Tales of Tripod woes and still learning after all these years

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Peter Schrager, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I'm making this post as a funny bone tickler and a lesson for the new and old timers who do large format. I was up in Vt this past week and was my kodak 33a 5x7 and a slik 500dx tripod...well not exactly using because as soon as I removed it from the car one of the legs snapped off due to the cold (carbon fiber) so I made some 2 legged photos with the aid of the snowbanks. but when the second leg broke off I was in deep s...t!! went back to Richard Ritters house and he lent me his lightweight Zone VI wooden tripod and I was finally able to go and make some photos. At the same time I came to realize the difference in a good tool for the job...deep snowbanks; wind;passing trucks and other such inconveniences were no match for me now!! the wood never failed to move freely in the cold and filled with snow too...a really good learning curve
    now the slik is not a bad tripod and I own 2 of them...but being cheap carbon fiber it broke like a toothpick in the cold and I can't imagine what it might do in other extreme conditions. so after years and years of assorted metal; aluminum and other such idiocy I'm going for wood. you can repair it in the field or go to the hardware store. make sure your batteries are fresh too as my lightmeter died the same day. you see one is never too experienced to learn something. I'm hoping to go on some long trips to photograph and that single day in Vt in the freezing cold was worth a lot of time saved
    have a great day!!!
    Best, Peter
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 22, 2011
  2. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    OUCH!!
     
  3. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    no ouch John...one my best learning days in the last 10 years....
    Peter
     
  4. lns

    lns Member

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    Thanks for sharing this. I've never heard that carbon fiber tripods break in the snow and cold. It seems strange, since that material is used for bicycles and boats and all sorts of equipment.

    -Laura
     
  5. Bob-D659

    Bob-D659 Member

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    Carbon fiber replaces glass fibers in composite materials. It is brittle just like glass, but is stronger. Thin composites lose their elasticity and break easily when they get cold. Saturn composite body panels shatter in the cold winters here and so do ABS bumper covers. In warm weather they just deform and will pop back to their original shape.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    "Carbon fiber" describes a fair range of materials, so some types are going to hold up better under different conditions.
     
  7. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    Peter,

    Check your PMs
     
  8. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    May have just been the cold also if the meter were out and exposed (no pun :smile:). Battery efficiency drops off quickly. I keep a second set for my Nikon N90 in an inside pocket and swap them if necessary to warm the first set. Usually takes a good deal of outside cold time though.
     
  9. boswald

    boswald Member

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    Before you go someplace as cold as the northern tier or the Great White North, put your camera in
    the freezer(in a bag of course) and check that your shutter is somewhat normal, and that any auto
    diaphragms don't stop down too slowly.
    (Then back in the bag to limit condensation)
    I put it in the car, test, then bag and bring in the house. Two lenses waiting for CLA right now,
    they're only good to 20 or so.

    if it's so beautiful, do you want to buy some land?
     
  10. 23mjm

    23mjm Member

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    It would seem that Silk used a cheap substandard materials. There are many many applications that utilize carbon fiber. Airplane wings are being made of carbon fiber, it's cold at 48,000 feet. Bicycles are made of carbon fiber, ever seen a Belgian cyclocross race in a snowy winter night. Ski poles are being made of carbon fiber for both cross country and downhill. The list could go on. FIWI I have used my Fiesol carbon fiber tripod in cold snowy conditions without a problem, I even put it n the back of my truck fully extended and drive around looking for my next photo!!
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    It's not a matter of sub standard, it's a matter of getting what you pay for. There's a reason Gitzo is twice the money
    Ever price aircraft grade bolts? They're not the variety from the local Ace. Or military hammers & toilet seats. ;P
     
  12. stevebrot

    stevebrot Member

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    Gitzos break too.


    Steve
     
  13. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    I never meant to infer that ALL carbon fiber is worthless in the cold...go and stick a gitzo in salt water for a week and report back to me!! horses for courses and there is a tool for every job...tripods and batteries
    just glad my box cameras are just that..a box!! nothing that can't be fixed
    metal tripods tend to go out of whack etc
    the thread was MORE about a learning curve...the slik is actually a damn nice piece for $125. managed to locate a Zone Vi for my next foray into the wilderness!! and I will have an extra battery in my coat

    everyone have a great day....
    Best, Peter
    Best. Peter
     
  14. Roger Thoms

    Roger Thoms Subscriber

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    No problem with salt water as long as you don't ever need to collapse the Gitzo tripod in the future. :D

    Don't ask me how I know that.

    Roger