Keeping the Big Guns Steady
An avid outdoors person and (surprise) landscape photographer, I often times find myself grabbing shots of wildlife when out trekking around. Needless to say, when doing so, the long glass (400mm and 600mm typically) comes into play. While I have experimented with various tripods to use with longer glass, I still find myself, from time-to-time, battling the wind; keeping the long glass steady - and the pictures sharp - especially in conditions of diminishing light, can be a bit of an ordeal. Camera-wise, I will often switch to an F2 or F3 so I can lock up the mirror and use a cable release; nonetheless, bracketing, and hoping for a moment's stillness, is often the only way to be sure of getting a usable image or two out of the effort. So, a question, any thoughts on steadying the rig to ensure a high(er) percentage of success. BTW: I use the old trick of suspending the camera bag under the tripod and I often use a Manfrotto )56 tripod...
An assortment of F-series Nikons (F to F6, excluding the F4) with quite a few Nikkors, a pair of M6s with some Leitz glass, a pair of 500c/ms with a wide range of Zeiss optics and, just to help keep Duracell solvent, a D800.
Favourite films: (1). KE ("Kodachrome Era"): 35mm: PKM25 and PKR64, HP5/Tri-X; 120: PKR64, PanF, FP4. (2). PKE ("Post-Kodachrome Era"): (a) 35mm: E100G, HP5 Plus/Tri-X and Delta 3200; (b) 120: E100G, PanF Plus, FP4 Plus, TMax 100.
I would attach a monopod under the camera and stake the monopod into the ground. Or use another tripod under the camera using 2 of the legs.
Originally Posted by BradleyK
Just like hunters will use trees to steady their rifles, I probably would use the "V" of a tree trunk or a sturdy branch to steady the barrel of a long lens while the camera is on a monopod or tripod. You could even bring along a small beanbag or cloth to keep the lens clean.
I don't know if your long lenses have a tripod bracket. I use medium format and have a 350mm lens that is one heavy lens and it doesn't have a tripod socket so when using it under windy conditions or coupled with a 2x it can be an issue even with my heavy tripod. I solved the problem by having a machine shop make me a removable fitting that attaches to a tripod quick-connect and around the lens barrel. It is made out of aluminum and was inexpensive. It attaches so that the weight is evenly distributed over the center of the tripod.
I am both a hunter and photographer. Here is what has worked for me. My 20-200 zoom doesn't have a teipod bracket so I use what hunters call shooting sticks. These are two sticks joined to form a X. You could rest your long lenses in the X to steady them. When not using the sticks for this purpose they make geart walking sticks. You can find these sticks at almost any outdoor equipment store that sells hunting gear or just look on line and then build your own.
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I've had the same issue, the tripod stays stock still (with the camera bag suspended below it), but I was getting a small amount of play around the QR plate.
I solved this problem by:
and sitting it on top of the rig to push it down firmly into the QR mount.
Originally Posted by elekm
Last edited by Jim Taylor; 12-19-2013 at 03:04 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: Appalling punctuation!
You need two firmly-set tripods with lenses that long, one of which is attached to the collar of the lens, another attached to either the base of the camera or resting in a 'V'-shaped cradle at the front of the lens. Or get down on the ground with the camera on the ground and the lens supported by one or two polystyrene bean bags.
Attaching a weight to the center column can introduce twisting with even the slightest breeze.
“The photographer must determine how he wants the finished print to look before he exposes the negative.
Before releasing the shutter, he must seek 'the flame of recognition,' a sense that the picture would reveal
the greater mystery of things...more clearly than the eyes see." ~Edward Weston, 1922.
Back in the 60's and 70's I mounted a 600mm lens to a slr and mounted both to an old rifle stock, it was surpisingly steady and quick to aim. I don't know the availability or ease of purchase of one today, it's a different world out there
If I'm not mistaken Zeiss Ikon built a rifle stock mount for their Contax cameras and lenses that were used by sports photographers at the 1936 Summer Olympics. You can probably still find something similar but I would personally avoid them.
I used to have a 3rd party tripod mount that would attach to your zoom lens. Can't remember the brand but it was a handy little gadget.
Use a tripod or set the camera down
Use a faster shutter speed
If hand holding the camera do not breath and stop your heart from beating
Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!
Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.