Rapid deployment monopod (Manfrotto Neotec)

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Chris Malcolm
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Rapid deployment monopod (Manfrotto Neotec)

Unread postby Chris Malcolm » Wed May 01, 2013 7:09 am

I use a monopod most of the time, more often than handheld. It let's me keep the ISOs low in the often dim light of Scotland. It makes life easier for the developing arthritis in my right hand. And I prefer carrying the camera by means of the big chunky grip of the monopod to having it dangling on any kind of strap. It also gives me rapid access to viewpoints not easy to get my eye behind, such as over the heads of crowds, off the side of a bridge, etc..

For really fast deployment I often use it collapsed without propping it on anything. The extra mass and the nicely spaced two handed grip still gives a good bonus in stability. But quickly grabbed opportunistic long shots in dim light are a problem. I want the stability of the pod foot on the ground, but the time it takes to click out all the telescopic sections often loses the moment. And I don't like walking around carrying it extended.

And I'm lazy. I keep seeing a possibly good opportunity & deciding it's not worth the bother of extending the monopod. Then ten minutes later kicking myself for not having bothered.

So when I discovered this new technology of Manfrotto's I was seriously intrigued. You simply yank the leg out & it stops solidly locked wherever you leave it. There's a trigger grip which let's you push it down again. Plus there's a little fold out foot you can stand on so you can yank it up exactly to eye height. Plus you no longer have to rotate the whole monopod to attach it to the camera if you use it without a head, as I usually do. There's an inset wheel for doing up the screw.

It's delightfully effective! How long will the probably more complicated mechanism last? There is an adjustment screw to take up trigger slack. How important is the slightly oily smear on the pulled out tubes? Only time will tell. Meanwhile I'm an instant enthusiastic convert to this new improved kind of monopod!

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Re: Rapid deployment monopod (Manfrotto Neotec)

Unread postby Omega892 » Thu May 02, 2013 5:05 pm

Chris Malcolm wrote:It makes life easier for the developing arthritis in my right hand.

I can empathize.

Monopods have been a direction in which I have been moving. I have a Manfrotto tripod but it is now too heavy to carry, even a moderate sized bag of cameras and lenses brings on excruciating agony after awhile making any trip a misery.

I too have arthritic joints, disc trouble in every area of the spine and a touch off gout, well more than a touch at times. And no, this latter is not because I drink lots of port or any other alcohol for that matter. One major factor now being linked to the rise in gout in males middle aged and over is the increase in fructose in many soft drinks especially those high-juice fruit cordial types. With me the gout is more due to reduced kidney function as a result of a cardiac arrest, or two, about twelve years ago. My right index finger (yes our trigger finger) is badly and permanently deformed from the last joint to the nail which is now like a claw. Sony with their A77 have not helped with the design of the memory card access flap. I am finding it very difficult to grasp the small SD card used on this camera.

The Neotec is a new one on me and I have just had a web search, which is your model and which web site has the best close up view of the head for judging suitability?Looks interesting.

At the moment I have three monopods. An old, early 1980s, Slik four extension with twist grip locks - this one is heavy.

About ten years ago I bought a Giotto carbon fibre double extension twist grip locker with a foot steady that folds up. I nearly lost the bottom of this in the FAA Museum when it fell off whilst going through the Carrier Exhibition' section (which wasn't bad, but I missed the burned kerosene smell, the grit laden breeze, moving deck and the noise more felt than heard).

Deciding I have had enough of the twist actions, which seem to always get stuck when in a rush to collapse and move on I went for a Manfrotto four extension clamp locker. I have a Manfrotto 222 head on this at the moment with a Manfrotto 322RC2 on the Giotto. These heads have their advantages depending on what you may track.

One problem I have is I use a walking stick for support, as muscle spam brought on at any point in my spine, can cause a leg to go. Now has anybody combined a monopod with a walking stick? I doubt carbon fibre would be safe.

