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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 00:08   #1
Nick Leech
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How do most people carry their big white lenses?

I have a Canon 600mm f4 MkII which I use with a Canon 7D2 in the main. I have a Gitzo 3532LS tripod and Wimberley 2 gimbal head, although sometimes shoot hand held in hides resting on a bean bag.

I just wondered how other people carry their DSLR plus "big white" lens when out photographing birds?

Do most people just carry the camera+lens mounted on the tripod over their shoulder? Is this safe, or do people worry about undue stresses on the lens/camera coupling etc?

Or do people carry camera and lens in a large case such as the Lowepro Lens Trekker 600 AW and their tripod separately? And then set up the rig when ready to take photos (eg in a hide).

Does anyone dare risk carrying their DSLR plus "big white" over their shoulder using a Black Rapid strap, or similar? Some people advise that the thread on the screw is not up to carrying the weight involved. Any recommendations on better straps/setups?

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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 00:15   #2
Bass359
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I like carrying my Canon 600 on a monopod. The cushioned monopod then rests on my shoulder for short hikes. this does not work for tripods, at least for me.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 07:30   #3
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Over the shoulder for me, but in a small rucksack if I had to walk more than a few km to get to a spot. With the mk 1 IS lens with a 1 series body attached, I often wished someone would invent some kind of harness which transferred some weight to the hips, or at least distributed it between both shoulders a bit like those used with strimmers, but I find the mark 2 with a non 1 series lens is just the right side of the comfortable line for me.

If you are worried about the screw on the wimberley head failing whilst the lens is over your sholder, you could use the strap which comes with the lens and pass it between the tripod legs before they are extended to at least stop it crashing to the floor if that did happen.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 12:26   #4
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I have been using a 300mm f2.8 mk2 usually with a 1DX2 and 2x converter and have been carrying it okay on a Black Rapid strap with a quick release plate/clamp arrangement. I've just got a 500mm f4 mk2 and have started using the same BR arrangement, but feel this is really at the limits for it (and me) - I've nearly always got my hand round the lens or foot when not using bins etc.

I've not heard about the screw issues, one to watch I suppose, I can see the D loop wearing a bit, but in all honesty this happened with just a 100-400mm anyway after a while.

For longer walks or where I know I wont have much opportunity to use the camera I will put them in a bag 600AW or similar, but also to save my back from the uneven loading.

I've tried the whole lot on the tripod and over the shoulder, but found it rather uncomfortable on my shoulder over long distances, and always worry about all that unsupported weight bouncing up and down out of my sight!

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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 12:58   #5
Malcolm Stewart
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I carry my EF 500 F/4L IS in a Lowe Pro Flipside 300, complete with both 1.4x and 2x extenders - that goes on my back. I carry my 1D MkIV separately, probably with a near standard or 70-200 F/4L zoom on it. I trundle my Benbo One tripod in a wheeled trolley.

I bought the larger Flipside 400 thinking that I'd be able to carry more on my back, but it didn't work out. My copy wouldn't take the EF 500 F/4 L due to it having thicker and stiffer padding! Weird.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 14:18   #6
Mark Batten
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I prefer somebody else to carry my canon 500 f4. As an Alternative the Pro- Trecker 450 is a good option. Mine was bought for 60 quid in a charity shop - it has proved to be good value.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 17:21   #7
Steve Gantlett
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For short distances it's over the shoulder for me too, always checking that everything is tight. I now use an Acratech rather than a Wimberley head to save a kilo. But for more than say 200 yards, my back just can't take it now. After experimenting with too many carts and shopping trolleys, I've found the near-perfect wheeled answer: a Masters two-wheeled folding golf trolley. It's very compact and, with a small amount of modification, easily carries my 800mm with 7Dii attached, plus my gitzo tripod and telescope, and even my bean-bag too if required, all well-balanced over the two wheels.
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Old Tuesday 18th July 2017, 17:36   #8
Malcolm Stewart
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Just to add a note of caution to using wheels when transporting Canon's USM lenses. My first big white was an EF 300 F2.8L and I transported it in its Canon padded case in a wheeled trolley at the RSPB Reserve, Welches Dam, on the Ouse Washes. That outing ruined the lens (despite my using Canon's padded case), and what had been a somewhat battered, but decently sharp lens, was then unusable. I did eventually get it repaired by H Lehmann, but not by my first choice of authorised repairer. who was simply a waste of time and postal charges etc. That's why I now carry USM lenses on my back.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 18:30   #9
Nick Leech
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Hi Malcolm

Why does transporting USM lenses on a wheeled buggy wreck them? Is it just down to the vibration going over holes and stones in the path?
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 22:06   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Leech View Post
Hi Malcolm

Why does transporting USM lenses on a wheeled buggy wreck them? Is it just down to the vibration going over holes and stones in the path?
I have heard the same - though I don't know if it is true. However there are lots of moving parts in the focusing and IS systems - I am sure lots of vibration is not a good thing.
Just my thoughts.
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Old Thursday 20th July 2017, 22:12   #11
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I use a LowePro Lens Trekker 600 AW for my 800mm and previously for my 600mm. It is quite a light pack and allows me to take my kit a decent distance. There are plenty of attachment points to cope with my Wimberley and tripod as well as a pocket for spare batteries/cards etc. Unfortunately there is nowhere for a flask of Tea! Nothing is perfect..............
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 09:46   #12
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500mm f4, Tamrac backpack with tripod attached for longer distance. For short distances Canon wide lens strap with the tripod straddled across my shoulders, both options leave my arms free
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 11:47   #13
Steve Gantlett
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You've got me worried now. I've been very happy with my wheeled system for my 800m & 7Dii. Has anyone else been wheeling great whites and what experiences have they had? Maybe Malcolm was just unlucky and his lens might have 'gone' anyway.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 12:39   #14
Malcolm Stewart
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... Maybe Malcolm was just unlucky and his lens might have 'gone' anyway.
Very difficult to say just what caused my lens to fail - and as I was using the supplied Canon padded case, I feel it's worth mentioning - particularly as board-walks aren't uncommon at bird reserves.

