John Galea's Blog

My blog on Gadgets and the like

Carrying a heavy camera lens

I recently upgraded to a Sigma 150-600 contemporary lens, upgrading from a Canon 70-300 lens, the added reach is amazing, what isn’t so amazing is the weight, going from 710 up to 1930g, and honestly, there are lenses that weigh even more. A lot of people use the shoulder strap (I can’t tolerate weight like that on the shoulders), or use the tripod mount to hold onto the lens, but I don’t find that comfortable either, only two of four fingers carrying the weight. Trekking around forests looking for beautiful wildlife to shoot means sometimes your out for a number of hours lugging this thing around … So I began to look for solutions. I have to admit, I was SHOCKED there are no easy solutions. Both the tripod mount on the bottom of the camera as well as the one the lens use a 1/4″ thread, I found some handles that use a 3/8″ thread but that won’t work. I MIGHT be able to remove the 3/8″ and replace it with a 1/4 bolt but that assumes the bolt is removable, some of which I couldn’t tell for sure.

So I found this handle on Amazon, seemed like it might be possible, obviously I’m using it in a way they didn’t intend.

First off the handle is octagonal and slippery. So I managed using some detergent to coax a bike handle bar grip over the handle. This works well, and is MUCH more comfortable. I toyed with the handle on the camera’s tripod mount but that did not work well, and was prone to smacking your face off it, weight balance was also off. So I mounted it on the tripod mount for the lens, but, no matter how much I tighten the twist knob, after a number of hours the handle would start to twist, not surprising, it’s a reasonable weight. So I set about finding a solution. I toyed with the idea of drilling and tapping the tripod mount but I was nervous about that, it’s aluminum and easy enough to bugger up. So I came up with a thought, if I could use an eraser to butt up against the back end of the tripod mount this would limit how far it could rotated. In one day the proof of concept proved it would work, BUT the eraser was too soft. So I found a block of metal laying around the house, butted it against the tripod mount, cable tied it in place to find the exact location and then drilled through the block of metal and the handle. The net result is a solid permanent solution to the handle rotating. Weight balance is really good and the camera/lens hang nicely off your hand. I use wrist straps from Amazon as an added protection, should it slip out of my hand.

And with that I have something that works. Now this comes at a price, even more weight. The handle weighs 176g, and with my hacks comes up to 252g in total (40g for the grip and 36g for the block of metal and bolt/nut). Here’s the ending result, and it is SOLID.

I also found a SmallRig handle that uses a 3/8″ bolt on, looks like it might work, so I’ve ordered that and will give that a try next. You can buy it directly from Smallrig but they ship from China and this could take forever to come. Weight looks good at 139g, and if it will go on the camera I can remove the tripod collar from the lens when not in use saving even more weight. I’ll update this post when I get it/try it. SmallRig has assure me, one of the two bolts can be removed.

April 25, 2021 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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