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Carrying a camera with a large lens

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by -Froglet-, Aug 6, 2017.

  1. -Froglet-

    -Froglet- New Member

    Hi all

    I'm getting back into my photography after about 10 years and now I'm in a better financial position have treated myself to a Canon 750D and a Sigma 150-600mm telephoto lens.

    I've never owned a lens like this before and am just after advice on how to now carry and support my camera and lens.

    The lens weighs in at 2.8kg. Am I right in thinking that if I'm carrying my camera around with the lens attached I should be doing so by using the strap attached to the lens and not around my neck attached to the camera?

    Any other tips on carrying it would also be appreciated! Will be using mainly for wildlife photography, so lots of walking.

  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I don't know that lens but indeed if it has a strap use that and take the camera strap off - it only gets in the way. I carry my big lens with its strap over my shoulder and the tripod foot inverted to make a carry-handle, the lens with hood attached faces down, the weight is in my shoulder and my hand is on the carry handle in case the strap slips. You can't go far like that. OK for a RSPB reserve but not a long walk. For hiking (should you wish to go far with that weight) get a proper telephoto lens rucksack. I can just about get mine in an ordinary camera-bag/rucksack combination if I rip out all the dividers and the false bottom to the rucksack bit but it there isn't much protection for the lens if I were to slip onto my back going downhill.

    Get a gimbal head. The cheapest I found (very heavy though) is the Manfrotto one actually sold as a monopod head. You "hang" the lens and camera at the centre of gravity so that you can tilt and rotate the set-up without bearing any weight. The lens+camera is swinging, unlike a traditional head where the combination is balanced on top of a point and inherently unstable.
  3. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    I have the C version of the lens which is lighter and I carry it in a backpack or a bag and only use a camera neck strap when I want to use it. Peak Design straps get a lot of positive feedback for this type of lens.
  4. EightBitTony

    EightBitTony Well-Known Member

    I've got a black rapid strap that connects in to the tripod screw on the camera or in this case, on the lens. Some people are nervous about them, but I've carried my camera and the Canon 100-400 L and the strap works fine without any sign of the screw working loose. The only reason I stopped using it, is that it actually gets in the way of a backpack (the straps don't sit well with each other) and I always wear a backpack.
  5. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    When I bought a Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 (Nikon fit), the shop staff warned me always to use the lens to support the camera, rather than letting the lens hang from the camera, because they said they had seen camera mounts damaged by the load from very heavy lenses.

    The weight of my 150-500mm lens means that I avoid carrying it unless I think it likely I will need it.

    I bought a UniqBall ball head for my tripod, to prevent the problem of the camera tilting sideways when loosening the ball to try to fine-tune where the lens is pointed. It’s concentric ball mechanism allows the inner ball to be set so that the camera and lens can be panned and tilted, yet are prevented from rotating around the lens axis. I don’t suppose it’s as good as a gimbal mount, but it’s much more compact, and I like it for most tripod work.

  6. MJB

    MJB Well-Known Member

    I use a Joby Ultrafit sling (similar to a Black Rapid strap) attached to the lens tripod mount. Never had any issues lugging my 7d2+100-400L around like this. For long hikes it goes in my backpack if im not expecting to use it. Lots of people will tell you carrying cameras by a strap attached to the tripod mount is a recipe for disaster (screws coming loose, mount pulling out of the camera body, strap breaking etc.), but its very difficult to find reports of any failures and certainly no more prevalent than other methods of carrying a camera.
  7. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    My Sigma 50-500mm is approximately the size of a Trident nuclear submarine, but I carry it to wherever I'm taking pictures in my backpack and then fit it onto my Nikon D810 (with battery pack) when I'm ready to go into action. Once fitted, I tend to hold the whole thing for carrying about by the lens tripod mount (which has convenient finger indentations built into it).

    I don't use it on a tripod, preferring to hold it in my hands so that the mighty muscles in my left arm flex and strain like a Volkswagen Beetle trying to reverse into a parking space (although the term 'knotted string' has been bandied about by some less-than-complimentary bystanders).

    I avoid the necessity to dangle the whole assemblage by the strap by rolling all my crafty photography cigarettes in advance and stowing them in a rather fetching silver cigarette case with engine-turned decoration.

    It's all about the planning...

    Cheers, Jeff
    Andrew Flannigan likes this.
  8. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    People often worry about the strength of the camera-side mount, but very rarely about the strength of the mount on the lens itself; this can be every bit as much of a concern with certain combinations of camera and lens. Lots of consumer-level lenses don't necessarily have very robust mount constructions, so if you have a heavy camera body on it and are carrying it with a sling strap you are asking for trouble, as the movement and weight of the camera will put a lot of stresses and strains on the mount. Less of an issue with a lighter body like the 750D, though.
    Personally, if I'm using a big lens I always make sure I carry it in my hands if I'm walking about with it, either by the mount or by the barrel of the lens,and I always have the (neoprene) camera strap around my neck just in case I drop it. Or it goes back in the bag.

