Nikon Accessories

This is basically a rant about how NIKON can make stunning cameras and lenses, but seem to have their collective heads up someones a***e when it comes to designing the accessories…

Exhibit 1 – Original NIKON tripod collar foot for the 70-200 f/2.8 S lens

The black thing you see above is the thing that bolts onto the lens (in this case, the 70-200 f/2.8 S zoom lens) and lets you mount said lens (and logically, any camera attached to it) on a tripod. Only you can’t – without bolting on another adapter (for the most part of the tripods available today)

NIKON 70-200 f/2.8 S

Still with me?

There is, however, a fundamental flaw with the original NIKON design. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.

I shall quote from Wikipedia (‘cos they do it better than I) « Swiss camera equipment maker Arca-Swiss Phototechnik AG developed a quick-release mounting system for their tripod heads. The system is based on 38 mm wide mounting plates with a 45° dovetail rail on the sidesSince 1990 many other manufacturers now utilize this system. »

For ‘many’ read ‘almost everyone’ – so here we are with a host of tripod manufacturers producing tripod heads designed to take the ‘Arca type‘ attachement plate – the now familiar 38mm wide dovetailed plate with a 1/4″ screw to attach the camera, or in this case, lens.

Fly in the ointment time – where’s NIKON in all of this? Somewhere in Japan, where news doesn’t travel fast it seems. In addition, if you were to ever lose this tripod collar foot, it would cost a significant amount of cash to replace from NIKON. So the long and the short of all this, is that you can’t just plonk your new lens onto ANY tripod head, ‘cos it won’t fit.

Exhibit 2 – iShoot tripod collar foot for the NIKON 70-200 f/2.8 S lens

Thanks to computer technology (3D scanning principally) and a keen sense of marketing, a number of Chinese companies make extremely affordable, and very well made ‘equivalents’ for a large number of camera accessories, which very often go above and beyond original accessory specifications.

Exhibit 2 is a perfect example. It’s made from forged/machined aluminium, has three different threaded holes for fixed accessory mounting (1/4″ and 3/8″) AND (and this is the best bit) has the Arca type 38mm dovetail plate, so you can use it on pretty much any modern tripod/ball head. The last fact, that this costs the eye watering sum of 30€ shipped from China, seems somehow insignificant…

Incidentally, this model actually fits the 100-400 f/4-f/5.6 zoom too…

To tie up this rant, NIKON have done this a staggering number of times – the original NIKON battery pack for the Z6ll / Z7ll series costs nearly 400€ so some bright spark in China started churning out cheaper (fully functioning) versions which can be found between 50€ and 100€ is another example…go figure…