Tripod vs. Monopod

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Pete, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. Pete

    Pete Guest


    I was recently on vacation on Orlando and took a lot of pictures at
    night with my D70. Some of them where good but most of them where bad.
    I guess since I was shooting with slow speeds without a tripod. Since
    I was on vacation I did not want to carry around a tripod. I thought
    that a monopod be better because is lighter and easier to carry around
    than a bulky tripod. My question is wether a monopod would work well
    for shooting in slow speeds? Is it a suitable alternative for a tripod?


    Pedro Fuentes
    Pete, Jan 12, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. Pete

    Ron Lacey Guest

    Depends on how slow and the focal length. Wide angle and normal focal
    lengths should come out fine hand held as slow as 1/60 if you have a
    reasonably steady hand. A monopod will help for longer focal lengths,
    200mm or more, at speeds as slow as 1/125th, again depending on the
    user. Anything slower would really require a tripod. Actually anyone
    who invests in a DSLR system should really own a good tripod as a
    matter of course.

    Also try shooting at faster shutter speeds by increasing the ISO

    Ron Lacey, Jan 12, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. ... or invest in image-stabilising lenses?

    David J Taylor, Jan 12, 2006
  4. Pete

    JeffS Guest

    Along with the above suggestions, you can look into this: . I've met several photographers who
    have these and they are very happy with the results.
    JeffS, Jan 12, 2006
  5. Pete

    Ron Lacey Guest

    Yep to a point, though I don't think my 400mm IS lens would allow me a
    sharp image at less than 1/60th. Of course a 70-200mm f2.8L has an
    $800 Cdn premium for the IS version, you could by a couple of very
    fine tripods for that<g>.

    Ron Lacey, Jan 12, 2006
  6. Pete

    AustinMN Guest

    Pete asked:
    I feel I get about the same results using a monopod that I would get at
    about 4 stops faster handheld. I've never done an a/b comparison,
    that's just a feeling I get from my overall results.

    AustinMN, Jan 12, 2006
  7. Pete

    Ron Recer Guest

    It is a lot easier to carry an IS lens than to carry a tripod and a non IS
    lens. <g>

    Ron Recer, Jan 12, 2006
  8. Pete

    eawckyegcy Guest

    No. Monopods are only to relieve one of the effort of supporting the
    entire weight of the camera. You can play some tricks with a monopod,
    but in the end, if you need to carefully constrain the attitude of the
    camera, a tripod is necessary.
    eawckyegcy, Jan 12, 2006
  9. Pete

    Frank ess Guest

    Frank ess, Jan 12, 2006
  10. Pete

    JeffS Guest

    Hehe, looks like it might have problems around certain types of terrain
    (trees and urban hydrants). Although, if it has 'Chase-the-Tail' mode it
    would produce unrivaled panos.
    JeffS, Jan 12, 2006
  11. Pete

    Toby Guest

    A monopod helps by stabilizing the y axis, but still leaves the x and z axes
    unsecured. IOW the camera can no longer move up and down, but it can still
    move from side to side and back and forth. It does help in lots of
    situations, but it is not a substitue for a tripod. For that matter a light
    tripod is not a substitute for a heavy tripod is many situations. It all
    depends on your needs.

    When using a monopod one way to make it more stable is to brace the leg
    against something fixed, like a fence rail. Of course those are not always
    handy. If you don't need the full height, there are many lighter, smaller
    tripods that will get up to about 1m50 (60" or so). Even with the center
    post fully extended, these will be much more stable than a monopod, unless
    you are using heavy long lenses.

    Toby, Jan 13, 2006
  12. Pete

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    4 stops is 16x the shutter speed. Is that what you really meant, or did
    you mean a shutter speed difference of 4x?
    JPS, Jan 13, 2006
  13. Pete

    Sheldon Guest

    For me, a tripod definitely holds the camera steady and allows you to user
    longer lenses and slower shutter speeds, even very long shutter speeds. You
    can also shoot hands free to prevent any vibration or movement, and allows
    you to use a wired or wireless shutter release. A monopod acts more like a
    third hand, steadying the camera and letting you rest the weight of the
    camera on the ground. It's also much easier to move the camera around, and
    there's only one leg to adjust. They are really great for long, heavy
    lenses, allowing your hands to work the controls instead of supporting the

    I guess what you have to ask yourself is how slow are your shutter speeds
    going to be. Sometimes you can get by with a beanbag or one of those pocket
    tripods. I used to use my monopod with long lenses and very fast shutter
    speeds for sports. It just took a load off and helped me keep the camera in
    the same spot for long periods of time as racers sped by, but allowed me to
    quickly move to another location without all the bulk.
    Sheldon, Jan 13, 2006
  14. Pete

    zeitgeist Guest

    carry a bean bag and use it to prop the camera on a rock etc.

    but for long slow exposures you need a tripod, a good one.
    zeitgeist, Jan 13, 2006
  15. Pete

    AustinMN Guest

    Four stops. At normal focal length, I can typically handhold a shot at
    1/30th of a second (I do loose some shots at this speed, so I always
    take more than one to be sure). Using a monopod, I can get 1/2 second
    - about four stops. Under ideal circumstances (i.e. upper body leaned
    against a wall, use ideal breathing techniques, etc.) I've successfully
    handheld shots at 2 seconds (another two stops for a total of 6 stops
    or 64x the time) but that is well outside the normal envelope and
    outside my own expectations. I do not expect beginners to be able to
    accomplish it and therefore didn't put it in my original post.

    AustinMN, Jan 13, 2006
  16. Pete

    AustinMN Guest


    I should probably add two things. First, my monopod can hook into my
    belt in situations where I can't or won't put it on ground/floor. In
    those situations, I get about one stop.

    I get essentially unlimited results using a tripod, but sometimes I
    don't want to lug the tripod around, and sometimes it is simply not

    AustinMN, Jan 13, 2006
  17. Pete

    Mike Coon Guest

    Yes, what's wanted is a sort of a handlebar that allows you to use the width
    of your shoulders and transfer that stability to the camera. After all it's
    angular movement that matters more than linear...

    Mike Coon, Jan 13, 2006
  18. This is of course *much* better than what is usually reported. I wonder
    if part of the difference is in how steady yours hands are. People who
    are already pretty steady probably don't see much improvement. I, on
    the other hand, seem to have inherited my mother's shaky hands, and I
    have difficulty hand-holding shots my wife can make easily. So I keep
    thinking I'd be a good candidate for a monopod - there are many
    situations I would be much more comfortable using one than I would a
    tripod (eg, nightclubs).

    Of course, even if I could hand-hold at 1/2, that wouldn't do me much
    good with candid shots. But I'd frankly be thrilled just to get more
    consistent results at 1/30.

    Marc Sabatella

    Music, art, & educational materials
    Featuring "A Jazz Improvisation Primer"
    Marc Sabatella, Jan 13, 2006
  19. *IF* you can hold your lens without IS at 1/400s (which may
    not be possible, given the crop factor) and *IF* the IS is of
    the same generation (or newer) as the one on Canons 70-200mm
    f/2.8 IS, then you can expect 3 steps and thus 1/50s should
    be handholdable.
    The IS even works with tripods: most tripods vibrate in high
    wind or as trucks pass by.

    Wolfgang Weisselberg, Jan 14, 2006
  20. Pete

    nick c Guest

    Take a look at the Manfrotto Model 682 monopod (with three built in
    legs) and see it that would suit your needs.
    nick c, Jan 14, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.