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02-13-2007, 11:18 PM   #1
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Large lenses and tripod mounting

I am going to ask, maybe a stupid question, but I want to be sure...

When using a larger lens, such as a sigma 70-300, do you mount the camera and lens with the lens collar or the camera? I am thinking with the lens collar, but was concerned with the weight of the camera hanging on the lens. Is the collar only for monopods? I am a little confused, as you can tell.

02-14-2007, 03:32 AM   #2
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If the lens has a tripod collar, use it. The collar will be closer to the center of balance of the camera/lens combination and be much more stable.
02-14-2007, 04:17 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by xecutech Quote
I am going to ask, maybe a stupid question, but I want to be sure...

When using a larger lens, such as a sigma 70-300, do you mount the camera and lens with the lens collar or the camera? I am thinking with the lens collar, but was concerned with the weight of the camera hanging on the lens. Is the collar only for monopods? I am a little confused, as you can tell.
I have tried both with varying results. The whole object is that the total assembly remains as solid as possible and when using lighter lenses, up to approx 1kg, like your Sigma 70-300, I find using the camera mount gives the best results as the mass of the tripod seems to be more effective in damping small vibrations from the camera when fired.

With longer, heavier lenses like the Tokina 80-400 and Sigma 100-300 EX, I have used both camera and lens mounts and I've often found that the vibration of the mirror/shutter with the camera hanging off the lens in free air (i.e. lens tripod mount) is worse, because the mass of the tripod doesn't effectively damp the camera sufficiently. Using mirror lock up usually cures this, but you don't always have the luxury of waiting for 2 secs before the shutter fires!

The best solution is to use a clamp that holds both the lens and the camera, such as the Manfrotto 293 Telephoto lens support, or for really monster lenses, the 359 Long lens camera support.

I currently don't have any lens heavier or longer than my FA*300/f4.5 + Tamron 1.4x TC and I've found that the camera tripod mount works fine with that combination.

I will state that a solid tripod and head is an absolute must. I went through a whole range of cheap and mid price tripods + heads and probably spent much more in the long run than I would've spent getting an expensive and rigid combo in the first place!

I now have a Gitzo 2220 Explorer that I use with 4 heads, Manfrotto 222 grip head (also used with my Manfrotto monopod), Manfrotto 410 geared head, Dynatran ATH 919 ball head (Gitzo copy) and a Panosaurus Panoramic head. I will probably replace the Panosaurus with a Nodal Ninja this summer when I do more panoramic work as it is better made, considerably more rigid, smaller and easier to set up.

I also have a small Velbon UltraLuxi F for use with short lenses and as a lightweight carry round tripod. It is cheap and effective. I also have a small Velbon magnesium B&S head that I can use in place of the P&T head supplied.

The Gitzo + heads in it's Manfrotto MBAG 90 is a heavy lot to lug around all day, just for the off chance! I carry that lot in the boot (trunk) of my car in case of need.

I also use a Manfrotto monopod with the 222 grip when strolling with long lenses, i.e. for airshows, birding and wildlife etc., I still use the camera tripod mount as all my current lenses don't have a tripod bush. If I had a Bigma or similar, I expect I would use the lens mount!

Apologies for the longish reply, but I felt it would be useful to you, I hope it helps.
02-14-2007, 07:39 AM   #4
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Thanks for clarifying this for me. I just wanted to make sure.

02-14-2007, 04:59 PM   #5
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And more on this theme... if you have a large lens on the front, how strong is the mount? Is it okay to carry the setup around just holding the camera, or is it necessary to support the lens as well?
02-15-2007, 02:37 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Arpe Quote
And more on this theme... if you have a large lens on the front, how strong is the mount? Is it okay to carry the setup around just holding the camera, or is it necessary to support the lens as well?
The lens mount is pretty strong and is designed to be used with lenses that don't put an excessive strain on it, usually under 1kg and no longer than approx 20cm (min zoom position and w/o hood). If there is no mount provided with the lens, it is usually an indication that it is okay for use using the camera mount alone.

It's always wise (and more comfortable) to hold both when using, I usually have my camera slung around my neck and hold the lens barrel to stop it from swinging around and hitting anything. Just avoid excessive leverage or jarring the mount. Common sense should prevail!
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