Lens support follow focus rig, red rock micro, 15mm rails, camera mount, quick release, nikon, canon, 5d, mark ii, mark iii, 7d, 60d, 70d, t2i, t3i, t4i, t5i, t1i, d7000, d71000, d800, d600, d5200, d90, black magic cinema camera, red one scarlet, epic, matte box, 80-200mm f2.8, f4, 70-210mm, 70-200mm f2.8, zoom, telephoto lens support, base, optic, glass, long lens, 135mm, 180mm, sony, olympus, pentax, panasonic,

Long Lens Support Techniques and Equipment

Several lens supports exist out there that will give your telephoto lens some support when shooting video. This is especially important at longer focal lengths, say from 135mm and beyond. I have shot video with several telephoto lenses and all of them show vibration, some worse than others. The worst is the Nikon AF 80-200mm f2.8 One ring push-pull version. Long, heavy f2.8 zooms tend to show vibration pretty bad because they have heavy optics towards the front of the barrel.  

 

One of the best zooms I've used for its lack of vibration is the Nikon series E 70-210mm f4, mainly because it's so light and simple. My Canon EF 70-200mm  f4 shows vibration even when using its handy tripod collar. 

 

So what's the solution? Naturally you want to get some support under the lens in an inconspicuous location that doesn't muck up your already-combersome DSLR video rig. 

 

One such support out there is the Lensse 15mm Parallel Rod Rig Clamp and Lens Support. This is the one I purchased to use with my piecemeal follow focus rig that consists of a followfocus and camera mount, but no matte box or other stuff. The Lennse product works great and gives a nice cork material that provides just enough protection without getting in the way. It works wonders stabilizing my Nikon 80-200mm f2.8 and lets me get smooth, steady 200mm shots all day long. 

I try to use it with all my telephoto lenses just because I know sometimes even if you don't see it while shooting, you'll get tiny vibrations in your long shots. It's almost inevitable without some sort of support. Even when using your $200 tripod collar on your Canon L zooms you still may get vibration, so be careful and invest in more support. 

 

Doesn't the follow focus itself support the lens? 

It does to some degree, just like a tripod collar, but it doesn't give you 100% vibration-free video. If you're using an all-metel, precision follow focus like the RedRock Micro, you'll get better support than from a plastic one, but you still need something to brace the long end of the lens. Plus, these devices like the Lensse support look more professional on a production set. 

 

Other Options

If you're on a budget, need something quick and can't wait on equipment in the mail, a small block of wood would work just as good as the Lensse support. Just make sure you measure the thickness that you need and don't force the wood between the lens and the followfocus rig rails or you may damage your camera's mount or the lens' mount, or at the very least you'll have an image that goes blurry on one side because the lens won't be lined up perfectly with the camera's sensor. 

 

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