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Author Topic: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.  (Read 1899 times)

David S

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Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« on: February 08, 2017, 04:21:28 PM »

Looking for a good solution for carrying a heavy telephoto while birding. Tripod not practical with the continued moving from place to place. Cotton Carrier harness works but lens and camera not immediately useful if a bird is suddenly spotted. Various straps over shoulder (etc) OK but weight hard on neck.

Any experiences of potential solutions?

Thanks,

Dave S
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Tony Jay

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2017, 04:37:17 PM »

I would also be very interested to hear of any potential solutions.
To me the big gotcha is the need for immediate access.

Tony Jay
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pcgpcg

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2017, 05:32:01 PM »

I shoot m43 so your telephoto is probably much larger, but you get the idea. I'm not a birder, but when I want my camera to be readily accessible this is what I do. I use my camera bag as a shelf. The weight is off my neck, it doesn't swing around, and it is readily accessible. This looks precarious, but it's not.
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2017, 05:37:04 PM »

I am assuming that the bag is attached to your waist as well as over the shoulders or neck.

Dave S
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pcgpcg

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2017, 05:44:05 PM »

I am assuming that the bag is attached to your waist as well as over the shoulders or neck.
Dave S
It's only attached at my waist. I almost always have a daypack or backpack on my shoulders, in addition to the waistpack.
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2017, 05:49:19 PM »

Would have seen that if I had enlarged your picture.

Thanks,

Dave S
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ripgriffith

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2017, 07:49:08 PM »

I would recommend using an over-the-shoulder strap such as blackrapid, attached to the lens tripod mount.  I carry my 400mm this way with no problems and the lens is immediately accessible.

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Robert DeCandido PhD

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2017, 08:16:16 PM »

well...there is no simple solution. If you want to spend $149 for a so-so product, this kirk might be helpful:

https://www.kirkphoto.com/straps-and-grips/super-grip-handle.html

I had the earlier iteration of the product (for $100), but I returned it because it was clumsy to take on/off.

Personally I just use a long lens plate from Hejnar on my 400 F2.8 II and 6oo F4 II (both Canon) - and slide my hand in between the LL plate and the lens - carry that way. The Canon foot actually has padding which helps ease the pain on the hands.

I've seen folks sling the tripod/lens over their shoulder and walk along that way...

I don't use a lens hood in the field (I use the black disk over the lens when walking) so that cuts down on some weight and increases maneuverability. And I walk with my hand between the lens and the LL plate...I can do that for 15-20 minutes at a time - and then I put the lens down.

Here are some images from Ecuador (still here) - no flash used. All images with 5Ds and 400 F2.8 II - handheld
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2017, 08:25:33 AM »

Thanks to all for the ideas. Lots to try out and see what works best for me.

Dave S
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Hywel

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2017, 10:06:02 AM »

I use a holster-style camera case attached by a carabiner to the ice-axe strap of a walking rucksack at the back (clipping in to one of the normal attachments on the holster case) and the shoulder strap of the case over my shoulder and clipped to the opposite chest strap of the rucksack.

This sounds more complicated than it is- imagine wearing a rucksack as normal, then putting on the holster case with the shoulder strap at it's longest extent as you usually would. Then you're just clipping the holster case to the rucksack at two points to stop it sliding around as you walk: one direct to the case itself, and one to the strap. 

Although a touch cumbersome when putting the rucksack on or off, I've found this by far the best combination when walking.

The camera ends up sitting about hip level, at the bottom of the rucksack, just behind where my arm naturally swings as I walk. It's nicely stabilised by the multiple attachments so it doesn't bump up and down on my butt as I walk, and it doesn't slide round either as the shoulder strap clipped to the rucksack shoulder strap stops it. Both of those things used to drive me mad on a full day walk in the mountains!

If I want to grab the camera, I can do it one-handed by just opening the holster case and reaching in for the camera, which I have on a hand strap so I can slide my hand into it.

It's not quite as instant as the camera dangling around your neck on a shoulder strap, but it's far quicker than any of the alternatives I've tried, and is it far less encumbering hanging back there out of the way both of walking gait and arm swinging. It works with multiple rucksack options from 25 L daysacks up to the full-tent-and-gear options.

I can put the camera back in the case as well by pulling on the shoulder strap to bring the holster around a bit more to the front- then I can just slide the camera off the hand strap and back into the holster, and do the holster case back up.

