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02-03-2016, 08:03 AM   #1
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better method to secure tele lens to tripod...

Right now, I secure my Sigma 120-400 lens to my old 1980's Silk tripod with a pan & tilt head by screwing the tripod head screw into the lens collar thread socket. I can accept the tedious method of doing this, but I wonder if it is safe do to so ? Would buying an inexpensive arca swiss type clamp and plate and attaching this directly to the tripod head be a bit more secure method ? Or am I just over thinking this ?

I also have a Vanguard tripod and ball head that I have tried, but the old Silk seems to provide better stability while using this heavy lens.

Thanks for any advice and thoughts.

02-03-2016, 08:52 AM   #2
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I don't think it is unsafe exactly, but has to be terribly inconvenient.

As dcshooter says get a decent head for the tripod with quick release plates. Arca-Swiss is the "standard" as much as there is one and buying into it makes it easier to get other plates, and accessories that all fit.

I use one of the inexpensive Chinese made gimbals on my Manfrotto 055 sticks. I bought a second center column so changing from gimbal to ball head takes only a few seconds.
02-03-2016, 09:36 AM   #3
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It's very well worth getting or making some sort of plate to balance the lens, and if your tripod doesn't have a release plate then you can get one like the Neewer quick release plate, very good value item though a tad on the small side for a larger lens.
I made this Alu extension plate to balance my big 200-500mm for negligible cost (main cost was the 3/8th tap and tap wrench).

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/55946-300mm-plus-lens-club...ml#post3499883
02-03-2016, 11:40 AM   #4
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With the longer Sigma lenses I have found that it can help if you get a relatively long (100-150mm) Arca-style plate as that also makes it easier to be a firm grip on the lens when used off the tripod. Mine have extra 2-3mm thick self-adhesive neoprene (ebay is your friend for that!) on the top of the plate to stop the lens swivelling on it - which it can easily do if there is just metal-to-metal contact between the two (either on or off the tripod).

Did not need a tap wrench (etc.) either!

Also, the Sigma 100-300 F4 also has a bit of neoprene tubing over the long plate - and that allows me to support the lens/body combo comfortably on the palm of my left hand, whilst using the fingers of that hand to operate the zoom ring!

02-03-2016, 12:59 PM   #5
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The Arca plate is expensive which is why I don't have one, but a clone can be acquired very cheaply.

PU-150 QR 150mm Quick Release Plate for Benro Arca Swiss Camera Tripod Ballhead | eBay

At that price certainly pick one up and use as jeallen suggests. I find also a plate like that is just the job for perching a long lens on a bean bag while keeping the zoom/focus movements clear. But old slik tripods are not designed for arca plates.
03-04-2016, 07:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by zman Quote
Right now, I secure my Sigma 120-400 lens to my old 1980's Silk tripod with a pan & tilt head by screwing the tripod head screw into the lens collar thread socket. I can accept the tedious method of doing this, but I wonder if it is safe do to so ? Would buying an inexpensive arca swiss type clamp and plate and attaching this directly to the tripod head be a bit more secure method ? Or am I just over thinking this ?

I also have a Vanguard tripod and ball head that I have tried, but the old Silk seems to provide better stability while using this heavy lens.

Thanks for any advice and thoughts.
I'm not sure why this is tedious or potentially dangerous. I used to have QR; now I have a slik standard ball head without QR, and it takes only a few seconds longer to attach than the QR did. I'm not against QR, but having had years of experience with both, it's not that big a win. The screwing/unscrewing does mark up the bottom of the mount or body somewhat more than the QR did. The head I have would probably not be suitable for a lens as large/long as yours, however, and most heads today are QR, of course. Maybe I'm not understanding, but at some point the screw and/or the screw mount in the body or lens collar will still be the weak link, whether there's a QR in the way or not.

By "tripod head screw" I assume you mean the screw in the tripod head that's intended to be attached to a camera or collar, not the screw intended to attach the head to the tripod. The latter would definitely be inconvenient.
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