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3 Footed Monopods and Small Spotting Scopes?

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Old Monday 9th September 2019, 01:02   #1
LandNavigator2
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3 Footed Monopods and Small Spotting Scopes?

Hello Everyone,

I have been comparing the steadiness of hand holding my 7 power binoculars against the steadiness of using my small 65mm Pentax spotting scope on a conventional monopod.

I experience a steadier view with the spotting scope at 10, 16 and 23 power but obviously it is not rock solid when compared to the use of a tripod.

My question is, would a three footed monopod provide a steadier view than the conventional monopod. I don't want to waste money on a new monopod if there is not an appreciable improvement in steadiness of view.

If anyone has experience using these types of monopods with small spotting scopes I would really appreciate your feedback.

Thanks,

Bob
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Old Monday 9th September 2019, 14:48   #2
gcole
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Bob, When I had my Pentax 65 scopes as well as my bigger/heavier Nikon EDG 65 Spotting Scope that I now own, these were and now used ninety nine percent of the time with a monopod. I have seen those small three legged foots that can be mounted to most monopods which seem like they would help in keeping your scope more stable but I would not let it standalone being afraid it could accidentally tip over. Whether its a single pole monopod or one with a three legged foot , you still will at one time or another place at least one hand on the monopod. When you do, whether your base of the monopod has three legs or none your body thru your arm to hand is where your minute movements will come that introduces any image unsteadiness. Yes, more legs should help but nothing trumps a good steady hand.

Last edited by gcole : Monday 9th September 2019 at 14:54.
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Old Monday 9th September 2019, 14:59   #3
etudiant
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The small footprint of the attachment makes the setup with scope or camera very susceptible to tipping over, so a safety cord is essential. That can be confining, yet if it is too long, it is no help.
If you are ok with that and willing to just look, it works reasonably well.
If however you are touching the setup, for panning, to focus or whatever, then as gcole notes, the stability goes out the window.
Also note that not all monopods have the needed fitting for the tripod foot.
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Old Monday 9th September 2019, 18:19   #4
Hauksen
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Hi Bob,

Quote:
Originally Posted by LandNavigator2 View Post
I experience a steadier view with the spotting scope at 10, 16 and 23 power but obviously it is not rock solid when compared to the use of a tripod.
Hm, now I wonder if it would be possible to combine a monopod with a shoulder stock to improve stability.

The advantage of a regular tripod is that it creates several large triangles. A monopod with a tripod foot can't match that, but a monopod with a shoulder stock could make the user a part of a larger 3D bracing structure.

I've experimented with a shoulder stock, but never thought about combining it with a monopod until now, so thanks for the inspiration!

Regards,

Henning
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Old Tuesday 10th September 2019, 20:03   #5
etudiant
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Originally Posted by Hauksen View Post
Hi Bob,



Hm, now I wonder if it would be possible to combine a monopod with a shoulder stock to improve stability.

The advantage of a regular tripod is that it creates several large triangles. A monopod with a tripod foot can't match that, but a monopod with a shoulder stock could make the user a part of a larger 3D bracing structure.

I've experimented with a shoulder stock, but never thought about combining it with a monopod until now, so thanks for the inspiration!

Regards,

Henning
An experiment is certainly appropriate.
The worry is that any rigid link to the observer will transmit his/her motions to the scope, but perhaps the monopod will offset some of that.
I'm especially interested as a somewhat dissatisfied user of both a Cullmann shoulder stock as well as a monopod, looking for a better solution.
Please keep us posted.
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 13:04   #6
Tringa45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hauksen View Post
Hm, now I wonder if it would be possible to combine a monopod with a shoulder stock to improve stability.
A binocular or scope has six degrees of freedom, linearly in the x,y and z axes and rotationally in these three axes, i.e. pitch, yaw and tilt.

The combination of monopod and shoulder stock would, at least, restrict all six of them but is probably awkward to transport or set down. A tripod is better IMHO.

John
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 18:24   #7
Hauksen
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Hi John,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tringa45 View Post
The combination of monopod and shoulder stock would, at least, restrict all six of them but is probably awkward to transport or set down. A tripod is better IMHO.
I'd think you'd need a mechanism to either fold the shoulder stock against the monopod, or to disconnect the two. You could then use the shoulder stock without needing to set up the monopod.

