Tripod Recommendation for 4x5?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Fotoguy20d, Mar 14, 2008.

  1. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I'm looking for a new tripod. It needs to be able to handle my Graphic View or Canon SLR with 70-200 f2.8 lens. I'd also like something small and light enough to be strapped to the outside of a daypack for hiking. Oh, and I don't want to spend more than $200 for tripod and head. Any thoughts on a good choice? Price might be flexible since I'd have no problem looking for a used one.

    Thanks,
    Dan
     
  2. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    I'm using a Gitzo 1228 which is working out well for my new 4x5 and it's been great for my Nikon SLR+ 80-200 and my medium format gear. The Gitzo prices are really crazy, but I'd take a serious look at the Feisol carbon fiber tripods that Kerry Thalman is offering at Reallybigcameras.com--an APUG sponsor. Frankly, it looks, like you get 90% of the Gitzo at a third of the price. They have the equivalent tripod to the 1228 for $175 without a center column (which isn't recommended anyway). They just came out with their latest generation and are offering the old prices for a few more days--so I'd jump on that deal and look for a used head.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    A second-hand Tiltall has given me perfect service for over 35 years. New Tiltalls are made overseas, and I can't vouch for their quality.
     
  4. david b

    david b Member

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    I am using a Bogen 3443 carbon fiber tripod and a Kirk BH-3 head.
     
  5. Erik Ehrling

    Erik Ehrling Member

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    I am seriously considering a Gitzo 3530LSV+Markins M20 setup for my Nikon FM3A 35mm, do you reckon it would be stable enough also for a large format 4x5 camera? Any other recommendations?

    (This is actually only speculation - if I happen to fall into the trap of buying a large format camera, that is... :smile:)

    Regards,
    Erik Ehrling (Sweden)
     
  6. Phillip P. Dimor

    Phillip P. Dimor Member

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    I've used a Husky Quikset for everything. I have traveled with it but it is heavy, definitely not like a carbon fiber or anything. Second hand, it ran me about $30. Three way pan tilt head.

    The one disadvantage is that you can't change heads and I haven't found a way to stick a bogen/manfrotto one on (and I don't think I ever will either)

    It's held a 4x5 speed graphic with 15" wollensak tele optar just fine. That was the test for me. Otherwise it's sturdy and inexpensive.
     
  7. jovo

    jovo Membership Council

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    I think it's arguably true that the Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 pod with a 3047 head is the all time classic, utilitarian combination for all formats through 4x5. They are certainly likely to be available on the bay, but are in more expensive, and differently numbered iterations new. I'm sure you can get good examples of them for what you've budgeted or less.
     
  8. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    A small caveat. I have found carbon fiber tripods to be unstable in wind with the sail a field camera creates. I actually prefer a heavy tripod for the 4x5. (until I have to carry it :wink:)
     
  9. pellicle

    pellicle Member

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    Dan

    I just bought another manfroto 190 ... my old one was great, this one sucks. There is a new 'snazzy' stem that comes out and then drops to the side. The section where the head joins on looks like its metal, but its actually plastic.

    my LF camera is like a 20Hz tuning fork prong on it. Sure its stable but shit it wobbles.

    My solution has been to run a drinking straw (no kidding) from the front standard down to one of the legs and use a blob of blue tac on each end to 'attach'. This seems to nicely dampen out the vibrations. I liked the idea enough that I now run another straw between front and back standard for extra stability on my Toho camera.
     
  10. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    beat me to it :smile:

    tiltall tripods are worth their weight in gold.
    i have been using one for 20 years ... used it
    with a graphic view II, speed graphic and graflex slr.
    one leg removes and it can be used as a monopod as well...

    a while back one was one for sale here in the classifieds,
    its not there now, but maybe it is still for sale ...

    john
     
  11. Erik Ehrling

    Erik Ehrling Member

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    Could you recommend a good non-carbon fiber tripod?

    Regards,
    Erik Ehrling (Sweden)
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    Since you're in Sweden, have you looked at Stabil?

    I use a Stabil "Tredel" for the big heavy cameras whenever I can transport it easily, and a Manfrotto 055MF if I travel by air. The two heads, a giant Unilock and a small(ish) Giottos ballhead, get switched from one tripod to the other depending on camera weight.
     
  13. pellicle

    pellicle Member

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    Ole

    thanks for that link! I must say though that I don't quite understand the details on the site
    For example, one of them is listed as
    Length: folded/extended: ,65/,144 m.

    so its 65cm when folded and 14.4cm when extended?

    however they look very tempting
     
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  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member

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    I hadn't noticed, since I didn't look at the English version until now. The Swedish measurements are correct. It seems he's had some difficulties translating Swedish cm to English cm... :smile:
     
  16. BrianPhotog

    BrianPhotog Member

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    For my CG I use a Manfrotto 190Pro with a 410 Jr. Geared Head. The tripod is compact and sturdy enough and the geared head is great for 3-way precision. Plus it had big, rubbery knobs instead of long handles, which I like. There are also a lock behind each knob for free movement on that axis instead of geared movement.
     
  17. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Despite it weight, I have been very happy with my 5kg Manfrotto tripod (144B, I don't know if it's still produced...). Yes, it's a lot of weight to carry, but I have successfully carried it for hikes up to about 15-20 km's, tucked away in a good rucksack. It will easily hold my view camera (Tachihara) and my Minolta Dynax 7 including 70-200 2.8 and 2x converter...

