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100-300mm: Shooting Support?

Discussion in 'Native Lenses' started by jnewell, Jun 12, 2012.

  1. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    (hope this is OK in this forum...could be an "accessory" post, too...)

    What techniques and/or tools do you use for supporting/stabilizing a lens like the 100-300mm, especially at its longer lengths? Assume you are in viewing stands or another area where there are no physical objects to support yourself or the camera/lens, and a tripod is prohibited by the rules for the venue? This is a real life question for this summer's Olympics. It is not even clear that a monopod will be a safe bet... :frown: No credit for "turn on the OIS." :biggrin:

    Thanks for your suggestions...
  2. MikeB

    MikeB Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 10, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    You might get away with a walking stick that has a tripod screw on the head. It won't look like a monopod until you start to use it.

    Beyond that, you might try putting your foot on your seat and then resting the lens on your knee. Or you can also sit cross legged ('indian style') and rest your elbows on your knees, making a semi-tripod with your body.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. jeffryscott

    jeffryscott Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 2, 2010
    Drink less coffee ...

    Seriously though, as said in the previous post use your elbow on your knees for your own tripod.

    I read a thread somewhere that restrictions will be tight on things like monopods, so your elbows and knees will be your friends.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I pull my left elbow into my chest and support the lens with that hand while using the right hand on the shutter. I pull in firmly on that elbow, let my breath out halfway, hold that breath and shoot. Unless it's dark or heavily overcast that works for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. GRID

    GRID Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 22, 2011
    You can attach a string on a screw in the tripodmount, then hold the other side of the string under youre foot and tighten it upwards, that way you can hold it more steady.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. billy_pilgrim

    billy_pilgrim Mu-43 Regular

    Jul 6, 2011
    I've had a lot better luck getting unblurry shots with long lenses since I got the EVF for my pl2. You didn't say what body you're using but shooting with the EVF rather than with the camera at arm's length is a lot more stable.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. f6cvalkyrie

    f6cvalkyrie Mu-43 All-Pro

    Feb 12, 2010
    Brussels, Belgium
    :biggrin::biggrin: Make a deal with the person sitting one row in front of you ! A beanbag on his/her head, gear on the beanbag, and off you go :biggrin::biggrin:
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    This. It's a lot easier than you think.

    Do you use the EVF or LCD?
  9. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I use the LCD - which still surprises me that I like it so well, I've always used DSLRs and was used to the viewfinder. Even the Fuji bridge cameras that I've owned had EVFs but I find myself quite happy with the LCD. Maybe, somewhere down the road, if I acquire an OM-D I might go back, but I'm happy at the moment. :cool: 
  10. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    If shooting from a seated position, the elbow in the chest posture might not be possible, but the standard is to use the EVF, and push the VF to your forehead or use your check against the body.

    If you don't have EVF, then consider a LCD loupe like the Hoodman.

    My left hand is usually gripping the lens near the lenshood for stability.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    You guys are great! :2thumbs:

    Similar to shooting positions...I am an old hand there - good point #1!

    I read about this years ago and it completely slipped my mind. Brilliant, simple, cheap, effective - good point #2!!

    Good point #3, and I have EVFs on both bodies, for exactly that reason!

    Good point #4, though I think everyone in the area will be standing, so standing rather than sitting or prone positions will be necessary. I've had a number of bad experiences with the TSA in various parts of the country with monopods...if someone objects at the Olympics, I'm either going to have to abandon the monopod or skip the event...because of the reason I'm going, skipping it is absolutely not an option, so I'm figuring the monopod is just not an option. The walking stick idea might fly? - need to do some research on that! :) 
  12. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Say you're disabled, get into the handicapped area with a walker with a tripod mount.

    Lol the beanbag may actually work in some instances depending on the venue. Would they allow some of those video stability contraptions?
  13. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    I hate shooting long glass using the screen - applies to both mirrorless and DSLR. Using a viewfinder makes things much, much, much easier. I'm more flexible with wide to short tele. Quite like shooting medium wide angles from the hip.
  14. jnewell

    jnewell Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 23, 2011
    Boston, MA
    • Like Like x 2
  15. GaryAyala

    GaryAyala Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    All the above, elbow to the chest, firm grip on the camera and lens with both hands and then firmly smash the camera against nose and forehead. The smashing part closes the triangle for the steadiest hold/grip. A bit awkward and uncomfortable at first, so some practice would be good to loosen up those joints. The practice will lessen the ache, make the event more enjoyable and increase your keeper ratio. Good luck at the games.

  16. chuckgoolsbee

    chuckgoolsbee Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 6, 2010
    Bend, Oregon
    I have a self-standing monopod from Manfroto. It is awesome.
  17. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Yes on the posture, but not quite with you on the grip.

    You want to hold the camera steadily, hold it up to your face, but definitely not too tightly. A relaxed, comfortable but steady grip on the lens, resting the camera to your face, and gently squeezing the shutter release. Gripping the setup too tightly will only induce muscle strain and fatigue and ultimately lead to more shake, not less.
  18. kinlau

    kinlau Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 29, 2012
    I agree with Gary, there's no shortcuts when your shooting 400mm equiv or longer. You mash the camera to your face if you have a viewfinder.
  19. ckrueger

    ckrueger Mu-43 Veteran

    Jul 16, 2011
    It's daytime so your shutter speeds should be decent. 1/2000sec is the best tele technique there is. :) 

    Honestly, though, 600mm-e at f/5.6 isn't too tough. With any amount of sun you should be able to get >1/500sec. Remember, bumping the ISO wrecks the image less than even a little hand shake blur.

    I suggest practicing a lot on handholding technique. EVF only for better stability, and use the magnified live view to highlight the shake. Experiment with all the techniques people suggest until you can get the viewfinder to die down.

    Personally I have shaky hands, so it's IBIS and fast shutter speeds for me!
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