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Nikon 16-35/4 VR and 17-35/2.8 (not to scale)
The Beast

Using the Beast on a Tripod

After I first wrote this page, I went back and reassessed my findings with various heads, and with a second look, I found some more useful information. I also found that the regular ballheads could be used with some care and patience. However, the conclusion to use a gimbal-type head remains a solid recommendation.

A regular tripod head can be used for this lens, but it’s not ideal, though you can get by with some extra support equipment. The 800mm is large, and awkard to manipulate on a regular tripod head, even if the tripod head and tripod are up to the task in terms of weight. It’s also a fatigue factor over time.

For mounting the lens to most tripods, you’ll of course need an Arca Swiss compatible lens plate, I recommend the ones from Really Right Stuff. Even better is a replacement lens foot with integral Arca Swiss dovetail, which is more compact, and thus more stable. It’s idiotic that Canon doesn’t just build in a proper foot with the dovetail, which could still have the existing mounting screws as an alternative. Ditto for Nikon. Both companies are clueless about this, and have been forever.

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

DAP includes thousands of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution Retina-grade examples detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare, behavioral and practical usage.

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Wimberly WH-200 gimbal-type tripod head
Wimberly WH-200 gimbal-type tripod head

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