I know from my work in avionics that hitting a resonance (and dwelling on it) can be quite devastating to equipment, but whether that was the problem in my failure, I've no idea. I still don't know why one Canon approved repairer was unable to fix it, whilst Lehmann's, also Canon approved, did a good repair, and without charging for any parts.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 13:05   #15
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Originally Posted by Nick Leech View Post

Do most people just carry the camera+lens mounted on the tripod over their shoulder? Is this safe, or do people worry about undue stresses on the lens/camera coupling etc?

Cheers,
Nick
I don't recommend carrying a heavy lens+cam mounted on the tripod over the shoulder. I have had incidents where the panbase loosened, and almost fell off, and that was with my scope and not the much heavier lens+head+camera setup.

Another weak point is the screw where the Wimberley is mounted on your tripod.

Always remove the lens from the head/ballhead before transport.

Personally I prefer a lighter but solid ball head before a wimberley if moving around a lot.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 14:14   #16
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I use a Lowpro trekker for my 500mm when travelling abroad as this fits pretty much all my photographic kit but that is generally with BA which has ample hand luggage allowance. However most other airlines have weight restrictions which means no Lowpro, iit's great and padded but heavy without anything in it, so I use a NorthFace Bigshot ruck sack for transport to and from many destinations where saving hand luggage weight is a must. It does mean camera not being attached to the lens most of the time but I can still get most things in the bag.

When out in the field I have it over my shoulder. Using a padded wide strap this goes over my head and is slung ready for use; I don't screw a BlackRapid or anything similar into the foot plate as this would prevent easy use on a tripod (via a Wimberley Head) or monopod with (Wimberley type release plate on a pan and tilt head).

I have stitched nylon webbing loops to where the Canon strap would attached to the lens body and the strap has a strong Snap Hook that clips onto it. An alternative is to use the strap with a fairly large Snap Hook so acts like a BlackRapid strap, i.e. the strap slides through the Snap Hook, so no need to keep taking off the shoulder to use it.

This is done primarily for handholding the lens, Canon 500mm is no light weight but when your out in the field all day when on a trip this is a quick win; especially if using a monopod.

Whilst I do use the tripod and will move short distances i wouldn't walk around all day with it attached; I've seen some 500mm big white attached to Pan and Tilt heads on tripods attached to peoples backs via a scopepack, like you see on many a scope. I wouldn't dream of that as its an accident waiting to happen.

Ultimately I think its trial and error to find what suits you best, I keep amending my approach; , as I'm getting older the lens seems to be getting heavier.
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Old Friday 21st July 2017, 17:51   #17
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It seems that most of us can only afford expensive big lenses when we are reaching the later stages of life and are free of other financial commitments. I'm no exception but I wish I could have the strength and durability of a 25 year old to go with it!
I used to always have my 600 attached to the Wimberley/Gitzo and over my shoulder method for carrying but I have had near misses a couple of times where the Wimberley has worked itself free and has wobbled like a child's first tooth before coming close to dropping off. I do however find it probably the most comfortable way of distributing the load, especially as I have padded covers on the tripod legs. If I do use this method I am very careful to check how secure everything is on a very regular basis.The drawback of this system is it's very cumbersome to set up if you suddenly spot a photo opportunity so I prefer to carry the lens by it's foot ( I have a replacement foot with QR included) and the tripod in my other hand with the legs slightly apart so it will stand up unaided so I can abandon it to use both hands to grab the camera/lens and hopefully get a shot off.
With my 500 Mk2 I find I can hand hold that fairly comfortably so I don't always bother with a tripod at all or even a back pack. An extra battery and a TC is easily transported in a spare pocket.
I have in the past attempted to take the kitchen sink with me when it hasn't been necessary so minimal is the order of the day now.
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Old Sunday 23rd July 2017, 17:49   #18
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As an alternative, my solution is to use a Scopac for the tripod and to carry the big white (600+1DxII in my case) in my hand BUT using a Kirk Enterprises Arca Swiss handle (see image), The one I have has an enclosed "D" to put your hand through making it VERY secure in the hand. With the Kirk handle on, I can still swing the 600 up and take spontaneous hand held shots quite well, and if the tripod is needed its pretty easy to put it up and attach the lens using Arca Swiss fittings. Don't think Kirk do the D-handle shape now, the new one is more of a U shape with a round handle open at one end https://www.kirkphoto.com/straps-and...ip-handle.html. Liked the original so much, I bought an extra.

Just as an aside, I regularly stand my 600 upright on its lens hood for convenience (but not when other people are about) and found that a strip of car door protector strip protects the lens hood from damage very well.
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Old Tuesday 24th October 2017, 21:16   #19
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Most professionals using big white lenses in situations requiring moving around quite a bit mount the combination on a monopod. They rest the lens on their shoulder when on the move. The monopod acts as a counterbalance, it also steadies the camera when shooting and is not as cumbersome to set up as a tripod.
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