    Lensrentals.com often do teardowns of lenses so you can see the mount construction, worth a look.
  9. SqueamishOssifrage

    SqueamishOssifrage Well-Known Member

    I used to worry about camera-lens mount strength after stripping down a couple of lenses, and seeing the piddling size and length of the mount retaining screws. As a result, before I decided that the extra stop wasn't worth the weight, I made a Dural bracket between the camera and lens tripod bushes for my 70-200mm f:2.8. I fitted a cross-bar to the bracket just in front of the camera to take a dedicated strap. I also put a slot in the bracket so the point of balance for tripod mounting could be adjusted for any zoom/focus combination.

    Then I grew up, and got an f:4 and f2,8/3.5 at 50% and 60% of the weight respectively. :D
  10. saxacat

    saxacat Well-Known Member

    I use the original neckstrap that came with the D810, but when I've got the Nikon 200-500mm fitted, I'm always careful to support the set-up by the lens, not the camera. When I'm walking along, I keep one hand underneath the camera and the lens supported along that forearm, with my other arm supporting the first, just as you might carry a baby. I can manage a good 5 or 6 miles like this, occasionally switching between arms.
  11. Trannifan

    Trannifan Well-Known Member

    The largest/heaviest I ever walk around with is 24-70. Anything bigger - 70-200 zoom, 400mm,- stays in the backpack with the tripod until I need it.

  12. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    I suppose we should all be grateful that none of owns the Sigma 200-500mm f2.8.

    Cheers, Jeff

    PS - If you've not seen them before, some of the reviews are worth a quick read.
  13. SXH

    SXH Well-Known Member

    I found the 'Customers who viewed this item also viewed' section interesting, especially items 3 and 4!
    They obviously breed a more... interesting? sort of photographer on t'other side of the pond.

    eta: yes, I know the 3rd item is a toy!
    Geren, Roger Hicks and Fishboy like this.
  14. Fishboy

    Fishboy Well-Known Member

    Yes, I had to click on the grenade launcher to get further details myself. I still couldn't establish whether it could be used to fire Toblerones at people though.

    Cheers, Jeff
  15. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I didn't get offered the chocolate. I wondered why a grenade launcher would be a) available for on-line purchase and b) so cheap. Presumably it is a toy.
  16. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Well-Known Member

    What sort of things do you photograph? I'm genuinely intrigued, simply because your style and choice of subjects must be so utterly different from mine that I really find it hard to imagine. I mean, with motor racing or wildlife you could carry the lens in a case and get it out when you needed it; I can't really imagine having 4-5 kg of camera and lens around my neck in case I needed it.

    Yes, I'd support the lens rather than the camera when you're carrying it, but I suspect it may matter less than some people think. A die-cast chassis is pretty strong: I suspect that a lot of this advice goes back to pre-IIIc Leicas, which really were quite lightly built. A Viso and a big tele would almost certainly have bent the camera.


  17. ChrisNewman

    ChrisNewman Well-Known Member

    I can’t answer for Froglet, but as I noted earlier, the weight of my Sigma 150-500mm f5-6.3 lens means that I don’t take it out very often. But it’s had some regular seasonal outings to photograph rutting deer on the National Trust’s Ashridge estate. I carry it in my rucksack-style camera bag to the site, but once I’ve set up, if the deer move, or I think another spot might give me a better view, I find it easiest to remove the camera and lens from the tripod, and carry the camera and tripod round my neck by the lens strap, and the tripod in one hand, around the perimeter of the paddock. (It’s an awkward site, being slightly domed in the middle, so if the deer move 100 yards, I have to go a lot further to get to the other side of the paddock.)

    On a recent visit to the London Wetland Centre I carried it for hand-held use, as opportunities came up fairly frequently, and tended to be unpredictable and sometimes brief.
    Like SqueamishOssifrage, I think the screws on my lens mount look tiny. I don’t know whether they hold the mount on, or just lock it in place, but after writing off my Tamron 24-70mm by letting my camera bag fall, I don’t want to damage my D800 or Sigma 150-500mm by finding the strength limit of the lens mount system.

    Roger Hicks likes this.
  18. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    Out of interest is a visit to the London Wetland Centre worthwhile for photography? It has a reputation of being very busy.
  19. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    I agree that you certainly can't sling that kind of weight round your neck. It's relatively easy to wander around with that weight over your shoulder for a couple of hours (though I'd always have a hand on the tripod mount) counterbalanced by a tripod in the other hand. To go from A to B then a properly fitting rucksack type bag is needed. Properly balanced on your back you can carry quite a lot. I wouldn't dream of trying to carry my lens far in its case - that doubles the weight. Mind you, when I stand on the scales in the morning I realise I'm carrying the equivalent of a fair bit of kit that I oughtn't to.
  20. Bazarchie

    Bazarchie Well-Known Member

    How honest!

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