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I've been using a fully extended Gitzo CF monopod and full size Canon body with cable release for this technique for many years with no problems. The monopod goes from full collapse to full extension and vice versa in a few seconds. I don't find it to be very heavy or difficult to control, even in large crowds and hectic situations. With a fisheye or super-wide lens it's pretty easy to capture the scene, especially after you've practiced a bit with aiming.