Kirk lens collars

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rwa757, Feb 13, 2017.

  1. I have been searching the web for an alternative lens collar for a Nikon 80-400 (newer version). The price is the same everywhere ($169.00). Any opinions out there on other equivalent options that are not as expensive?
  2. Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  3. There are some Chinese tripod collars available for many lenses but how precisely they fit is another question. I would go with a known manufacturer unless you get a chance to test the specific collar before buying.

    I think the Kirk collar for the AF-S 80-400mm is quite well made but doesn't eliminate all vibration at slow shutter speeds due to wind or shutter/mirror shake; it does reduce vibrations compared to Nikon's collar so it is of some value. If you have a camera body with EFCS, using that feature should be very helpful as it eliminates most of the shutter vibration (and is only available in conjunction with mirror up).

    From what I've seen of Sigma tripod collars (120-300/2.8 and 150-600), they seemed to be made of a flexible material, so if the goal is to avoid vibrations at slow speeds, I would stay far away from them. I think the lens manufacturers aim to reduce vibrations at intermediate speeds which can lead to problems at slower speeds. Kirk tends to make stiffer collars which work better for slow speed work in general.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  4. SCL


    I've used an inexpensive Asian manufactured one for a number of lenses, although it was designated for a particular Canon one, by inserting closed foam (like rubber) rings to conform to the lens size and placement. The cost was under $20, and they can often be found on the big auction site. The trick is to determine the diameter of the place on your lens you want to mount it, and then closely check the closed diameter of the various offerings.
  5. Really Right Stuff makes a replacement collar that uses the same foot as the collar of the Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR (and I believe VR II and possibly the new E version too). I have it but haven't used it. Collar itself definitely better than the flexing Nikon one but I have some doubts about the replacable foot design.
  6. VR 70-200/2.8G and VR 70-200/2.8G II use a similar foot I believe but the foot and interface changed a bit with the E version and if I recall correctly, RRS is working on a new foot for the new lens. I don't know if it is available yet.
  7. I use RRS collars plates and feet exclusively. The replaceable collar for the 80-400 is excellent, but very expensive. It was worth the money for me however since it is a vast improvement of the Nikon OEM

    I have never used the cheap Chinese stuff, but if the Nikon collar is not sufficient, why would you expect a less expensive one to perform better? Of course that begs the question why Nikon cannot produce a foot or collar for their big glass that actually works. Problem 1 is that they flex and problem 2 (in the case of 400,500 and 600mm lenses) is that they are too tall (which of course is part of the reason that they flex). No question that it sucks to have to buy expensive aftermarket products to use the Nikon lens.

    And while I am on a roll, why does Nikon big pro glass come with a foot that is not AS compatible? With apologies to Manfroto fans, I can't help but think that a huge percentage of shooters using 70-200/2.8, 80-400, and the longer zooms and the 300, 400, 500 and 600mm lenses use the AS system if they are mounting them on a stick or a tripod. Seems that the Nikon foot ought to have the AS dovetails designed in. The bottom of the foot with the built in dovetails can still be drilled just as the current feet are to allow for those not using AS system to mount whatever plate they want or no plate at all.
  8. Some time ago I put a fair amount of research into finding the best way of supporting long lenses to reduce vibration. My conclusion was that the balance of the tripod/head/camera body and lens system was crucial. In fact "balance" turned out to be the enemy of stability, since mounting a lens and body at their centre of gravity nearly always resulted in more vibration, compared with letting the weight of the system fall outside of the mounting point.<p><br>
    I call this the "see-saw effect", where the mounting position is more crucial than anything else. Dural is dural, and varies little in its elasticity, and in fact the damping of the system needs to be addressed rather than its stiffness and ability to transmit vibration. That's why bells are cast in hard metal rather than rubber!
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
  9. Further to the above: I suggest constructing a device like a small pair of saddle-bags with weighted pockets. Preferrably made of rubber or foam material. Such a device can be slung over the lens to add mass, damping and to shift the system centre-of-gravity. Much more effective than simply throwing money at an expensive collar.<p><br>
    There's also the fact that atmospheric turbulance can be much more destructive of image sharpness than tiny amounts of vibration. So getting closer to the subject is far better than using a longer lens.
  10. I've often wondered why Nikon does not make their collars AS compatible. The 200-500 foot is just shy of the right size, and it could easily have been made just a little wider and dovetailed. But then it occurs to me (and perhaps someone else suggested it and I just absorbed it, if so apologies to whoever) that if they did this, they might be thought by some to be liable for fit issues and mis-mounting. Everything south of the screw hole is someone else's responsibility.
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I have the Kirk collar for my 80-400mm AF-S VR and like it very much. The Kirk collar has an extra contact with the lens barrel for more support. However, I mostly use that lens hand held for subjects such as bird in flight and leave a bigger lens on the tripod.
  12. Me too. In addition, I often wonder why they can't shape the bottom and side of a camera body like a dovetail; would save a lot of money on buying L-brackets. But I rather wished they made the purchase of their collars optional (like for the 70-200/4); at least then I don't have to waste money on something that I'd have to replace anyway.
    Apparently, that collar isn't doing poorly (as evidenced by RRS refusal to come up with a replacement). I added a dovetail plate to mine, just in case I want to mount it on a tripod; it's now just the right size to make a good carrying handle.
  13. I guess it is ironic that Nikon's collar for the 70-200/4 is very good, and not flexible and vibration probe like many of the collars they supply standard with lenses ... I also have the RRS collar for that lens and prefer the Nikon one.
  14. I don't feel the need for a replacement collar for this Nikon AFS lens. Hwvr, for the previous 80-400 version I did use the Kirk replacement collar. It was cumbersome though a necessary evil. ;)

    I do use the Kirk replacement foot to adapt to the Arca Swiss style clamp.
  15. Sorry, late to the thread. I've now got AS plates on most of my telephotos, and I shelled out on the RRS AS foot for the 200 f/2. The plate on the 200-500 seems to have worked okay. I have an RRS L-plate on my D810 (it's actually a D800 L-plate because they're close enough). I'm vaguely tempted to find a more convertable plate (the actual AS one looks interesting if the anti-rotation pins are in the right place to engage with the hole on the D810), partly so I don't have to carry the vertical of the L everywhere, and partly so I can share it between bodies. No complaints with the performance of the one I've got, though.

    It would save some money and add stability if Nikon included dovetails on their feet. Someone (Panasonic? Fuji?) did make a body with a supplementary grip that had an AS dovetail - although it wasn't an L plate. My Pentax 645 has a second tripod socket on the side, and since DSLRs no longer need to fit film on the left, I vaguely wonder why more haven't tried something similar.
  16. Problem is that there are so many different dovetails in the tripod head and QR system market. Even Arca Swiss makes two which are almost the same but not compatible. I don't think camera manufacturers should make this choice for the customers.
  17. I don't see it as such a big choice for the customer as long as they continue to put a screw hole in the foot too. At least on the 200-500 lens the only thing they'd have to do is make the foot a little wider and dovetail it. It's an addition without any subtraction.
  18. rwa757 great lens. I would go with the Kirk foot. I own one for my Nikon F4 300.
    It has two contact points as mentioned earlier and my experience is their quality I very good.
    I don't think you will find an equivalent or even something close for less money.
    Good hunting.

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