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FORUMS General Gear Talk Tripods, Monopods & Other Camera Support 
Thread started 19 Feb 2018 (Monday) 15:13
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Monopod for Birding

 
PCousins
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Feb 20, 2018 05:16 |  #16

SYS wrote in post #18568024 (external link)
You have very nice bird photos. How do you find the use of Gimbal? Isn't it cumbersome at all and why did you decide on this choice as opposed to others?

Thank you Sys......The Knobs on the wimberly gimbal are easy to adjust and lock tight, it has a large range of motion in all directions, it feels very sturdy and strong yet smooth action in movement. It is well engineered. It works superbly when panning and balances my kit perfectly (500/f4 & 1d4 with 1.4TC). I find it very precise and compared to the benro and unbranded one I use to have it's miles ahead. You get what you pay for. Most of all I have confidence in it. The knobs will not loosen themselves at all and it allows me to take photo's at very low speeds.

In combination by using a good stance and technique by pressing your forehead into the camera and legs as if they are part of a tripod and at times my left arm on top of the lens this method for me is unbeatable. I am able to be on the move quickly and very mobile.


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Feb 20, 2018 15:57 as a reply to  @ post 18568029 |  #17

That 4 Series Gitzo will certainly do a fine job for you - though I wonder if it is overkill?

I suggested a 2 series Gitzo mono pod due to it's reduced cost and weight - as well as being quite happy with heavier setups than yours. However, if you prefer a larger mono pod, then it is simply a superb piece of kit!

Perhaps you should also consider the Sirui P424? I have one (love it!) but didn't suggest it as I only use mine for my Canon 800 F5.6 L IS so I thought it might be more than you wanted. Anyway it is a 4 series size with 4 leg sections and goes to about 67 inches tall, it also has nice large grips on the leg locks - great in cold weather. This is the only mono pod/tripod that I have which is not Gitzo and it compares quite well. Prices in the US seem a little high so here is a link to my local camera shop:

http://carmarthencamer​as.com/sirui-p-424-monopod.html (external link)

I believe they ship to most places - but worth checking.


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SYS
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Feb 20, 2018 16:03 |  #18

johnf3f wrote in post #18568474 (external link)
That 4 Series Gitzo will certainly do a fine job for you - though I wonder if it is overkill?

I suggested a 2 series Gitzo mono pod due to it's reduced cost and weight - as well as being quite happy with heavier setups than yours. However, if you prefer a larger mono pod, then it is simply a superb piece of kit!

Perhaps you should also consider the Sirui P424? I have one (love it!) but didn't suggest it as I only use mine for my Canon 800 F5.6 L IS so I thought it might be more than you wanted. Anyway it is a 4 series size with 4 leg sections and goes to about 67 inches tall, it also has nice large grips on the leg locks - great in cold weather. This is the only mono pod/tripod that I have which is not Gitzo and it compares quite well. Prices in the US seem a little high so here is a link to my local camera shop:

http://carmarthencamer​as.com/sirui-p-424-monopod.html (external link)

I believe they ship to most places - but worth checking.

Just ordered the Gitzo about an hour ago, but thanks anyway for the Sirui suggestion. Yes, the 4 Series Gitzo that I ordered is an overkill for my current need, but I also want to future proof. I've had 2 series Gitzo in the past but sold it.



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Feb 20, 2018 16:27 as a reply to  @ SYS's post |  #19

Well you won't be disappointed! It is a very nice bit of kit - I just didn't know that you wanted one that large.

I bought my Sirui as, at the time, Gitzo didn't make a suitable mono pod - now (5 years later) they do!

You certainly won't need anything better (if it's ever made) and no current lens will worry it.

Happy new toy!:-)


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SYS
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Feb 20, 2018 16:33 |  #20

johnf3f wrote in post #18568495 (external link)
Well you won't be disappointed! It is a very nice bit of kit - I just didn't know that you wanted one that large.

I bought my Sirui as, at the time, Gitzo didn't make a suitable mono pod - now (5 years later) they do!

You certainly won't need anything better (if it's ever made) and no current lens will worry it.

Happy new toy!:-)

When you say, "that you wanted one that large," what dimension were you referring to, the thickness of the tube or length or....?



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Feb 20, 2018 16:47 |  #21

SYS wrote in post #18568501 (external link)
When you say, "that you wanted one that large," what dimension were you referring to, the thickness of the tube or length or....?

