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Right tripod and gimbal head for a 500mm f/4 lens

paracelsus

Toronto, CA
45 posts

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paracelsus Silver Member Nikonian since 06th Dec 2008
Tue 07-Aug-12 12:18 PM | edited Tue 07-Aug-12 10:54 PM by paracelsus

(Also posted in the Nikkor Autofocus Lenses Forum)

Just acquired a Nikkor 500mm f/4 VR. I would be grateful for advice from experienced users.

My primary use for this lens is birding. I have a 5 1/2" plate attached to the foot of the lens, a medium size Manfrotto 055 PRO 3-section carbon tripod, and the "junior" Jobu gimbal - which in spite of its name is almost as big and heavy as the Wimberley II. Both have worked very well with my 300mm f/4 plus 1.4TC, but I am not sure they can handle the 500 f/4 even without the TC.

Weighing down the tripod with an 8 pound bag seems to help but not quite enough: I can SEE vibration through the optical viewfinder even with the "long lens technique" of weighing down one hand over the center of gravity. In fact the only setup where I could see no vibration at all is using the cable release.

Any advice on whether my current setup can work if "properly used", and if not what tripod and what gimbal head works for you - yet remains portable in terms of weight and size?

How do you carry the tripod and head (plus the 500 and camera body) for say 1/2 hour?

Moy


Photography is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one's own originality. It's a way of life. (Henri Cartier-Bresson)

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