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how to deal with really heavy lenses

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by Luke, Sep 26, 2013.

  1. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    A place called serious compacts is probably not the most sensible place ask the question, but I know there's some old-school DSLR folks here and some birders (BillN.... you still here?). So what is your preferred way of handling your rig when you have a lens that is heavy enough that it should be the primary support. When you are attaching a camera to your lens instead of the other way around. Obviously a tripod is fine for stationary stuff. And I'll probably use a monopod from time to time when the situation is right. But how about when I want to be strolling light with my 3 lb / 1.5 kg lens? Any suggestions?
     
  2. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    No suggestions other than get used to being very obtrusive.

    When shooting, I held my Sigma 170-500 by the lens hood, I found that to be considerably more stable than further up near the camera body.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    The heaviest lens I have is a 200mm prime which used to be attached to my old SRT303b, it weighs a ton and theres no way I can use it as a walkabout. I've tried. Apart from the physical abuse to my arthritic hands, I've never yet managed to keep it stable enough for a good sharp shot. It has to be tripod.
     
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  4. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Thats just beautiful. Hand held you say?
    I can pack up and go home now.
     
  5. serhan

    serhan SC All-Pro

    May 7, 2011
    NYC
  6. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    When I had a Bigma (Sigma 50-500mm) it came fitted with a tripod collar that featured a long base and was scalloped on top for each finger. It essentially doubled as a handle. You could support it by making a fist with your left hand around the handle or rest the base of the handle on your palm which allowed your fingers to (just!) reach the zoom ring. Quite a clever design on a lens pushing 2kg in weight, but all this doesn't help you very much if you don't have this lens. On a normal lens I would usually let the barrel of the lens rest against the heel of my hand and use my fingers to turn the zoom ring, but this requires the lens to have a zoom ring far enough forwards to balance the lens effectively and with a light enough rotation such that your entire hand isn't shifting whilst zooming the lens.
     
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  7. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Don't go, we'd miss you too much! :flowers_2:

    I imagine my old Pentax K-x would be easier to handle with a large lens than a Minolta SRT303b. The hawk was about 100 ft away, so I had to crop a bit.

    When shooting (especially) with longer lenses, I like to lean against something, or even sit or kneel.... makes one less intimidating to the wildlife, and is more stable than standing.
     
  8. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
  9. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    thanks all for the tips. I wasn't looking for technique tips too much. I'm pretty solid with the concept of 3 points determining a plane and trying to turn my body into a tripod when necessary. I was hoping someone might suggest some sort of device to help support the weight when cruising around. Kind of like a sling of sorts.....maybe there is nothing like that. For now, I just use the tripod mount of the lens attached to a regular slingstrap, but surely there is something more dedicated to the concept.

    When I got the lens in the mail, there was some horrible wobble at the camera mount end. I was pretty irate that the classified advert made no mention of it. I talked the seller into picking up the repair tab. He thinks it became loose from his son using it unsupported and with the entire weight of the lens hanging out there in the breeze with 2 hands on the body. I am not so dense, but I also don't need a monopod attached full time. As Yeats has shown....in good light, I don't even need the stability. I just need a break for my hands and my neck.

    I'll keep checking this space for more great ideas.

    Nic, can you either recommend or dis-recommend the Sigma 50-500mm? I may get that instead of this 100-300mm. I went for speed instead of reach, but you can never have enough reach (if the IQ is good). I may need to rent one for a week and really put it through the paces.
     
  10. Yeats

    Yeats SC All-Pro

    Jul 31, 2012
    New Jersey, USA
    Chris
    Luke, have you checked out the Optech Pro Loop? It's supposed more evenly distribute weight load.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I dunno. This is basically how I did/would carry a giant camera/lens like this i.e. across my body with a strap attached to the tripod mount and the camera resting against my hip.

    I'll have to get back to you on this. I remember it being a decent lens given that mine was the unstabilised version and it had a reach of 800mm on my old Canon 350D, but the passage of time may have clouded my memory so I'd need to peek at some photos. I think there is a newer OS version now.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Lightmancer

    Lightmancer Super Moderator

    Aug 13, 2011
    Sunny Frimley
    Bill Palmer
    This is easier to see than to explain, but let me give it a try.

    Visualise a camera with long lens attached, and a shoulder strap.

    Let camera and lens hang from shoulder strap. Turn camera and lens through 180 degrees, creating a figure of eight. put the "top loop" of the figure of eight around the lens. Hold the result at the crossover point of the strap. If you have done it right, you should have the result nicely balanced, and can carry it easily with one hand at your side, with the camera back to the front.

    For other ideas, look here: http://www.speedgraphic.co.uk/ (other suppliers are available, but this lot have a good selection)
     
    • Like Like x 1