I just purchased a cheap Opteka zoom lens and it is super long -- over two feet when fully elongated. It has built-in a tripod mount and I have no idea how to use it.

I currently own a Vanguard tripod with a three-axis head. How does this fit in with my new lens? It seems like the ideal setup would be for the lens tripod mount to somehow connect to my existing head, so that the camera and the lens move in perfect synchronization with one another. Is this right? If so, what parts am I looking for to complete this setup? (And if not, how is the tripod mount on the lens intended to be used?)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ You weren't kidding when you said it is super long. Wow. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Jun 6, 2012 at 19:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Damn. If not on Amazon and I just saw a photo of that lens I'd be certain it was a fake! Crazy-looking thing! \$\endgroup\$
    – Drew
    Jun 12, 2012 at 3:30

1 Answer 1


You're assuming that the camera would be mounted to the tripod, and that there ought to be a way to mount the lens as well. That's not the case. When you're using a large, heavy lens with its own tripod mount/collar, you only mount the lens to the tripod. The camera simply hangs off the lens. Don't worry -- the lens mount will be able to support the camera.

There are cases with extremely long lenses (long as in focal length as well as long physically), you might want to use two tripods to make the setup as stable as possible. When the focal length is a meter (1000mm) or more, it doesn't take a whole lot of camera motion to create a great deal of blur in the image. As you've intuited, that's a fussy, awkward undertaking, so it's not something you'd do for the heck of it, or if you need to be able to move the point of aim; it's much more common to use the photographer as the secondary anchor point if the shutter speed can remain reasonably high (that is, you'd mount the lens to your tripod/stand but still hold the camera).

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, worked great. And I didn't have to buy anything new. :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirk Woll
    Jun 6, 2012 at 21:15

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