Students of photographic design may be a little puzzled at today's monopod. It is a custom design based upon a very old model. The " swine's feather " or " Swedish feather " was issued to troops during the Thirty Years War to allow them to support their heavy matchlocks. This was in the days before Hasselblad and IKEA...

The Manfrotto video monopod seen today - the MVMXPROA42W -  is a surprisingly stylish competitor for yesterday's Sirui. It has more, and less than the other one, and you'll have to decide if that's what you want. To start with, the leg is aluminium, and might be thought heavier than carbon fibre - except hefting the two boxes doesn't seem that much different and this one has a video head on top as well. You may debate the virtues of Alu and CF at the next camera club meeting when the Canon/Nikon debate falters. The leg locks are lever-click and adjustable for tension so you can cope with eventual wear. There are 4 sections to the pod but in the supplied form there is no carry bag. You have to buy that separately - Manfrotto make good bags. The bottom feet are much like the others but he locking mechanism is not as delicate. There is a press-button collar that bears down on the ball joint to keep things upright or to loosen them for swivelling. Note that this is not a tripod...

I was going to entitle this column, " Leg Art " but googled it and thought better of the idea. There are things on the image page that cannot be unseen. My weekly foray into the Camera Electronic storeroom sometimes takes me to shelves that are well beyond my ken. The drone nest where they are busily hatching for instance. Or the Leica vault. It's not that I don't understand Leica,...

Some photographers search for ready-made solutions to their problems. Others reverse it - they seek out problems to match their solutions. My favourite group - a group to which I belong - finds a solution and turns it into a problem. Then we run like blazes. I was reminded of this when inspecting the Lowepro DroneGuard CS300. It is the perfect solution for the problem of getting a drone safely to the launch site. Sturdy, fitted, and man-portable, it can house the aircraft, spare batteries, controllers, and propellers and do so while being carried the back - leaving the hands free to assist in crawling through underbrush or chain-link fences. All the interior parts are removable and fasten upon the basic shell with Velcro™. Plenty of loops on the outer face of the lid to accommodate wire-cutters, sonic screwdrivers, or limpet mines. A day's play with the drone should be easy whether visiting the local park or climbing up Bluff Knoll in a sleet storm. For the rest of us - the ones who avoid public parks and Bluff Knoll - the chief advantage...

I am not sure if this column will sell you anything  - I'm not even sure if it will sell you on anything. But If I can make silly decisions, so can you, and sometimes they are the smartest part of the whole day. Take the business of breaking the habits of a lifetime and going against all that you have been taught? Well, if you can do this without travelling the wrong way up the Freeway at peak hour, you might just do your photography a service. I think I have done so by going strapless. Like all photographers of the 1960's I diligently threaded the leatherette straps supplied in the boxes onto the SLR and compact cameras of the period. I wore them around my neck  or over my shoulder until I had banged the lenses into enough walls to dent the filter rings. Then I kept them in camera bags and fumbled for them until I dropped them on the pavement. Then I just dropped them into Pelican cases...

I have promised the Operations Manager that I will restrain myself from puns about the Steiner brand of binoculars. They are a serious optical company and deserve my every respect. The fact that we share a name is mere coincidence. I did not, however, promise to refrain from poetry...

I always like to go to the Fujifilm equipment shows when Warrewyk Williams is in town. He's the national training manager for Fujifilm Australia and every single time he's presented a new product he's had something surprising to say about the cameras. He fills in the gaps in knowledge that even Fuji Rumours leaves open. Of course some information is not released too far ahead of time - and for good reason. There are stumbling blocks to any manufacturing and marketing exercise and making much of something that never eventuates is damaging to a firm's reputation. No names, no pack drill...