tripods

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by samnc0, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. samnc0

    samnc0 Member

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    Are the common tripods used for digital cameras (such as Manfrotto, Bogen, Gitzo) also suitable for MF film cameras? I want to get a tripod for my nikon D50 and F4, but I also want one that can work for a MF camera if I can to purchase one some day.

    Any suggestions on a good tripod brand? The heaviest system I will probably have is a 6x7 MF or a digital DX camera with a 70-200 lens, maybe some day a manual focus 300 f/2.8 lens.
     
  2. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    I have a Gitzo Studex Performance for 8x10 inch and a Manfrotto 055DBX for 35 and D.
    I havn't tried the 055DBX with my SL66, but it should be sturdy enough.
    Much depends allso on the head you will buy: I have my doubts about the 804RC2 for the SL66, but none about the 410.

    Try to borrow a RB and check-out the tripod you are interested in.

    Both are Gitzo and Manfrotto are good for a life-time.
     
  3. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Tripods and heads are rated by weight, they couldn't care less about what the gizmo you stick on them is or does. Best to figure out the heaviest camera you plan to use with it (lots of variations in 6x7 from a light folder to an RZ with a prism and motor drive), and go from there. :smile:
     
  4. funkpilz

    funkpilz Member

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    Yes, they are. I just got a Manfrotto 190xprob that I use with the 056 3-way head. This combination is one of the many that supports SLRs with long lenses and "light medium format systems". I assume this means a hassie and the 80mm. Have a look at their website and see if anything catches your eye.
     
  5. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    Most tripod information I've seen recently (I'm in the market for one, too) lists the weight of the equipment a tripod is built to handle. I'm a bug for sturdiness, so if my camera weighs 7 pounds, I want a tripod that can handle twice that. Don't forget to include the weight of your tripod head in the calculations.

    I'd be wary of buying a "digital camera tripod." Many digital cameras are pretty light. A MF camera can be pretty heavy. Look for a 'pod with 3 leg sections, not four.

    Manfrotto, Bogen, Gitzo, Feisol, Giotto, Benbo all make models that may suit your needs. There are others as well. Berlebach, Induro, Reis. Try searching the APUG website for comments, there have been many.

    Peter Gomena
     
  6. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I use a Majestic 2501 with large geared head for everything. This tripod has been the best investment I have ever made. It has been used and just keeps on performing while my Bogens and tiltalls have turned to crap.

    People are looking for ways to cut weight fron tripods and they spend a lot of money on carbon fiber tripods. Actually, I believe that given two equally stable tripods with a variation in weight the heavier tripod will be the better choice. We are becoming a bunch of damned sissies and are trying to avoid exercise and then to make up for it we pay a membership to a gym. Downright silly.

    I wish I could find an affordable 50 pound tripod that was ultra stable and covered the height ranges I want.
     
  7. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    I'm partial to Linhof tripods. They have several light ones that can take any 35 or MF camera easily.
    For a 50 pound one, check out the heavy duty Pro. "Affordable" is debatable but I've seen them sell on ebay for 300 USD give or take.
    It's sturdy enough to do macros with the camera 10 feet off the ground.
     
  8. mawz

    mawz Member

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    The 190 legs can handle a 4x5 monorail, although they're a bit light for that. MF is not an issue.

    Heads are a problem. My cheap 141RC 3-way head can handle a lot of weight (including that 4x5, but that was at the head's limit for usability), but ballheads are mostly useless with anything more than light 35mm kit until you get into the good Arca-Swiss clones.
     
  9. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I'd actually say a relatively light 35mm camera with a long lens on the front is a worse case for the tripod then a heavy MF/LF camera centred over the tripod. That long lens on the front shifts the weight balance so much you need a heavier stronger tripod then the total weight of the camera would indicate.
     
  10. Morry Katz

    Morry Katz Member

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    tripod usage

    For 35mm I use a Manfrotto 055 with a Gitzo ball head to support a Contax N1 with a 24-85 and the 70-300. Works fine - and I can even carry it.

    For MF (Rollei SL66E) is use a Manfrotto 055XPROB with a Man. 410 geared head. I can carry this one, too, with the camera mounted. I retired my lovely big Benbo cause it's too heavy for this old man.

    Cheers

    Morry Katz
    Lethbridge, AB
     
  11. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    To which I would add that my experience with Bencher on servicing my Majestic tripod head was excellent. It's good to know that service is available.
     
