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If, by saying, "the automatic one", you are referring to the Manfrotto Neotec 685B monopod, then, yes, I've had extensive experience with that one! It's my go-to choice when traveling about with the Sigma 120-300mm for local birding jaunts. I put a Manfrotto 322RC2 Trigger ballhead on the top and added the Manfrotto 357 quick-release assembly to that so I would have compatibility with my Manfrotto gimbal head. (I keep the 357PL plate on the lens foot at all times.)
Operation of this setup is a "dream" for me...I can quickly lift the monopod to maximum height and be able to get under the camera for up-in-the-tree shots (I'm 6-foot tall), then, with a squeeze of the monopod trigger shorten the setup for eye-level shooting, or go even shorter for low angle work, all in the blink of an eye. Easy-peasy adjusting height and angles, and between landscape and portrait, with the two trigger mechanisms on both the monopod and ballhead! The camera is always in your face, and your target always in-sight while adjusting...no bending down to adjust anything while your little birdie flies off when you're not looking! An extra bonus is the indoor-use swiveling rubber foot which pops right off to reveal a spiked-foot for outdoor shooting!
You couldn't sell me a monopod with time-consuming flip-locks or twist-locks since I've been using this setup! Manfrotto has two winners with the Neotec and trigger ballheads, in my book!
I hope this was helpful!