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

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Now, let's move on to more interesting issues. For example, how can we improve the tripod mounts on lenses we already own, or are planning to purchase? Many cases can indeed be solved by quite simple means, as shown below.

Instant Medication
Shaken, Not Stirred

© Bjørn Rørslett/N

The AFS 300 mm f/4 Nikkor has one of the worst tripod collar of any Nikkor lens. A canister with asthma medication brings instant relief and much needed stabilisation of the lens (of course, any object which fits in between the mounting foot and the lens barrel can be used for the same purpose).

A longer-lasting solution for the AFS 300 mm f/4 Nikkor lens would be replacing the poor original collar with a third-party item. The one depicted here is made by Rainer Burzynski and costs approx. 200$.

For some lenses, the tripod mount is under-dimensioned but otherwise quite functional. Here, the obvious approach is to strengthen the existing mount.

Modified Tripod Mount on a 500/4 P

"L" Addendum

© Bjørn Rørslett/N

The 500 mm f/4 P Nikkor is a superb telephoto lens, but its tripod mount is quity skimpy and clearly asking to be reinforced. I combined the additional support with a "L" bracket machined to fit a Arca-type clamp, thus killing two birds with one stone. Besides, there now is two-point support for the lens mount. After modification the 500 mm f/4 P behaves impeccably on a fluid-damped head such as the Sachtler shown here.

Wimberley makes a range of replacement feet for the big AFS 400, 500 and 600 mm Nikkors, which may help reduce their instability on tripods. There is a custom-made modification for the 500 mm f/4 P Nikkor from Burzynski as well, but I haven't seen this in actual use so cannot vouch for its usefulness.

Tripod Collar Blues

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Last Update 12 October, 2002