INCREASING SUCCESS RATE WITH THE NIKON 70-200 f/2.8

Nikon’s original foot vs. RRS foot on the Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8

INCREASING SUCCESS RATE WITH THE NIKON 70-200 f/2.8 IS EASIER THAN YOU THINK!

People have been asking me about how they could be increasing their success rate with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II. While optically one of the best lenses in Nikon’s stable, many of its owners complain that they can’t get results as sharp as the sample images they see online. They either blame the lens, their technique, the world, a cruel fate, you name it: sometimes, however, a very small change is enough to improve our success rate a lot. This is one of these cases.

A few days ago, I posted an article about increasing success rate with the Nikon 70-200 f/4G ED VR on a tripod. I have been inspired to embark in such a quest after noticing a lack of critical sharpness in some of the shots I took during my Death Valley tour, a problem I determined was caused by micro-motion blur. The solution was as simple as adding a lens collar to the lens. Problem solved (see IMPROVING THE NIKON 70-200 F/4: KIRK NC-70-200 COLLAR REVIEW)!

The Dolomites Photography Workshop

While thinking about this topic, I also worked on the legendary Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, discovering how people using it on a tripod could also significantly be increasing success rate with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II with just some small improvement in the lens foot’s area. What exactly is the problem, and what could be a good solution to it? Read on to find out!

Disclaimer: At the time of writing, I am not affiliated with either Really Right Stuff or Nikon in any way. I am a professional photographer looking for the best equipment for my work, I buy all my gear with my hard-earned cash and I don’t get paid by anyone to write articles for my blog.

Luckily, there are two small solutions that might help you in increasing success rate with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, both involving very little work.

The first involves the lens foot’s plate, that small aluminium piece used to attach the detachable lens’ foot to your lens.

The second consist in lowering the gravity centre of your lens and foot combination and in eliminating one possible weak point, the connection between your lens foot and your tripod head’s lens plate. The latter, however, works only for people using Arca-Swiss compatible tripod heads.

The easiest and best way to solve both problems comes from Really Right Stuff (RSS from now on), one of the best manufacturers of support accessories such as tripods, heads, brackets and plates. Welcome the LCF-10 foot & LCF-10P plate! 

So, what’s wrong with Nikon’s original foot’s connecting plate? Well, the main problem is that the plate is very thin and will eventually bend with time and use. The solution? Replacing it with the thicker, stronger RRS LCF-10P plate, much harder to bend even under heavy use.

More, the RSS plate uses Hex screws (the appropriate key is included by RRS with the plate), versus the regular Phillips screws on the Nikon. The advantage here is that tightening Hex screws is much less likely to ruin the screws’ head than using a Phillips screwdriver on Phillips screws. Since this is an operation that you’ll need to repeat from time to time to make sure your plate stays surely attached to the lens, you’ll see a noticeable advantage using Hex screws.

Replacing the plate is very easy. Just un-screw the four screws holding the plate in place, take the plate off, place the new one into position and tighten the new screws. 5 minutes work, if that. I suggest you keep the original plate and screws for reselling purpose, since eventual buyers might like to have the original plate together with the optional RRS one.

Cinque Terre & Tuscany Photography Workshop

The second improvement is even easier and faster than the first one. You’ll just need to get an RSS LCF-10 foot to go with your LCF-10P replacement plate, and you are done. The RRS LCF-10 foot is Arca-Swiss compatible (no need for an extra tripod plate) and, as you can see from the images below, it’s lower than just the Nikon foot by itself, let alone than the Nikon foot with a tripod plate attached, thus significantly lowering your camera-lens gravity centre.

Finally, the RRS tightening screw on the foot is ergonomically easier to operate and tighten than Nikon’s original. As you can see, it protrudes slightly more off the foot itself and it’s a bit deeper, offering a surer grip especially when wearing gloves.

So, if you want to try and increase success rate with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, I’ll definitely recommend giving the RRS LCF-10 & LCF-10P combination a try. They are perfectly made, solid, easy to mount and use, and will likely save many of your images from micro-movement’s blur!

Normandy & Brittany Photography Workshop

Thanks for reading this post, I hope you enjoyed it! Why don’t you share it with your friends, or drop me a comment to let me know how you feel about this?

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