for 12x20 shoot vertical ..Lotus VMD? Ries A250-2? (but Ries head can not pan)...

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by m21asph, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. m21asph

    m21asph Member

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    for 12x20 camera want to shoot vertical
    ..Lotus VMD? Ries A250-2? (but Ries head can not pan, can it?)...

    any body using Lotus's VMD?
    It looks like VMD will be more steady than tilt the head 90 degree.
    But carry VMD in the field is not easy.

    any other tripod head will do the job?

    thanks so much guys..

    Jeff
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    The Ries head can pan, but legs might get in the way.

    vaughn
     
  3. m21asph

    m21asph Member

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    planning to get A250-2 with NO5 Gitzo.

    legs still get in the way for panning? how?
     
  4. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    I have a ries double tilt and a knockoff I made of the lotus vertical mounting device. The ries pans by way of loosening the mounting screw, which puts some people off. It's not silky smooth like a panning platform but it works fine in my opinion. (I switched out the 3/8 head mounting bolt on my tripod to a bolt that has a knob on it.) I think it's a great combination for verticals. Hope this is of some help.

    I should mention that I'm only using a 5x12. A 12x20 on the other hand...
     
  5. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    You will have about 11 inches of camera hanging below the camera mounting screw of the head (and about 11" above it, of course). It is possible that the lower inside corner of the camera might come in contact with with one of the legs if you try to pan too far. It would just be a matter of setting up the pod so the camera would be positioned between two of the legs -- a rough guess is that you could have 50 or so degrees of panning without having to move the pod.

    One could reduce the chance of a leg being in the way by not spreading out the legs too far -- but having that large of a camera tilted 90 degrees probably would need a good amount of spread of the legs to keep it stable. And in addition, the most stable set-up would be to have one leg directly under the camera -- right where it may get in the way.

    If it would be helpful to you, I'll set my Ries (A100 with the double tilt head) tomorrow and take some measurements -- how wide is your camera in the 20" direction?

    Colin...I have always assumed that loosening the mounting screw that holds on the head was the way one was suppose to pan with the double-tilt head. With the round disk of white plastic material that goes between the pod and the head, it pans smoothly. I did have to send the mounting screw back to Ries -- my original one only caught a couple treads when tight and I was worried that I might accidently rotate the head right off the pod! (I got into the habit of rotating the camera only in the direction that would tighten the mounting screw -- a habit I kept even after getting the new mounting screw!)

    Vaughn
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Just to be sure that I am on the same page as you, you need to turn the entire 12x10 camera 90 degrees in order to shoot a vertical, correct? (in other words the camera does not have a reversible back)

    I tilted my Ries A250 double-tilt head 90 degrees. I then measured the distance from the screw that holds the camera on the head, straight down to the leg directly below the screw. That distance is about 7.5 inches. There is no way that a 12x20 camera will fit in a vertical position in the most stable configuration of having the weight direcly over one leg...at least on a Ries tripod.

    One should be able to put the camera in a vertical position between two legs, but there will be very little panning possible -- 15 degrees maybe. And one will have to be careful that the whole tripod and camera does not tip over -- spread those legs out!

    If a center post is used on the Gitzo, perhaps that could solve some of the problems...at the expense of stability. But it would lift the whole camera up and away from the legs. No.5 Gitzos are pretty heafty beasts, perhaps the center column is heavy-duty enough to handle it.

    Hope this is of some help.

    Vaughn
     
  7. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    Vaughn, a lotus VMD is a large 'L' shaped extension, gimbal head sort of attachment that centers the camera over the tripod when mounting. There's a shot of one here. I thought about using a bearing plate of some sort under the head, but thought it might take to much effort to crank down the bolt to keep it from turning. What type of plastic are you using?
     
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  8. George Losse

    George Losse Member

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    I use the majistic gear head to shoot verticals with my 8x20 camera.

    I turn the camera so that the right hand side is towards the crank, then I crank the head all the way over. This makes the normal side to side controls now up and down.

    I have two points to anchor the camera also on the gear head. I found that with just a single mounting point the camera spun on that point no matter how tight I had the screw. I had to use a leg to keep the camera from spinning. So I placed a second screw mount on the bottom of the camera.

