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07-26-2018, 11:36 PM   #1
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Tripod collar recommendations for FA* 300mm f/4.5?

I recently purchased an FA* 300mm f/4.5, and I'm looking for some advice regarding tripod collars for it. (I'm new to using tripod collars, since my lenses have generally been lighter ones, like the 55-300mm.)

First, how important is it to use a tripod collar with this lens if using it with a tripod or monopod? I'm wondering both about whether using it without a collar would put an undesirable amount of strain on the lens mounts and mounting screws, and also about the observed stability benefits of using a collar.

I do plan to purchase a collar for this lens, so I'd also like recommendations on which one to buy and to hear the experience of those who've used these various collars. The options range from Canon's own collars for their 70-200mm f/4 lenses to a number of clones of those collars.

My top concern is safety. I really wouldn't be happy to have the lens and an attached K-1 take a bad fall.

The seller of the lens I bought indicated that some scratches on the barrel were due to the prior owner's use of tripod collar that didn't have enough padding inside, so that's another concern. (Perhaps such scratching would be more likely to occur when rotating the lens in the collar to change the orientation.)

Other concerns would be whether stability varies from one model of collar to another, and whether there are usability issues with some.

Also, some of the collars are available in black or white. Any thoughts on the benefits of one versus the other? (I was thinking of white, since it might stay cooler if one were out in the sun for an extended period of time.)

Here are some different collars I'm currently aware of:
  • Canon's Tripod Mount Ring A II

    Metal. Has a safety mechanism for the screw so that loosening the screw won't cause the collar to open unexpectedly. Expensive, though a used one would be less so.

  • There's also the earlier Canon Tripod Mount Ring A. Here's an article showing the differences between the two models (which seem to be the shape of the knob and the foot).

    Probably a little less expensive used than the newer model.

  • Fotodiox Pro Premium-Grade Tripod Mount Lens Collar

    Metal. Has a safety mechanism for the screw (though may not be as good as Canon's). Some reviews described the liner as thin felt/velvet, but others said it was synthetic rubber, so perhaps the design may have changed over time. Some issues with tripod socket threads.

  • Vello Tripod Collar A

    Some reviews raised concerns about the quality of the screw and whether the collar would clamp tightly enough. One review mentioned that the material inside isn't very thick.

  • JJC (and some other brands)

    Plastic. Some reviews raised questions about stability, creaking noises.

  • "For Canon" (with reproduction of Canon logo in red)

    Metal. Reviews don't seem that good.

So, at the moment, I'm leaning toward buying one of the Canon collars (used, since I'd prefer not shell out ~$145 for a new one). My thinking is that this might provide better safety and stability. Downsides are cost and perhaps weight.

Does anyone have experience using the genuine Canon collars with the FA* 300? Any issues? How well does the fabric lining hold up over time? (If I buy a used one, I'm wondering if the fabric will be overly worn. Should I look for the Mark II model under the theory that if it's newer, it might be less likely to be worn?)

I'm also interested in hearing others' experiences with any of the other collars.

Thanks!
Marc

07-26-2018, 11:51 PM - 2 Likes   #2
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I would recommend something along these lines:

Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

It balances really well with the length of the 300mm, and is arguably going to be quite a bit more sturdy than a single ring.


I think you're making the right call, as the risk/wear on the lens mount is not worth it IMO.

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07-27-2018, 01:52 AM   #3
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I have used one of those "for Canon" ones for years. It works just fine, the only thing I don't like about it is the '"for Canon" text . It's much better than the clumsily machined custom made one I used before...


One thing to take care of with adding a tripod collar to the FA*300 is not to tighten it too much. Unlike lenses that are designed for a tripod collar, the FA*300 is not reenforced where the collar is attached so tightening it too much will slightly squeeze the barrel and impact the internal functioning of the lens, more specifically the AF. When you notice AF slows down, loosen it slightly or you'll risk damaging the AF mechanism of the lens. Also the collar might partially cover the distance scale on the lens, and since the plastic covering of that scale protrudes slightly above the surface of the barrel it gets extra pressure from the collar. In mine, over the years, that pressure has resulted in the cover sitting slightly skewed. Nothing that impacts performance, but I worry it might come loose should I ever remove the collar for a long period. Hence I leave it on...

hth, Wim
07-27-2018, 03:46 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I would recommend something along these lines:

Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support with Quick Release 293 B&H

It balances really well with the length of the 300mm, and is arguably going to be quite a bit more sturdy than a single ring.
Hi Adam. Your point is well-taken. I may consider getting one of these types of long lens supports, though since it's a good bit larger and heavier than a collar, I think I'll still want to have a collar for situations where I want to travel a bit lighter.

If an F* 300mm (which has the built-in tripod collar) comes around at a reasonable price, I might try to get one of those, but they generally seem to be in short supply.

07-27-2018, 04:10 AM   #5
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my FA* 300/4.5 came with a collar from the previous owner (thankfully) - it is a JJC TR-1II model and fits pretty well (but not perfectly)

I've just learned that it never comes off (since putting it back on is a pain) and to check it regularly when the lens is mounted (since there is no fail-safe)...
07-27-2018, 08:07 AM - 1 Like   #6
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I'll never understand why Pentax removed the tripod collar when they released the FA* version of the 300/4.5. I could not imagine using my F*300/4.5 without one.

Nevertheless I would also recommend the Manfroto 293 long lens support.

Phil.
07-27-2018, 01:45 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by fotomarc Quote
If an F* 300mm (which has the built-in tripod collar) comes around at a reasonable price, I might try to get one of those, but they generally seem to be in short supply.
If you're considering switching lenses, may as well go for the DA*, IMO, given the recent sales. It's similar in price to the film-era counterparts.

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