Tripods Collars

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chuckm, Dec 23, 2012.

  1. {If there's another thread on this in the forum, forgive me not searching adequately.}
    With all of the specifications and decimals places associated with new DSLRS these days, why isn't there a published spec from Nkon that says "max lens wieght this camera will support on tripod using baseplate tripod mount."
    I have a D600, don't think there would be any qualms about using my 70-300mm VR on it unsupported, but the new 70-200mm f4 has an optional tripod collar (I've ben daydreaming about it lately). The newer lens only weighs about 0.1Kg more -- is there a cut-off on lens weght everyone but me knows about where tripod collars should be used? So that's why I wonder why there is a lack of spec on this by camera body from Nikon. Seems kinda left up to the user to determine under what conditions / which bodies can support lenses or not.
    Thank you for your comments.
  2. In addition to weight, take a look at the length of the lens and recall the formulas to measure torque you learned in your college physics classes. Myself, I want a removeable collar for any lens 200mm and longer.
    Kent in SD
  3. On lenses that have a tripod collar, I use the tripod collar. On lenses that don't have a tripod collar, I don't use the
    tripod collar. I don't think it depends on the individual camera so much --- just what the mount itself is designed for.
    That's why Nikon includes tripod mounts on some long and heavy lenses, and doesn't on shorter and lighter ones.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    On lenses that don't have a tripod collar, I don't use the tripod collar.​
    I totally agree with that. :)
    I don't think there is a clear-cut boundary about which lens a lens mount can support. Generally speaking, I am comfortable mounting something like a 70-200mm/f2.8 or 300mm/f4 and if necessary, holding only the lens to support the weight of the lens. And even those lenses have a built-in tropod collar in these days. Moreover, even though you don't use the collar, you should use one hand to support the side of the lens pointing downward.
    I would not mount anything from a 200mm/f2, 300mm/f2.8, 200-400mm/f4 and up and depend on the lens mount to support the weight of those lenses. Instead, you support the lens and then mount the camera body onto the lens.
  5. Manfrotto makes a device called the Telephoto Lens Support. It mounts on a tripod, with a camera mount and lens cradle.
  6. The reason I'm a big fan of collars has more to do with other factors than just the support. By putting more balance into the camera/lens system, I cut down on vibrations. It's also much easier to rotate from horizontal to vertical.
    Kent in SD
  7. Attaching a Nikon body to a tripod and the Nikon 70-200mm f/4 to the body will not cause damage but, as Kent mentioned, the whole thing will usually be more stable if the lens is attached to the tripod through a well-designed lens collar and the body is attached to the lens.
    Keep in mind, however, that several Nikon lenses come supplied with lens collars that is badly designed and unstable. I only have experience the one on the 300mm f/4 AFS, but the collar on the 80-400mm was reported to be the same by my favorite source (
    The solution is to buy a proper collar from RRS or Kirk and throw away the one that comes with the lens. If you are considering the purchase of the collar for the 70-200mm f/4, you might want to wait to see if RRS or Kirk will make one.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I prefer to use a collar also because it is much easier to change between horizontal and vertical camera orientations,
    without changing the camera position much.
  9. Is the front of the D600 under the lens mount metal even? I like a collar anytime I can use one. I would THINK, yet not
    assume, that any lens said to match up with that camera would be adequately designed to match up to the body in
    normal use without overstressing the mount. Otherwise it would have a collar.
  10. I think Chuck's request for a specification makes sense, we're all more or less guessing what would be still be right, and what not - though educated and experienced guessing, so I know it'll be quite accurate.
    The problem with such a spec, though, would be that it's probably only going to be valid for a completely level camera and lens. Put it under an angle, and the effect of gravity and the amount of strain it'll put on the lensmount does change. They'd have to find a way to indicate that... which is going to make it a confusing spec. Note that the same happen with many ballheads. It's nice it supports 40kg when exactly level, the trick is how much it can hold while at an angle.
    Otherwise, I fully agree with what already was written. I'd also wait a bit to see a Kirk or RSS collar, and some test results on the (quite expensive) Nikon one.
  11. My 200 f/2 came with specific instructions not to try to lift it by the camera, but that's probably 50% bending the mount and 50% breaking your wrists. I'd not be guilty holding my 80-200 by the camera since its predecessor had no collar; I'd have more pause about a 300 f/4, but that's mitigated by the collar not being very good (allegedly). I have a plan to add a Manfrotto long lens support (which clamps the camera to a tripod leg) for when using my 500mm - potentially in addition to the RRS solution (which holds the lens steady across its mount); the RRS one is much more expensive, but obviously still lets you reposition the lens. I have a battery grip for my D700 which mentions that it's a bit plasticky, and you shouldn't really use it as a tripod attachment with anything big. That said, my Tamrac ZipShot has held my D800 and 14-24, so there can't be that much torque required by that combination. As for toggling between orientations, there's always an L-plate. (Which means something different in the UK, btw.) A collar is easier, admittedly - or RRS (I think) sell something ridiculously expensive for doing the same thing.

