wooden tripods some questions

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by game, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. game

    game Member

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    Sorry folks, off course I have searched the forum but I have some questions on the wooden tripods. I have only recently been active in the Mf and Lf leaque. to my suprise I have seen many wooden tripods. Berlebachs mostly.
    The thing that stroke me was that when camera's really become bigger the tripods start getting wooden.
    I have read wood is light and dampens vibrations...
    But does that exclude metal ones? weight must be important too right?

    There must be something wrong with wood?

    like to hear. Thanks GAME {causing a stream off topics lately, sorry :I}
     
  2. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Wood is not necessarily that light for the same strength. They do tend to be a bit bulkier. Most of us shooting with larger cameras tend to opt for wood or for carbon fiber due to weight and strength. Wood tends to dampen best, followed by carbon fiber which as noted is light, very strong, and quite expensive. Aluminum tripods tend to be less expensive, be strong, heavier than carbon fiber, and suffer the most from vibrations of the 3 major materials used.

    Rich
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    Other than weight, I have never found anything wrong wtih my wood tripods.

    R.
     
  4. game

    game Member

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    And do you mean the weight is too little or too much?

    Isn't weight important? I have had my bogen 144 blown away with my camera on it.

    Simply put: wood wiill dampen better. alu is heavier. What tripod will perform better: a good berlebach wooden or a good gitzo alu.
     
  5. tommy5c

    tommy5c Member

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    I personally love my Zone VI wood tripod. I they are very sturdy and a little lighter, but not by much. The biggest bonus to me at least is, people who think wood means old and crappy will sell you a great wood tripod for a song.
     
  6. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    For large cameras, I enjoy my wood tripods, they are however heaver than the aluminum or carbon tripods, been shooting with a couple of for years now with out a complaint.

    R.
     
  7. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    There are trade offs for all the materials. As I pointed out and Roxi331 alluded, the wooden tripods are heavy for their size. You have to decide for yourself material, weight, strength, features, etc. A way to lessen the weight being carried, many tripods including the Gitzo Carbon Fiber (I have 3 and use them most of the time) is to add weight on the hook that is attached to the center column. The weight should not be allowed to swing in the wind as this will cause the simple harmonic motion of a pendulum. Rather, the weight should be resting on the ground and attached through guy wire, bungee cord, etc. to the hook. This allows the weight of lighter tripod to be used to support the camera and lens. By using this method you have effectively increased the mass of your tripod but have lessened your load.

    Other photographers using wooden tripods like the simplicity of the wooden tripods and are willing to carry the extra weight. I have a wooden Ries tripod which I also like but use far less than the carbon fiber.

    Most using the aluminum tripods are opting for a less expensive tripod that fulfills their needs. Aluminum tripods may or may not be heavier than their wooden counterparts. Carbon Fiber Gitzos are known for being approximately 28% lighter than their aluminum equivalents.

    In most instances, it is best not to leave a tripod and camera unattended to prevent the tripod from being blown over.

    As far as I know, unless there are aluminum Gitzo tripods in stock or purchased used they are no longer available. Gitzo is now or will be as far as I know only selling their Carbon Fiber and Basalt tripods.

    Rich
     
  8. game

    game Member

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    hmmm, so wood seems to be in favour.
    I like to put that I am unsensitive for sentiments that might stick to a wooden tripod. I like the looks but it does not mean a thing for me...

    Why are people using metal tripods??

    game
     
  9. game

    game Member

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    ok, well leaving aluminum behind us as material seems the right thing if I hear all of this posts. I just bought a foba alfae/fea and I love that one. It is so god damn sturdie and well build. But In retrospect maybe a wooden one would have been maybe just as good.

    I do not care to much about weight. I don't do extensive hiking and I am still young. I don't like a tripod that's to bulky when folded.

    How does a wooden tripod gets small? It folds? How to extend the legs?

    I might call a local shop one day to see if they have a wooden one I can test.

    Kind regards Sam
     
  10. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Cheaper, more available used, strong like ox, low maintenance. Nothing like a winter's project (the whole winter) sanding, varnishing, sanding, varnishing, how many coats? I used to varnish trim on old boats, usually seven coats. That said I have two Ries tripods that are beautiful, don't freeze to my hands, dampen vibrations and feel solid like a rock. I also have older aluminum tripods. Haven't tried a carbon yet. Cameras range in weight from 35mm to 12 pound 7x17 plus lens and film holder.

    I have the feeling that you would like one answer, but you will find there are many opinions, all of them valid for the owners. The problem can be solved many ways.

    John Powers
     
  11. Roger Hicks

    Roger Hicks Member

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    Dear Sam,

    A lot of nonsense is talked about tripods, because good new ones are expensive and people feel the need to justify their purchases.

    I have about a dozen. I lost count some time ago because I've been accumulating kit for a long time. Unlike you I am no longer young (56 on June 15) and I've been an amateur almost 40 years and first worked professionally over 30 years ago.

