I'm sure I am not the first one who has tried this. I recently got a used surveyors tripod made by Dietzgen (the people who used to make all the drafting equipment and supplies). I'm intending on using it for my 8 x 20 camera. I had already gotten a Majestic head to use as well. When I got the tripod, I was pleasently surprized to see that it's design isn't quite what I expected.
The tripod is very well built as I expected from the photos. It is constructed somewhat like a Ries and it turns out it is very sturdy. What surprized me was the tripod head itself. It turns out that it is called a Plane Table Tripod and was designed to mount a large table top board on it for using an instrument called an alidade. However, the tripod head is a ball and socket type that allows very easy leveling somewhat like a normal ball head. You just turn the large wing nut on the bottom and it moves.
One other nice feature is that it even has a leather strap to hold the legs closed.
It seem to me that this is the sort of thing that we are all looking for - a tripod that strong and is easy to level. I could see this being used even without the Majestic head - only have to make a small adaptor plate to fit on top of the unit which has a 5/8" threaded stud on top.
Does anyone else use this sort of tripod for ULF cameras and how has it worked for you?
Here are a couple of websites that have these tripods for sale.
Last edited by Dan Dozer; 11-12-2007 at 09:31 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Yep, have two wooden ones and picked up an aluminum one about 2 years ago, the woods ones I have had for about 15 years....actually this is where Reis came up with their design, it really has been around for a long time now, graphic corp made simular tripods in the 30's
Glad you found something that will work for you, and yes, it has been discussed more than once in the last couple of years around there parts.
Kinda neat there Dan.
I have the identical tripod to the one you pictured except the leather strap & labels are looong gone. I picked it up at a resale shop just after the great flood of '96 & it was caked with mud.
The one thing I did to it for convenience was cut the 5/16" screw off & drill & tap for standard 3/8". Just made my life a little easier. I use a Graflex tilt plate as a head. Works OK.
Dan, I had forgotten all about Plane Tables..... I haven't seen one in 20 years. Looking back, we actually got pretty accurate results with those for topographic work. Outside, I use a regular Surveyor's tripod with the 5/8 screw and a home-made adapter; inside I use a Gitzo with their leveling base. The leveling base is very similar to the ball-head arrangement you illustrate, and it makes life much easier. I'll be watching for a ball head type Surveyor's tripod.
Dan, that baby looks good! Nice score! Hows the 8x20 coming?
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I have a Leitz surveyors tripod that Richard Ritter converted for me to match a Ries head for my 8x10 Ansco. Great only it is aluminum. I like the fact that the legs splay out all the way....$50 on ebay....
Originally Posted by Peter Schrager
Agreed, the option of having the legs "splay" and spreading the base is one of the greatest features in stabilizing heavy cameras....a lighter tripod with this feature will more safely hold a heavy camera than a heavier tripod with a higher load rating with limited leg movement features....
Here is where I am on the 8 x 20 -
Back frame is done, but I am having to re-do the threaded inserts and bolts that support it. Having some problems trying to drill a larger hole in an already drilled smaller hole. I'm changing from 8/32 to 1/4 x 20 size for more strength. So there is some splitting out of the wood at the holes but not too bad. In any case, it is where you won't really see it unless you take the camera apart.
Back support base is just about done. I'm completing the base so I can have rear shift (right and left) since I can't get it on the front standard.
Base and front and rear extension beds are done. Only thing left is to mount the gear racks on the front extension bed. Right now, I'm figuring out the brass plates on the front standard that slide in the slots in the side of the front bed. One problem I found is that in trying to find 1/16" thick brass, the price for it seems to be through the roof. A 12" x 12" piece from McMaster Carr is $35. Not wanting to spend that much, I'm trying out brass from a door push plate from Home Depot (much cheaper for a bigger piece. It is a little thinner than 1/16" but I think it will still work. I'm planning on also trying to use it for the springs on the camera back. The one thing that is nice about it is that it is pre-finished. You should be thankful that you had the old Kodak to use part from.
Front standards are pretty much done - double extension. I still have to make the lens board holder itself, but the two standards work great and I can get plenty of vertical rise and fall.
The camera ground glass back is yet to be done as is the bellows. I'll be making the bellows myself to save some money. I've done it a couple of times before, so that doesn't really scare me.
The film holders will come last - I'm planning on making four or them.
When finished, the camera will have front rise and fall, rear tilt, rear shift, and rear swing. That should handle just about any movement I think I'll need.
I haven't done any oil finishing yet - that probably won't come until everything is finished. However, I am getting antsy to try some.
By the way - if you need any threaded inserts, plastic knobs, rubber washers, and such in either 8/32 or 1/4 x 20 size, let me know. I've got a bunch from McMaster Carr and have plenty left over.
If I get far enough along on Sunday, maybe I'll post some more photos.
Have you gotten any farther on yours?
Hi Dan, Just saw the post. Glad to hear how far along you are! You've got me beat. I started making lens boards. Three of them! I've got a 21 1/4" Kodak Anastigmat, a 15" Ilex process Paragon and a 300mm Gerogon that I needed to mount so I did that. I had to make some adjustments on the front standard tilt. I wasn't happy with the original so I re-designed it. Much better now. That took some time. The camera base is done and I need to install the gear racks and do the threaded inserts. I may take you up on the extra inserts you have. I'm contemplating where to put the base inserts because I want to be able to use this vertically also! Been going slow so I don't have to re do anything.
Originally Posted by Dan Dozer
If I would stop buying lenses off of e-bay I would be a lot farther along! I need to get a holder so I can do the back and finish this thing.
also got interested in the Efke PL 25 that Freestyle is carrying so I bought some 4x5 and did some work with it today. Local stuff up in Ojai. This film is great!! I developed it in Pyrocat HD 1:1:100 in tanks. No scratches and the negs are really good. Can't wait to print some. Small format for testing but this film fits my style. I'll post some when they are done. Let me know if you would like to get together and we can look at each others work. I've never made bellows or holders and a visual on that would be great! I'll show you the oil finishing that I've done and how I do it. I can come to your area if you like, I'm on the road a lot for work so driving is not a problem PM me if your interested.
Stay Focused....or Soft Focused!!