    The downside of turning a panoramic view camera on its side is that you loose what would be rise and fall of the front standard. Your limited to what was its shift movements. Same thing in the back of the camera.
     
  9. c.d.ewen

    c.d.ewen Subscriber

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    Just happened to have the 12x20 on the Ries while reading this thread, so....

    Yikes! Not for the faint-of-heart, even with the back off.

    Indeed, the legs get in the way when panning.

    You might get away with it if you built a support board for the camera, e.g., 3/4 inch board attached to the camera bottom and rails and then mounted to the tripod. That would cause the camera to stick out further from the head.

    A cheap solution would be to make a 90 degree bracket; that would keep the weight over the center of the tripod.

    Charley
     
  10. m21asph

    m21asph Member

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    Dear all thanks so much for sharing...

    in the attachment is the pic which i received from Lotus.

    I so how think Lotus's VMD will be more steady than tilt the tripod head 90 degree.


    thanks

    Jeff
     

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  11. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    If you're going to be shooting a lot of verticals with a 12x20 I highly recommend having a vertical back made for it. It is nothing to pull the bellows, roll the horizontal back off and then the vertical back on and replace the bellows. Your camera movements are still same and no need to worry about stability issues. These cameras were not designed to be flipped on their side. I shoot 8x20 with interchangeable backs. If you have ever had one of these on their side with the bellows racked out 24-30" you'll see the bed rails screaming and the standards ready to rip out of the bed. An occasional vertical and I'm sure a bracket will be fine but I shoot more than 50% of the time vertical so I had an extra vertical back made. If you are going to turn that large of a camera I would carry an extra monopod or tripod for added support.
     
  12. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    I can see where the VMD can work -- especially with your "smaller" camera. I wonder if it is big enough for an 12x20? or even sturdy enough for its weight?

    The plastic disk came with the Ries pod and head when I bought them new directly from Ries. (I had gotten $250 worth of Ries product as a prize in a ViewCamera mag photo contest -- thought I would have to pay just a few bucks more for the whole set-up...the $250 ended up being the price of the head only! Still worth every penny I paid for the pod...$400).

    Anyway, I do not know the type of plastic -- it is white...thin, but tough. I have seen "kits" on ebay a long while ago -- someone was selling the plastic disk and a square piece of leather (for the top of the head). But the head is easily tightened against the pod even with the plastic inbetween...no slipping.

    Vaughn
     
  13. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Been thinking about it -- you might be able to cut a piece of plastic from the side of a gallon milk jug and give it a try.

    It would be just a little thinner that the one my camera came with. Otherwise contact Ries and have then send you one.

    Vaughn
     
  14. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    I have that piece of plastic that comes with the Ries tripod also. Cork works much better. That is what Richard Ritter recommends and I have found it to be true. If the cork starts to glaze just hit it with some emory cloth or sand paper and it is as good as new. I think Ries just sends that as a way of protecting your camera bed. I found it to slip terribly. I went to cork and the problem was solved. Give them both a try and you'll see what I mean.
     
  15. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    The plastic goes between the pod and the head -- not the head and the camera!!!!!

    The plastic allows for panning of the head without grinding the metal on top of the tripod against the metal on the bottom of the head.

    I can see how the plastic would be useless on top of the head!

    Vaughn
     
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  16. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Sorry Vaughn I thought you were refering to the square plastic piece that came with the head. I do have the round plastic piece between the head and the tripod. I stand corrected. The square piece is worthless
     
  17. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    No Need to yell!!!! You're pretty free with those exclamation marks.
     
  18. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Sorry, too much parential experience, I'm afraid. I had already explained where the plastic disk (not square) went...just thought the statement needed a little more exuberance...almost to the point of a warning.

    THIS IS YELLING...IMO, exclamation points are more along the lines of emphisis. But thanks for the heads up...I will use them with more restraint!!!!!

    My pod/head did not come with a square piece of plastic (that I remember, anyway). I prefer having nothing inbetween the head and the camera as I sometimes end up spinning the camera 180 degrees if I need to point the camera significantly down (the Ries head can only significantly tilt one way front-to-back). My camera base is scrapped up a bit as a result, but since I am not worried about resale value and it does not affect its operation, I don't worry about it.

