ULF Panoramic Tripod Challenges

Discussion in 'Ultra Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Michael Kadillak, Aug 22, 2006.

  1. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    A few days ago I came across a marvelous (albeit rare for me) opportunity to photograph with my 8x20 Canham camera in the verticle orientation. Having never done this before I approached the situation with much trepidation. While my Ries head was able to make the 90 degree verticle shift I found that there were a couple of things that I need to consider to make this situation optimal. First was to make sure that the tripod legs are spread very wide to accomodate the shift in center of mass and also to fit the lower section of the camera between the legs. Second problem evolved around the stresses placed on the single tripod mount. I found that although I tightened the base screw well with relatively light pressure the camera could rotate while in position - not good. As a result, I felt that improvements in this area are much needed. Hey, I may want to shoot more in this orientation.

    I immediately thought of the thin circular rubber sticky pads that we used to open up screw on caps with. Spreading the surface pressure of the make up screw could make it more difficult for the camera to shift. However, IMO the best solution of all would be the ability to utilize both camera screws (3/8" and 1/4") that would prevent any possible camera shift while photographing. Both my Wisner and my Canham have two tripod mounts int eh base of the camera.

    Has anyone come across a tripod mount that accepts both base screws or some other creative solution to the situation I described above?

    Thanks in advance,
     
  2. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Michael, I know I've seen those tripod platforms that were used by the old banquet photographers. I don't think they used them for verticle though. I think I'm going to build one to see if it will hold the 8x20 that I'm building. I've seen these on e-bay from time to time. I like the verticle format on 8x20 also and would love to hear any response.

    Stay Focused....or Soft Focused!!

    Jim
     
  3. clay

    clay Subscriber

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    Michael,

    Find if you tripod has the ability to add more than just one screw. The canham's have two screw holes in the bottom, and I try to use both. That will keep the thing from rotating on the axis of a single screw.
     
  4. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Michael,

    The RH Phillips 7x17 I bought from Clay also has two screw holes in the base, both 3/8ths inch. I do some verticals using the big Ries legs and head as a base. Even with that Rock of Gibraltar I feel uncomfortable with the imbalance.

    This winter I have a project in mind that will combine an idea that Lotus View Cameras is thinking about, but is not yet offering. See "Valuable tools in design" http://www.lotusviewcamera.at/subs/1sub_accessories_e.html. The concept is attractive because the weight of the camera-lens-film holder stays directly over the center of the tripod, perfectly balanced.

    To implement this concept, give credit to Kerry Thalmann's lecture at the View Camera Conference. He introduced us to http://www.8020.net/, 80/20 the industrial erector set. They also have an eBay store for odd size pieces and cut off ends. The requirements of a 7x17 or 8x20 certainly fit in their definition of scraps.

    I am a retired salesman with ideas. If any of you has a more practical mechanical background and like the idea, please post a bill of materials of pieces that address the stresses so we all can put the idea to work.

    Stay focused and balanced.

    John Powers
     
  5. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    Michael,
    When I asked Keith Canham about shooting my 5x12 in the vertical position, he said that it was doable, but that when tilting the camera on its side, I should be sure and put it over one of the tripod legs. Does the larger camera not permit you to do this?
     
  6. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Diane,

    On the big Ries the base of the 7x17 hits the leg if it is out far enough to offer any support. On mine I have to put the camera between the legs.

    John Powers
     
  7. colrehogan

    colrehogan Member

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    I see, John.
     
  8. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    After giving this some further thought, the problem could be solved quite easily with the following accessory.

    I have a Ries A250 head. Bolt a lightweight square base the same size of the Ries head into the base of the camera that uses both receiving holes. Recess these screw holes so the base will fit flat on the top of the tripod head. On one side of the base camera plate put a ridge lip that will acept the side of the A250 head and act as a further deterent for rotation. On the bottom of this camera plate will be a 3/8" receiving screw so this can be attached to the A250 tripod head. The ridge lip should be utilized on the on the top side of the head to provide weight support of the attachment screws and prevent rotation of the camera.
     
