a monopod is a monopod right?

fullmonopodAll monopods are not created equal. I can say that with some authority now that I have owned and used more than one. When I first started shooting I didn’t have use for a monopod. My longest lens was a 200mm lens, which in my opinion, does not need one – ever. A monopod is a quick way to support or stabilize a camera or lens. And with lenses longer than 300mm, they really come in handy.

My first monopod was the stable but heavy Bogen 680B. Its cheap at about $65 most places and is capable of supporting up to 22.5 lbs. It has 4 sections, folds to 20.8 inches and weighs in at whopping 1.83 lbs. I never thought that weight would be an issue with it but as I started to use it to support more than a 300mm f2.8 (5.6lbs) it started to add up. After carrying a 400mm f2.8 around for an entire day my shoulder was starting to hurt.

When I bought my 300mm f4 IS, I wasn’t planning on using it with a monopod because it is super light weight. However, after a couple of consecutive football games and shooting for nearly 8 hours at a state softball tournament I decided to use one just to relieve the strain from my shoulder. The 300 f4 weighs in at 2.6 lbs with the tripod collar. The Bogen 680B is more than half the weight of the lens, almost as big around and feels unbalanced when used with a lens less than a 300mm f2.8. For hours of shooting, this was not an ideal solution. The solution was the Gitzo GM2541.

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That 200mm lens sure is heavy!

mwcdwcThere is an increasing trend in photography. Its called “mom with camera” or “dad with camera”. A lot of pro photogs are up in arms about losing business to these type of amateurs. When I see the people above, I don’t really worry about it. The images above are a selection of some of the many “MWCs” and DWCs” I saw at the Dave Sanders Invitational. They all fit the same profile: 200mm lens with a monopod. I don’t think that I have ever put a 200mm lens on a monopod. Ok, so that’s not true. I put the Canon 200mm f1.8 lens on a monopod but it does weigh 6.6 lbs. My personal favorite is the tye-dye Rush t-shirt. I have to add one of those to my wardrobe.