Was just wondering how much you use your tripod compared to a monopod? I like monopods but then I do a lot of trail hiking and they come in handy.
I don't own a monopod, but it seems to me that its main function is to provide a certain amount of short-term stabilization. A tripod on the other hand provides an almost perfect stabilization AND allows you to compose very carefully AND maintain that composition as long as you need it. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages; what is the best choice for a given situation depends on the circumstances. I personally have never wanted or needed a monopod; for traveling light I have a mini-tripod that can stand on it's own or be clamped to a support like a car window, a fence, etc. and a light-weight bean bag.
In case it needs to be reinforced. If you want SHARP images without camera movement, use a tripod. What a monopod does best is tracking movement.
You can also get a monopod with three extendable legs at the bottom. I've been hunting the web but can't find a manufacturer, though I'm certain there's an ad in the back of a recent Shutterbug.
Probably not the best all-around solution, but a good bridge between the stability of a tripod and the flexibility of a monopod.
Try Trek Technologies new Trekpod.
Not a replacement for a standard tripod, but a good alternative in some situations.
I get to travel quite a bit for work and typically have the evenings free. When not drinking, I like to spend my free time taking pictures. I bought a monopod thinking it would be a nice solution for dusk pictures only to find that I had some great pictures of the San Francisco bay ruined by camera shake. My question to the group is two fold: 1)Suggestions for the minimal amount of equipment so I can still be a
Minimal amount of equipment is relative to what you want to carry and what your spouse will put up with when traveling.
My minimum is a CoolPix 5000 replaced recently by a CoolPix 8400, a CoolPix 950 for infrared and a Velbon 343E Maxi tripod. I can fit both cameras and the tripod in a small shoulder Domke bag. I made the mistake of carrying too much equipment on a trip to China and though I got great pictures, I'll never carry that much weight when traveling again.
As for being a dork while taking pictures properly, I can answer that. I've used a tripod for over 30 years and have never felt awkward or self conscious about it.
Here's an interesting anecdote. They have a Celebration of Lights in Pittsburgh where they set up a few miles of holiday lighting decorations on the grounds of an estate. I wanted a picture of the house and pulled up in front where the security guard told me that there was no stopping. I explained that I shoot for a local paper and proceeded to set up my tripod and CoolPix 5000 and he offered to stop traffic so I could capture an unobstructed photo. That's one situation where the use of a tripod in a public place made the image capture possible.
I would think a mono with a tilt/swivel head attached and a IS lens would be the cats meow. I saw it done at the butterfly pavillion in Westmisister Colorado, when I was using a handheld 5D and a 70-200 IS. The fella using the above (Nikon Shooter) could get depth of field etc. better because he was semi-stable and I was handholding. Tripods really won't work in THIS circumstance, since you're chasing butterfly's. Just my thoughts..........
The answer is simple
I use both, Mono pod for fairly slow shutter speeds but only a tripod for really slow shutter speeds. A mono is good to use anytime and a good one makes a good walking stick on the trail,,