This year we’ll be taking a look at some of the lesser known tripod accessories, which make a great difference to your camera setup. There are several items which almost no one knows about, but which every photographer should have.
A good example is an L-bracket – it’s the simplest accessory, but it makes shooting in portrait orientation on a tripod ten times easier. This used to be a very niche item, but nowadays, most people know what it is and most photographers have one.
The first accessory we’re going to look at is arca-swiss lens replacement feet.
The standard method of mounting large lenses on a tripod is by attaching a plate to the foot of the lens and then mounting this plate into the tripod head. This works mostly fine, but that plate will always eventually loosen over time, especially if you like to set some friction on your tripod head. Whenever you move the camera with friction applied to any of the head’s axes, it will move at the weakest point and this inevitably loosens the lens plate.
If you’re not the type of person who inspects all your systems whenever you shoot, this will inevitably lead to blurred shots or even worse – a lens drop.
Manufacturers have various tricks for trying to make lens plates sit as firmly as possible – dual screws, anti-rotation pins, bevels that sit against one of the feet edges etc. These do help, but economy and compatibility complicate it greatly. In order to keep prices down, manufacturers make universal lens plates and unless a plate is custom-built for a specific lens, it simply can’t guarantee a perfect mount, because each lens foot has a different shape and different spacing between the mounting holes as well as having different combinations of mounting holes.
How do you eliminate this risk? The simplest way is to eliminate the lens plate completely, by incorporating it into the foot of the lens. This is done by making an aftermarket lens foot that is nearly identical to the original version and machining an arca-swiss profile onto the foot so that it mounts directly into the tripod clamp. Most lens feet connect to the lens collar/body via hex screws, a bevel and hex screws or a quick release clamp system. Unlike lens plates, which need to be customizable, these feet are a perfect match for only one type of lens foot and there is no modularity or compromise in connection.
It is worth noting that some lenses share the same foot connection design, so you will see that certain feet are for more than one lens – this is because those lenses have the exact same foot connection.
As with many things in life, simplicity offers the best solution and in this case it is certainly rings true. When you’re spending a fortune on camera gear and photographic opportunities, you want to ensure that your setup is as solid as possible so that you can capture the moment in perfect detail. Eliminating the need for a lens plate goes a long way to ensuring that your telephoto images shot from a tripod are tack-sharp.
Pricing in SA
We used to stock a decent range of US manufacturer Kirk’s lens feet, but they were priced around R2500-R3500, which is simply unaffordable for most, so the product struggled to take off. We are very happy to be able to offer Leofoto’s lens feet all for under R1500, which makes it about half the price of the Kirk feet and just a bit more than a premium lens plate. We hope that this will assist in a better take-up from our local market and help to make these as commonly used as L-brackets.
Tamron and Sigma started introducing an Arca Profile to their telephoto lenses several years ago. A very progressive step that is a big win for consumers. Hopefully the other manufacturers follow suit in years to come.
Our range of Lens Feet
Click here to view all our available lens feet or use the links below to find the one for your lens.
- CF-01 | R1 299.00 | Canon 200-400/4, 300/2.8, 400/4, 500/4
- CF-02 | R1 299.00 | Canon 100-400 II
- CF-04 |R1 299.00 | Canon 400/2.8, 600/4, 800/5.6
- SF-01 | R1 399.00 | Sony 70-200/4, 70-200/2.8, 100-400/4.5-5.6
- SF-02 | R1 449.00 | Sony 200-600/5.6-6.3
- SF-03 | R1 299.00 | Sony 400/2.8, 600/4
- NF-01 | R1 399.00 | Nikon 70-200/2.8 II, PF500/5.6
- NF-02 |R1 299.00 | Nikon 180-400/2.8, 300/2.8, 500/4 (Compact version)
- NF-04 | R1 299.00 | Nikon 180-400/2.8, 400/2.8, 500/4, 600/4, 800/5.6 (Large Version)
- NF-05 | R1 399.00 | Nikon Z 70-200/2.8