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How to Carry Large and Heavy Lenses

Last updated 2010-01-12 - Send Feedback
Related: how-to

The camera lens mount can be warped or bent.

Lenses like the Nikon 200mm f/2 VR 200VR is large and heavy, but can be carried for a time with reasonable comfort using an OpTech Pro Loop strap attached to the lugs on the lens itself.

Even lenses like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II are large and heavy enough that letting them dangle from the lens mount (and possibly smack something) is a very bad idea.

With the big lens hood of the 200VR hanging down, I can support it with one hand on the lens hood and one on the lens. Otherwise my neck suffers, and the rig can swing about. Or I'll cradle the whole setup in my arms like a baby, or over one arm with the other hand supporting, etc; I alternate to avoid fatigue.

With the OpTech Pro Loop strap, you can quickly swap the strap from lens to camera in seconds via the quick-release connectors; it is a two-part affair, one part is the neck portion and the other two pieces attach to the camera or lens. Buy two complete straps so you have 4 of the connector pieces for lens and body and just leave those pieces attached to camera body and lens.

Monopods

The foregoing is all for hand-holding. A monopod offers a support option, but I find it problematic for getting the instant framing needed for fast-moving subjects (particularly up/down).

I’m just not a monopod guy, and I found via testing that I don’t make sharper pictures on a monopod vs handholding.

Handheld technique

For handheld shots, be sure to jam the camera body against your shoulder and head so as to mass-couple the setup to your gross body movements (only). That is how I make sharp pictures at low shutter speeds with any lens.

SSD upgrade that takes full advantage of APFS

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