What Is A Tripod Collar?

A tripod collar, sometimes also called a lens collar, is a lens accessory that allows the lens to be mounted to a tripod.  When the weight of a lens reaches a certain threshold,  it’s no longer safe to mount the camera to a tripod as the weight of that lens would put too much strain on the lens mount.  Instead, a tripod collar is used on the lens and this provides an easy way to support your setup under the lens instead of the camera.  Large telephoto lenses of 300mm and upwards usually have permanently built-in tripod collars, while medium telephoto zooms like a 100-400 or a 70-200 will have removable collars that come with them.  Smaller telephoto lenses in the 100mm range often have the ability to accept a tripod collar, but rarely do they come with one in the box.  Macro lenses often have the ability to have a tripod collar as well because it provides a more sturdy setup and vibrations are magnified in macro photos so stability becomes paramount.

The secondary benefit of a tripod collar is the ability to loosen it and rotate the lens quickly between portrait and landscape orientation.  With heavier lenses, this is much easier than using the drop-notch on the side of your ballhead to achieve a portrait orientation.  Simply loosen the knob and rotate!  The collar stays in the same position on the tripod but your camera will rotate.

 

If you are looking for critical sharpness with any lens of 100mm and above, if it has a tripod collar option then I would definitely suggest using it.  If the lens actually comes with the collar then always use it because not doing so will almost certainly damage your camera’s lens mount.

 

Additional Reading

 

what is a lens collar

 

canon-tripod-collar

Canon 70-200 with the included tripod collar