With the new Sunpak Carbon Monopod and Velbon Ultra stick in the house, it's time to add a little tilt swag. I opted to try this small tilt head (no pan) to still keep things short and tight. It's pretty much the same design you'll find on certain Manfrotto monopods, but a third the price for the off-brand. I'm also going to try to use this on the Korean version SpiderTrax dolly to see if it keeps low and stable. You can find it in the link below and by searching for 'Tilt Head'.
If you don't find yourself in a rush to move the camera off the monopod, you might not require the quick release function. For this you'll find cheaper heads that use an underside clamp knob such as the Manfrotto 234 (below).
Nothing compares to a 'lightweight traveling camera stabilizer' like a portable Monopod. Whether it be for Photography or for Video, a Monopod can truly add stabilization on the fly. I wanted to travel light over to NAB, but still have some type of stabilization if needed. I ordered this Velbon Ultra Stick monopod, probably more out of curiosity about it's 'patented twist & release leg locking system'. After my first tests, I'm pretty surprised about how well it works, how sturdy it feels under the camera, and more impressed about how small this thing collapses.
If you caught me over at NAB2011, this was what I used under my 5D Mark II + 24-70mm F/2.8L + Rode VideoMic Pro. Often used just as a solid handle under the camera body, but for longer takes, I was able to extend it to carry all the camera weight. Collapsed, this thing is very very very small. Sets up super fast, breaks down even faster. The small size not only fits in my backpack, but it fits in the smallest outer pocket of my backpack. Collapses down to about 12.5" inches and weighs next to nothing.
This thing lives in my bag now, and it will be the first thing I grab for quick stabilization or when I want to travel extra light. I think i'll grab one of those Monopod belt pouches which should add more functionality..
Ok, so i'll be off to NAB next week and this time I thought about just traveling light. Instead of a shoulder rig, I wanted to bring a tall standing Monopod as my main support. Much easier to travel with instead of a cumbersome Tripod which I have to level out. I didn't have time to to place an online order and have it shipped out before I leave, so I thought i'd just eat the cost and check out my local Best Buy electronics store. My weapon of choice is the Sunpak Carbon Pro monopod. This thing is super lightweight and they have the quick locks, not the rotating type. It's a four section Monopod which is perfect for fast setups (instead of messing with 5), but can't be broken down as small as a 5 section. That's fine, I actually was looking specifically for a 3-4 section.
Minimum length is about 21" but this thing is super super super light. It's said to be rated to support at least 15 lbs. but my goal is to travel with much much less. After feeling like i've spent a bit too much money paying retail store prices, I checked online to see the going rate. To my surprise, I actually got quite a good deal on this Monopod. Even the most generic 3 section Carbon versions with quick locks run for much much more than this Sunpak, and i'm very happy with the quality, size, and weight. It's listed as 0.55 lbs, Max Load 15lbs., minimum length 21", Maximum 56.3". This particular one isn't even available on Amazon, and because it runs for much more on eBay, i'm not too unhappy about this last minute purchase.
The more sections in a monopod, the more collapsed the monopod can be. A 5 section Monopod has more sections to collapse and drop down it's minimum folded length. Manfrotto has a few new 5 section travel monopods that can collapse down to just over 15", making them some of the shortest on the market. It's fully expanded length up to 57". Unfortunately these new lightweight travel monopods are only rated to support cameras at 3.3 lbs, but for light weight Photography or Videography shooters, it should be released at only $25 dollars.
If you're looking for something that holds more beef for cheap, the Cullman 550 - 5 section Monopod with quick release locks, will support up to 18 lbs., collapses to 18" inches and extends to 59.8". Currently on back order on many websites, but for about $50 dollars, it's expected.
Props for Vimeo member Daniel Bochenski for rigging up his own version of the ' BodyPod DSLR stabilizer ' I posted up here::::
His video (Above) shows some fine examples of how a monopod, when used correctly, can support your camera weight and give you some super steady footage.
Well the T2i came in for me last week, and I really haven't had the chance to play around with it. Right off the bat, you'll get yourself stuck if you don't have Class 6 (speed) SDHC card required to shoot videos with it. Having the 5DM2 and 7D already those both only use Compact Flash. So get yourself stocked up on some Class 6 rated SDHC cards. Hopefully i'll get some video samples online for others to see soon.
Another problem I had with the camera was the weight. It's super light which could be an advantage in certain situations, but sometimes you need that extra bulk for better handling. I suggest that you pick definitely pick up the Battery Grip by Canon. Not only will it add more grip, it will add more available power, and increase the 'looks per hour' rating on your DSLR.