  9. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I've thought about this problem some. So far I've limited my verticals to 7X17 because the Folmer 717 is simply tough enough and small enough to handle the strains well. I use an old Davis and Sanford tripod for doing these that has the most generous table of any of my tripods. It also tilts past 90 degrees which helps in weight distribution some. But since I will likely be using the older ricketier Korona's and Folmers for the rest of my life I've been thinking of building a dedicated table for verticals. 3/16" aluminum plate would be plenty strong enough. It would support the camera in a couple of vulnerable points and the cameras tripod thread would only need to 'locate' the camera to the table. Here's a very rough 2D sketch.
     

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  10. SAShruby

    SAShruby Member

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    I am using combination of Ries tripod, Gitzo head. if you need 1/4 and 3/8 inch screw at the same time, you can by 1/4 to 3/8 adapter for couple bucks on ebay. I use custom screw which is regular 1/4 screw long 1 1/2 inch and two bolts and little wrench to tighten it. My top of tripod head is coverered by rubber, so if I tightened screw wery well, it holds camera still, no tilts or falling down.

    BTW, I like the idea of doing vertical mount adapter, look great and it gives you full movements on tripod head. I think I am going to call my machinist to make one for me.
     
  11. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    Jim, I like this idea. Would the design limit the bellows draw? Or does it slide somehow.

    Stay Focused....or Soft Focused!!

    Jim
     
  12. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Michael,

    If I understand you correctly we are solving two different problems. You will still have the weight of the camera-lens-film holder flopped over on its side. What I suggested keeps the weight over dead center when the camera is in the vertical position. I am uncomfortable with this imbalance.

    I discussed this with Dick Phillips. He agreed that this was a problem, but said that he had never worked on a solution such as Lotus shows. He thought it would be a workable solution. He only made fourteen 7x17s plus the 11x14s, and he clearly stated that they should only be considered for vertical shooting 2% of the time. If the customer wanted a higher percentage he should consider another camera.

    A local friend Robert Puckett has an 8x20 Wisner. He shoots nudes using the vertical format. My understanding is that he had Ron Wisner make an entirely new front standard, bellows and rear frame. I’m not sure I have this completely right, but I believe he has almost two complete cameras less the bed and rear standard. Correct me Robert if I have gotten this wrong.

    I guess it is all a matter of how much stress you and the camera can take.

    John Powers
     
  13. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    The design as sketched would limit the bellows somewhat. For 8X20 I would design it around my 19" focused at closer than infinity. The 1220 and 820 would use a common table. Maybe you could design in a 'step' for 14" lenses to land on. A 14" and 19" would give me 99% of anything I would ever use. YMMV
     
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  15. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    There is a picture of William Corey on the MAMUT ULF home page with a Korona 8x20 in vertical orientation and I can't figure out how it is supported! Does anyone know William? I will try to ask over at the MAMUT site.

    Stay Focused....or Soft Focused!!

    Jim
     
  16. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    Help me out here. It seems to me that having support at the rear and front of the camera while it is in the verticle orientation surely accomplishes the objective but does it not inhibit variable bellows length and also place weight on the front standard when my camera needs to be capable of performing a front shift (front tilt for focusing)?

    My feeling is that if there were a way to use this camera vertically, there would be more than 2% of the photographs being made because I feel that this is an inhibiting condition the way it is as we speak. William Corey uses this orientation regularly in his work and I feel that when he had his Korona camera re-worked he probably added structural support members to it for this purpose.
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    My biggest concern is to remove the stress of a single 1/4-20 screw holding a giant camera at 90 degrees with scary stresses on front and rear standards that are 'iffy' even horizontally. I'm already thinking about the piece that holds the front standard being a seperate slotted piece with a big hand nut that could be moved to compensate for different lens / focus positions. Rear swing would be un-affected and do the schiempflug job. My old cameras mostly have no other movement concerns at the front.
     
