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At the moment I use Manfrotto 055XPROB Pro Tripod with Photo/Video Pan and Tilt Head 391RC2 to hold Canon EF 100-400mm lens. Even-though in most cases this stable, on the extreme end I do get blur. At the moment I just looked up Manfrotto stuff (sorry I sort of became their fan boy) found these bracket/support equipment:

I also seen Benro stuff:

Any thoughts, recommendations to look for/keep in mind are more then welcome.

EDIT: At the moment got little help from friend and testing Manfrotto 3D Super-Pro Head This has better weight capacity 12kg/25.5lbs

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Are you attaching at the tripod mount or using a lens collar? It makes a huge difference and not all supports you listed above are ideal for both attachments. –  Itai Aug 22 '12 at 11:48
    
@Itai I use lens collar –  peter_budo Aug 22 '12 at 12:34
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2 Answers

Can't say much about those items you've listed but I have use the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 with the MH054M0-Q2 magnesium ball head, with both my Canon 7D & 5D plus the EF 100-400mm lens. I mostly use the 100-400 on the tripod to shoot pics of the moon, and I know what you mean by the "shake" you experience, but perhaps I can offer some other advice to minimize it:

  1. Use mirror lockup. This can help minimize vibration at the time of taking the picture.
  2. Use a cable release. You don't specify the type of camera you are using but most likely you will be able to use the RS-80N3 or RS-60E3. (Others are available that offer more features like timers etc, but these will suffice. I use the RS-80N3 myself).
  3. If you don't have/don't want to buy a cable release, use the camera's built in timer - the two second one should suffice.
  4. Of course, it goes without saying, to attach the QR plate to the tripod ring on the lens, and attach it to the tripod that way, rather than the bottom of the camera body itself... ;-)

Hope that helps...

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Good points Mike, however I use mirror lockup, wireless release and of course lens colar mounting instead of camera ;) –  peter_budo Aug 22 '12 at 10:40
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The 100-400 really isn't that big, heavy, or long. In my opinion you don't need special long-lens support, you need better all-around support. I think the 055 is a great tripod, and simply looking at the price of the 391RC2 head makes me say that's the weak point. Looking at the rated load capacity (11 lbs/ 5 kg), I would expect the 100-400 & body to be too much for the head when not perfectly balanced.

In my opinion, regarding tripod heads, you get what you pay for. If you like the pan-tilt style the only guidance I can give is to look for something with a higher load rating that costs more. I prefer a ballhead and recommend looking at Really Right Stuff -- be sure to check out their "FAQ" and "Be a Gear Expert" sections. The gimbal heads you found are certainly capable, but I think a gimbal is a much less universally-useful type of head.

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If you want really stable (like for an 8x10 with an 800mm APO-Tele-Xenar on a weird angle) then you want this: bhphotovideo.com/c/product/629979-REG/… –  user2719 Aug 23 '12 at 16:28
    
Nice Stan, but that is way above my price range. Nevertheless good suggestion. –  peter_budo Aug 24 '12 at 7:31
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