As you probably know by now, I like to "tinker" with products. Some of the ideas I have never work and some work out very nicely.

The first difficulty I have when shooting a panorama with a monopod is holding the darn thing plumb! The second is that as I rotate around, the base of the monopod tends to drift around. The end result is 4 images that are close but not exactly on the nodal point. PTGui can stitch most of my images, but sometimes I just cannot get a pano to stitch.

Here it my latest solution:

http://www.manfrotto.us/fluid-video-monopod-with-head

I went down to the camera store and had a look. The base is the only part I was interested in. The rig is quite heavy and would not be good for all day shooting.

$335 msrp is not too attractive either. I found one for about $100 without the fluid head. That is ok since I do not shoot video and have no use for a fluid video head. Manfrotto sells three versions of their fluid monopods. The other two are cheaper versions.

I received the package and headed straight out to the garage. I hacksawed off the base and put the rest of the monopod (Very big, tall and heavy) back into my spare parts box.

The only modification I had to do to my existing monopod was reducing the diameter of the rubber tip at the end so it would slide into the base. I will probably make a plastic insert in order to snug up the fit.

The modified base unit with my Manfrotto carbon monopod inserted:


The rig folded up:


Fully extended and self-supporting:


The base has a ball joint which will allow the three tripod legs to pivot on uneven surfaces. There is a "fluid" connection between the base and the monopod allowing for 360 degree horizontal rotation.

There is just enough resistance in the base so that holding the monopod plumb is now quite easy and much quicker than before. The fluid connection allows the monopod to rotate 360 while keeping the bottom at the exact same position. The nodal point should be much easier now to maintain.

The resistance in the ball joint is adjustable. I would NEVER take my hand off my camera when using this rig. That is what a tripod is for.

If I do not want to use the base I can just pop it off. It is not attached permanently.

The wife and I will be leaving for Hawaii next Friday, March 30th for 9 days. Once again, she will take the singles while I take only panoramas.