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The camera is mounted on the tripod. The telephoto lens is mounted on the camera, with no additional support. Is this safe or stupid?

It seems like this would put a lot of stress on the tripod mount and on the lens mount. Are these mounts designed to support such use? How heavy of a lens can be used this way?

Examples:

These lenses come without a tripod mount. I know there are third-party support mechanisms. But are these lenses safe to use on a tripod without additional support?

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Related: Maximum lens weight for my camera? –  mattdm Jan 30 '13 at 20:26
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Also, at 345g and 390g respectively, those lenses aren't especially weighty as lenses go. –  mattdm Jan 30 '13 at 20:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It depends the weight of the lens. How much exactly depends on the camera.

Your examples are quite light telephotos and those are no problem at all.

In general when the lens is too heavy, it comes with a tripod mount to attach it.

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+1. Try this with a Canon 500 f/4 and most tripods (and certainly the cheap ones) will fall over at some point. There is a reason that big heavy telephotos come with a tripod mount. –  Chinmay Kanchi Jan 30 '13 at 22:01

It depends on the turning moment exerted by the lens - it's weight multiplied by the distance from the mount to the lens centre of gravity. A 200g lens could rip the mount right off if it were long enough. Meanwhile the Canon 85 f/1.2L is just fine despite weighing over one kilogram as it is very short.

However you usually don't have to worry about this as manufacturer will include a tripod mount on the lens if they consider it to be too heavy to be mounted on the camera when on a tripod, as Itai states.

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