    Vaughn
     
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  19. bobherbst

    bobherbst Member

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    for 12x20 shoot vertical ..Lotus VMD? Ries A250-2? (but Ries head can not pan)...

    Jeff,

    I'll bring us back on track (robert). I have been shooting vertical 12x20 images in the field with a Wisner Technical Field camera for 4 years on an A100/A250 platform. Virtually all of the 12x20 vertical images on my web site - www.bobherbst.com - were shot with this configuration. I tilt the camera to the left so I set the tripod up with one leg pointing directly out to the right side parallel to the film plane. Mount the camera on the head in the horizontal position. I use a very thin piece of packing foam on the top of my tripod to reduce slippage. It is free, "stickier" than cork and easily replaced when it gets frayed. A second mount hole is a better solution, but not an easy matter in my configuration.

    At this point I want to suggest a piece of insurance. I carry a 5 lb. sand bag in the vehicle to use as a counter weight. I hang it from the spike in the right side tripod leg (Assumes you are using the rubber feet end on the ground). The tripod and head are capable of supporting the camera without the counter-weight. It just makes the whole set up a lot more stable. In the early days, I just carried a cloth bag which I would fill with rocks from where ever I was shooting. But rocks aren't available everywhere so I now carry a sand bag.

    Using the scissors hinge of the head, turn the entire camera 90 degrees on its side to the left straddling the two legs on that side. You will have to get the feel for the spread of the legs to accommodate the camera. I try to set it all up such that the camera back is just resting on one of the legs to add rigidity. (Yes, I have dings in my camera and tripod. They are just tools.) Level everything using head adjustments, moving tripod legs, etc. and compose.

    A second piece of insurance is a second smaller tripod to place under the outer edge of the camera back to stop slippage, reduce vibration, and increase overall rigidity. I use a standard Tiltall tripod with an integrated head for the secondary support. It is light weight and simple to use.

    All of this equipment including the camera four film holders, a bag of lenses fits easily on a fold-up photo cart for transport. I've pulled it behind me for a couple miles on a graded gravel path with little exertion.

    As for limited movements, that depends on your camera. On the Wisner TF, you are not limited to the amount of shift for rise/fall in the vertical orientation. Point the camera up from horizontal and use swing on the back and lens standard to bring them back to vertical providing more rise. I have had my camera in extreme configurations in a vertical orientation to get 4-5" inches of rise with a 30" lens. It is possible. I have done it. But be very aware of bellows sag in such situations. Keep a roll of gaffers tape with you to tape the bellows tight to avoid sag intruding into the image area.

    I looked at the VMD. It looked more stable on the tripod once mounted, but hoisting a 28.5 lb camera plus the weight of the VMD up onto the tripod when the camera handle is now on the side didn't sound like fun.

    I liked the vertical format so much that I had Ron Wisner make a vertical rear standard made for my 12x20. It's probably the only one Wisner ever made and I wish I could get commission from him on Robert's. But I really only use it in the studio or if I am going to specifically shoot a vertical image in the field. Changing the camera configuration in the field is not really practical. So I pack a second tripod and a sand bag and I'm ready for both in the field.

    Hope this helps. I encourage you to give it a try. A vertical shot will take much longer to set up and compose the image but it is worth it. Your knees will probably be weak the first time but it will work. Try not to do your first one with the backs of your legs pressed against a guardrail along the edge of the road with a drop-off 4 feet in front of you. That was my first one - maybe why my knees were a little weak. Good luck.

    Bob Herbst
     
  20. bobherbst

    bobherbst Member

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    for 12x20 shoot vertical ..Lotus VMD? Ries A250-2? (but Ries head can not pan)...

    Jeff,

    PS You don't pan the camera when it is set up in this way. You move the whole tripod. That's part of why it can take a long time to set up and compose the image.

