Long Lens Technique

Started May 10, 2007 | Discussions thread
Boo Veteran Member • Posts: 6,918
A UK shoulder pod [P]

rpcrowe wrote:

I have a Manfrotto shoulder stock that is designed to be used in
conjunction with a monopod. It could, however be used without the
pod. It would give "some" support to the camera and "might" just
help to steady your shot. It is pretty inexpensive. I seem to
remember that I got mine used on eBay for about twenty bucks.

As the OP is in the UK, he should be able to find the one I use, the Cullmann 0080 shoulder and table pod - I think it's probably almost 40 GB pounds now - I paid 30 for mine a few years ago. The Cullmann site has always shown it as a table and travel pod, but that to my mind is the weakest aspect of it, I certainly wouldn't trust it standing like that with my 20D and a heavy lens on, it's totally top heavy.


I have mine set up as a shoulder pod and in fact have even wired it into my chosen position to keep it there. It's no substitute for a heavy tripod, but I have joint problems and largely started using it to take some of the weight. It certainly helps with shutter speeds - I suspect it works pretty much as well as a monopod - where it helps, but good technique is a large part of it too.

This is it with my old Fuji 602 on it, in the operating position - I'm a woman at only just over 5', so most men would probably need it rather longer than this. When I'm using it, you can't really see it, it slots in amongst my arms and against my shoulder, so is very discreet to use and in fact I find it far easier to carry the camera on it than not - the camera nestles in the crook of my left elbow with the lens hooked over my arm and the shoulder stock sits in my fingers. I keep the wrist strap over my wrist and it just balances there, I don't even need to grip or carry it.

This is how small is folds - although I leave mine assembled as I keep it tightened in just the right position and a quick release plate on the camera, I haven't folded it up for several years, I just dump it in the back of the car with my bag.

With a good stance and technique, I'd expect to get a sharp reliable shot at 1/3 focal length - so with my 300mm lens I'd be happy enough with my own technique to risk a shot at 1/100 - although with small birds especially, that's almost certainly too slow to freeze their movement or stop any breeze - I took some delicate wild flower shots with extension tubes at the weekend and the stiff breeze was far more of a problem than me keeping still. I'd risk slower shots still, especially if I could brace myself at the knee, hip etc. as my biggest problem is whole body swaying, not hand trembling, but if I had the luxury, I'd take a few at slower speeds and lower ISO and then up the ISO and shutter speed accordingly and see which arrangement gave best results.

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