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Photography Question 
Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004

Bipod ... Or Monopod or Tripod?

Do any of you know whether any of the tripod manufacturers actually make a bipod? I am purchasing a Sigma 50-500mm zoom lens and think a bipod would help eliminate blur, etc. Thanks in advance.

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12/20/2004 10:06:11 AM

John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  I don't think anyone makes a bipod commercially. But why not use a monopod or tripod? The latter will give you the most stability, let you walk away from the camera to be certain you've removed clutter, etc.
When you use a monopod, YOU are the two additional support legs. Make sure the monopod leans toward you as you focus and press the shutter.
You might also consider an image stabilizing lens before you purchase the Sigma 50-500mm. Don't know if your camera's maker has one, but this is worth checking out first.
What are you shooting that requires 500mm? If it's birds on the wing, etc., you really aren't going to be too happy, because you'll not be able to move the camera/lens fast enough to easily capture such an elusive subject. If it's insects, you might want to consider freezing the action with flash; this might enable you to purchase a more controllable lens.
Just a thought or two.

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12/20/2004 11:03:25 AM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Thanks, John. I am shooting wild turkey, deer, perched birds, etc. I don't try to get birds on the wing. I like the ability of the 500mm to zoom in close up on my subject and thought if a bipod were made, it would be more stable than a monopod. Guess I'll have to do the monopod.

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12/20/2004 11:11:07 AM

Keith    If you need a camera bipod, here's a commercially available one (inexpensive, too):

You can actually make it into a makeshift tripod by carrying some light lanyard cord and an anchor. If you attach the cord near the panhead and anchor it to the ground with the camera's weight tilting slightly forward. It's handy if you are on sloped/uneven terrain. I have found that my tripod serves an identical function if I simply disregard one of the legs.

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12/21/2004 2:32:08 AM

John P. Roberts, Jr.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2004
  If you are in an area the prevents you from extending all 3 tripod legs, just extend 2 legs, and you have a bipod. Leave the 3rd leg unextended and pointing away from you. This has worked for me in tight areas or on terrain that is too steep to extend the 3rd leg.

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12/21/2004 2:41:35 AM

Todd Bennett
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/8/2004
  Thanks guys. All very good suggestions.

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12/21/2004 5:30:06 AM

Scott Pedersen   For wildlife, you need a monopod. You can set up and shoot in a hurry with it. Make sure it has a quick release plate, and make sure the plate is snugged onto the camera good enough, keep the camera on the pod and ready. It's a good plan to keep the camera strap around your neck anyhow just in case. A monopod works great until you get to real slow shutter speeds, which you won't be using for wildlife. You do need to watch to make sure the camera is level. It's steady but easy to shoot at an angle if not paying attention. I don't know what the pros use to steady but that's the way I do it, and it works great.

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12/21/2004 5:39:54 AM

Harry H. Marsh   The suggestion of getting a good tripod (Bogen, etc.) and using only 2 legs is a good one! Make sure you get a decent tripod with a head you like to use (try before you buy!). Before you get that particular Sigma lens, what about the APO 80-400 OS (their version of image stabilization)? Very good reviews - and you want to be sure the lens is sharp!

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12/21/2004 9:42:20 PM

Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I've used the "two-leg" trick quite often when shooting insects. It makes it possible to carefully lean in to get super close to the subject without disturbing the surrounding plants or flowers. This two-leg method offers more support than a monopod, which only stabilizes the camera's vertical movement.

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12/22/2004 5:23:28 AM

anonymous A.    I have little to add to the discussion except to share that, having despaired of finding the pod I wanted at a price I was willing to pay, I happened discovered several carbon fiber pods sold in the USA at 1/3 the cost of a Manfrotto/Bogen and with equal or better specs. The one I bought (through EBay) was badged "Fancier FT6994T" but I suspect from the sellers' descriptions and specs it's a generic tripod. Anyway, it is lighter than the equivalent Italian pods, very stable, quick to set up, seems pretty proof against sand and dust, and comes with a choice of heads (no extra), very sturdy carry bag, accessories, tool kit.... I'm stoked!

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8/29/2006 12:25:46 AM

anonymous A.    This is weird...I posted the above comment to another discussion. I hadn't opened this one and I have no idea how it finished up here.

I was going to say that with such a long, heavy unit (close to 1.9 K or 2 lb), the best support would be on the lens, and it has the facility to attach the pod direct to the lens. I know that is the way sports photographers work using a monopod, and in the field, with the weight of the camera plus that big lump of LD glass, the fewer legs you have to carry the better!

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8/29/2006 6:51:32 AM

Alan D. Montgomery   From personal experience, unless you have nerves of steel you aren't going to be able to hold the Sigma 50-500 lens. You will need a tripod. I don't recommend a monopod as I've noticed I tend to still have some degree of camera shake especially when I use the shutter release button. I did find using an electronic release help vastly. Mostly I shoot wildlife (not to good at it yet - but I'm working on my technique).

Recently I was able to shoot with semi-pros and pros in the Grand Tetons. Almost all those guy and gals used tripods and I noticed I was the only one using a zoom lens. When I questioned a couple of the other photographers I discoved their lenses were much faster than mine which gave them the ability to shoot in lower light conditions and at faster speed than I could using the 50-500. So I cheated and raised the to 1600. Seems to work for me.

By the way I dont use the 50-500 as much as I thought I would - mostly I use the Tamron 28-300. Recentlty I purchased the VC model of that lens. Haven't received it so I cant speak to the photographic quality. I am generally happy with my 50-500 shots.

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11/19/2007 11:35:51 AM

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