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I’m really fortunate, in the sense that there’s a video production supplier not far from me that let’s me play with all their toys. (If anyone wants a review of the tricaster, let me know, I spent several hours on it.) One of my favorite aspects of his shop is that he has almost every Bogen/Manfrotto tripod and monopod out there in stock, even some hard to find stuff they don’t make anymore.
Earlier this summer, I went out there, and I tried every monopod and every stabilizer he had. Ultimately, my favorite one turned out to be the 558B monopod, equipped with the quick release plate that matches my 503 heads. I’ve got to say, it’s been well worth the expense. It’s very sturdy, and the foot swivels to hold it flat on whatever slope you happen to be on. A nifty spike is even built in that can even extend through the bottom to help you hold steady if need be.
It’s also heavier than a lot of the other monopods, which is actually an advantage, because when you’ve got it folded down, you can leave it attached to your camera and it actually works like a crude steadicam. (I actually liked this method better than the steadicam rig, because this was much easier to get on and off the camera and balance.)
The one thing I would suggest is that if yu can afford it, buy a 521 controller for the monopod. I find it a lot easier to keep the camera steady if I hold the monopod wit my right hand, which means all of those right-side controls are hard to get to without the controller. It’s not required, but you’ll get better shots.