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I've been using a cheap basic tripod for several difference scenarios recently, specifically panoramas, night time shots, and HDRs. I'm thinking of upgrading to a better tripod (this one is rather heavy and clunky), and it was suggested that a monopod might be better. I don't tend to take much with me other than my camera, so the smaller/lighter, the better. I know that a monopod isn't going to give me quite as much stability as a tripod, but what advantages does it have instead? And can anyone recommend a good quality budget one? Thanks!

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3 Answers 3

up vote 20 down vote accepted
  • portability
    • access to places that don't allow it
    • weight (when hiking)
  • mobility
    • in wildlife photography and other similar feats, a monopod is often good enough for long lenses
    • in sports, racing, birding, it can be easier to follow the action
  • utility (as a walking stick)
  • takes the weight off of big lenses (especially when the shutter speed needed is sufficiently fast for hand-holding)
    • sports (especially when trying to get a low angle for a good perspective and background)
    • airshows
  • stick a flash on it and get off camera flash look without much setup
  • get higher angles if you have a remote shutter/use self timer
  • defense

It can also be very stable if you use it correctly.

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Thanks for the link, I've not used a monopod before, so this was definitely worth reading! –  Endareth May 24 '11 at 1:09
6  
+1 for defense! –  rabbid May 24 '11 at 1:58
    
+1, A monopod with a decent quality ball head is versatile enough for almost anything. One with a 'legwarmer' is especially nice for comfort. –  Tim Post May 24 '11 at 13:54
    
and +1 for walking stick. Had a whiplash in my leg while out in the mountains a few weeks ago, without that stick it's have been time to load me on a donkey to get me down to where we could get to our bus and then to the nearest phone to call for medevac. As is, I could complete the trip though at a slower pace than intended. –  jwenting May 26 '11 at 6:10

Why? It can sometime help you overcome this kind of troubles.

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Anyone smart enough to explain why the downvote? –  ysap May 24 '11 at 4:10
7  
Your answer does not contain any useful information. You have provided a good link, but you should make it clear what the link is, and why the information there is relevant to the question. –  chills42 May 24 '11 at 15:29

Reasons:

  • Tripods are banned where you want to take pictures.

  • You need some stability but increased mobility from a tripod (concerts or some sports shooting for example).

  • You need something lighter to carry and don't intend on taking really long exposures.

I have a Manfrotto very similar to this and find it perfectly fine. Depending on your application, you may want to get a head similar to this tilt head.

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I like the Manfrotto tripods, I'll have to see if I can track down a store that actually stocks their monopods. A tilt head would be good, but would also add some extra weight... have to see one in action I think. –  Endareth May 24 '11 at 2:02

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