    ALL tripods are a trade-off on weight, minimum size when collapsed, maximum height when extended, vibration damping, convenience and cost. The trade-offs are so complex that no two photographers are likely to agree on what needs to be done to their 'best' tripod to make it better.

    My favourite ultra-light tripod for MF and light 4x5 cameras is wood (MPP, 1960s, 1 kg without head) and my favourite for bigger cameras is wood too (French 1950s, not a name I've ever heard of, 4 kg with head, holds 8x10 inch easily). But I also like, for maximum stability, an 11 kg Linhof tripod, and for 35mm and some MF my wife and I use two metal 1 kg tripods, Velbon and Slik, that collapse a lot smaller than the MPP and include the head in the weight.

    Most wood tripods are 'crutch' style, two almost-parallel upper leg struts in a very long, narrow V with the top of the V on the tripod boss and the upper part of the lower leg clamped in the bottom of the V. Both my favourite 'woodies' have light alloy lower legs with wooden uppers.

    But I also use Benbos (metal), a Gitzo (metal), an (almost) all-wood Gandolfi and an (almost) all-metal Gibran. In the studio, I wouldn't even consider a tripod: I use a column- or pillar-type stand, in my case IFF but I learned with Cambo. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS THE PERFECT CAMERA SUPPORT!

    Cheers,

    Roger (www.rogerandfrances.com -- where you can see in the galleries that I do a lot hand-held too...)
     
  12. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    game,

    Don't get me wrong, I like my wood and use them, but I also have aluminum tripods(6 of them) that get used as well, when I am shooting my 35mm with large lenses and my wimberly head, then I shoot with an adaptall that I modified so I could change heads, but all of my tripods get used, depending on what I am doing, I have tripods set up for LF, MF and 35mm but they all get used. Myself personally don't like the carbon tripods, but that is a personal opinion, I have many friends that shoot carbon and love them...as JP said, there is no right or wrong or one simple answer.

    R.
     
  13. Changeling1

    Changeling1 Member

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    What could be uglier than a beautiful wooden camera on a metal tripod? I think I'm gonna. . . . hurl! :surprised:
     
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  15. Capocheny

    Capocheny Member

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    FWIW, I fully agree with Roger's posting. Frankly, I could care less as to whether the tripod is wood or carbon fiber or aluminium as long as it does the job.

    I've had Berlebach pods before and, yes, they're terrific when you're out in the cold weather using them. They're a LOT warmer on the hands. :smile:

    At present, I have a Manfrotto 475 (aluminium) for field use and I quite like it for the way "I" work. As with some shooters here, I don't hike long, long distances away from the vehicle. As a result, weight considerations are not AS crucial in my mind. That said, I use to use a Majestic pod that was huge and heavy! I don't think I'd personally go that route again but, unlike you, I'm also getting a bit older as well!

    And, I concur with Roger in that I wouldn't use anything other than a proper studio stand (Cambo or Manfrotto 280) in the studio. But, you're sure NOT going to be dragging one of these guys out into the field with you... no matter how young and strong you are!

    So, whether it's wood, carbon fiber, or aluminium... you need to find a tripod that will support the equipment you're working with. Don't discount one material over the other. And, given time, you'll come to a very personal conclusion as to what you like and dislike about a LARGE variety of tripods. [Oh, and make sure that it mates with your tripod head properly too!]

    If you buy the "best" tripod in the world but it doesn't suit the weight of your gear... then it's going to be FAR, FAR from being the best tripod in the world. Comprende? :smile:

    Good luck.

    Cheers
     
  16. game

    game Member

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    thanks guys.
    off course I understand the whole tripod issue is not so simple. If it was than tere was only one brand and one type.
    I think that with my foba I found one of the top alu tripods. It is completally in a different leaque than my old bogen 144b. that's good.
    It is quitte heavy but 9 of 10 times that's no issue. I used my gitzo studex performence 3 today. I noticed that the tripod still was somewhat shakey after releasing the shutter.

    then I read all this wood dampens things very good stuff, so I started thinking. I figured why are we not all using wood...
    Still have not found a satisfying answer actually. I understand that every camera end purpose ask for a different tripod. But when exactly does a aluminium tripod has advantages over the better damping of an alu tripod? that's what I am curious about.

    thanks game
     
  17. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Though not always the case, aluminum tripods will frequently fold up and collapse to a smaller package. As Roger mentioned above, however, that is not always the case.

    Other advantages to the wood (I think already mentioned) and the carbon fiber tripods is that they are not as cold to the touch in cold weather or as warm to the touch in hot weather as aluminum tripods. This is part of the reason that many aluminum tripod users will either purchase the special leg covers or use pipe foam placed over the legs. Carbon fiber will generally be hotter than wood tripods in the heat because they are black in color.

