Originally Posted by DualEdge
Having already read the thread and seen monopods discussed from time to time, I'm wondering if someone can help me understand the benefit of walking around with one versus just engaging the active stabilization mode on the camcorder. Is it just fatigue from holding it for long periods of time? I have to say that the active stabilization on the TD-20V is really good, especially while walking, so I would hope that the AX100 is at least somewhat comparable. Can anyone comment on this?
The active stabilization mode is quite good, but it's still not as good as either a tripod or good quality monopod. Remember with active stabilization you will get some degree of cropping which will add to the long end of the telephoto (get you closer) but also lessen the wide angle coverage at the widest end. So it's a bit of give and take there and much depends on what you're shooting as to whether this hurts or helps you. Of course it's very easy to switch out of Active and engage OIS when you're at the wide end and want maximum coverage. You don't even need Active when shooting wide since stability is much less of an issue.
As for the monopod, it's a question of lugging these things around. I've gone back & forth on this numerous times and I'm still undecided. Honestly, I don't enjoy carrying any extra equipment that's not absolutely vital. Even knowing a monopod/tripod will enhance my stability, it's still a pain to carry them. Good quality monopods tend to be heavier than poorly made ones. It's not even just the weight, but it's your ability to blend in with the crowd. I've always found it's easiest to travel light.
As you use the camera, you'll find you'll learn techniques to stabilize the camera while using either OIS or Active. Using a tree, poll or some other fixed object to brace the camera, can often help add a degree of stabilization.
The most important thing is to have fun using the camera and ultimately only you can determine which direction that leads you (monopod or 'monopodless'). There's no right or wrong approach IMO, but if it's maximum stability you're after, you'll want to look at a good monopod or tripod. With that said, if you look at some of our posted videos, you can see you can shoot some nicely stable videos without assists.