    As for ball head strength, I want to take the opportunity to play advocate for the Triopo RS-3 - for its price, it's astonishingly solid (if not competing with the big boys for ergonomics), and I've seen a review where someone tested its locking strength until the bolt snapped. It really needs an Arca QR plate added to be useful, though. I posted a review in the accessories forum.
  12. I prefer lenses with tripod collars in that they help balance the camera and lens on the tripod and they allow easier verticals to be taken w/o having to reattach the rig to the tripod. Adding the Nikon PN 11 tube allows any Nikon lens w/o a collar to become one with a collar. I use it all the time with my 105mm f 2.8 AF D macro lens that is heavy. Aside from this if your camera is made from plastic it can support less lens than if it were made of metal when attached to a tripod.
    Joe Smith
  13. Collars are funny business. Kent mentioned college physics, and I think it plays a big part here. I barely passed physics so he can probably explain it better, but I'll have a go.
    If your tripod head can easily support the weight of the lens and camera, then using a tripod collar will reduce vibration, as the weight is better dispersed. It makes the weight of the lens become more centralized, which effectively makes it lighter. The further away from the axis (the ball part of the ball head) a weight is, the more force it imparts; Manfrotto actually gives on- and off-axis ratings for their lighting boom stands. They say that with the boom arm extended, the stands support something like 1/4th the weight for the expensive models, and closer to 1/10th the weight for cheaper models.
    But if your tripod head can barely support the weight of the camera and lens, then using a tripod collar can actually increase vibration. If the head isn't quite solid enough to hold all the weight, then putting it all forward will cause downward movement. Using a tripod collar will cause downward and upward movement, as the camera and lens will 'bounce' if there is any movement.
    Then again, that's all pretty academic, as ANY movement will make your photos blurry :)
    The moral of the story is that a tripod collar - even the 'bad' ones Nikon made - is never going to make your photos worse in any way that matters. Some collars are more solid than others, but all of them are worth using.
    Oh, and whether or not the camera body is made of plastic has almost zero impact on how much lens weight it can support without damaging the lens mount. I used to use an F5, and I can tell you that they don't make 'em like that anymore ... the D3 is close, but not quite there. Well, it turns out that if you try and mount the old 80-200 f/2.8 on the camera without the collar, and without that Manfrotto support that was helpfully linked to on the first page, you can still pull out the camera's lens mount.
    I suspect that you could even do this with an F3, which is the paragon of durability. But I learned my lesson the first time.
  14. In my experience any tripod head that is only marginally rated for the weight you put on it should not be used and is extremely unlikely to handle any off-center weight gracefully, so the centering of the weight using a collar is much more important when using a flimsy tripod head than a really great one. I use one that is rated for more than 10x the weight that I put on it and it handles well; anything less in my opinion does not deal with even slightly off center weight adequately; after you lock and let go of the camera and lens, the rig will droop a bit and the framing will shift.
    That said, if you have a good tripod and head (i.e. which can handle 5-10x the weight you actually put on it without collapsing), and if you use a well constructed body (i.e. D300 or higher) and a camera-specific L bracket, I suspect there is little benefit from using a collar on a lens of the 70-200/4 size. It's not that long, and it's not that heavy. If you put it on a D3200 then for sure use a collar; that camera has such small pixels and its base isn't that rigid, for sure there will be vibration if a collar is not used. I think the collar adds sufficiently to the price, weight, and bag space requirements to the 70-200/4 that it is no longer a good value proposition against e.g. second hand f/2.8 telezooms that come with built in collars. But for someone who must lose the weight I guess they will buy it anyway. I suspect most users will just make do without the collar on the 70-200/4.
    Well, it turns out that if you try and mount the old 80-200 f/2.8 on the camera without the collar, and without that Manfrotto support that was helpfully linked to on the first page, you can still pull out the camera's lens mount.
    Evidence? Experienced camera service personnel I've talked to regarding this matter say that yes, if you mount a 600mm lens and hang it from the camera, you will damage the lens mount but not with a lightweight lens. I think the 200/2 and 300/2.8 are the lightest lenses that have a good chance of damaging the camera / lens interface if you carry them from the camera. I often take up the 70-200/2.8 just from the camera ... I don't hang it from the camera but when I bring it to the eye, often I just hold the camera, and this has caused no damage to either. The 70-200/2.8 is heavier than the two 80-200/2.8 AF Nikkors without collars. What I read is that if you let the 80-200 hang from your shoulder and run around with it all the time, this can cause damage, but in normal careful use I don't think so.
  15. Ilkka, I have neither pictures nor a repair bill. I was too embarrassed to leave evidence :p I don't know if the mount was damaged from carrying it around unsupported by the strap, or by mounting it on a tripod by the camera, but the fact is that it pulled enough that the connections didn't fit properly anymore, and that was a pretty well-built camera.
    That was the old push-pull 80-200 f/2.8. I have the 70-200 VRI now, and it seems lighter than the 80-200 was. Then again, I'm a bit bigger now than I was when I owned the 80-200. I've never had issues with the 70-200 pulling out the mount, which would tend to suggest that it's at least a few ounces lighter. But it could also be that I don't use long lenses nearly as much as I used to, and it hasn't seen enough action to cause any damage. That 80-200 got used an awful lot, and was mounted on that F5 more-or-less permanently for a couple years.
  16. Zack, both tripod collarless 80-200/2.8's are lighter than either model of the VR 70-200/2.8. The push-pull AF 80-200/2.8 and D are 1200g, the two-ring 80-200 with tripod collar is 1300g, the AF-S 80-200 is 1580g, the first 70-200 1470g, and the the current 70-200 II is 1540g. By contrast, the manual focus 80-200/2.8 is 1900g. Sources: Nikon USA web site and which has a lot of information on the history of Nikkors.

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