  18. George Losse

    George Losse Member

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    I've had the same problems in the past. You really need two point to anchor the camera down. This also helps with Horizontal shots to keep the camera from turning there also.

    My first 8x20 was a combination of Karona back on a Rajah 8x10 base. I drilled a through hole in the bottom of the camera base that I would then place a bolt through. Crude , yes but it worked. After I upgraded to my Wisner 8x20 I couldn't bring myself to using the same kind of setup. So no verticals for almost ten years.

    Last winter I got the courage to add two extra 1/4-20 mounts to the focus bed. They don't need to be a second 3/8 as it really only stops the camera from turning on the tripod head. I decided not to use the two mounts that were on the camera, they were too close together to allow the use of the screw for the gear head. I placed two new anchor points on the camera one directly back of the 3/8 hole but offset about 3 inches. The other at 90 degrees to the right of the 3/8 screw position. I use a majestic gear head with the big top. It has a long slot that I have both a 1/4-20 screw and the 3/8 screw attached to. Now I always use both anchor points for Verticals and regular shots. It holds the camera more secure to the tripod head.

    I still find that it is an uncomfortable balancing act to shoot a vertical 8x20 but I don't worry about the camera moving on the tripod head.
     
  19. SAShruby

    SAShruby Member

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    I don't know too much about Koronas or Wisners or Phillips types. I do have 8x20 Dorf without front swings. Front swings are not a problem. Tilts are, I have to tilt bed (or Gitzo head) and compensate it with rear swing, which is actually tilt in vertical position. I would definitely mount light lenses like Nikkor 450M or G-Claron 355. Nothing heavy. I would not do any close - ups for sure. Extending front and rear rail would be disastrous. Dorfs are quite sturdy cameras.

    There are only four alternatives if you don't want to use your camera verticaly:

    1. Do 10x4 and enlarge it. (It is my option. I do have an 10x10 enlarger)
    2. Do 10x4 and enlarge it digitally
    3. Do two 8x10's and compose it ( you will use same lens and raise lens 5 inches from middle like you would 8x20 shoot, do first picture and move camera back up by 10 inches and leave lens in same height and do secon picture as well), scan them and compose the as one picture.
    4. build a new camera or buy one.

    From investment standpoint order is as follows: 3,2,1,4
     
  20. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    I feel that my Canham 8x20 fits the billing for doubling as a vertically composing panoramic camera because it is relatively light weight (17#) and has easy and considerable front shift that can double as front tilt in the verticle position. Acquiring a dedicated verticle panoramic camera for me is not an attractive alternative as the increasing price of film relative to silver and energy costs is taking a bite out of the consuming public already. Making our cameras as flexible as possible is a mich more viable alternative if it can be made to work.

    I also have a Wisner Tech Field and at 34# the camera is simply far to heavy to feel comfortable with any camera position other than the standard horizontal offering.

    IMO Koronas and other panoramic cameras with 1/4" base screws would be better served if they had at least a 3/8" base screw. I also find that the A100 tripod with the legs sufficiently spread provide a very solid platform from which to work with in the verticle direction. There has to be a cost effective way to solve this problem that covers the numerous types of cameras and tripod heads that are currently in use.
     
  21. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    This is what I did with my Canham 7x17. I tapped two additional 1/4x20 threads on the metal Canham plate that already had the 1/4 and 3/8 thread, and then bolted on the Really Right Stuff Multi-Purpose 6-inch Rail. I did not use the existing threads because, like George said, they are too close together. This RRS rail is then attached to my Arca B2 Ballhead. My main objective was to allow me to slide the camera on the ballhead to better balance with a variety of lenses, but it also works well in the vertical format.
     
  22. Michael Kadillak

    Michael Kadillak Member

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    Fabulous Eric. Looks like a wonderful fix that would definately work for this task.