    Bob
     
  21. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Bob, I find changing the configuration much more practical. I guess it is like field dressing a weapon, after you do it a few times you can do it with your eyes closed. It takes me about 3 min to change rear standards. With cameras this large seldom are we more than a couple of hundred yards away from the truck. 9 times out of 10 you will know what configuration you'll be shooting in before you set out. My camera back weighs about 7 lb and it will fit into a large backpack in case both backs need to be taken into the field. It can go on my back or on the dolly ( I prefer the dolly). Personally I like working with my camera bed flat and all my movements the same. There's no need for extra tripods or counter weights. Again I'll emphasize that these cameras were not designed to put the kind of stress you put on them when you turn them on their side. By resting the camera back on one of the tripod legs not only eliminates pan movement but what normally would be bed tilt movement as well and rear focusing can be a problem not allowing the rear standard to move in and out. If dust is an issue, what I do is pull the bellows with the darkcloth drapped over the back, wrapping the bellows in the darkcloth as I remove it. Bellows sag can be solved by adding bellows tabs in the opposite configuration. I've tried it both ways in the field and in the studio. I find it much faster to set up and even faster to compose with all my movements the same and a lot less stress on the camera. I'm just offering what I feel, in my opionion, is the best way to work with these large cameras. Others may feel differently. I just want Jeff to be aware that there is another option other than flipping a 12x20 on its side. I think he should shoot the 12x20 on its side and then determine if a vertical back is practical. He can always have one made later on. Again a lot has to do with how much he is going to shoot vertical. If he is only going to shoot a couple of sheets of film out of a hundred then the investment into a vertical back probably isn't feasible. Either way Jeff have fun, 12x20 is a great and grand format. Robert
     
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  22. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    That sounds like a great option, Robert. Even with a 5x12 (approx. 4 times smaller) I feel abit pale while it is on it's side, even centered on the tripod...Hey, I bet you could also fashion or have made an alternate front standard with extra rise too? That would be only a few extra ounces of aluminum. Or does tilting the bed work well enough?
     
  23. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Colin, Excellent question. A 12x20 is built on an 11x14 bed. This has the same front standard as an 11x14 which allows you to tilt the front of the bed up to get the lens into the sweet spot of the ground glass. Unfortunately an 8x20 is built on an 8x10 bed with an 8x10 front standard. With lenses with tight coverage you can't get the 8x10 standard up into the sweet spot (center of the ground glass) even with a radical bed tilt. 8x20 has the largest differences in format when going from horizontal to vertical.(12" difference for 8x20...8" difference for 12x20....10" difference for 7x17...ect...ect.) I spoke with Ron Wisner about making a front standard with telescoping vertical rails but I wasn't willing to wait on Wisner lead times. I just had Ron make me another front standard with the vertical rails from a 16x20 camera. This means when I change backs I also roll off the front standard and roll the taller one on. Now you may wonder why not just leave the taller standard on all the time. When you go back to the horizontal back the camera will not close into the transport position with the longer vertical rails from the taller vertical standard. When you go to change configurations you already have the back and bellows off the bed so it only takes an extra 30 seconds or so to change the front standard too. I just carry the front standard with the appropriate back. Not much added weight at all. This way I can always work with a flat camera bed. This is not needed for a 12x20 with the taller 11x14 front standard. You can tilt the bed to get enough rise. Is the 5x12 built on a 5x7 bed with a 5x7 front standard? If so you may need to check how much rise you can get with a bed tilt to see if you can get the lens up into the center of the ground glass. A vertical telescoping front standard would be the ticket for sure. That way one front standard can serve both back configurations. Robert
     
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  24. Colin Graham

    Colin Graham Member

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    Very cool. Yes, mine is built on a 5x7 bed, because initially I was going to make a separate 5x7 rear standard for it and just have the one camera bed to carry around. But now I think I might make a vertical back instead, I'm really starting to like vertical panos. Thanks.
     
  25. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    Colin, Keep in mind that the problem with the 8x20 stemmed from me trying to use shorter focal length wide angle lenses (14" Trigor and 16 1/2" Dagor) With longer lenses and the bellows extended out you will not need as much of a radical bed tilt. With my 30" red dot I probably wouldn't even need the taller front standard. But it sure is nice having all that extra movement and working from a flat bed. Robert