Well I use my Gitzo Gm2541 with a 300 F2.8, 1DX and (sometimes) extenders and find it more than up to the job. In the past I have used it with a Canon 600 F4 L IS Mk1 and it was fine though it looked like a matchstick hanging off the lens! The main reason that I bought a 4 series (Sirui in my case) was that the thicker grip allowed better control and handling with my (then ) 600 F4 L IS and, now, my 800 F5.6 L IS. In other words it was based on the better handling with the idiotically large lenses that I tend to use.

As far as support is concerned, so long as it isn't too heavy, then the bigger/stronger/more rigid the better in my opinion.


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Feb 20, 2018 17:01 |  #22

johnf3f wrote in post #18568509 (external link)
Well I use my Gitzo Gm2541 with a 300 F2.8, 1DX and (sometimes) extenders and find it more than up to the job. In the past I have used it with a Canon 600 F4 L IS Mk1 and it was fine though it looked like a matchstick hanging off the lens! The main reason that I bought a 4 series (Sirui in my case) was that the thicker grip allowed better control and handling with my (then ) 600 F4 L IS and, now, my 800 F5.6 L IS. In other words it was based on the better handling with the idiotically large lenses that I tend to use.

As far as support is concerned, so long as it isn't too heavy, then the bigger/stronger/more rigid the better in my opinion.

The Gitzo 4 series is weighing 1.5 lb / 0.67 Kg, and its max height is 62.6" / 159 cm and its folded height, 22.8" / 58 cm, while its max payload is 66 lb / 30kg. I much prefer its thicker tube diameter. It should feel better in my hand than my previous 2 series. Its upper disk diameter measures at 60mm, which isn't humongous by any means. The top tube diameter is 37mm, and with some padding that comes with it, it should feel just about right in my hand. I hope, anyway. Its definitely overkill for what I currently need, though, but I do plan on going heavier set up in the future.



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Feb 20, 2018 17:32 as a reply to  @ SYS's post |  #23

I have fairly small hands which is why I didn't like the Gitzo 5 series - the 4 series size is just right for me. Your new Gitzo will certainly fill your hand much better than the 2 series - that is why I got my Sirui. The model you have chosen will happily support the silliest lenses that you may buy in the future - so no worries there :lol:

Incidentally ignore Gitzo weight ratings - they are meaningless. Even my spindly 2 series Gitzo mono pod (12 Kilo rated) has supported about half my 115 Kilo weight when clambering around Welsh waterfalls - your 4 series will do far more!


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Feb 20, 2018 18:14 |  #24

I use an Oben CTM-2500 and Sirui L20S pan/tilt head, cost right at $200. One of my Canon bodies and 100-400mm stay on it pretty regularly, and I hike about a mile and a half each evening with it over my shoulder. I thought the Sirui head may have been a bit too much but I'm glad I went big.




  
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Feb 20, 2018 18:27 |  #25

Nethawked wrote in post #18568571 (external link)
I use an Oben CTM-2500 and Sirui L20S pan/tilt head, cost right at $200. One of my Canon bodies and 100-400mm stay on it pretty regularly, and I hike about a mile and a half each evening with it over my shoulder. I thought the Sirui head may have been a bit too much but I'm glad I went big.

I've been looking at Sirui L20S for quite awhile today, and I may just end up with it instead of RRS. Anything you don't care about it?



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Mar 04, 2018 21:43 |  #26

I've got a Gitzo 5561T (predecessor to the 4562) and absolutely love it. I saw another photographer with one at Pebble Beach and had to walk over and ask him about it. It's the six section carbon fiber model that collapses to about 17" but extends to over 62". What really attracted me to it was the diameter of the grip and how rock stable it is. Yes it was expensive but I can't think of many pieces of equipment that have given me as much pleasure to use. I've got a RRS quick release clamp on it now and am looking at tilt heads for it.




  
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Post edited 2 months ago by SYS. (5 edits in all)
     
Mar 08, 2018 17:53 |  #27

UPDATE:

Finally got to try out the Sirui L-20S Tilt Head with the Gitzo GM4542 Monopod, and I love the combination. I'm glad that I went the "overkill" route, especially with the Sirui. Most certainly, if you don't need leveling pan head for some other applications, you don't need it for monopod, certainly not at $90 more.

