>Welcome to the world of photography! Hope you enjoy your hiking trip.
>Hmmmm, not sure about that Vivitar choice. Have a couple of Vivitar Series 1
>lenses myself. They generally yield disappointing results, especially with
>macro shots. These are now the lenses that I take out with my "beater"
>camera on the kayak (before anyone comments, you should know how
>uncoordinated I can be sometimes). While 3rd party lenses are generally not
>as good as those from the camera manufacturers (Pentax, Nikon, Canon,
>Minolta), there are still some much better choices than the Vivitar option
>(that include macro options). I guess the real question to me would be,
>what do you shoot? Most of what I shoot is while hiking. The lenses I use
>most are wide-short tele zooms (24-70, 28-135, etc). While I carry a 70-300
>ED lens, it is actually the one I use the least. I am far more likely to go
>to a wider lens (say for a canyon shot or something like that) than a longer
>lens. It should be noted though that most of my shots are landscapes, not
>As for the monopod, they do help. Are they as stable as a tripod? Not even
>close. If you can brace against something then you can get a pretty long
>exposure with a m-pod. Once in a while I will leave my tripod behind in the
>interest of weight and time. This forces me to shoot differently, look at
>things with a new perspective. If there is something that requires a long
>exposure though, I take several shots. Using a monopod I find that I manage
>to get one out of every three to five shots (if unsupported against a tree
>or something) to turn out well once the shutter speed drops below 1/4 sec.
>If you have a more stable hand than I do, your success rate could be higher.
>The m-pod I use is a biggie, Mannfrotto's 3218 with a small ballhead (484).
>This thing is actually strong enough that it is what I use for a walking
>stick as well (probably not recommended by Bogen but it works for me), and I
>am not a lightweight guy. That means that most of the time I have a tripod
>strapped to by backpack and a m-pod in my hand.
>Hope this helps, they are just some rambling thoughts...... You may want to
>post some more specific gear-related questions once you think about your
>plans a little more.