Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby aknott68 on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 10:55 am

HAving been to two airshows this year, with D500 and Nikon 200-500 - the oncrowd winds have made it a challenge to keep the camera lens smooth for me as I've been tracking aircraft- which has obviously resulted in a higher level of unsharp images than I would like.

Has anyone got recommendations for a monopod/head combination that might provide support but keeping the flexibility to allow me to track the plans readily?

Cheers
aknott68

Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby Brevet Cable on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 12:01 pm

May sound like a silly suggestion, but rather than a mono/tripod what about a 'pistol grip' ( such as : https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Action-Cameras-Accessories/Fantaseal-Ergonomic-Pistol-Style-Camcorder-Stabilizer-Panasonics-Versatile/B01FUEXLGU ) especially if mounted on the lens tripod mount rather than the camera body.
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Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby aknott68 on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 12:06 pm

Brevet Cable wrote:May sound like a silly suggestion, but rather than a mono/tripod what about a 'pistol grip' ( such as : https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Action-Cameras-Accessories/Fantaseal-Ergonomic-Pistol-Style-Camcorder-Stabilizer-Panasonics-Versatile/B01FUEXLGU ) especially if mounted on the lens tripod mount rather than the camera body.

Interesting suggestion I'm just not sure how much stability this would offer is this something you have successfully used?
aknott68

Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby Brevet Cable on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 12:37 pm

Whilst not a pistol grip as such, I've used an unextended monopod in a similar manner on a Canon 100-400 L & I did find it more stable than the traditional 'palm-up under the barrel' method.
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Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby aknott68 on Wed 14 Jun 2017, 8:45 pm

OK thanks brevet I'll give that a try and see if makes any improvement
aknott68

Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby Brevet Cable on Thu 15 Jun 2017, 6:52 am

Others out there may remember the Zenit Photosniper system, which was to all intents a camera mounted on a rifle stock.
There are similar systems out these days which are primarily aimed at video camera uses ( which don't make your camera look like a firearm ! ) which serve the same purpose, bracing the camera against the chest or shoulder.

Before spending money on anything, though.....
Presumably your camera has a neck strap ?
Try wrapping this around your arm ( the one supporting the lens ) before taking photos, so that there's some tension on it when holding the camera to your eye.
It's a similar concept to what firearms shooters have been doing for donkeys years....it's a quick and easy ( and free ) method of providing an additional bracing point.
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Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby AlexC on Thu 15 Jun 2017, 9:27 am

I don't think that a monopod is really suitable for flying displays, Ok for sports photography, football for instance where the action is all at ground level, but not where the camera has to be pointed at various levels. I used a shoulder support for many years, which helped to a certain extent, but now just hold the camera with one hand and support the lens with the other as most of us do, together with using an appropriate shutter speed.
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Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby aknott68 on Thu 15 Jun 2017, 9:54 am

Brevet Cable wrote:Others out there may remember the Zenit Photosniper system, which was to all intents a camera mounted on a rifle stock.
There are similar systems out these days which are primarily aimed at video camera uses ( which don't make your camera look like a firearm ! ) which serve the same purpose, bracing the camera against the chest or shoulder.

Before spending money on anything, though.....
Presumably your camera has a neck strap ?
Try wrapping this around your arm ( the one supporting the lens ) before taking photos, so that there's some tension on it when holding the camera to your eye.
It's a similar concept to what firearms shooters have been doing for donkeys years....it's a quick and easy ( and free ) method of providing an additional bracing point.


Thanks for your advice Brevet, the weather looks like it might be great this weekend and I'll probably go to Shuttleworth and hope that the wind isn't as strong as Duxford/Cosford and give it another try -I might just be out of practice I guess...
aknott68

Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby Lighning Fan on Sat 17 Jun 2017, 8:06 am

AlexC wrote:I don't think that a monopod is really suitable for flying displays, Ok for sports photography, football for instance where the action is all at ground level, but not where the camera has to be pointed at various levels. I used a shoulder support for many years, which helped to a certain extent, but now just hold the camera with one hand and support the lens with the other as most of us do, together with using an appropriate shutter speed.

I agree. I tried a monopod a few years ago and whilst OK for ground shots, as soon as I used it for flight shots I ended up lifting the monopod from the floor which sort of defeats the object plus there's always the risk of clouting some unfortunate neighbouring spectator around the ear hole :whistle:
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Re: Monopod/head recommendation for airshows

Postby Black Mike on Mon 19 Jun 2017, 8:37 pm

The VR in the 200-500 is very good but can't achieve the impossible. When shooting stationary subjects I find it very good indeed but failures during flying are mainly due to my poor panning/following technique. Plenty practice will help and be realistic with the shutter speeds. Don't forget on a DX body you are effectively shooting with a 300-750 lens.
When you are in the groove the results can be excellent.
I occasionally use a monopod when shooting taxying aircraft or wildlife but don't use any support with flying.
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