1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

300mm f/2.8 technique help needed!!

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Ottrott's Human, Apr 19, 2007.

  1. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    USA
    Hi Folks,
    I am off to the Asheboro Zoo with my kids tomorrow and I have rented a 300mm f/2.8 (non-VR)for the occasion. I have a monopod with no ballhead that will be screwed on to the foot of the lens. I have been playing around with this rig some today and I'm getting a lot of sway back and forth.

    Any tips or tricks that can miraculously help me become better equipped to wield this monster overnight???:biggrin:

    Gracias in advance!
     
  2. gadgetguy11

    gadgetguy11

    Nov 16, 2005
    Kentucky
    Are you testing it indoors in low light? Hopefully you will have a sunny day at the zoo. You may need to shoot shutter priority since this is a lens / monopod with which you have not had prior experience, and bump your shutter speed high enough where this is not a problem.
     
  3. Using big lens takes practice my friend. More so with a pod then a tripod believe me.
    Recommendation- push your face into the camera back, place your left hand or arm on top of the lens at midpoint or towards the far end of the lens, (both will take some of the vibration out of the lens), hold your breath, and pray. If 1 out of 4 is sharp; your on your way. :) 
     
  4. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    RH shooter

    Start with your feet very slightly apart and even.

    Put your left foot about 6-12 inches forward.

    Take the bottom of the monopod fully extended and place it behind your left heel next to the shoe.

    Take your left foot and swing your foot over to the right a few inches and bring your foot back toward your body as much as possbile and around the monopod and bring the pod back toward your body, in essence wraping your left foot around the monopod. note, you won't really wrap all the way around, but the pod will contact your leg fromt eh back heel area along the calf the side of the knee, along your top part of your waist and body. Step back slightly with your right foot but keep your body leaned into the pod and the pod next to your body and chest area. Put a bit of weight into the pod with your chest and left leg.
    this is the most stable upright position that I have found.

    Wade
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2007
  5. I would not judge the lens with your setup. I think you are at a disadvantage without a tripod and/or a proper head for the monopod. You are going to stuggle, I think. It is a wonderful piece of glass, but really needs good support. I use mine only on a tripod.

    All the best
    Nancy
     
  6. Manfrotto 3232. I found mine at Penn Camera. Very inexpensive. A ball head is more of a hindrance than a help. The 3232 has only one pivot axis; to permit up and down movement. The rest you do with twisting the monopod shaft.

    Good luck! I get to try my 120-300 f/2.8 Sigma tomorrow as well.

    Rich
     
  7. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    I have the 300 f/2.8 non VR lens (mine's the af-s II model, so I am not sure if you are working with the same one) and it is a great lens but one that does require practice and continued application of good technique (I could improve on the latter!). My suggestion actually differs from John and I'm sure he's more experienced than me, so take this for what it's worth...simply, what has worked for me...I would shoot aperture priority and set it to 2.8, then you'll have the highest possible shutter speed for the lighting conditions. If you find you're getting into bright sun, you can adjust as necessary, but if you are working with the same lens I use, it is best at wide open to f/4 (great everywhere else, but best wide open). Remember the 1/focal length rule, and for me, I generally add the digital 1.5 crop factor so 300 would be 1/~450 but I'm never comfortable hand holding until 1/800...that's me, though. Make sure to use the hood (flare will get you at 2.8), and maybe, just maybe, practice some handheld technique--feet about shoulder width apart, and I was taught to use what the person called a hunting stance (I've never hunted, so if this is not a true hunting stance, I wouldn't know) which he said meant position your body so that you are rotating your upper body about 45 degrees, don't lock your knees, trigger the shutter as you breath out, not on the intake, and of course "cup" the lens and let it sort of rest in your left hand, elbows in to the body and look for a tree or post to lean into...even with a monopod, I'd suggest the tree or post idea. Stay loose (which always works for me until I get excited and then my entire technique goes by the wayside!). I use my lens hand held in bright light when I'm in a hurry to catch a bird in flight and I don't have time to mount it and I find hand holding better than a monopod but of course, nothing beats a tripod, since you won't have a tripod with you, I'd opt for that tree post thing and practicing a bit with it hand held. You really may find hand holding a bit easier because of the flexibility. I have a gimbal (sorry, I know that's spelled wrong) style head, and I can't imagine not having flexibility with the lens, and I'm thinking the rigidity of the setup you're taking with you might be leading to that swaying feeling. I've also been told to use hand holding technique when using a monopod, especially that thing about not locking the knees, trigger the shutter when you breathe out, and cup the lens.