I've found it absolutely invaluable for grabbing very transient lighting in the mountains. I don't generally shoot with longer than a 200mm lens though, it might start to get too cumbersome with a big-ass 400mm I guess.


Cheers, Hywel



« Last Edit: February 10, 2017, 10:25:55 AM by Hywel »
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Rory

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2017, 10:30:52 AM »

Can you clarify - what lens and body?  There is a big difference between the f/5.6 and f/4 super telephotos.  Why is a tripod not practical?
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2017, 10:39:48 AM »

Fuji XT-2 with 100 -400mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter. Walking over varied terrain and also some done from a car getting in and out frequently and then walking.  Also using binoculars at same time so a tripod just adds to the mix plus the birds in question jump from branch to branch making just finding them a challenge let alone using a tripod - at least for me.
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Rory

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2017, 10:47:57 AM »

Okay.  Heavy is relative. :*)  I've been shooting with a 600/4 for the last 15 years.  For your combo I think a black rapid strap is your best bet, as suggested above.  Also, I have a friend that uses a chest harness for a Canon 5D3 and 70-200/2.8 while hiking, which is probably heavier than your setup. 
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2017, 01:16:08 PM »

 :)
Totally agree that heavy is relative and maybe I should have said heavy for me. With the power grip attached the weight is well over 6 pounds and between age and back issues, that is a lot to carry over several hours. But still, thanks for confirming the black rapid strap and the idea of a chest harness. A friend uses the Cotton Carrier harness and likes it a great deal.

Dave S
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BAB

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2017, 02:42:15 PM »

David
i have the same and also use the extender
a mono pod is suggested
the foot on the lens easily clips on the inside of your belt with the strap attached to the camera.
Bravo to you if you can actually see thru the viewfinder handheld panning bird shots with the Fuji and keep the creature in the correct part of the frame wouldn't be my choice of combination.
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #15 on: February 11, 2017, 03:42:06 PM »

Quote "Bravo to you if you can actually see thru the viewfinder handheld panning bird shots with the Fuji and keep the creature in the correct part of the frame wouldn't be my choice of combination"

I practice a lot and find the zoom to help - start way out and zoom in. Using the binoculars has taught me how to see where the bird is - more or less!

What would your choice combination be?

Dave S
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David S

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #16 on: February 11, 2017, 04:45:40 PM »

Quote "a mono pod is suggested"

Should have included this in my previous reply. How do you manage the mono pod. I have tried and somehow I seem to get better shots without the mono pod. Granted there are times when it works really well if the bird is at the right distance, reasonably still and there are not too many obstructions in the way.

I started with a Panasonic system using first the 40-200 mm lens ( not enough reach) and then the 100-300 mm lens which was much better but somewhat soft at the 300 mm end.

The question relates to a weekend in May at Tobermory, Ontario where we often see almost a hundred species mostly warblers and similar small birds but also bald eagles and various hawks. Being a group of 15 or so, spotting is greatly helped by the others and there are three or four of us with cameras who help each other.

Dave S
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stever

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2017, 01:36:39 PM »

My carrying limit (when i really expect to see wildlife) is a Canon 100-400 with 1.4x extender and 7D2 or 5D3 or 4 - this is just under 7 lb with heavy duty Blackrapid strap.  I sometimes lessen the weight on the shoulder by sticking the camera and lens in a Thinktank digital holster 20 on a waist belt.  I ALWAYS leave the lens hood in place which has saved more than one lens.

a monopod might have some use on lenses heavier than i'm willing to carry, but the modern lens and camera stabilization make them unnecessary on "moderate" sized lenses.  i've found monopods to just get in the way.
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Petrus

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2017, 02:21:52 PM »

Nikon D5 with 600mm f/4: 5.25kg
Sony RX10 III (24-600mm f/4 equiv): 1,1 kg

=:-)
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Rory

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Re: Carrying a heavy telephoto for continued use while hiking.
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2017, 11:18:49 AM »

Quote "Bravo to you if you can actually see thru the viewfinder handheld panning bird shots with the Fuji and keep the creature in the correct part of the frame wouldn't be my choice of combination"

I practice a lot and find the zoom to help - start way out and zoom in. Using the binoculars has taught me how to see where the bird is - more or less!

What would your choice combination be?

Dave S

My choice would be a Canon 7DMKII and the new 100-400 and the 1.4x.  Wicked optics, excellent focus and tracking and close focus.
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