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03-22-2021, 01:45 AM - 2 Likes   #1
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Camera Chest Mount Choices - Cotton Carrier, Peak Design Capture, ....?

Intending to go on some 4-6 hr hikes in September this year (2021!!) while driving from Melbourne to Brisbane, via Hume and Newell Highways with a Nikon Z50 carrying friend.

Intended stops at Chiltern, Barmah Lakes, Warrumbungles, Mt Kaputar. Also a trip to Mary Cairncross reserve in Maleny at the Brisbane end of the trip. Main photographic interests are birds, butterflies and other insects, flowers. Probably the occasional scenery shot (with the 16-85mm zoom).

For most of the hikes I expect to have the 150-450mm mounted on my KP. Probably my LowePro Flipside 400AW backpack (with 100mm macro, 16-85mm zoom, Metz M400 flash, spare batteries, extension tube set, etc inside) on my back. The Vanguard Alta Pro 2+ 263 AP tripod and/or Vanguard VEO CM 265 Monopod will be in the picture. Am debating about carrying the 55-300mm PLM in the backpack if I have the 150-450mm - which I expect delivery of in the next 1-3 days.

I have the Vanguard Alta pro 32 pan-and-tilt head on the tripod, plus the Vanguard Alta GH 300T Pistol grip head which I can use on both the tripod and monopod. Maybe should consider leaving the Pan and Tilt head behind (to save some weight) and just use the Pistol Grip head.


I have found carrying the tripod with camera and lens mounted for 2-4 hr stretches a little tiring, and at times cumbersome and awkward (I am approx 167cm tall, lightly built, and 77yrs old!!!!).

While walking without camera mounted, the tripod or monopod could be stored in the side pocket of the Lowe backpack, but comments from anyone with experience of straps/slings for carrying tripods would be welcome. I could simply carry the monopod in hand, as a "walking stick".


Have started to look at things like the Peak Design Capture (on the backpack shoulder strap, not on waist/belt) and the CottonCarrier G3 vest harness (and maybe even the Cotton Carrier Steadyshot??).

It would be good to be able to transfer the KP-with-150-450mm mounted from whatever chest strap/harness to either tripod/monopod/SteadyShot without having to change any quick-release plates.

I have already done ( and will continue to do) a lot of web-surfing research, including YouTube videos.

But would welcome advice, comments, accounts of forum members experience with the Cotton Harness (Cotton Steady Shot) vs the Peak Design Capture system, tripod sling/carry strap? I have come across a couple of 3-5yr old threads here that touch on some of this, but thought a new thread might evoke some contemporary comments.

03-22-2021, 02:16 AM   #2
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Can't help with specific advice about the harnesses you're considering but that sounds like a lot of gear to be carrying around for an hour, let alone 4 - 6 hours, for a person of any age To be honest the first thing I'd be doing is looking at ways of reducing the amount of gear you're considering taking.

We're currently in Tassie and I've been hiking and walking with a KP and a 16 - 85 and 55 - 300 zooms and a Mindshift Rotation backpack and, quite honestly, that's enough to lug around.
03-22-2021, 04:16 AM   #3
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Not sure the relevance here, but...

You have about 15 years on me, so I consider this on the response

I hike regularly four 2+ hours with my K1 MKII and DA 560 over my head and shoulder (cross body) this on its own is no issue. (3-4 times weekly)

I have also done this with my back pack containing sigma 10-20, Tamron 28-75/2.8, sigma 70-200/2.8+2x TC, flash, K5 , and spare batteries all in a lowepro back pack.

I seriously question the need for a tripod. But perhaps for macro work I shoot the long lenses hand held.

I am considering adding a monopod, and am looking for a better way to carry the DA560.

The big issue is getting the the weight spread across your body, not carried on your shoulders. My good back packs have adjustable harnesses so that the hip belt does put the load on your hips, and the shoulder straps really are there to keep things from flopping around
03-22-2021, 04:32 AM - 1 Like   #4
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The peak design capture is great for holding something like the 16-85on the shoulder strap. I like mine. However i doubt it'd be a good idea to try and attach a heavy lens like the 150-450, which would be dangling by the lens mount in front of you. That's a lot of gear btw, especially when you add the hiking stuff you'd need for 6 hours, such as water, food, extra clothing

03-22-2021, 05:37 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by K2 to K50 Quote
Have started to look at things like the Peak Design Capture (on the backpack shoulder strap, not on waist/belt) and the CottonCarrier G3 vest harness (and maybe even the Cotton Carrier Steadyshot??).