    I don't know if it helped at all, but I can tell you that I was shocked that my hand held pics came out and my monopod pics by and large...not so good...so that's where I'm coming from. Best of luck to you!
     
  8. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    USA
    Thanks to all for the great advice. I'll try the various techniques suggested including some handheld shots and hope for the best. It's supposed to be overcast (yay!), but I'm thinking high shutter speeds should be no problem at f/2.8 through 4. I'm taking my 70-200VR as a fall back so if I just can't get the hang of the big boy I hope to at least have a few keepers from the day.

    I do have a tripod, but just can't see lugging it around all day with two kids in tow. I like the monopod idea because it gives this old man a makeshift walking stick!!!

    This lens really is intimidating for a portrait photog like me!:smile:

    I've lived in NC for 22 years and this is my first trip to the Asheboro Zoo. I'm just as excited as my kids are!!!:smile:

    Wish us luck......

    Thanks again!
     
  9. I would suggest you bring a small pillow or bean bag if you have one and rest it on the rails or something stable. Keep your shutter speed up 1/500 or better.

    Just a thought I have done it and it works.
     
  10. Stuart,

    If you can keep your shutter speeds up (1/250th or so) you'll do fine. I regularly paper over the deficiencies in my long lens technique with high shutter speeds. :redface:

    Wade really knows what he's talking about when it comes to monopod technique. I was blown away by his shots from the botanical garden in Huntsville using a monopod.

    Hope you and the kids have a great day. :smile:
     
  11. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    USA
    Thanks Dave. I'm going to practice Wade's technique, but it sounds a bit like a game of twister!!:biggrin: :biggrin:

    I know he knows what's what though!
     
  12. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Stuart,

    I have shot well over 15K images with the 300 2.8 on a monopod, and I'll tell you what was important to me.

    1) Make sure that you have the tripod foot ring very loose. That way, as the monopod swings left and right, you can keep the lens level with the horizon.

    2) I put a bag/luggage strap (I actually used two straps) through the monopod strap, and put that over one shoulder and under the other arm. I adjust this strap very tight, so that the cam/lens/monopod cannot be pushed any further away from you than your standard shooting distance. For one thing, the strap makes sure that if you lose your grip, the whole thing won't hit the ground. The primary thing that it does though is turn the monopod, and your two legs, into a tripod. Here are some images showing how my set-up looked:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Good luck. :smile:
     
  13. snugelbune

    snugelbune

    313
    Mar 15, 2006
    NYC suburbs
    Frank,

    had to jump in to say what a great idea! You should market it, it makes perfect sense.
     
  14. TimK

    TimK

    Apr 17, 2006
    Hong Kong, China
    Yes, great idea, Frank! One thing I'd like to point out is the position of the left hand. I found it to be more stable when the hand is placed near the front element, as Frank did. That way the setup s more balanced.
     
  15. Ottrott's Human

    Ottrott's Human

    May 21, 2006
    USA

    :eek:  :eek:  Brilliant. Thanks, so much, for taking the time to help!!
     
  16. eng45ine

    eng45ine

    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
  17. wembley

    wembley

    Mar 26, 2006
    Naples, Fl
    I also use the 3232 on my monopod in this manner, but I think its actually meant to rotate the body from vertical to horizontal. Glad I'm not alone in this quirk:) 

    wembley
     
  18. Flew

    Flew

    994
    Jan 25, 2005
    Alabama
    Gavin,

    I use a 3232 also, along with the Wimberley Sidekick. Probably not an option for Stuart tomorrow, but something to think about for sure. :smile:
     
  19. Commodorefirst

    Commodorefirst Admin/Moderator Administrator

    May 1, 2005
    Missouri
    It really is nothing more than wrapping your left leg around the monopod so the bottom of the monopod is next to the heel near the outside of your left foot, and you bring the pod in close to your body. I was just trying to explain things so everyone one would understand, but probably made it more confusing! :smile: :biggrin:

    and I see someone did say it better, my method is option 3 but wrapped maybe a tiny bit more and left foot a bit forward, thanks engFrank!

    http://www.outdooreyes.com/photo5.php3

    Cheers,

    Wade
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.