... ah 5 feet 3 inches! i'm almost 6' (180 cm). Do you think that 5'3" (160cm) is tall enough for me to stand up and look through with my 70-200mm collar mounted (collar to view finder is 11cm)? and i'll probably have a ballhead/quick release on there as well so that adds another 2.4" (6cm). so my view finder will be approximately 176mm high. My eye level is 166cm so i think i can do just fine with the shorter one. i wouldn't even need a ballhead/quick release! or wait can you use a monopod for sports photography without a ball head?
Yes, you can use the monopod without a ball head for sports photography, but trust me, it isn't great to use it that way. If you want to get your horizon in a certain place, you'll have to move the camera back and forth instead of just adjusting the head. I've tried it a couple of times and it's really uncomfortable.
You may want to use the monopod with another lens as well, so my might not always have the collar on. And when you're using a ball head + camera with small lens, and you want to switch to a portrait orientation, the viewfinder will be significantly lower (see sketch below).
So while 5'3" would be enough with a 70-200mm and possibly a ball head, it will be too short with another set-up, so you'll have to bend down, something I wouldn't want to do when using a monopod...
Hang on a minute everyone, i thought that the purpose of IS/VR/OS, was that you didn't need to take a tripod or monopod with you So why do you need a monopod so much Tomis and Bjorn??
As popo and Tomis already explained, it can really help to take the weight off of you. I just put my camera and 70-200mm on the monopod and hold it, simple as that. While it is not a significant advantage when using, say, a 50mm f/1.4, it is when you have a heavy lens mounted. And it really helps with longer exposures as well, better than image stabilisation...
Another advantage Tomis already mentioned is that the camera is always ready for action. You don't have to take it off your shoulder, just put your eye to the viewfinder and you're ready to shoot. I've shot pictures at Christmas celebrations at my school, all with a tripod, because it's just so much easier.
Another advantage is when you want to shoot from a lower angle. Sitting down and holding my camera + long lens steady isn't always easy for me, it often results in a lot of movement. With a monopod, most of that movement is taken away...
- Bjorn -