It would be good to be able to transfer the KP-with-150-450mm mounted from whatever chest strap/harness to either tripod/monopod/SteadyShot without having to change any quick-release plates.
I was totally going to recommend using the Peak Design Capture Clip, I've used it for many years and now have one on almost each of my bags. I frequently attach the camera to the shoulder strap of a backpack and just love the stability and convenience.

Then I read that you wanted to carry it with a 150-450. That's just not gonna work!

The Clip can bear it, no problem, but you'll have to use a different system.

I absolutely recommend that you carry it on your hip, using a pad such as this one:

Think Tank Modular Belt System Review - Camera Clip Adapter | PentaxForums.com Reviews

That would be, by far, the best way to go about it. I've done that often with the 60-250 as shown in the pictures and it's much better.

No shoulder strap is going to be stiff enough to carry the 150-450 attached.

By the way, I've toyed briefly with the Cotton Carrier system, and didn't like it nearly as much as the Peak Design.
03-22-2021, 06:37 AM   #6
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Question: whatís the intended use of the tripod? Could you go lighter with it? Could you substitute one that has a detachable leg/monopod to reduce bulk and weight?
03-22-2021, 07:02 AM   #7
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I've been using the Keyhole Hands Free Chest Harness on long hikes and really like it. It attaches to both of the backpack shoulder straps, keeps the the camera secure, and easily available. It also functions as a good backpack chest strap, and transfers the camera weight evenly to the backpack were it can be carried much easier by the shoulders and hips.

amazon.com : Keyhole Hands Free Camera Harness, Black : Camera And Optics Carrying Straps : Camera & Photo?tag=pentaxforums-20&


Last edited by DWS1; 03-22-2021 at 07:09 AM.
03-22-2021, 11:53 AM   #8
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I'd agree with the others, the 150-450 is too big to go on the Peak clip on a shoulder strap. I've done long hikes(10+miles) with that system, but only with smaller setups, like the KP and 55-300. Not sure I'd advise hiking long distances with the camera and lens on the tripod either. Not great from a weight/carrying perspective or a risk perspective. That's a lot of weight and leverage to be hanging off the mount for a long time, potentially banging into things. The hip mount seems a better idea, or use a shoulder sling and switch sides periodically.
I'd also consider a travel tripod or monopod and a ballhead instead of a pistol grip as a lighter setup.
03-22-2021, 11:10 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by carlb Quote
We're currently in Tassie and I've been hiking and walking with a KP and a 16 - 85 and 55 - 300 zooms and a Mindshift Rotation backpack and, quite honestly, that's enough to lug around.
Thanks for the input, Carl. I looked up that Mindshsift Rotation pack - a neat concept, a lot easier than the LowePro Flipside, where you have to remove the shoulder straps and swivel the whole backpack around on the waist strap.


QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Not sure the relevance here, but...

I seriously question the need for a tripod. But perhaps for macro work I shoot the long lenses hand held.
Thanks, Lowell. I am not sure how I will go trying to use the 150-450 handheld for bird shots. And I normally regard a tripod as a no-brainer for macro shots. Then again, one of my best macros was shot handheld using my 55-300mm PLM with flash. Maybe the use of flash freezing subject movement will be enough for macros. But that still leaves me with questionable ability to shoot birds handheld with such a heavy lens as the 150-450mm. But if I choose the light carbon-fibre monopod and leave the tripod home, it might do. Will need to practice with this combination to see how I go.

QuoteOriginally posted by aaacb Quote
The peak design capture is great for holding something like the 16-85on the shoulder strap. I like mine. However i doubt it'd be a good idea to try and attach a heavy lens like the 150-450, which would be dangling by the lens mount in front of you. That's a lot of gear btw, especially when you add the hiking stuff you'd need for 6 hours, such as water, food, extra clothing
I would not dream of suspending this combo (150-450mm + KP) by the camera mount from any system - I envisage suspending by the tripod mount of the lens. I have watched videos of guys using the Cotton chest harness to suspend FF cameras with 500mm to 600mm lens. Most of these guys were taller than myself, with a longer torso, but it still looked like a great way to hike hands-free: there wasn't any camera swing (unlike hip-based systems).
QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
.........

Then I read that you wanted to carry it with a 150-450. That's just not gonna work!

The Clip can bear it, no problem, but you'll have to use a different system.

I absolutely recommend that you carry it on your hip, using a pad such as this one:

Think Tank Modular Belt System Review - Camera Clip Adapter | PentaxForums.com Reviews

That would be, by far, the best way to go about it. I've done that often with the 60-250 as shown in the pictures and it's much better.

No shoulder strap is going to be stiff enough to carry the 150-450 attached.

