New Nikon 600mm F/4 FL ED VR is too front-heavy with D810 attached

Update 04.03.2017: Perfectly balancing a Nikon 600mm FL with a D810 / D500 works now. I not only replaced the stock foot, but also use the gimbal Heavy Duty MK IV by jobu design.

Update 23.04.2016: Balancing the 600mm FL horizontally works fine now. I finally went with a foot replacement by jobu design.

Update 06.11.2015: A few words about my setup in the video. I replaced the stock foot of the lens with the RRS LCF-13, which has a lower profile, is lighter than the original Nikon foot and even slighly longer. The tripod head is by Dietmar Nill and weights 1.2kg. Unfortunately height can not be addjusted, but it’s less extrem than it seems in the video. Note that the exact same setup worked perfectly fine on the older 600mm F/4 ED VR.

I just got my Nikon 600mm f/4 FL ED VR a few days ago. It’s so light and you can really handhold it. But the initial smile after picking it up went away pretty quickly as soon as I mounted it on my tripod with the D810 attached. It’s not possible to balance it! It’s way too front-heavy.

Only after not only attaching the additional battery grip MD-12, but also loading it with AA batteries, did I manage to balance it. The normal EN-EL15 was not enough.

How can this be? What an oversight by Nikon! I bought this lens because it’s light, and now I have to add weight back to make it work properly. What an irony!

This actually means that it only works properly with the heaviest camera, the D4. It also means that Nikon can’t make lighter flagship bodies in the future as long as they still want to support this lens.

The only solution I see without having to completely redesign the lens, is to drastically reduce the weight of the hood. Good opportunity for any 3D printing business. I’d buy one.


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  1. I have just received the RRS new foot LCF 18 and found that it cannot achieve a balancing point on D800 without grip and the 600mmFL with lenscoat.

    1. I found the Nikon stock foot/Wimberley plate is perfectly balanced with my d810. I found the RRS LCF-18 did not work so well. In other words, the heavier Nikon foot helps balance by lighter d810 camera.

  2. Hi Simon,
    Just saw your comment on my review of the new Nikon 600mm lens. There are couple of things you can do to avoid the balance issues in your video. First, adjust the head to balance the lens. In the video, your lens is sitting way too high on the mounting plate. It need to be lower. I am not familiar with the head you are using but on the Wimberley head, the mounting plate can be moved up and down. This allows us to get the pivot point on the head to line up with the center of the lens. See this video –

    The second issue could be that your quick release plate (on the lens) is too short for the setup you are using. I use the Wimberley P-50 lens plate. It extends further forward. I use either a Nikon D4 or a Nikon D810 with the battery grip so I probably don’t need the extra length when I am shooting. However, when leading workshops it is useful as some workshop participants who want to try the lens do have lighter cameras.

    Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Nikhil
      Thanks for your suggestions. You are certainly right, that attaching the Wimberley P-50 will solve the problem, because I will be able to slide the camera further back, but that adds extra weight and height.

      My point is that I find it ironic that I switched from the older 600mm to the new one mainly to save weight and now I have to add it back with an additional lens plate and/or the battery pack. In my opinion the lens should work out of the box without having to modify it.