    Did you take the plate off of the camera to do the machining to bore and tap the two new holes? How stable is the camera on the B2 ball head?

    I checked on the price of a B2 ball head and they are not cheap (around $650). Are there any cheaper alternative ball heads that do not sacrifice reliability/stability or other tripod heads that would accept this rail?

    Cheers!
     
  23. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    I removed the plate, and it was very easy. In fact, it would be almost impossible to do it properly on the camera, as the holes go completely through the plate.

    The B2 is very stable, but remember I use a converted surveyor’s wooden tripod and spread the legs wide and sink the points deep. I bought my B2 on ebay for about $350, and I haven’t found a better head. I use the B2 for horizontal; for vertical you can't use the B2 and would need the B1 or B1G. I have used it in vertical with my smaller B1, with no problems, but if you plan on much vertical I would suggest the B1G (bigger size, more like the B2). However, any large head (ball head or conventional) with the Arca adapter should work, so long as the tripod is sturdy enough.
     
  24. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    John, I had Ron build me a complete 8x20 rear standard. I just roll the horizontal off and then the vertical on. The bellows is the same bellows I just added bellows tabs for the vertical position. So all I do is turn the bellows 90 degrees. The front standard on an 8x20 horizontal is to short to get the lense up into the sweet spot. An 8x20 is built on an 8x10 bed so the front standard is the same height as an 8x10. This is to allow the camera to close up in the transport position. If you think about it no other format has this much difference in height when going from vertical to horizontal (12 inches). Now the 8x10 front standard is fine with a radical bed tilt is you're using a lens with enough coverage such as a large dagor. But if you are using a lens that is tight it won't make up to the sweet spot on the ground glass. What I did was have Ron build me a complete front standard using the vertical rails from a 16x20. This gives me all the height I want and allows me to work with a flat bed instead of a bed with a radical tilt.. I just roll the smaller 8x10 front standard off and then roll the taller standard on. So what I have is two complete rear standards and two complete front standards. The change is really easy since you just pull the bellows roll the back and front off and the other two on...replace the bellows and its done. Takes about 2:00 min. once you get the hang of it. This way all my camera movements are the same and I don't have nightmares of the rails ripping out of the bed from turning the camera on its side. If you just change the front standard to a taller one then the camera won't close in the horizontal position with the longer rails that hold the lens board. This way it also allows me to close the camera to the transport position no matter what set up I have. I hope this isn't to confusing. I had the idea of a telescoping front standard that would extend to make it up to the sweet spot without changing the front standard. But I wasn't willing to wait on that coming together. So I went this route and it works beautifully. Hope this helps. ....P.S..I do have some pics if anyone is interested just send me your email address and I'll send them to you.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 23, 2006
  25. jgjbowen

    jgjbowen Member

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    I know this won't help those of you that already own cameras, but for those of you that are thinking of ULF you might be interested in Richard Ritter's new camera http://www.lg4mat.net/ulfcamera.html This camera will handle both horizontals and verticals. It takes Richard about 2 minutes to convert it from one axis to the other. This has to be much less expensive compared to having Ron Wisner custom build you an additional standard, back etc. The last I heard, Richard has finally started production....I hope to have my 7x17 in the next few months.
     
  26. RobertP

    RobertP Subscriber

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    jg, The cost was more than reasonable. What makes it so nice is having all the movements the same that an 8x20 expedition allows you in both positions, vertical and horizontal. Try putting a 30 inch artar on one flipped on its side with the bellows racked out to 36" and you'll know what I mean. I shoot a lot of verticals and the security of working with a flat camera bed and having my movements all the same was well worth the extra investment. But I agree, Richard has done some excellent work for me and I'm sure his cameras will be top notch and a great alternative. He also knows Wisner cameras top to bottom. Are his new cameras built on some type of conduit frame? Or some type of round metal tubing?