One "historical" commercially available shoulder stock used a conical tripod head adapter for that, which fit into a conical recess in the grip. That should allow a quick and play-free connection, and uninhibited use in disconnected mode.

However, only a tripod would allow the scope to be complete de-coupled from the inevitable unsteadiness of the user, so your point is quite relevant.

Thinking about this, I wonder how much of the weight of a tripod is due to its provision for telescoping the legs. Maybe it would be possible to build a very light-weight tripod that folds to trekking-pole dimensions, with only a single telescoping section?

In all likelihood, this has been tried before :-)

Regards,

Henning
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Old Wednesday 11th September 2019, 22:56   #8
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Thanks to all who have responded.

Yes I realize that the footed monopod shouldn't be left unattended. When I use my monopod with my binoculars I just keep the neck strap around my neck. However, when I have my spotting scope attached I have no safety backup. A tether of some kind is a good idea.

I think I will hold off on a new purchase and hope to test out a footed monopod somehow to see how well it works.

Using a shoulder rig in conjunction with a monopod seems to be getting a little too complicated for me plus it is adding still more weight. The monopod I am using now weighs just 19 ozs., and that includes a mini ball head and an arca style clamp. The monopod is a Shooters Stick/Hiking Pole exactly like the one "elkcub" describes in his post 14 years ago and it works out very well. https://www.birdforum.net/showthread...ighlight=FISMO
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Old Thursday 12th September 2019, 14:38   #9
Tringa45
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Originally Posted by LandNavigator2 View Post
The monopod I am using now weighs just 19 ozs., and that includes a mini ball head and an arca style clamp. The monopod is a Shooters Stick/Hiking Pole exactly like the one "elkcub" describes in his post 14 years ago and it works out very well.
Bob,

I've never understood why the majority of monopods are so massively over-engineered and why most of them are too short. Perhaps stiffness is required for supporting a 600 mm f/4 camera lens but for smaller lenses, binoculars or small scopes it does not bring the benefits to a monopod as it does to a tripod.

I am 192 cm, so need at least 170 cm plus head for comfortable viewing. Incidentally, I find a simple tilt head like a Manfrotto 234 or Sirui L10 more suited to monopod use than a ballhead. I sometimes use a 10x binocular on a Manfrotto 685B. The convenience of rapid single-handed height adjustment is wonderful, but it's far too heavy.

I thought this https://www.novoflex.de/en/products-...set-2-pcs.html might be of interest. The Novoflex Triopod is a modular tripod system. I saw one at Photokina with two hiking poles as legs. It was much less flimsy than I anticipated. Perhaps it derived its torsional stability from the single thick carbon fibre leg.

John
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Old Friday 13th September 2019, 14:22   #10
LandNavigator2
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Originally Posted by Tringa45 View Post
Bob,

I've never understood why the majority of monopods are so massively over-engineered and why most of them are too short...

John
Hey John,

Thanks for your reply. I agree with you that most monopods, for use with binoculars, are too robust. My monopod, including ball head and QR clamp, weighs 0.5kg(19oz) and it extends to 180cm(71"), so it would be tall enough for almost everyone. However, the trade off is that it only collapses to 79cm(31"). It is more like a collapsible hiking stick with a threaded stud on top and like a hiking stick the largest tube diameter is only 18mm(11/16") in diameter. However, this stick is plenty sturdy enough to support my 1.4kg(3lb) Pentax 65mm spotting scope and it is strong enough to actually be useful to assist you while hiking.

I also agree with you that a tilt head is a better mounting device for a monopod but my Oben BD-02 mini ball head and arca clamp weigh only half as much as the Sirui L10 tilt head that you mentioned. The Oben ball head is very small weighing only 68g(2.4oz.) but it is very well built and easily capable of holding, without slipping, my Pentax Spotting scope. I find I can easily adjust the ball head without difficulty and, if for some reason, you must hold your monopod at a lateral angle a ball head will allow you to level out a pair of binoculars. A few photos of my monopod holding binoculars and spotting scope can be seen at my review here... https://www.ebay.com/itm/5767-Ameris...326409981#rwid

The Novoflex products look interesting and very well built but also expensive.

Bob

Last edited by LandNavigator2 : Friday 13th September 2019 at 14:31.
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