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Motorsports If you're zig-zagging the country keeping up with the ALMS, ChampCar, the AMA or even local club events this is where you'll want to be. Show us what you've got.

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Old 03-01-2011
Bill Jurasz's Avatar
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Default Panning with a monopod

Looking for advice here. I own a very sturdy monopod that I used with a 300/2.8 back when I (briefly) photographed youth football. I sucked at football and eventually sold the lens (still regret doing that). I still own the monopod.

While my neck is recovering nicely from recent surgery I do wonder how well I'll do with a camera and a 70-200/2.8/IS around my neck. Let alone if I ever get the longer, heavier glass I dream of. Which makes me wonder about using the monopod with a gimble head for support instead of a neck strap.

The problem is, how do you pan with a monopod? Maybe I never had any luck before because I never had a gimble head, but it always felt awkward to me. I typically pan by tucking my elbows to my body for stability and twist mostly at the waist only. My head itself is relatively motionless, except for rotation of course. This means the lens sweeps through space in front of me. Seems if you pan with a monopod that the entire motion changes. Seems to me the lens would have to rotate around the monopod itself, meaning then your head is now sweeping through space behind the camera.

Make sense?
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Old 03-01-2011
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Bill,
For me, the best way to pan with a monopod is to not use the ground for support, but your waist instead. Something like one of these:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...pport_for.html
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...elt_Pouch.html

I use a Think Tank belt and my own iteration of the belt pocket to catch the bottom of the monopod. Then either a ball head or a single tilt head. I like the ball head, but it is awkward at first because the whole thing is balancing on top of that single pivot. Once you get use to it though, it really is quite nice. Don't know if it would be an issue for you to have the weight on your hips or not. I have only used this when I shot with a 500mm, otherwise, I prefer to go with out. But, it was really nice to be able to walk with it ready to go, instead of slung over your shoulder.

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Old 03-01-2011
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Now that looks cool! Support at the waist would be ideal. Thanks.
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Old 03-01-2011
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I think if you got a REALLY GOOD ball head... one with good smooth dampening... you could get it set so it follows your panning angles.

JT
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Old 03-01-2011
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Yea...especially if you are planning on using a lighter lens like the 70-200.

Jeff
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Old 03-01-2011
Steve Stein Steve Stein is offline
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OK, I'll give you my panning routine from a two step ladder, which works almost except during a thunderstorm.

Monopod - Manfrotto 680. Solid, easy to adjust, but a bit heavy. I haven't found a carbon fiber sturdy enough that I like and can afford.

Head - modified Manfrotto 3232 with a Arca Swiss quick release. Here it is: http://www.kirkphoto.com/Manfrotto_2...k_Release.html

Since the head isn't a ball-type, I leave the vertical adjustment a little loose and it gives me enough movement to pan with the 400 5.6 and 1D Mk 3. It probably would work better with a lighter body, but the 400 (and 70-200 2.8) have the tripod mount on the lens so it's fairly well balanced.

Is it perfect? No, but it's cheap. I retrofitted the monopod with a spike foot so it pans pretty good, including from the top step of the Rubbermaid ladder.

John probably saw me falling off my ladder last year at Sebring. Wind was kind of heavy during the practice sessions. In that case, Bill, watch your neck.

The other option is to get a Wimberly-type head.That should be a little smoother, but lots more expensive. I know birders use them all the time with their cameras.
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Last edited by Steve Stein; 03-01-2011 at 05:43 PM..
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Old 03-04-2011
Harry Dempsey Harry Dempsey is offline
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I use the Manfrotto 695cx monopod. carbon fiber, and the longest one they have - I'm 6'-4" and it is the only one that extends long enough to use while standing comfortably (I end up stooping slightly to shoot in vertical format). I have that paired with the 234rc head with a quick release plate. I clip it to my camera bag at the track, so it's easy to carry around, and extremely lightweight.

I'm only shooting a d300 with a 70-300, and the mounting point for that setup is under the camera body, so the panning technique is a bit of a waddle; I imagine when I transition to a longer lens whith the mounting point on the lens that I'll need to revisit my technique.
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Old 03-10-2011
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Bill,

Figure out what you're going to do yet? How are you feeling?


Steve
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Old 03-10-2011
Maxim Stensel Maxim Stensel is offline
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I definitely agree about the monopod head. I have the same one, but in the "vanilla" Manfrotto version, rather than the modified ARCA version. (That will probably change when I get something longer than the 70-200.) As a stabilizer, I don't feel like the monopod does that much for the 70-200. I still like to have one because I'm a wussy whose arms get tired after two days of shooting. When I eventually get a 300 or 400 2.8, I'll have to go with a better solution due to the weight and so I can shift the balance of the setup.

When panning with the monopod, I tilt the head up, so that when the camera is level and at shooting height, the foot of the monopod is right between my feet and I can pivot as one unit with body, camera, and monopod. It works much better than just having the monopod perfectly perpendicular to the lens. This is easier to do than to describe. It also reduces your profile at floor level a bit, which can be useful when shooting from elevated positions or whatever.
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Old 03-11-2011
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Hey Steve. I'm feeling better. Been typing like a crazed monkey this week doing a lot of coding. A bit of soreness in the forearm right now. Think I'm over-doing it and need to slow down. There's still several months of recovery I'm going through and I need to act that way.

Neck rotation and flexibility is slowly getting better. Not much pain unless I do something stupid with head movement, then I get a sharp reminder of what I'm going through. I'm thinking it will be a few months still before I try some serious photography. And based on how that goes and how I feel will determine if I do the track days again or not.
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