By the way, I've toyed briefly with the Cotton Carrier system, and didn't like it nearly as much as the Peak Design.
Thanks for the thoughts bdery. "Not gonna work" - I am inclined to agree, but would be interested to hear why you say that. "No shoulder strap..." Again, my instinct is to agree with that - which is why I am looking at chest harness options - thoughts??

When you say you "have toyed with the Cotton Carrier system" were you referring to their shoulder system, or their chest harness system?


"absolutely recommend that you carry it on your hip": my research so far has uncovered a number of videos where photographers have complained about the "feel" of a long lens swings around their hips and legs. Just the look of it puts me off, to be honest, although the ThinkTank belt system you suggested (I did look it up, and thanks for the suggestion) does look good for perhaps a lens pouch and flashlight pouch.
QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Question: whatís the intended use of the tripod? Could you go lighter with it? Could you substitute one that has a detachable leg/monopod to reduce bulk and weight?
Thanks for commenting, UncleVanya. As I mentioned in my answer to Lowell and and Carlb, I am not sure if I could trust myself to hold up and shoot with such a big lens as the 150-450mm, Shake Reduction notwithstanding.
QuoteOriginally posted by SteveinSLC Quote
I'd agree with the others, the 150-450 is too big to go on the Peak clip on a shoulder strap. I've done long hikes(10+miles) with that system, but only with smaller setups, like the KP and 55-300. Not sure I'd advise hiking long distances with the camera and lens on the tripod either. Not great from a weight/carrying perspective or a risk perspective. That's a lot of weight and leverage to be hanging off the mount for a long time, potentially banging into things. The hip mount seems a better idea, or use a shoulder sling and switch sides periodically.
I'd also consider a travel tripod or monopod and a ballhead instead of a pistol grip as a lighter setup.
Thanks Steve: am seriously considering mounting the Vanguard pistol grip on my monopod - have worked with it that way with the 55-300mm PLM. It mostly works well, especially if there is a handy tree to lean back against, or a rock to sit on, But sometimes I find it a bit of a challenge when free-standing.

Oh, and YEA !!, my 150-450mm lens arrived just an hour ago. Unpacked it - it sure is one big heavy monster! I put it on my tripod, and took a small number of shots through my lounge room sliding door doorway of some Long-Billed Corellas in a tree some distance away over my neighbour's rooftop. For initial shots - not too bad, considering the distance, and a very dull, overcast day.
Check HERE if interested. Images may be just a tad soft??, Be warned: these are on my OneDrive, where, unlike Flickr, a good 5-10 seconds is needed before the image is fully rendered. And a further wait is needed if you "pixel-peep:" by double-clicking on a displayed image to magnify.


Thanks again, everyone, for taking the time to comment and make suggestions - I appreciate the time taken, and would welcome any further comments to this current response.

Last edited by K2 to K50; 03-22-2021 at 11:16 PM.
03-23-2021, 03:46 AM   #10
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K2 to K50. Now that you have your toy, go out t and play for a while. Ok it is bigger than you are used to. I get that. BUT, physical handicaps not withstanding, I really recommend trying to use it hand held.

I shoot all the time with my DA560 and K1 hand held, so I am thinking I am using about 1.5 kilos more and I don’t have an issue. As I stated initially I understand I have a few years advantage, but it is worth trying because saving the weight of a tripod in your pack is worth it.

I took a quick look at your photos and while I agree they might be soft, I could not tell what shutter speed and aperture you are using. Once you venture into the 400+ focal length, settings become important. You need to consider pushing the iso a little, in exchange for shutter speed. Especially for birds, where you are going to crop in a little. I prefer a little more grain as opposed to lack of sharpness. It takes a little time. Note I went to the DA560 after years of shooting with either a sigma 70-210/2.8+2xTC, or the K300/4 +1.7x AF adaptor. So I had 20 years of hand holding something in the 400-500 mm range before using the 560. It takes a little time to adjust to the extra length and weight. But if you can manage it is worth it.

I also liked the suggestion to try a monopod, or get a tripod with detachable leg. But note for monopods, they become a little more difficult when shooting upwards, and that’s where many birds are. You should also visit the 300mm plus lens club, there are a lot of discussions on shooting techniques for long lenses there
03-23-2021, 04:08 AM   #11
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I have a B Grip holster style unit. It has provision for holding longer lenses, but I don't know about one as big as the 150-450.
I haven't used mine much, but when I have I have loved it - all the weight is off the back and shoulders - much appreciated for my 74 year old frame.

