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Thread: Tripods and monopods-stabilizers n straps

  1. #1

    Default Tripods and monopods-stabilizers n straps

    Surprisingly there was not a thread (at least that I could find here in the Dark Room) to discuss stabilizing a camera. I used to have a Manfrotto 434 monopod (from around 2008) with a 234rc swivel quick connect attached but for the life of me I cannot locate that one. Today I ordered an updated version called 290. It's my understanding they made the tubing thinner to reduce weight slightly. Some said the thing feels a bit "bendy" with large glass and full sized gear. My heaviest rig runs about 7 pounds so I should be good there.

    My tripod is also a Manfrotto, an 055x (from about 2009) for stable shots and able to get real, real low for macro shots. It came with a 488rc ball head, which is fine for short lenses. When using my D700 with a long lens it drifts. That is very unfortunate as most of the time I use a tripod is for far away shots. It's a very slow drift so I can get good photos at a distance but after a few minutes I have to adjust the camera. It wasn't bad enough to warrant the price of an Arca Swiss or Kirk ball head but I did seriously consider the Kirk BH-1 for a time. Since I rarely use the big ole heavy full frame camera these days it's no longer a thought.
    It was kinda like buying a bass boat back when I bought the D700. Got the big ole boat but now I need a better truck to pull it around. But I found carrying all that heavy gear was a drag so I carried my APC sized D7000 a lot more. Still do. Heck I haven't used the magnesium covered body full frame camera in several years.

    I may upgrade the ball head but all of my SLR's have Manfrotto quick release plates so it would be another Manfrotto.

    What do you folks use to get steady pix in low light or at a distance? Bean bags to stabilze in a hurry?
    Oh and do you prefer the factory neck strap or aftermarket? I prefer after market and discovered eanie baby toys can make a mighty fine stabilizer for using the hood of a car or other uneven surface to stabilize your camera.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 08-04-2020 at 06:12 PM.
    John 3:16

  2. #2

    Default Re: Tripods and monopods-stabilizers n straps

    So the Manfrotto 290 monopod arrived a few days ago. Not having my 434 to compare I just remembered it was kinda weighty. The 290 was not. It felt carbon fiber light until I put the rugged 234RC swivel head on it. That thing nearly doubled the weight.

    Next I did the "boing" test. Open it up all the way, stab it on the dirt and try to wobble it back and forth like "boioioinggg" when loaded with a ten pound rig. Yeah it did wobble some, but not bad. It was getting dark so instead of feeding the mosquitos I went back inside.

    Next day I loaded my Nikon D7000 with 70-300 lens on it and carried it over my shoulder opened up about 50%. No wobble feel. Then when using it to take photos it felt plenty stable. It served the purpose just fine.

    I loaded my D700 with a big old metal lens with lots of glass and carried that over my shoulder with monopod stretched out about 50%. I felt some wobble with a rig that weighed nearly as much as a bowling ball, but when closed all the way it was nice and firm. When standing it on the ground it felt ok. Not all springy like some described, but not as rigid as my old 434 either. I think it'll be fine. Uses the same style quick clip sliding system as the 434, which was why I bought the 434 to start with. The competition at the time all used twist type adjusters. Nope, not for me.

    Now the 434 stretched out 100% with a camera on top was a little tall for me so I'd close the top leg slightly. I did not have to close the 290 as much. I think the difference was about 2" but again I did not have the 434 to compare it to.

    Overall I like the 290 for the reduced weight, but I did prefer the heft of the 434. Perhaps someday it will show up or I'll discover where I left it last. My mind thinks I hung it somewhere by the wrist strap.

    And the 234RC is just as rock solid as the one I bought a decade ago. Lets you rotate your camera 90 degrees for portrait style photos (or in between for those who like to take angled photos). With the heavy camera a kung fu grip is required on the fastener to keep the camera from slowly moving. It rotates about 100 degrees total. Fastening is easy enough but to loosen, the nut is kinda small so if you use it with a heavy rig keep pliers in the camera bag. I hardly use my 12 pound setup on a monopod anyway but I say it for FYI.
    Last edited by bykfixer; 08-14-2020 at 03:13 PM.
    John 3:16

  3. #3
    *Flashaholic* PhotonWrangler's Avatar
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    Oct 2003
    In a handbasket

    Default Re: Tripods and monopods-stabilizers n straps

    I bought a Navin Proview S3 gimbal stabilizer for my cellphone a few years ago. It's a little finicky to calibrate but once it's set up it produces video shots that are just buttery smooth. The one limitation I've found is that if you try to pan it past it's range it starts to oscillate.

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