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I've found the weight of my Manfrotto aluminum monopod to be just fine, and it's rather sturdy. I've had mine for about 5-6 years. I have the 681B (which is $56 at B&H). I use it with a Kirk arca-swiss clamp (with no head). If you find you'll be angling up and down a lot, or using a lens without a tripod collar (and if you don't have an L bracket), then it may make more sense to have a monopod head or a small ball head, but I've rarely wished for that, and the simplicity makes it much better.
The 681B is light enough, sturdy, tall and I've had no problems whatsoever with a 300/2.8 and my 1Ds II. If you're using a 400/2.8, I can't speak to that, but it was fine with a 300/2.8. If you aren't going to be using it all the time, I wouldn't spend a ton...it's not like a tripod where the extra money really helps in weight savings and stability, especially because the stability of the pod is minor compared to your own monopod technique and the inherent vibrations and swaying from shooting with only leg.
Edited on Apr 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM · View previous versions