Scotland. I have fond, and some not so fond, memories of the Highlands around the Cairngormes (Ryvoan Bothy), Glen Coe (glissaded down from the top of saddle of the Buachaille Etive Mor - the Clachaig has changed beyond all memory) and Dalwhinnie to Nevis (thunderclap bridge) via Loch Ericht. Also Esk, Clova and Braemar (pitched tent in a blizzard - that was fun) from my times trudging around in the mid 1960s. Probably one of the reasons I have back trouble now, jumping from bog tussock to bog tussock with a heavy pack on my back. Have a good tale about the Salutation Arms Hotel in Perth which we stopped off at on a Sunday afternoon for a pint (of Heavy and it was the pint that caused the trouble) on our way back to Arbroath after a weekend in 'the hills'.
'Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.' - Benjamin Franklin

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Re: Rapid deployment monopod (Manfrotto Neotec)

Unread postby mvanrheenen » Thu May 02, 2013 9:11 pm

Sounds like an interesting concept, but I would be interested to know how the grip of that Neotec system would stand the test of time.

I only use monopods and my current one is a Vanguard Tracker monopod with twistlocks and prefer them over fliplocks for speed of deployment. Also, fliplocks tend to slip over time. Never had that issue with the twistlocks. I have issues with the muscles in my neck and shoulders for which I exersice twice a week with a trainer. A monopod gives a lot of relief for me, especially when I'm using a heavy setup with the 70-400G and flash.


Chris Malcolm
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Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:02 am

Re: Rapid deployment monopod (Manfrotto Neotec)

Unread postby Chris Malcolm » Sat May 04, 2013 8:02 am

It's a Manfrotto 685B. Several reviews & a few videos on the web. I usually prefer to use monopods headless, although I'll sometimes carry a ball head if I know I'm likely to want it.

There are a few walking poles which have a tripod head mount built into the handle. There's also a walking stick handle (I think a hard rubber knob) which you can screw on top of a 'pod. I like to scramble around in craggy places where a stick is useful, but I don't like walking poles. I prefer a longer stronger staff you can use two handed, so in fact I prefer a big monopod as a walking stick (a walking staff in fact) rather than the rather flimsy short walking poles.

Several years ago I started developing knee pains when descending steep hills & started to use walking poles. But I discovered that my problem was fear. I feared falling, & I feared the pain of shock impacts on aging joints. So I went downhill more timidly, stretching out a timid straightened leg downwards as far as I could in order to minimise the distance & therefore the shock of dropping my weight down onto it.

But my timidity was causing the joint damage! I was taking the drop shock with a straight leg so the impact shock hit the knee hard. So I tried dropping downwards onto a bent knee. Scarier, because of the longer drop. But a bent knee shifted the impact from joint to the big shock absorbing leg muscles. The first few times I tried this it worked very well in lessening knee pain. But I ended up with sore muscles. Temporarily, because the legs soon got stronger. Now I can bound down craggy slopes with no pain as I used to. Not quite as fast or as recklessly as in my youth, but I do have to remember I'm carrying an expensive camera (good excuse :-) .

What has helped enormously is regaining the light weight of my youth. Being overweight is a real killer for aging joints. When I started gaining weight in middle age all my doctors told me it was healthier & natural to put on weight as you aged. It turned out they were idiots, and instead of comforting me with "to be expected at your age" they should have diagnosed the incoming diabetes.

It turned out that adjusting my diet so as not to overload my diabetically damaged pancreas started a quite natural process of very slowly losing weight. I told my worried doctors that they were mistakenly applying oversimplified statistical norms to me. I wasn't underweight, I was in fact an overweight lightweight. To my astonishment after nearly a decade of slowly losing weight I'm back to my youthful weight. And feeling much better and bouncier for it!

It may all go back to the Buachaille Etive Mor. I once bounded down that at high speed in my reckless youth because it had started to rain & I hadn't any rain gear. I tripped and fell down about a a yard, landing on my knees on a boulder. It took six months to recover from that knee damage, and maybe it wasn't a complete recovery.

I now still like using a walking staff, aka a big stout monopod, in craggy scrambles. I do up the adjustable flip clamps to take my weight, whereas for ordinary frequent extend & collapse monopod work I prefer faster operating camera weight clamp adjustments. Except now of course I have the amazingly rapid neotec monopod!

I do wonder about the longevity of this neotec monopod mechanism. But it only has to last as long as my mobility :-) I won't use it as a scrambling staff. I'll keep the older stronger one for that.

I know the Perth Salutation Arms hotel, since I grew up in Perth. But I never drank in it because I left that city before I was old enough to drink.

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