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For photographers and Filmmakers on the run which do not want to mess around with a tripod or if the DSRL is just too heavy or if you just want to stabiize you shots then the semi-automatic Manfrotto Neotec Pro is a pretty nice and helpful piece of gear!
Operating the telescopic Monopod is farely simple – however, you need a little practice on how to use it.
If you want to rise the pod just stand on the fold-out foot-stepper and pull it up. You dont need to press any levers if you rise the pod – it locks automatically if you leave it at any height!
The Unique Pistolgrip
The monopod holds up to 8kg (according to Manfrotto) and makes a very sturdy impression.
To retract the telescopic mechanism a litte safety lever needs to be pushed, then the big “button” can be pressed and the lock is released. While pressing the big de-locker on the grip the pod can be pushed down with slight pressure. Once you let go the fixation push button, the Monopod is locked in this position.
It would certainly be clever if Manfrotto would have integrated some spring mechanism to support the move upwards in order to achieve even a nicer “automatic” uplift, but I think it works very well as it is!
Tilt-Head is screwed in with a big wheel underneath
With a minimum length of 75cm (excluding tripod head) it’s not the shortest and probably will not fit into every case or backpack and you gonna need a shoulder-strap which unfortunately is not included!
The maximum height of 171cm is high enough for most cases and the 685B is very sturdy at even that heigth!
On the lower-end is a little 5cm (2″) rubber-stand can be screwed in and reveals a spike for rough terrain.
With a little practice you will be able to make small down-drifts while filming and get some nice shots with just the Monopod and a sturdy hand! It’s the perfect gear for a DSLR Filmmakers on the run if you dont want to bother taking your big tripod with you.
Monopod pipes are thick and stable
The Manfrotto 685B Monopod Neotec Pro comes without a photo or videohead so you have to buy one!
I can recommend the Manfrotto 234RC with quick-release plate if you are thight on budget or the very good Manfrotto 501 HDV Video/DSLR fluid head which puts even more weight on the monopod, but provides smooth panning and tilting. I thing there are a lot of options out there and you need to find one that fits your needs.
All parts of the tilting-head are made of sturdy metal (aluminium), the bearing surface for the camera is made of rubber it has got a 3/8″ thread and 1/4″ to 3/8″ adapter thread screwed in.
The Manfrotto 234RC TiltHead can be used for portrait photography, but with limits! When tilted 90 degrees you can not tilt it anymore and you need to tilt with your monopod instead!
Stable and sturdy on any surface!
The lower-end telescopic element is wrapped in nice and big Soft-Rubber cover and helps to get grip on the Pod when outside in freezing temperature!
The 3-part sliding mechanism can be operated very easily with enough friction that it will not slide be itself and you have to stand on the little “foot-pedal” when retracting to lengthen the pod.
Filmed with Canon EOS-7D with Manfrotto Neotec Pro Support
SUMMARY and CONCLUSION
The Manfrotto Neotec Pro is a very good, professional and stable monopod with a special pistol-grip-like quick-fix that allows easier handling of the height adjustment.
Because the Neotec Pro has no Tilting-Head included you need purchase one that fits your needs and still makes the weight even more heavier, but on the other hand makes it a very sturdy and inconspicuous piece of gear on the go and support for your heavy DSLR!
THE GOOD: Very stable and quick to use, thanks to pistol-grip with semi-automatic pull-up system!
THE BAD: A little high cost, no lightweight, no tripod head included!
INCLUDED: 1/4″ to 3/8″ thread adapter, Hand-Strap
MATERIAL: Mostly Aluminium, Rubber Foot
WEIGHT: 955 gramm
LENGTH: min. 75cm / max. 171cm (without Tilt-Head)
Manfrotto 234RC Monopod Tilthead
Manfrotto 501 HDV Video/DSLR fluid head