CPTech B-Grip Innovative Belt Carry System -> Take the load of your neck! | eBay

The only issue that I have is the quick release plate is different to my tripod!!
03-23-2021, 05:53 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by K2 to K50 Quote
Thanks for the thoughts bdery. "Not gonna work" - I am inclined to agree, but would be interested to hear why you say that. "No shoulder strap..." Again, my instinct is to agree with that - which is why I am looking at chest harness options - thoughts??
You could say I have some experience with backpacks, and camera bags as a whole, seeing as I reviewed over 20 just for Pentaxforums

I also wrote the 150-450mm review, and tested that lens extensively. I will venture to say that I have good experience all around to comment.

Shoulder straps are simply not rigid enough to bear the weight of a lens like the 150-450 pulling at it from a single point on the outside. The setup will become uncomfortable after a few minutes, it will move and deform the strap and make it almost impossible to stabilize, plus such a big setup will make it hard to move your arms. You'll hit the lens or camera repeatedly.

The only solution I see with the Capture Clip would be to use their Pro Pad, but even that is not enough for the 150-450.

QuoteOriginally posted by K2 to K50 Quote
When you say you "have toyed with the Cotton Carrier system" were you referring to their shoulder system, or their chest harness system?
Shoulder system, in my case. I've seen, but not used, the chest harness.

QuoteOriginally posted by K2 to K50 Quote
"absolutely recommend that you carry it on your hip": my research so far has uncovered a number of videos where photographers have complained about the "feel" of a long lens swings around their hips and legs. Just the look of it puts me off, to be honest, although the ThinkTank belt system you suggested (I did look it up, and thanks for the suggestion) does look good for perhaps a lens pouch and flashlight pouch
With the Think Tank pad (the largest I've seen), the lens wouldn't be swinging around, thankfully. With a drop-in system like the Spyder, I'd tend to agree. With the Capture, it will keep well in place.

My wife would agree about the look, but no worse (probably better!) than a chest harness, IMHO. If you don't want to use a bag, that would be my go-to solution.

I would have liked to recommend the Mindshift Gear Rotation180 system, but it's not large enough for the 150-450.
03-23-2021, 06:16 AM   #13
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For a light tripod Iíve had good luck using this:

Sirui T-025x Travel Tripod Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews

However my heaviest lens is the DA* 60-250.

Using this tripod with a large lens is certainly better than shooting handheld for macro work. The tripod collapses close to the ground and the center column is removable.

I havenít used it for birds, I have used it for landscapes and macros.
04-19-2021, 09:13 AM   #14
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Iím in a similar boat here, with a slightly smaller lens (300/4 with Tc for now) but basically hiking and scrambling with a wildlife setup. I think the cotton carrier is probably the only way Iíd want to go, especially on trips like Iíve got planned this summer where Iím climbing half dome and need my hands free but want quick camera access. Have you decided on a system? If not, I might be able to get it sooner than planned and do some testing and report back.
04-19-2021, 06:26 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 11GTCS Quote
Iím in a similar boat here, with a slightly smaller lens (300/4 with Tc for now) but basically hiking and scrambling with a wildlife setup. I think the cotton carrier is probably the only way Iíd want to go, especially on trips like Iíve got planned this summer where Iím climbing half dome and need my hands free but want quick camera access. Have you decided on a system? If not, I might be able to get it sooner than planned and do some testing and report back.
Yeh, 11GTCS - I bought the Cotton Carrier CCS G3 Harness 1, with the extra universal plate, which allows me to transfer the camera/lens straight from vest to monopod or Tripod. I have tried it on, fiddled with adjustments, but yet to go out into the field with it. It seems good with the KP/150-450mm combo although someone with a taller frame (esp a longer torso) would probably find it more comfortable. Only a 2-4 hour walk with the combo will really tell how comfortable the system is.


I have the cotton carrier clip and universal plate attached to the tripod foot of the 150-450mm lens, which makes it stick out a bit from the vest. It would be tidier hanging from the camera, and with a less weightier lens (eg 55-300plm or even a 300mm prime) that didn't come with a tripod food would probably be a very nice solution. But not prepared to let the 150-450mm lens hang direct from the camera mount.

I am finding I am getting a better keeper rate when shooting with the tripod and my Vanguard GT 300H pistol grip head and shutter cable as compared to using the set-up with the monopod unfortunately, which means I may end up carrying the tripod around on my planned trip in september this year. (Monopod is fine if there is something to lean against - tree, fence-post, etc - but this 77yr old finds the view through the viewfinder wavers a bit when shooting beyond the 350mm mark!!)


Will report back after I get out for a 2-4 hr trial at one of the local nature reserves. Back in my film days I used to carry my lens collection around in their original leather hardcases with their straps around my shoulder which made lens-swapping reasonably quick and safe, but modern lenses (150-450mm excepted) all seem to come with just soft cases these days.
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