When you first use a large telephoto lens, there’s no better feeling. The photos produced from a 500mm or 600mm always look great, and for many photographers, they are the pinnacle of imaging technology. But aside from the pictures, sometimes dealing with the physical size of the lens can be a challenge, especially when you find yourself outdoors using it on a tripod or monopod.
f you are serious about wildlife, bird or sports photography then being able to quickly and easily follow the action is a must. To photograph the fantastic photos like the ones on the front cover of a magazine, professional photographers combine their camera and lens combinations with either a monopod or a tripod and a tripod head. Out of these pieces of equipment, the tripod head quickly becomes the most crucial part of their kit. The main reason for this is stability, Supporting such a heavy lens, such as a 500mm or 600mm can become a challenge.
For years the best option to support one of these longer lenses was to use a gimbal head. Unfortunately, though for many photographers gimbal heads are way too big and bulky. That is where newer, lighter options have become more readily available. Take Acratech as a great example. Acratech tripod heads now come in a couple of lightweight solutions to support larger lenses.
One of these tripod heads is called the ‘Long Lens Head’. This solid piece of equipment only weighs 1lb and can hold up to a 600mm F4 lens! This remarkable achievement now provides photographers with the ability to track wildlife, bird or sports photography with ease without having to carry around a large gimbal tripod head.
As a tip when using the Long Lens Head on your camera and lens, when you look through the viewfinder make sure you keep your non-shooting eye open. The reason for keeping both eyes open becomes apparent when tracking subjects such as birds in flight. All you have to do is keep focusing your attention on the bird in the distance using your non-shooting eye. Your eye looking through the lens will automatically track the framing of the bird. By following this technique you can obtain a shot of the moving subject that’s in focus, it just takes practice to perfect.
On another note, Acratech also manufactures a smaller, lighter tripod head that is very versatile for general photography. The Acratech GP series tripod heads work like a gimbal head with lenses as large as 400mm. However, for longer lenses if you want the best and most solid support then the Long Lens Head is unmatched in quality, build, smoothness and stability.
In conclusion, if you are looking for a tripod head that won’t weigh you down nor cost the earth, then either the Acratech Long Lens Head or the GP series tripod head may be the best option for you. We encourage you to try them out, and you will quickly understand the quality is unmatched and how much easier and better your long lens photography will be.