Millipede (NOT) with Olympus 12-50mm lens

It's not easy to shoot video with non-stabilised lens and camera, which in this case is the Olympus 12-50mm lens and GH3 that I'm using.

It's shot with the macro mode and AutoFocus engaged. Details are great.





This is Gardens by the Bay. It's shot with the camera on a monopod. The horizontal shake is quite obvious.

You can download the 1080P video here: Millipede, Gardens

Review: Dolica WT-1003 67-Inch Lightweight Monopod


Looking for an inexpensive monopod? This Dolica is as good as it gets for the dollar.

First, some specs at a glance:
  • 21.3 - 67 inches (54-170cm)
  • 362g
  • Maximum load: 3kg?
  • 4 leg sections
  • Aluminium alloy build

This is one tall monopod. It stands at a maximum height of 170cm.

It's a simple build with locking latches on the leg. There's a nice rubber foam grip.

I recommend using smaller APSC camera, mirrorless or point and shoots on this tripod. The maximum load is stated to be 3 kg, but I think that's crazy. You don't want your lens to smash to the floor.

The thumb locking latches work well. Quick to open and close. Locks tight.

It has a feet that's interchangeable tips. Metal is good for hard surfaces, and plastic for soft surfaces and to protect against scratches on the floor.

The head is the free wheeling type. Turning the collar does nothing. You have to rotate the monopod. I've read reviews where people's screw comes off from turning it too tight in the wrong manner. To go around that problem, get a separate mounting head for the camera. I recommend the Glattos mini ball head mount which is good for small to medium cameras. The tilt head will be useful for shooting at angles.

For shooting video, go with a tilt head. Check out the Manfrotto 234 Monopod Tilt Head. For stills, just go for the simple ball head will do.

Yep. It's a good tripod that's worth the money. Don't strain it too much and it will serve you well.

Check out more reviews on Amazon:
www.amazon.com/Dolica-WT-1003-67-Inch-Lightweight-Monopod/dp/B000VZS2EU


Review: Velbon Ultra Stick M40 & M50 Aluminum Monopods

Velbon ULTRA STICK M40
That's the Velbon M40 monopod.

Velbon actually also comes with another model M50 which is quite similar. Below are the specs at a glance

M40:
  • 4-Section Aluminum Monopod
  • Maximum Height of 4.7' (143.5 cm)
  • Minimum Height of 16.53" (42 cm)
  • Weighs 7.76 oz (220 kg)

M50:
  • 5-Section Aluminum Monopod
  • Maximum Height of 4.29' (130.8 cm)
  • Minimum Height of 12.79" (32.5 cm)
  • Weighs 7.4 oz (210 g)

They are pretty similar expect the M50 is a good 10cm taller.

The construct is good. Hard plastic, feels sturdy, and comes with a nice foam rubber grip.

The locking mechanism is the twist and turn type. It's slightly more convenient than those locking latches.

The head comes with a screw for mounting cameras.

The main downside to the monopods is that the head does not tilt. So if you want to shoot upwards or downloads, you're out of luck — try the Velbon RUP-43 with the tilting head.

It's a good monopod to consider if you want to reduce camera shake due to your shaky hands. It's particularly good for stills. For video I would recommend a tripod to reduce the shakiness in the video altogether.

Check out more reviews on Amazon:
M50: www.amazon.com/Velbon-Ultra-Monopods-5-section-Neoprene/dp/B004P0JOS0
M40: www.amazon.com/Velbon-Ultra-Monopods-4-section-Neoprene/dp/B005MR6SHU

Review: Velbon RUP-43 4-Section Monopod

Velbon Sherpa RUP-L43 Monopod

Specs at a glance:
  • 4-section monopod
  • Comes with tilting head with screw for camera
  • Weighs 0.95 pounds (430g)
  • Double-grooved leg and flip-lever leg locks
  • Foam hand grip and braided nylon wrist strap
  • Height is from 21.2 to 64.5 inches (53.8 - 163.83cm)

Velbon makes some pretty good monopods.

The RUP-43 monopod is well built. The weight is 430g so it could be lighter but it has a good sturdy feel to the whole construction. There's a rubber foam grip that feels good on the hand.

The height extends from 53-163cm which is good but I wished it was higher. Well, I'm 1.8m tall. The minimal height is a bit tall.

The best thing about this monopod is the tilting head. With that, you can, obviously, tilt the camera on it. Monopods without that head (e.g. Velbon M40) locks the camera into one viewing angle and can be quite inconvenient at times.


The ball clamp and adjuster are metal and can hold most cameras. But I would recommend mounting APSC cameras or smaller — mirrorless and point & shoot cameras work nicely with this monopod. The mount goes only forward and backwards, useful with you need to shoot upwards or downloads.


The locks on the leg are hard plastic and can lock tightly. They slide smooth enough. You can extend and keep it fast.

This monopod helps tremendously for still photos to reduce problems with hand shake, or shooting at night just to achieve a faster shutter speed. For video, you will still get that panning shake depending on your handheld technique.

The RUP-43 monopod is a great monopod. It's good value for money, especially when it seems so durable.

Check out more RUP-43 reviews on Amazon. Direct links below:

The new photographers of news organizations

Reference
Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off All Its Full-Time Photographers (nytimes)
This Might Not Work: Chicago Sun Times Fires All Its Photographers To Replace Them With iPhones (forbes.com)

According to a leak from Sun-Times Robert Feder, Sun-Times' new strategy seems to rely on having their journalist shoot video and photos with their iPhones.

I work in a news organization and I've tried that: covering a story myself with a notepad and a camera (not iPhone). It's not easy, and it defeats of the purpose of news reporting.

When you're multitasking, writing notes and taking photos, you will be distracted. When you see a photo opportunity, your notepad is in hand. When you hear a newsworthy quote, your iPhone or camera is in hand. So you can switch your tools. Try switching them countless of times. You are going to miss capturing some crucial info or shot.

So all that multitasking basically will just result in sub-par news reporting. Don't believe me? Just try it yourself, it's that simple. Go out and get a story with pictures by yourself.

By the way, you're not going to get many good photos at night with your camera phone.

Future of photo journalists at news organizations

The future is not bright.

If I'm in charge, I probably would do the same and fire the photographers.

I would run a big blurb everyday on the papers asking people to submit their photos for print, and I'll pay them.

It's not too expensive. But more important, those photos are going to be timely. If there's an explosion at some place, someone there will bound to take a photo. That photo is going to worth more than the one the photo-journalist that minutes or hours later. You cannot go back in time to take photos.

News organizations can just hire photographers based on where they are located. Call upon them to cover stories that happen instantly.


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