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Old Feb 19, 2004, 7:46 PM   #11
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ALSO- If you plan to use your extensive camera set up in daylight and want just a bit of a crutch to hold up your camera without having to setup a tripd- Bogen also makes a solid mono pod. Basically its a heavy gauge aluminum single retractable pole with a head on it to attach at the bottom of your mega lens. There are some companies that even make a "rifle" grip that attaches to the bottom of the lens and you can shoot as if it were a rifle . One hand on a grip under the lens and the butt stuck in the front of your shoulder.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 7:51 PM   #12
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I forgot to mention..... the Nikon 500 mm f4 lens should be equipped with a mounting plate under it and if you just use that to attach to your present set up it will balance so you wont have cause to be concerned about load bearing from the body thread. I havent seen any of the large lenses for digital -but I imagine it's not a lot different than the large 35mm lenese in structure.
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Old Feb 20, 2004, 4:06 AM   #13
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Thanks to all for your help and suggestions.

I test drove my 500 AF-I on my existing tripod and head and there was visible strain. Things were ok if you could keep the lens reasonably level, but any tilt beyond about 10 degrees made the video head adjustment very dificult. You had to seriously slacken of the x axis in order to get any side to side movement, and then when you locked the x axis it threw the y axis out. It also seemed to lever on the quick release plate and catch.

Anyway, it did for a first set of in the field test shots, but I decided I couldn't handle the nervous strain of using the 441 again.

I finally decided to go for a full Wimberley head on a Gitzo 1325 carbon-fibre tripod. This is about 2lb heavier than my current tripod plus head combination, but I think worth that extra hump in its ridigity. Curiously enough though they both feel the same weight to hand carry. The 1325 has no central column, but at 5ft 9 inches I don't need one, less wobbles without, and the tripod height means that I can use the set up without bending over all the time.

I made this decision on the following basis.

I was nervous of a ball mount other than the oval Arca-Swiss in terms of "side crash" and in any case the Arca-Swiss was more expensive than the Wimberley.

I discounted the Wimberley sidekick as an option as I didn't have an existing ball mount to attach it to. I was also nervous of side mounting a lens with such a long foot as the 500 AF-I

The King Cobra looked like a good option but again the question of side mounting. I've used large side mounted telescopes but the connection was always direct, no long foot, so the leverage was minimised. I've no doubt that this approach works well in many cases but having mimicked the position the lens was going to be in the points of strain were obvious.

The postive reasons for buying the Wimberley were its reputation. The Gitzo was one of the Wimberley recommendations.

The 500 AF-I plus D100 balances like a feather on the Wimberley, and the Gitzo leg adjustment alows me to safely splay the legs out to 60 degrees when I'm sitting on the ground. As a result the centre of gravity is very low, with no danger of tipping. I'm attaching the lens directly to the Wimberley (i.e. without a quick release plate) and that seems to be very solid.

As I can use the Wimberley plus Gitzo for my other lenses and my telescope I think I'll sell the Manfrotto.

Have a look at http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...ic.php?t=22045 to see some results.

Regards and thanks again
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Old Aug 12, 2004, 5:42 PM   #14
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NikonAISNo1 wrote:
Think BOGEN. I was a pro and used a Nikon F3 and FA with a 300mm 2.8 EDIF lens and sometimes a doubler with it. They make ball heads as well as pan heads -not to mention ROCK solid heavy gauge aluminum tripods at a very reasonable cost 150-200 dollars. The connecting joints are cast of something heavier- seems like iron but probably steel.

actually that was/is magnesium alloy. quite light and innovative.
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