    Rich
     
  18. Campbell

    Campbell Member

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    Wood tripods tend to be heavy and the one I tried for a while (a Zone VI) was also bulky and awkward to carry and set up and take down (though maybe not after one gets used to it). The best tripod in the world isn't any good if it's so heavy and awkward to use that it stays in the closet. I've been using a Gitzo 1325 for quite a while and like it a lot - light, sturdy, pretty easy to set up and take down. I like the larger collars Gitzo started using at some point, I also have an older aluminum Gitzo and I didn't like the small collars on it.
     
  19. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    The design of a tripod is as important as the materials used. Wooden tripods usually have good spacing between the upper attachment points of each leg. This contributes to stability. Some metal tripods, especially those with tubular legs, have a small area for clamping leg to head. Only a slight amount of movement in this area contributes much to camera movement and vibration. Despite this, some tripods with such designs do work well.
     
  20. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Consider where you will be using the tripod. I shoot in the woods, and my elegant Gitzo is worthless there. I need my heavy wood tripod with the long leg spikes that I can sink deep into the earth for stability. My best tripod is an older wooden Surveyor’s tripod on which I’ve mounted my Arca B2. Sure it’s heavy, and it doesn’t collapse to a small package. But it is VERY STURDY. Indoors, the Gitzo is best.
     
  21. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Eric,

    Though the Carbon Fiber Gitzo tripods are elegant, the new 6X tripod feet are removable and replaceable with screw in spikes. The spikes may not be as long as those on my Ries H100, but they may prove practical.

    Rich
     
  22. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I was just sitting here thinking about tripods again, and remembered, I bought an aluminum surveyors tripod at home depot about 6 months ago that was designed for the laser leveling systems that are so popular now, built and looks like a Ries 100 model with long spikes on the feet, when your doing leveling on a job site, you have to have good stability and I am quite surprised, this one goes compact the legs slide up like the crutch system, again has the stability spikes weighs in at about 7 pounds plus or minus and I paid all of $77.00 for it on sale with a molded plastic tube case with handle for carry, been one of the best buys I have ever made, it holds my 8x10 with out a wimper and I am sure it would handle even bigger.

    Probably not an option for someone in Europe, but is a great tripod.

    R.
     
  23. Charles Webb

    Charles Webb Member

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    I like what Jim Jones said, designe is to me extremely important. I use both wood and aluminum stands/tripods and frankly don't think there is much difference between them them. Have never used a carbon fiber and most likely won't. I am very sure they are very good, but I personally don't need one. A beautiful Deardorff stuck on any thing but a wood tripod looks very tacky to me. My guide is Wood on Wood, Metal on metal. Is this scientifc absolutely not, but it works for me. By using my wooden boxes on wooden tripods I am sure in my own mind that I get finer grain and more tone with an extended depth of field in my negatives when matching the camera to the tripod.. All of my life I have wanted a top of the line "Woodie" but alas they are and have been completely out of my budget.


    Charlie................................
    PS, I just made up the part about the finer grain etc. Thought it made me look more like I knew what I was talking about.
     
  24. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    FWIW wooden tripods usually have very basic leg locks, no center columns, ample platforms and legs that can be splayed out from here to there and back again. What they lack in features is IMHO a strength when it comes to LF in the field: No gears or close tolerances to sieze up from corrosion or grit and legs that can adapt independently to achieve a broader, more stable footprint on unlevel ground than most conventional photo tripods.
     
  25. game

    game Member

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    I see.
    I can totally agree on the construction usuabillaty thing. To me the way it all works is very important. I dont want to think about alll kinds off thinks that could have been done better. I want the tripod to amaze me, make me realise that some experts were at work, when manufacturing the tripod.

    I have that with the foba. It really shines. but I did not have it with the studex performence by gitzo...
    the wood on wood and metal on metal thing is purely sentimental and although I understand, I don't get care to much about it.

    what simply stroke me was the fact that wood actually dampens better. That was the reason for opening this thread. Usuabillty etc. is more something personal and something on which one can from an opinion after using several products themself.
    A fact likedampingfactor is suitable for a discussion. What Actually would be the best is a very well executed test on this subject. Someone that knows what he or she is doing and will test all sorts of weights with heads with materials, with for instance the lasermethod mentioned before.

    then again, I will at one point (and that's not to far away) get fed up by all this speculating on technical matter, and just go on photographing.

    At this point the foba will do perfectly. might run into a wooden one, and when that tripod really wins me over... I might buy one.

    maybe a test like I metioned exists?

    game
     
  26. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser

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    I've reached the age where I look at my stuff and say.... way to much.... so I'm getting rid of a lot of it... from fishing reels I don't use, to tripods that I don't use. I plan to sell the Gitzo, the big zone vi and a large manfrotto and just use a Berlebach that I really like and is simple to use. It doesn't even have a centre column.
    I think it's an age thing but I want a simpler life so I have more time/energy/space for the things I want to do. I hope I'm through the accumulating period and settling on fewer things that I can actually master. The Berlebach fits into this plan.
    And in case you care what those things are it's 8x10 landscape photography, flyfishing, and rock climbing.
    -Rob Skeoch
    The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.