What tripod do you have?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by m1tch, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm going to be investing a bit of cash in a tripod for a large format camera when do indeed get one, I will be shooting a 'small' large format size ie 5x4 so nothing massively heavy but of course I would need a stable base as I might need to do long exposures on some of the experimental processes I might try and use in camera.

    This will be my first proper tripod, I won't really need to mount anything heavier than a 5x4 field camera so I don't need to go super high end otherwise I might as well just gaffa tape it to a large rock lol

    Anyway, what tripod are you using or would recommend me looking at - should I buy legs and a head separate or should I get one with both parts together? My budget would be at around the £150-200 mark as its something I want to put a bit of cash into, but the more I spend on it, the less I have to spend on film etc ie I could get a £1,000 tripod that's amazing, but then can't afford anything else lol
     
  2. Chris Lange

    Chris Lange Member

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    I use Gitzos myself, although I know many people like Reis or Feisols.

    I shoot a lot more 120 than I do 4x5 though, so I prefer a looser Gitzo ball head to keep things snappy and fast than mucking about with a precision geared head. My Gitzo Reporter held my Crown Graphic just dandy, but sadly that one vanished this summer in a cab somewhere in NYC. I replaced it with a slightly heavier Gitzo, although I'm not totally positive of the exact model. I do know it holds the 4x5 Crown just fine, and I've put a 4x5 monorail on it before without any troubles so I've had no complaints.
     
  3. pcyco

    pcyco Member

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    hallo

    i use a wolf wooden tripod with a inclinable column and a novoflex adapter.
    http://www.wooden-tripods.com/8043.html
    tomorrow comes the novoflex ball 4. it should work with my calumet 400

    regards

    thomas
     
  4. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    I have 2 Manfrotto's plus a large B&S head. The 55b is a bit of a beast but with a good B&S head would handle large format easily. The other is a Manfrotto 190 which is a bit light for a LF camera but OK for MF and 35mm.
     
  5. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    I´m a great Gitzo fan too, since they are a joy to use. It doesn´t need to be carbon fibre, alu is pretty sufficient. I had several tripods before but now I am satisfied. Use a GT4330LS with 1570M head for medium format. The head can be found pretty cheap used. Its movements are a bit stiff though, since it was obviously designed for heavier cameras, but I put a lot of lube on the axes and that solved it so far.
     
  6. Soeren

    Soeren Member

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    I use a Mannfrotto 055 CLB with the centercollumn cut off. Not long ago I had it fitted with a Benro B3 Ballhead which is only slightly inferiour to the Arca Swiss heads but at a fraction of the price. I use it for all formats up to 13X18cm and it supports my Sinar Norma just fine.
    Best regards
     
  7. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Those Thomas are beautiful, I ruled out wooden tripods due to them apparently being really expensive but those are very reasonably priced! Would people recommend that I get the legs and mount separate?
     
  8. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

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    Tripod depends on the shooting conditions. If it is windy I use a converted tripod originally intended for use with laser instruments at building sites and a Gitzo no 4 head. This tripod weighs 15kg and supports my weight without any trouble.
    If the conditions are normal I use a Manfrotto 190 with 4x5 field cameras. No need to carry more than you have to. Light tripods can be weighed down if necessary.
     
  9. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Berlebach Report. Wonderful tripod. But not for travel. I will get a lightweight compact Feisol when funds allow.
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Spend about 70 to 100 USD on a used Tiltall, the Leitz or Marchioni production. Do not buy the current Chinese garbage version. No other tripod will do any better job of holding your camera up.
     
  11. rorye

    rorye Subscriber

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    I love my Gitzo but I recently got a $150 surveyor's tripod, bright yellow and sturdier than anything I've used before.
    It has a 5/8" thread that I just switched out with a 99 cent bolt.
     
  12. Two23

    Two23 Member

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    I've been using a Gitzo 1325 for about the past ten years. It's been replaced by a newer model, but the 1325 is so good it's likely the last tripod I'll ever need to buy. It securely holds my Chamonix 045n, and also a 19th century Watson & Son half plate tailboard camera. The tripod is rock solid and yet relatively light.


    Kent in SD
     
  13. Tebbiebear

    Tebbiebear Member

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    I've had a Manfrotto 058B for about 9 years of fairly heavy use and I love it. Its quick to set up, rock solid and very rugged. I have the old style 501 Fluid head on it and really like it. Its not a lightweight unit by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a little Redged RTA 424 with a Manfrotto 496 head for 35 and MF use.
     
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  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Early this year I replaced my Slik SL-76 Prototype taht I've been using since the mid 1980's (it was secondhand then), the new one one was less than £20 at a camear fair. OK that was pure luck but there's plenty of excellent second hand tripods in the UK for not much more. I used the old Slick with 5x4 and also 10x8 and before that professionally and it.

    I've a Manfroto and a Majestic tripod as well and didn't pay much for either of them, so shop around, I see a lot of good tripods selling very regulary and in excellent condition.

