Tripod Collar Blues
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
by Bjørn Rørslett 

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I continue with another couple of tripod collar comparisons, just to make my point clearer. This time, a pair of wide-ranging zoom lenses are the exhibits in the case.

Even Worse

Bad to the Bone
(Broken Leg)

© Bjørn Rørslett/N

The AF 80-400 mm f/4.5-5.6 VR Nikkor shares with the AFS 300 mm f/4 Nikkor the doubtful honour of having the worst tripod collar of any Nikkor lens. There is elevated leverage which in conjunction with a narrow collar and a pliable foot makes wobbling unavoidable no matter which tripod the lens is mounted on. Of course, you can remove the collar and rely on VR (Vibration Reduction) to give you the sharpness the poor tripod mount takes away.


Nikon S3 with 5 cm f/1.4 Nikkor-S

Old Faithful

© Bjørn Rørslett/NN

My trustworthy Zoom-Nikkor 50-300 mm f/4.5 ED (AI) shows the virtues of an old-fashioned, but still superb, tripod collar design. Leverage is reduced to an absolute minimum and the mounting point is exactly in the centre of gravity, which is located at the centre of the collar as well. A coincidence? Hardly, just excellent design originating from an epoch in which engineers really cared about their work and didn't solve everything with CAD or marketing research.

Working with this lens on a decent tripod is just pure joy.


Tripod Collar Blues

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Last Update 1 October, 2002