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Simple question :

I just got a Canon Macro Lens 100 mm 2.8 USM and in the manual, it's said that if I want to mount it on a Tripod, I have to buy a ring to fix properly the lens on my tripod.

Is it REALLY necessary ? Will it damage either my camera body or my lens to simply fix my camera body on my tripod and fix my lens on my camera ?

Thanks for your precious advices and tips!

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It is not necessary to use a ring with the 100mm macro, no. At least not in the same sense that's it's necessary with the very long and heavy fast telephoto lenses that would be difficult to balance and would put a great, possibly fatal, strain on the camera's lens mount otherwise. You can use the lens safely and well with the lens mounted to a camera that is mounted to a tripod.

It's still something worth doing, however. If you are taking pictures of something off in the distance, the couple of inches (or handful of centimetres) difference in point of view you get when going from a horizontal to a vertical orientation (landscape to portrait) don't make a whole lot of difference most of the time. Flipping your tripod head to vertical while shooting macro subjects, though, will probably mean that you need to adjust both the position and height of your tripod. With the lens mounting ring, you just turn the camera and the lens stays pointed at the same spot. That can save a lot of time and frustration, and lessens the chance that a lively subject will leave while you're setting up.

It's also a lot easier to use a ring on a typical monopod, which will often have a tilt-only head if it has a head at all (some are just 1/4"-20 screw on a stick).

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  • Ball head monopods work great for this as well because you can turn it sideways and your tilt adjustment suddenly becomes a pivot for shooting portrait orientation. Also, great to see you again Stan.
    – AJ Henderson
    Jan 21 '14 at 18:26
  • I absolutely hate trying to use a ball head on a monopod, since I suffer from the physical disability of only having two hands. I find the Manfrotto 234RC works very well for me. It allows the up/down pan. Just twisting the monopod works for panning on the horizontal axis, and the lens collar allows rotating the camera on the optical axis without changing the optical axis.
    – Michael C
    Jan 21 '14 at 20:16
  • I have the Manfrotto 327RC2 Handle-Grip and it seemed fine without the ring... I was afraid it would break my camera because of the weight... It's true that it's a quite small lens compared to bigger one in the Canon line-up....
    – Andy M
    Jan 21 '14 at 22:35
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It is unlikely to cause damage, however it will cause added wear and tear on your tripod head. A tripod head can only hold back so much torque and the further off balance your camera is, the more torque will be applied to it. The more resistance it has to provide, the more wear it will put on the mechanism that locks it in place.

There is also a slight chance of damaging the tripod mount on your camera if you over-torque it, but I personally wouldn't be super worried about that with something as small as the 100mm Macro.

The point of a mount ring for your lens is that it can mount the camera/lens combo closer to the center of gravity and thus resist the torque placed on the tripod head and tripod mount.

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I use the 100mm f/2.8 IS L with my tripod, and have never had a problem. I have used it with both a 5dMk2 and 5dMk3 (if that matters), on both Manfrotto and Really Right Stuff leg/head combos. As these things go, this lens is not that large or heavy. As has already been mentioned, one big advantage of the ring, is the ability to quickly switch from portrait to landscape.

If you have a good solid tripod, this will work fine.

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