Getting around with large lenses.
Hey everyone, I just picked up my new Sigma 120-300 f2.8 OS yesterday. First thought on it is wow! its a big lens! The question I have for those of you with large lenses is what do you find the easiest way to get around with them? The weight is not a concern for me, I'm just looking to figure out the best easiest ways to have the lens with me. I've looked into larger bags, and think a backpack is the only thing I will find that will fit this lens. Also when attached to the camera and shooting, what is the best safest way? Obviously I dont want to just be leaving hanging from my neck with the camera strap. I also plan on getting a monopod which I intend to use a lot. Is it safe to lean the monopod against your shoulder with lens and camera attached?
Just looking for ideas and tips from those that have experiece with larger lenses.
when i used to carry heavy lens around attached to the camera i used a slik mono pod with a tilting head and let the camera dangle and use the mono pod as a handle as the camera and leg of the monopod balance.
When traveling, I put my big lenses (Canon 100-400, 70-200) in their soft pouches and put 'em in my carry-on luggage. Never a problem. In the field, I usually don't have a 'pod of any kind, because it takes too much time to get the camera/lens into position for shooting (sports, moving animals, etc.).
On the rare occasion when I DO use a monopod, I keep the camera strap ON the camera, and drape it around my neck, even when leaning it on my shoulder or moving from one location to another.
When walking with the camera AND the big lens, I normally carry it on my right shoulder, NOT around my neck or cross-body.
I'm sure you'll get lots of suggestions. Comfort and safety are the primary concers. Bad karma to drop a few thousand dollars worth of photo equipment and hearing it bounce off rocks...
I have a Bigma and I use an op/tech strapped to the tripod mount and sling it over my right shoulder. It's pretty comfortable that way. I can fit the whole thing with the E-5 attached in a Rezo 190 bag (barely).
When I carried big lenses I used a strap attached to the lens tripod mount. My Canon 300 2.8 came with a strap. For my Nikon 70-200 I built a setup that gave me an O-ring to attach a strap and also a tripod socket. I let the lens hang under my left arm with the camera end to the front - with or without a camera attached. Sometimes even with a monopod attached.
At one time I did a lot of football with big lenses and 3 film bodies hanging on my body - often 3 or 4 games a week between high school, college and pro. This always worked well for me. FWIW, I pretty much always used a monopod with the longer lenses, to steady the lens, to help support the weight, and sometimes just to lean on myself.
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As for a bag, this toploader looks like it might do the trick:
"Well, sometimes the magic works. . . Sometimes, it doesn't."
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I have the 120-400 OS, & under no circumstances should you allow the camera & lens dangle freely, as this puts a big strain on the joint between lens & body, & could cause damage. The 120-400 came with a strap that ties to the tripod ring. I sometimes carry the combo by the tripod ring. Always try to support the weight of the lens as much as possible. I bought a padded video camera shoulder bag from a car boot sale for £1 & it works great.
I use a backpack to transport a Canon 300mm f/2.8 lens and the rest of the gear to wherever I plan to shoot. It's also convenient to carry other miscellaneous stuff. I mostly use a monopod & tilt head when I shoot with this lens, carrying the lens & camera on my shoulder.
I'm not a fan of quick release setups as I don't want the lens+camera to quick release when I'm carrying it. I use the Arca-Swiss style clamp plate which is secure and still fairly easy to remove. This system requires a plate on the lens shoulder, and a corresponding clamp on the tilt head. I use this same system with my 800mm lens & gimbal head on my tripod.
I'll sometimes carry & shoot handheld, but don't support this with the camera's neck strap - I'm concerned about the weight of the lens on the camera's lens mount, even if it's a magnesium body shell. The easiest way I've found to carry this when shooting handheld is with the tripod/monopod lens collar.
Enjoy your new lens
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