The topic of string monopods is beaten to death. However, there is no such thing as design that could not be improved.
Having Fujifilm HS-10 720mm zoom at my disposition (and sometimes boosting it with 1.7 teleconverter to 1200mm), I carry a string monopod in my bag all the time.
First imporovement that I made was a quick release coupling. One part of it was pemanenetly attached to the camera (using 1/4" bolt and a key ring), while the second one was attached to a loop of paracord. This gave me an option to attach and detach the monopod quickly.
Still, the process of wrapping the string after the shot and unraveling it when needed was a bit awkward - not kind of things to do in the middle of crowded Times Square, for example.
So, here comes a mini string monopod. The idea is to hook it to the belt loop and have it in your pocket until it is needed. Then, in the nick of time, it can be attached to the camera using the same quick release.
Pictures below speak for themselves:
When the string is not needed, it rests in your pocket attached to your belt loop with the clip.
It has a half of a quick release coupling attached to it. Also, I made a length adjuster from a strip of plastic with four holes in it.
Half of a quick release coupling is attached to the camera with 1/4" bolt.
One quick snap...
... and the string tightly stabilizes my canera in vertical direction.
You can do even a shoulder support with this string.
And here are the results with Sony 1.7 teleconverter attached (have in mind that this is a whopping 1200mm focal length in not-so-great light, handheld):
Mailbox, about 200 yards away, shutter speed is 1/800.
Electrical fixture (sorry, but my back yard views are extremely boring) from about 25 yards, shutter speed is 1/680.
And this is an artificial sun, hanging in a complete shadow (irony...) about 25 yards away, shutter speed is ridiculously slow 1/37 sec
Of course, full length string monopod (especially when used in triangular shape) is a bit more effective and I use it when I have time to set up for the shot, attaching it to the camera with the same quick release coupling. But if you need quick inconspicuous long zoom action, then my mini string monopod comes handy. Your mileage, however, may vary.
Yuri Persion, 08/08/2010
P.S. But wait, there is more!
What could be better than mini string monopod? Two mini string monopods!
One smart friend of mine suggested to make another mini string monopod and attach it to the opposite belt loop. Then tops of two strings are connected with a quick release and a coveted triangle shape is achieved!
After less than half-an-hour of work the resulting contraption was ready, sporting new carabiners and lenght adjusters. It was immediately tested in low light condition (at shutter speed 1/14 sec):
It is much more stable, still very inobtrusive and holds my pants well! If you shoot using LCD, the camera strap can serve as another tension tie.
My total expense for both monopods is:
Two carabiners, @$1.00 each
Three quick release key rings (I used one part on my full length monopod) @$2.00 each
Two mending plates (length adjustors) @$.60 each
4" of paracord, @$.10 per foot
Grand total: $9.60
Not so bad for so much fun!
Here are some more hand-held shots at 720 mm (no teleconverter this time):
Moon - straight from the camera (resized for the Web):
Same, a bit cropped, still, no PP:
Bridge, 2 miles away, with teleconverter at 1200mm (who is from New York area - this is TZ bridge from Piermont pier)- straight from the camera, also hand-held:
Cropped to pixel level - you can see air convection distorting the image. But, still - "We deliver"!
Same bridge at very low light:
And my latest lucky shot - osprey over the Hudson River, about 500 ft away: