Planning Safari trip and need a Monopod Head: Really Right Stuff MH-02 LR or Sirui L-10?
Going on a S. African Safari for the first time this year. Looking to purchase a new telephoto lens and a new carbon fiber monopod and tilt head. Need advice on the following:
1) Monopod: Looking at the Sirui P-326 monopod or Feisol CM-401
2) Monopod Tilt Head: Really Right Stuff MH-02 LR or Sirui L-10
I have never used a monopod before so this will be my first time. I've been researching a lot on all the different types of heads and accessories and it is very confusing. I will probably only use this set up a few times a year at most, but am willing to invest in something between $100 - $200 for the carbon fiber monopod and $110 - $350 for the Tilt head. I need something simple and easy to use that won't break the bank but is still a good value. After my research, I've narrowed the choices above (not sure if I need any additional accessories) and would love some feedback from anyone who either uses this combination or at least has researched these brands?
Here is my current equipment:
- Canon 5D Mark II
- Canon 70-200 (F 2.8L IS II)
- Canon 16-35 F 2.8L
- Canon 24 - 70 F 2.8L II
I am planning to buy the Canon 1.4x iii Extender to use with my 70 - 200 2.8 IS II and pre ordered the new Tamron 150-600 super telephoto lens and my secondary lens I will use for my 2nd Canon 5d Mark II. I'm definitely an amateur photographer that just wants to take good photos on our first safari trip later this summer. The plan is for my fiancé to use one camera set up and I will use the other. Would love any advice on what I plan to bring?
RRS makes very high quality stuff, but they are not ashamed to charge through the nose for it. I like the looks of their monopod tilt head, but just can't bring myself to pay that much for it. Maybe if I had heavier lenses. At present, the heaviest lens I have is the 70-200 f/2.8, and it works just fine on my Kirk arca-swiss style tilt head, which I paid about $100 for. They have recently done a redesign, and charge more for it now, but it is worth checking out, anyway.
For a monopod I favor the Manfrotto 681B monopod with the 234RC swivel/tilt head that sells as a combo for $115. It is more than enough for a lighter lens when tilted and with a telephoto the collar attaches to the top of the monopod and the entire lens and camera are rotated and so the load is on top of the monopod head and no tilting required.
You can spend a lot more but you will not get more in overall functionality. With tripods I save weight with carbon fiber but for a monopod the difference is insignificant.
The RRS head is not really practical from my own experience. If I need to have the camera pointing up or down I want the lens at a 90 degree angle to the shaft of the monopod and I wiill have the shaft tilted and braced against my body. With the RRS the monopod is not going to be braced against your body and this negates much of the value of having one in the first place.
No harm no foul, checking the Vanguard lines of Monopod either.
They build great products, well marketed at very fair prices.
D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4 G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
SB-910, WG-AS3, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s*, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-l 60MB/s*
Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AT, GH-300T, SBH-250, SBH-100, PH-22,
Lowepro S&F Deluxe Technical Belt and Harness~Pouch 60 AW 50 AW & 10, S&F Toploader 70 AW, LC 11x26cm
FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Viivitar Zoom 285,
Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePLAY XD 1080P
The RRS MH-02 LR is one of the best I have ever used, and the only one I use now. Perhaps pricey, but it's the only one you'll ever have to buy and the build quality is just awesome!!
I can't recommend the Sirui. It looks nice, but the dovetail on the base is not the normal Arca-Swiss dimensions, and doesn't work with many Arca-Swiss clamps. That's not an issue if you are just going to screw the monopod into the base. The biggest problem is the slop in the pivot- as you tilt downward, the mechanism shifts with a CLUNK. Very inelegant. It's hard to detect the play until you load the tilt head with a camera, but you sure can't miss it in use.