  12. Fotoguy20d

    Fotoguy20d Subscriber

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    I use a Bogen Manfrotto 3021 with 3047 head with my Canon EOS cameras (with 70-200 f2.8 and 300mm f4) as well as 4x5 cameras. My only complaint with it is that it's big and heavy (around 9lbs)

    Dan
     
  13. edtbjon

    edtbjon Member

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    If money matters a good Feisol carbon fibre tripod costs around half of a similar Gitzo model. I use a Feisol CT-3401 with a CB-50H ballhead on a center column, but there are other versions available in the same "class". This particular combination weighs in at just under 2 kg. (4.3 pounds.) (The tripod costs $258 and the ballhead $159 at http://www.reallybigcameras.com/, which is Kerry Thalmann's business.)
    I don't shoot any digital, but for 35mm I use a Nikon F80 which is quite similar to your D50 in size. Now, the tripod mostly gets used with my Hasselblad for which it's a very good match. Nice and lightweight.
    It's possible that e.g. a Gitzo is a slightly better tripod, with even better locks etc. but I'm quite satisfied with the quality of the Feisol. From what I've seen on this and other forums, most other Feisol users are very satisfied with their tripods too.

    //Björn
     
  14. samnc0

    samnc0 Member

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    other suggestions for tripod brands?

    thanks for the replies. I would like other suggestions for brands. I didnt tell you this before, but I am OK with a heavier tripod of its sturdy. Therefore, I dont need a $600 tripod if a heavier $200 one is just as good, but just heavier.

    Is Flashpoint by Adorama any good? Also, what kind of ballheads should I get with a tripod?

    I want to only buy ONE tripod/ballhead (i.e. not get a cheap one and upgrade a few years later on) but I am young and perfectly OK with a heavier tripod if its just as good as a fancy light-weight and expensive carbon system.
     
  15. mawz

    mawz Member

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    Cheap legs like the Bogen 3021/Manfrotto 055 series are fine. Just make sure they're tall enough (The mistake I made with the Bogen 3001/Manfrotto 190 legs, not tall enough for my 6'3" frame). Spend the money on a good ballhead, at least a Benro Arca-Swiss clone, there's really no such thing as a good discount ballhead (the 'cheap' Arca-Swiss clones are pricier than a higher-end Bogen/Manfrotto ballhead, but you also get more performance out of the A-S clone).
     
  16. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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  17. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    Most of the tripods sold for digital cameras are much too flimsy for MF cameras. You need something quite sturdy. I would suggest something made to hold at least a 4X5 view camera (which is actually about the same weight as most MF cameras). Although tripods often list weight capacities, there is no standard for this, and the capacities listed mean very little. It is best to talk to experienced users and to actually handle the candidate tripods before buying. Stability is the goal. You need something that won't move when a big focal plane shutter goes off, a big mirror flops, or a big wind kicks up against your big camera. You also want something that you get along with operationally. You want to be able to carry it, to set it up quickly, and to adjust it easily. You do not want it to slip and slide, come out of adjustment while you're using it, or pinch your fingers. These things are best determined hands on. Weight is also a consideration, if you will haul the thing any distance. For many years I have used a Manfrotto 3221 with a 3047 head. It's about right for MF, although I dislike the fact that have to tighten up the screws on it frequently. But now that I'm over 70, I also fret about carrying its weight for five miles or so, and I'm hunting (not real enthusiastically) for something just as sturdy but lighter. The carbon fiber tripods are a possibility.
     
  18. bwakel

    bwakel Subscriber

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    There does seem to be quite a bit of nonsense and posturing about tripods, particularly as it relates to the heft of the tripod you need for MF and LF gear. What I've learnt is that the key thing is to get a tripod that's well constructed and a head that can take the required load without any flex or slippage. There are light tripods that meet these criteria and heavy ones that don't (I've had both!)

    I've ended up with a Gitzo 1128 with Arca Swiss B1 ballhead that works with everything from 35mm (Leica M6 and Nikon FM2n) through MF (Mamiya 7II) to LF (Toyo 45A). The tripod is very light but incredibly stiff and compacts down pretty small. If I'm travelling really light then I'll use my Gitzo 1550T Traveller which weighs next to nothing and compacts down to a tiny size. The little 1077 ballhead actually supports my 35mm and MF gear with no real problems and means I can use a tripod when trekking in the Alps when weight is a major issue with several days' food, water, clothing, tent, etc.

    What I have learnt is that you don't need a heavy tripod but there is absolutely no point to stinting on the quality of the tripod and head you buy and Gitzo have proved the most effective for me. Be aware that the length and weight of the lens you use can have a greater de-stabilising effect than the weight of the camera and choose a head that can cope with this de-stabilising effect if you're intent on using longer, heavier lenses.

    Barry