The Tripod Dilemma

One of the things I enjoy doing is getting pictures during periods or situations where there is little or no light from which to get the picture.

In these situations the photographer has one of 2 options: change the ISO setting son the camera to a higher one – which in turn introduces noise/ grain, or use a tripod usually in conjunction with a remote or cable release.

With my choice of kit being smaller than previously, I chose to go for the Manfrotto Element Carbon Fibre Big Traveller Kit tripod.

I chose it because it is designed to be light and compact to carry about yet still has the capacity to support the weight of the camera with battery grip attached and the very large 100-400mm lens attached.

It also comes with its own carrier bag as well – a saving of a few quid I can tell you.

And yes, it is very compact and very light to carry around. But I may have discovered a small issue with it, and I’m not sure oif the issue relates to the tripod or my expectations of what a tripod can actually do.

I decided to try something I had previously considered trying, but without a lens of sufficient focal length to get the shot, and that is to take a picture of the moon.

The shot left is one of the examples I got, and very nice it is you might say.

But this picture is not quite as sharp as it could be, and that is because when the lens was fully extended, the camera and lens did not seem able to stay locked in to pointing up to the moon, and had to be supported by my hand holding it in place.

Not quite what I had in mind!

I used the special collar that comes with the lens to attach to the tripod. This is supposed to balance the weight out and so ensure greater stability when using the lens with a tripod. The camera had a battery grip attached to it, when in theory means that the extra weight should have had the lens WANTING to point up!

But no, it just wanted to wander off from true.

I tried tightening up the attachment screw on a few occasions. I considered using a higher ISO setting, but that would’ve defeat the purpose of having the tripod surely?

I have now discovered, courtesy of surfing the WEX web site (they are my go to suppliers and are the place I have purchased all my kit from) that you can buy tripod heads specially designed to ensure such large lenses are not only supported in weight, but also in rigidity – meaning they do not swing all over the place on a tripod when the lens is extended to its maximum focal length.


One such example is the one shown on the left – yes, it’s a Manfrotto, but I’m trying to just replace the tripod head not bu a whole new tripod system.

I’m not sure if it will work with my current tripod base, but it shows that all is not lost. Just that it was not in my original return to photography budget.

But then, I’ve never owned or used a lens as big as the 100-44 mm before!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *