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How and where to take great bird pictures.
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TOPIC: How do you handle the weight of big lenses?

How do you handle the weight of big lenses? 2 years 3 months ago #637

  • Peter Gower
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For those of you who handle big lenses; 500mm f4 or bigger and heavier; how do you manage?
I haven't checked on the exact weight of big lenses, but am interested in what you find comfortable. I mean carrying and walking for some distance, say 5km or more.
I have seen people with tripods and 500mm and 600mm f4 walking on birding outings, but many don't seem to be doing much observing. I have used a manual
Nikon 500mm f4 on a tripod on shorter walks (3-4km) and gave up on that on a regular basis. For about 8yrs I have used a Canon 400mm f4 with 1.4x TC.
That has been my main birding lens, now on a 7D mk2 with a monopod where practical.
Carrying bigger lenses in your car and using them close to the car is ok or from a hide, but I just do not see them as being very practical for an excursion of several hours and
reasonable walking distance. Particularly those of you with 600mm f4 lenses, what are your findings?
The 150-600mm lenses don't seem too bad, only a bit more weight than my outfit. The Nikon 200-500mm f5.6 I have found is also within reason.
I do find the bulk and size to be a bit of an impost though.

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How do you handle the weight of big lenses? 2 years 3 months ago #640

  • Les Peters
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BlackRapid have a terrific shoulder harness which takes quite heavy weights really comfortably. it's built for carrying two cameras at the same time, one on each hip. However, if you put one end on the lens tripod mount, and the other on the camera lens tripod mount, it's extremely well balanced and comfortable. Not at all cheap, but the really good stuff never is.

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How do you handle the weight of big lenses? 1 year 9 months ago #893

  • David Newell
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I often walk considerable distances with a tripod and Canon 600mm f4. I use a fishing rod bucket and belt and collapse the front tripod leg which I pout into the fishing rod bucket, the camera strap around my neck as a security measure - the weight of the camera and lens is on your waist. I often walk with the 2 other legs extended so that I can quickly put them on the ground and use it as an effective monopod before I extend the front leg - often flighty birds will fly off while extending the front leg. It works well for me. However it really only works with a tripod that has 4 section leg design as you can see over the camera and lens - with a 3 section leg design the camera is too high and you cannot see straight ahead! Refer to the attached photo.
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How do you handle the weight of big lenses? 1 year 9 months ago #894

  • Tony Ashton
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Hi David,

Good weight shift, but what if you consider binos come first? I'm a bit limited now with bum knee, but can still shoulder carry 600 for 2-3 hours, leaving neck and hands free for serious watching. I've found 600 handheld (with 5D3) sharp as monopod. I can carry tripod if necessary but it's often too clumsy in bush. Interesting to see what others do.

Cheers

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How do you handle the weight of big lenses? 1 year 9 months ago #898

  • David Newell
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Hi Tony,
Initially I did not carry binoculars. However over the last 2 years I have been carrying them (10x32) around my neck on a strap adjusted to a length so that the camera and binoculars do not interfere with each other. I find them much quicker to focus on a bird in bushes etc to ID and decide whether it will be worth the wait to chance if the bird may present itself in a relative clear spot for a photo. Bit of trial and error on that one. While at the Digital Photography in the Bush at Newcastle I did meet a lady who used the same approach with a camera and monopod combination.

Cheers
David

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