    However, whatever you choose, just a few general tips:
    - Avoid tripods with "geared columns" AS THE PLAGUE, columns that need to be heightened by turning round a handle. Although this may sound nice, in practice these systems can break up and worse of all, if sand get's in between the column and cog-wheels, the sand will grind away on the columns gear. It will be ruined...
    - The same holds for tripods that use "screw-threads" for fastening the extendable legs. Again, if sand get's in the threads, they will fail. Threads should be avoided on any tripod.

    You can not use these kind of tripods in desert / beach type situations, especially with some wind throwing up sand. They are only suitable for studio's in my opinion.

    Look for tripods using clamp like fasteners for the extendable legs and heightening the central column, like most Manfrotto tripods have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 16, 2008
  18. junqbox

    junqbox Member

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    Hi, I've been using a Manfrotto 190 for years now with Nikon 801, Toyo studio 4x5 and new D300 and never had a problem. nice light and compatc to carry as a bonus.

    Cheers,
    Brett
     
  19. walter23

    walter23 Subscriber

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    I have a manfrotto 055B pro with three way head that I picked up for about $200 (it's got a bogen branded equivalent in some other countries). It's excellent with my shenhao & anything I've thrown at it on the DSLR end of the spectrum, and will even support my old wooden conley 8x10 with 6000 lb turner reich triple convertible (albeit JUST BARELY - I'm going to eventually get a more sturdy one for the 8x10 as it's really beyond its capacity at this point). The 055 isn't as light as the CF equivalents, but I've hauled it all over the place without problems, day-long hikes, that kind of thing.


    Woohoo - POST # 666 |,,|, O_O .|..|
     
  20. pellicle

    pellicle Member

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    well I don't know what bogen / manfrotto are doing now, but their products are not what they were (comparing my well over 10 year old with my new one. The leg clamps are nice, but put a laser pointer on your camera and trigger it off ... mine moves the dot on the wall through 3mm or more with a lightweight Toho 4x5 (weighs less than 3Kg with lens). The seiko leaf shutter is not really much of a vibration inducer yet it shows in the red dot and in some images. I first picked this up while wondering why my images here in Finland were so soft, I was about to blame the ADOX film, when I checked the image carefully I found that there was an oval blur around the red LED on the stereo in the test shot. When I checked the digital reference I'd taken, none was found.

    [​IMG]

    this tiny amount of vibration is enough to take the 'edge' off what should be a sharper image.

    I wonder how many people blame their lenses when it's probably the tripod.
     
  21. pellicle

    pellicle Member

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    When I took this image for example
    [​IMG]
    click for bigger view

    I used the older tripod. I've got a print of it hanging in my stair case which is over 120cm high and you can view it nicely even at 30cm viewing distance. People often put their glasses on to see it better ;-)

    So I know something is not the same between new and old manfrotto 190
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2008
  22. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    My old Manfrotto carbon 441 has just started to fall apart (I have abused it somewhat) so I decided to return to Gitzo and just bought their GT3530S. So far I'm very impressed with the build quality and ease of use. Their new anti leg rotation and G-loc system is a vast improvement over my old aluminium Studex Performance tripod which is gathering dust in my loft.

    The payload for the 3530S is 18kg so there is plenty to spare when using my Ebony and Manfrotto geared head.

    The 3530S is part of the Systematic range so does not come with a centre column (which I rarely use) but has an oversized top plate. A column (geared or rapid) can be added as an optional extra.
     
  23. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    18 kg is the weight of a small child... No ordinary photography tripod can carry that! Just imagine a 5-year old toddler sitting on top of your tripod :D

    Anyway, the weight a tripod can carry is usually not so much limited by the tripod itself, but by it's tripod head. Looking at the Gitzo website (http://www.boeringa.demon.nl), I am pretty much convinced the true payload of this tripod is more in the 4 - 6 kg range (including tripod head), as Gitzo recommends this one for 300-500mm lenses.

    The 18kg is probably a figure that denotes the TOTAL weight the tripod might just be able to withstand theoretically, including how much weight you can hang BELOW the tripod to strengthen / stabilize it, NOT the weight on top of the tripod.
     
  24. Trevor Crone

    Trevor Crone Member

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    That's what they quote in their brochure (www.gitzo.com), and the instructions advise the user not to exceed the max specified load.........but I'm sure you may be correct it may be more of a theoretical breaking point. However their 2007 brochure does seem to illustrate one of their carbon tripods carrying a load of 99kg! Hype?....I don't of course know, one would have to take this up with Gitzo.

    The fact they mention it for 300-500mm lenses is more about stability and not payload for the series 3 Studex range is somewhat lighter then their series 4 and 5.

    Anyway my Ebony with my largest lens weighs no more then 4kg and my Manfrotto geared head has a published payload of 7.5kg and weighs a mere 1.6kg.

    Also it comes with a 5 year warrenty (conditions apply) so if it gives way under normal use I'll be on to them like a 'ton of bricks'.....or should that be 18kgs of bricks?:smile:
     
  25. Bandicoot

    Bandicoot Member

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    My Gitzo Series 5 will easily take the weight of this 42 year old toddler :D

    I do think you are right though: there's a differnece between the payload that might damage the tripod and is likely to be the basis for the manufacturer's calculation of a quoted maximum load figure, and the amount of mass that you'd want to put on top of the tripod and expect it still to be stable and able to control vibration. Unfortunately I don't know any tripod manufacturer that adequately explains that distinction or the basis for the figures they quote. Surprise surprise...


    Peter
     
  26. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I think $200 is a difficult price point for both the tripod and the head, so perhaps used is the way to go. I have a Berlebach wooden tripod with an Acratech ball head. Quite pleased with both. The low weight of Carbon Fiber looks appealing but for the cost of a Gitzo I will just hire someone to carry me.

    I like the idea of testing tripod stability with a laser pointer. Had not thought of that.