is to attach a ballhead or a piece of kit such as a Manfrotto 234rc, that allows the monopod to move away from the perpendicular 90 degree angle from the lens. When the foot of the monopod is moved towards the photographer to a position that is roughly central between the feet, the pivot point of the monopod is then much closer to the central pivot point of the body, and they both work in unison, rather than fighting each other. When the photographer’s torso and the monopod pivot from the same point, the result is an arc that is much closer to the path of the vehicle. Although it is not exactly the same as the vehicle, it allows the photographer to pan without the unusual forced arc that occurred when the monopod was situated a couple of feet away from the body’s pivot point.
The second way is to put the monopod into a pouch that is suspended from a belt around your waist. This allows full movement from lower part of your body, with a huge amount of stability from the top half of the torso, without ANY adverse force from the monopod trying to fight the arc you want to take. It is important that you get the camera at the right height, and that you get comfortable. This method is difficult during strong winds, and can give you back ache if you have the belt to high in the small of your back, using the hips to take the weight puts much less strain on your back. However, it allows the freedom of movement similar to panning without a monopod, but with the support and benefits of shooting with one.
Both methods are simple tweaks to the way people use a monopod at the moment, but the difference in results can be significant.
At the end of the day, people can use their equipment any way they want to, but all too often, it is my experience that the trusty old monopod is dismissed through frustration before it has been given a proper chance.
26th of September 2008 (Fri), 09:30
After reading fatphotogs technique I realise that without thinking I've been placing the foot of the monopod between my feet when I'm panning. It just feels more natural. But I'm another who uses a ballhead, because without it this becomes impossible.
3rd of October 2008 (Fri), 22:37
I only use a monopod on 400mm 2.8... 300 2.8 is fine for handholding.
Never really had an issue with tracking when on a monopod, it's just something that you have to adapt to and comes naturally after a while :)
5th of October 2008 (Sun), 04:36
i do use a monopod for shooting motorsport
i generally use a 70-200 with 2x converter when i am at the track, i find that i cant hand hold it at much under 1/320 at 400mm
with the monopod i can reliably get good shots at 1/200 and maybe a 50% keeper rate at 1/60 - 1/80
6th of October 2008 (Mon), 18:07
I use a mono-pod for sport shots with both a non-IS 70-300 and the IS 100-400L. If the ligth levels are high and the usual rule-of-thumb for shutter speed can be easily achieved then I don't bother with the mono-pod. But as others have said, the mono-pod is great for head on and quater shots. But when light levels drop and the shutter speed rule-of-thumb is compronised then the mono-pod is invaluable.
I have a short tubular section, light-weight, 4-section mono-pod with a ball-and-socket head, which is little longer than my gadget-bag to which it is strapped. So it isn't obtusive to carry around: hence it's more likely to be with me :-)
One thing I don't like about the mono-pod I have is that it has twist-to-lock clamps: they are far to slow to use. Get one with toggle clips.
17th of October 2008 (Fri), 05:27
I us a mono pod when panning attached directly to tripod collar with the collar lose . Hears a example of the results, notice I'm on the inside of a corner meaning the ark of the lens will approximate the movement of the bike.
Iv found though that it seems to make very little or no difference on a bend or strait.
Canon 5D sigma 120 300 2.8
20th of October 2008 (Mon), 22:10
When I am at the drags, I use it. I am sitting in the same spot or not moving around it is easier. Otherwise I handhold with most lenses. But the 300mmF2.8L IS and larger (except the 300mm F4L and 400mm F5.6L ) I my Manfrotto 680B, it is a rock solid monopod.
21st of October 2008 (Tue), 07:43
Only on 400/2.8 and longer. 300/2.8 and smaller gets the hand-held treatment.
1st of November 2008 (Sat), 07:25
as has already been said for panning shots I prefer to go without a monopod as i find it easier to use my body as a pivot for the pan rather than with a monopod where I would have to move my body to pivot around the monopd.
each to their own really
11th of November 2008 (Tue), 05:58
I'm pretty much like most others on this.
I use my mono (when I remember to take it or haven't left it trackside) for head on/rear shots with the 100-400 but don't use it for panning.
By the end of the day, the 100-400 weighs a ton, Dr Manfrotto makes life easier.
I use it for other sports to in pretyy much the same way.
5th of December 2008 (Fri), 03:34
I read this the other night so I thought I would try panning without the monopole, it was easier, but I still used the pole for head on and 3/4 shots.
Thanks for the advise
5th of December 2008 (Fri), 07:06
Ive always shot with my 100-400 and a monopod for motorsport, i shot basketball without it... and coupled to the 50d with a speedlight and the 100-400 on it, it gets heavy.
Am heading to the track next week, will be experimenting with and without the Monopod now.....
5th of December 2008 (Fri), 13:27
I shoot a lot of motocross racing. I'm on the track (shooting) for 5-6 hours on most days. When you're shooting that long at a time, you can SERIOUSLY mess up your wrists when trying to hand-hold your rig. I still experience pain that came on after the second day of shooting a roller hockey tournament with a 10D and 70-200/2.8, back in 2003.
I sell a lot of motocross pictures, and over 80% of them are shot with a monopod. My preferred combination is a Canon 1DM3 with either a Sigma 120-300/2.8 or a Canon 70-200/2.8, and only occasionally the 400/2.8.
When I used to shoot SCCA autocross events, I used a monopod for 99%+ of my photos.
I do not use a ball head. And I am here to tell you that it IS possible to shoot motorsports with a monopod and without a ball head. My accountant would certainly agree.
Granted, if you're shooting for shorter durations, and especially if you're using lighter lenses (that 70-200 isn't too bad...), by all means, you may find it's easier if you hand-hold.
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