However, one thing I discover was that the experience of using the Sirui head with its silky smooth panning level along with its tilting mechanism was quite different than the one without the panning level. Of course, you can achieve the same function and the same results as nothing would stop a monopod from panning by physically twisting it from side to side. What the tilting head with the panning level gave me is the feeling of the smooth freedom of a Gimbal head. Without having to physically move the monopod side to side, I can just concentrate on aiming my camera anywhere to track the subject without any restrictive feel. The Sirui-L20S was able to lock everything in place so firmly without having to force it that I can comfortably and securely carry my Canon 5DIII and Sigma 150-600 C on the Gitzo monopod over my shoulder while out birding.

My verdict is that this combination of the tilt head with the panning level on any monopod is the next best thing to actually having a Gimbal head on a monopod. For those who want a lighter option than placing a Gimbal head on a monopod, then this is probably the best solution. But is it worth paying $90 more (Sirui L-10 vs. L-20S)? That's for each individual to determine. In my case, I say it's definitely worth it. I just have to sacrifice some Starbucks coffee for awhile.



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Post edited 2 months ago by SYS. (3 edits in all)
     
Apr 08, 2018 00:38 |  #28

Okay, so I decided that I needed to sacrifice even more Starbucks coffee for awhile....

So far I love the current monopod setup with the Sirui tilt/pan head. It's truly like having a gimbal except the weight, and it's a real pleasure using the combo. One thing, however, I often find myself in when birding is the need to get my camera off the monopod in a hurry, and unlocking the clamp by knob control is just too slow for me. Since I couldn't find any tilt head/pan head that comes with a lever QR, my solution was to simply add the RRS B2-LR-II Lever Release Clamp on top of the Sirui plate that came with the L-20S. Luck would have it, the dimension of the RRS B2-LR-II is very close to the Sirui plate that, except for a slight added weight, I now have the tilt/pan head with the lever QR clamp that looks as if they're made for one another. Sure, it's a costly mod, but then it's just about identical in cost to the RRS Monopod Head with Standard LR Clamp, which cost $280 without the panning base. I can always detach the RRS B2-LR-II Lever QR Clamp for another application, so it's actually a better value. Here are some photos of the RRS clamp on top of the Sirui plate:

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/820/41263659462_849b99b720_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/25Sk​3mw  (external link)

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/868/41306142891_8347e11038_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/25W5​Mcr  (external link)

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/880/41306141991_9f4b11ef5a_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/25W5​LVV  (external link)

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/791/41263658802_9708197408_c.jpg
IMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/25Sk​3a9  (external link)


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Apr 08, 2018 18:50 as a reply to  @ SYS's post |  #29

Nice setup.


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SYS
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Post edited 2 months ago by SYS. (5 edits in all)
     
Apr 13, 2018 12:25 |  #30

Had a chance yesterday to try the new set up with the addition of the RRS clamp in the field after more than a month nursing my wife back to health from her illness.

Lessons learned and other observations:

1) The RRS clamp started twisting off of the Sirui plate after carrying the monopod on my shoulder for more than an hour. Fortunately, both the RRS clamp and the Sirui plate each has 3 1/4-20" threads, so I simply added another male thread to join them upon returning home. I don't think I'd need the third to keep them from twisting off. As far as being able to take it off quickly from the monopod in order to free the camera for handheld action when needed, it's of course a whole lot faster than the knob action.

2) Once the tilt tension is totally loosened, don't let it go until it's retightened OR set its tension to prevent the sudden drop. I learned this a bit hard way. My camera suddenly hit my head when I let my hand off the tension adjusting knob in order to adjust the monopod height. It was more a surprise than pain. Oh, I'll get the hang of it.

3) Having a LensCoat cushion or a DIY insulation foam on the monopod grip portion is very handy for shoulder carrying. Even then, the shoulder started to hurt after awhile. The overall weight wasn't too bad, and I'm so glad that I went with this set up as opposed to a Gimbal sidekick idea which would have added a lot more weight. Both my shoulders taking turns solved the issue.

4) The tilt and pan action of the set up truly allowed me all the freedom of action necessary and so much more pleasurable to use. I tried using it with the pan motion disabled, and it's just not the same. I felt lot more conscious of the monopod as I have to physically move the monopod side to side. I also felt that the Gitzo monopod rubber foot won't last long -- either by wearing it out or lose it by constant turning motion. I'll probably swap it for a spike. When tilt and pan motion is in effect, I don't even notice that I'm using a monopod. I become oblivious to it, meaning my entire focus is on taking the photos rather than any part of my equipment.

5) Definitely more keepers, especially in windy condition as it was (can see that in the hawk photo below), using the monopod as opposed to handholding my 5DIII with Sigma 150-600C.

Here are just a couple from the outing:


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