    Ian
     
  16. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Ditto. I have several tripods larger and smaller than the Tiltall, but rarely use them. Tiltall includes a decent three axis head, too. One second-hand Tiltall lasted me for over 35 years until I lost it. They were designed to work well and built to last long.
     
  17. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    I have an Induro C314 - it's a carbon-fiber tripod that weighs 5lbs and is rated to handle up to 39.5 lbs. I use it with everything from my RB67 up to my 5x12 and whole plate cameras (6.5x8.5). I've never tried my 14x17 on it because I know it will wiggle (the fault of the head, not the legs... it wiggles even on my Inka studio stand), but it will bear the weight of the 14x17. They're not cheap, but they're a good couple hundred less than an equivalent Gitzo.
     
  18. BradleyK

    BradleyK Subscriber

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    Tiltalls are great, but I would insert two qualifiers: First, they are best suited for 35mm and medium format cameras only; anything heavier and you will be tempting fate. Secondly, as good as Tiltalls are (the Marchioni and Leitz versions - ONLY), they are a great pain-in-the-a** to work with in cold weather. I make this remark as someone who was left with a $400-plus repair bill to a lens that was damaged when a leg gave way (the security of the leg extensions gets difficult to judge when you are out shooting on -20C (and lower) winter days).

    For my beast Nikkors (300mm f2.8, 400mm f3.5 and 600mm f4) and back when I shot 4x5, I use(d) a Manfrotto ) 055. A hulking beast of a tripod, it will support most anything securely. The question then becomes: Can you hire a Sherpa to carry the monster for you? :D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2012
  19. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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  20. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    A Marchioni Tiltall has supported my Linhof STIV since 1988, and done a very good job at it.
    If you keep the leg locking mechanisms clean and lubricated, they will not fail.

    I have no solution for the cold weather problem, beyond a decent pair of gloves.
     
  21. bobwysiwyg

    bobwysiwyg Subscriber

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    Ditto except for the travel restriction unless it refers to planes.
     
  22. ROL

    ROL Member

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    I missed where you indicated what your shooting intentions are. I think you'll find two disparate recommendations: from those who are gear obsessed – wanting the most beautiful, stable, and elegant legs around (not that there's anything wrong with that), and those who have to live with their choice for their particular needs. Form vs. function. And then there is the head, pan vs. ball, one excelling at ease of use and the other at ease of transport. Don't listen to anyone tell you that a good ball head cannot be used for LF cameras. Many of us do fine with balls. If you can get what you need as a set and save some money, more power to you. Likely as not, you'll have to use a set for a while to get a feeling for what works best.

    As for me, I use a Mountaineer Series Gitzo and Acratech ball head with my view camera, which is quite a bit larger than yours. My needs are stability, light weight, portability, and versatility, in that order. Once the camera is stable, it is stable, and weight can always be added to the tripod, or the legs "sandbagged" if additional stability is required. My biggest enemy is wind blowing into that sail of a bellows. I might look to the Feisols for a replacement, when that time comes, but the Acratech balls, in their many current incarnations, are pretty hard to beat if you're so inclined.

    That said, if I were shooting in studio, I would probably covet the most vigorous, polished wood, headless piece of manliness I could source. :laugh:
     
  23. mark

    mark Member

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    I use a bogen/manfroto (OLD) for my 4x5s. No idea what the current incarnation is but it is sold as a rock. Not very light though. For the larger cameras I bought a cheap heavy chinese bogen copy because I needed one immediately and could not afford a name brand new. That sucker has held up through a LOT of abuse, including a drop off a cliff. I will replace it with a proper Manfrotto when I win the lottery this Wednesday.

    I use a Manfrotto ball head on the little tripod and a pan tilt on the big one. Once again these are old and not sold under their old names any more.

    I just counted up and both tripods and heads are over 15 years old.
     
  24. m1tch

    m1tch Member

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    Thanks for all this help guys! It seems that some opinions are polarized much like digital vs film when it comes to tripod lol :D I guess I need to figure out how portable I need it to be, I won't really be climbing Everest with it, but then again its not going to be sat in a studio.

    Perhaps an aluminium set of Gitzo legs and a basic ball mount might work for me, although I do love the idea of having a wooden tripod - that suggestion for a surveyors set is interesting as that needs to be perfectly stable and portable, it might be a slightly different alternative.
     
  25. Laurent

    Laurent Subscriber

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    I lugged a Manfrotto 055 for several years, and finally let it go in favor of a Berlebach with leveling base. If I was to buy it now, I'd get the one with leveling base AND panoramic head,and this would cover all my requirements.

    I'm using a Tachihara 4x5, and the combination works fine.
     
  26. voceumana

    voceumana Member

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    If you use the tripod in cold weather, your hands will appreciate a wooden tripod (or perhaps carbon fiber) much more than aluminum. I have a Reis, and think it is wonderful, but it is not lightweight. For large format, I like pan & tilt heads over ball heads.

    Charlie