Heavy lens problem on tripod

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by tessar, May 14, 2011.

  1. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Sometimes I like to use a Nikkor 180/2.8 lens with the camera on a tripod. But when I turn the platform 90 degrees to shoot in portait mode, the weight of the lens will pull the camera downwards -- the tripod screw won't hold it. Short of using a second tripod to support the lens I haven't been able to think of a way around this problem. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    Can you turn the lens into portrait mode the other way so that torque results in tightening of the tripod screw.
     
  3. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    A rotating tripod mount for the lens, some lenses come with them, and you can buy them for others. A flat plate type bracket with a "fork" to support each side of the lens. A screw to mount the camera at one end and a threaded hole at the balance point to mount on the tripod.
     
  4. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    A better tripod (head)...

    While sooner or later practically all heads will let that happen given a heavy enough lens (though truly heavy ones have their own mount), the Nikkor 180 f/2.8 isn't *that* much of a monster.

    My fairly standard & light Manfrotto heads hold that and other lenses of similar weight in portrait mode quite well, provided the bases are screwed on properly.
     
  5. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    You must be using Bogen/Manfrotto quick release plates. Get rid of them. Go for a head that used the standard Arca/Swiss (A/S) quick release plates, and get either a dedicated camera plate or a collar & plate for the lens. I bought dedicated camera L plates for my cameras. Life is so much easier now! I used to use Bogen plates and they drove me screaming insane. Eight years ago I bought an AcraTech Ultimate ballhead and dedicated A/S style plates and haven't had a single problem since, not even with my 4x5 field camera. Head & plates lock down precisely where I want, and stay there for eternity. Yes, these are worth the money. Look into the Photoclam ballhead if you need a bargain.


    Kent in SD
     
  6. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Issues of the tripod head aside (it should be sturdy to start with), invest in a tripod collar for the lens in question. It is hazardous and a major strain on the camera to support a heavy lens off its centre of gravity.
     
  7. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    This lens needs a mounting collar.

    An immediate fix to the problem is to flip the camera around so that the base of the camera points left when it is flipped up - this way the torque exerted by the lens' weight will tighten the tripod screw rather than loosen it. With a pan head this can result in the main handle pointing forwards rather than towards the photographer.
     
  8. ROL

    ROL Member

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    This has worked well for me when relying on a screw alone to hold the weight. But really, why not use a head and plate system. My Acratech ballhead holds securely all my 5x7 LF to 300mm, and MF gear in any position I wish to shoot.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 14, 2011
  9. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    Simply add a piece of rubber beneath the camera, bicycle inner tube section, jar opener, piece of cork.
    To be fancy cut it in the shape of the platform. Quick & dirty? two pieces, one on each side of the tripod screw.
    Nicholas mentioned aligning the camera with the bottom facing left. If you have a 3 way or pan head the lever for tilt sticks out to the right and won't allow a ninety degree angle. Turn the camera 180 degrees so the handle is on the "wrong" side & flip it.

    I don't believe the 180 Nikkor ever had a tripod collar available for it.
     
  10. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    This may be a result of your experience, but otherwise where is the justification for such a statement? I don't believe that the OP identified his/her tripod gear by brand.

    I have just done some quick tests with my Manfrotto 055XPROB tripod with 486RC2 ball head with quick release plate:
    Test #1 - Nikon F100 with 180/2.8 - rock solid in all positions
    Test #2 - Nikon F5 with 300/4 (not using the lens's built-in tripod mount) - still quite steady
    Test #3 - Mamiya 645 with 210/4 - (probably a bit lighter than the F5/300 combo) - still no movement.

    Admittedly I was testing on a level surface with no wind, but uneven surface or strong wind would test any tripod/head combo. :whistling:
     
  11. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Since I dislike all-encompassing dogmatic statements and agreeing with Wotalegnd, I screwed a Manfrotto quick release plate to my F2 with 180mm ED and tried it on my tripod: as expected (and as previously posted), rock solid in all positions.

    Just to go a bit overboard, I tried the same test with my Pentax 6x7 and 300mm (3.5 kg vs the 1.64 kg of the F2 + 180 combo): also rock solid (though it would slip if I pushed the lens down with a certain amount of force).

    So for my uses, I *won't* be getting rid of my Manfrotto quick release plates....
     
  12. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

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    It is a heavy lens. I have that lens attached to an F3 with the MD4 drive, that is a really heavy combination and does test any tripod mount.

    The best advice I can suggest is to put something slightly soft between the tripod base and the camera/drive body. This allows you to tighten quite hard, gives you a miniscule cushion/insulation between the tripod mount and the camera/drive surfaces, which in turn, virtually stops movement. I use a thin piece of rubber, 1.5mm thick, this made life easier.

    I myself use mainly 50mm ball joints with a 50mm circular plate, 25 + year old Benbo ball joints to be specific.

    I did try about 17 odd years ago to find a rotating collar mount for this lens as I was using it a real lot, no luck then. The lens itself has virtually no room to place a collar, unfortunately.

    Mick.
     
  13. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Amen. I use the same head/plate combo for 35mm. The 180/2.8 isn't massive. No slippage with a Mamiya 645. Ironically, things can shift a bit with the 180/2.8+PN-11 extension tube but that's caused more by the teensy contact area on the tube which has its own tripod collar. Massive plate/head combos can be expensive overkill. The RC2 plate did give up with a Mamiya RB67--which was asking too much--but the larger Manfrotto hex plate held fast.
     
  14. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    Thanks, everyone! I now have lots of suggestions to try out.