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Scott Sewell wrote:
I don't really see the point of a ballhead on a monopod. In truth i don't see the point of an expensive tilt head either - it's not like a tripod where you may need fine adjustments.
I have a cheap manfrotto 234RC on my 679B monopod, and it's more than good enough for my 70-200mm f/2.8.
Then you probably don't know the proper way to use a monopod for maximum stability It's NOT held
perpendicular to the ground....rather at an angle along side of your leg and wedged at the base against
your foot. The tilt head/ballhead facilitates the leveling of the lens. Don't really see the point of
using a monopod for the diminutive 70-200...but to each his own.
While someone may say "technically" that's the way to use a monopod, I've shot hundreds and hundreds of sporting events using a monopod and never once have I seen anyone--not a single shooter--use a monopod like this. So, like most everything else in photography, it probably depends what one is shooting and what their objectives are.
I have also not seen too many pros use ballheads and tiltheads on monopods. Most just screw the monopod right onto the lens collar. The few times I have seen others use ballheads, they seem to spend a lot of time keeping their gear from flopping around rather than just shooting. The idea when on a crowded sideline of an NFL game, for example, is to not have to worry about little things like ballheads and keeping the camera tightened down. Put the gear on a monopd and shoot. Simple.
Having said all that, I personally prefer to use lens plates and clamps. I like that I can quickly get the lens off the monopod and often use the clamps for a "fish-stick" set-up where I'm putting a body with a fisheye lens on the monopod to reach places I might not otherwise be able to reach. The clamps lets me do that quickly and efficiently. I also use the 681B and have had the same item--the very same monopod--for going on 10 years without ever having any issues with the monopod.
This video might help explain how I set up a monopod. I don't mention the "fish stick" set-up in that video, but probably will make one of those videos sometime soon.
Of course you don't need an tilt head or any other head on your monopod when shooting NFL games or sport like you describe. Why would you need to tilt when you have all your subjects on exactly the same level in front of you all the time.
But for people that shoot birds or other stuff where you have the subject on the ground and suddenly it's 30 meters up in the air or in a tree it can be very nice with a Tilt Head.
I have about the same setup/equipment as you describe when I shoot soccer or most other sport in Sweden. But when I'm stying in Thailand and shoot birds in the tropical jungle or in the mangroves, it's really good to have the Tilt Head/monopod combo.
It's also very easy to lean your monopod back to get the right angle when using a 70-200 or 300mm lens without a tilt head. But it's a lot different when having an 800+TC attached to your monopod. You can't really lean the monopod much then.