Heavy lens problem on tripod
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?
Can you turn the lens into portrait mode the other way so that torque results in tightening of the tripod screw.
"There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).
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.
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.
M6, SL, SL2, R5, P6x7, SL3003, SL35-E, F, F2, FM, FE-2, Varex IIa
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
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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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by cowanw
Last edited by ROL; 05-14-2011 at 06:30 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: period, comma
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.
Some might say I have a bad attitude! Too bad.
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.
Originally Posted by Two23
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.