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  1. #11
    RobertP's Avatar
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    If you're going to be shooting a lot of verticals with a 12x20 I highly recommend having a vertical back made for it. It is nothing to pull the bellows, roll the horizontal back off and then the vertical back on and replace the bellows. Your camera movements are still same and no need to worry about stability issues. These cameras were not designed to be flipped on their side. I shoot 8x20 with interchangeable backs. If you have ever had one of these on their side with the bellows racked out 24-30" you'll see the bed rails screaming and the standards ready to rip out of the bed. An occasional vertical and I'm sure a bracket will be fine but I shoot more than 50% of the time vertical so I had an extra vertical back made. If you are going to turn that large of a camera I would carry an extra monopod or tripod for added support.

  2. #12
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Graham View Post
    Vaughn, a lotus VMD is a large 'L' shaped extension, gimbal head sort of attachment that centers the camera over the tripod when mounting.

    I thought about using a bearing plate of some sort under the head, but thought it might take to much effort to crank down the bolt to keep it from turning. What type of plastic are you using?


    I can see where the VMD can work -- especially with your "smaller" camera. I wonder if it is big enough for an 12x20? or even sturdy enough for its weight?

    The plastic disk came with the Ries pod and head when I bought them new directly from Ries. (I had gotten $250 worth of Ries product as a prize in a ViewCamera mag photo contest -- thought I would have to pay just a few bucks more for the whole set-up...the $250 ended up being the price of the head only! Still worth every penny I paid for the pod...$400).

    Anyway, I do not know the type of plastic -- it is white...thin, but tough. I have seen "kits" on ebay a long while ago -- someone was selling the plastic disk and a square piece of leather (for the top of the head). But the head is easily tightened against the pod even with the plastic inbetween...no slipping.

    Vaughn

  3. #13
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    Been thinking about it -- you might be able to cut a piece of plastic from the side of a gallon milk jug and give it a try.

    It would be just a little thinner that the one my camera came with. Otherwise contact Ries and have then send you one.

    Vaughn

  4. #14
    RobertP's Avatar
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    I have that piece of plastic that comes with the Ries tripod also. Cork works much better. That is what Richard Ritter recommends and I have found it to be true. If the cork starts to glaze just hit it with some emory cloth or sand paper and it is as good as new. I think Ries just sends that as a way of protecting your camera bed. I found it to slip terribly. I went to cork and the problem was solved. Give them both a try and you'll see what I mean.

  5. #15
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertP View Post
    I have that piece of plastic that comes with the Ries tripod also. Cork works much better. That is what Richard Ritter recommends and I have found it to be true. If the cork starts to glaze just hit it with some emory cloth or sand paper and it is as good as new. I think Ries just sends that as a way of protecting your camera bed. I found it to slip terribly. I went to cork and the problem was solved. Give them both a try and you'll see what I mean.
    The plastic goes between the pod and the head -- not the head and the camera!!!!!

    The plastic allows for panning of the head without grinding the metal on top of the tripod against the metal on the bottom of the head.

    I can see how the plastic would be useless on top of the head!

    Vaughn
    Last edited by Vaughn; 02-02-2007 at 04:25 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: more info

  6. #16
    RobertP's Avatar
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    Sorry Vaughn I thought you were refering to the square plastic piece that came with the head. I do have the round plastic piece between the head and the tripod. I stand corrected. The square piece is worthless

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertP View Post
    Sorry Vaughn I thought you were refering to the square plastic piece that came with the head. I do have the round plastic piece between the head and the tripod. I stand corrected. The square piece is worthless
    No Need to yell!!!! You're pretty free with those exclamation marks.

  8. #18
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RobertP View Post
    No Need to yell!!!! You're pretty free with those exclamation marks.
    Sorry, too much parential experience, I'm afraid. I had already explained where the plastic disk (not square) went...just thought the statement needed a little more exuberance...almost to the point of a warning.

    THIS IS YELLING...IMO, exclamation points are more along the lines of emphisis. But thanks for the heads up...I will use them with more restraint!!!!!

    My pod/head did not come with a square piece of plastic (that I remember, anyway). I prefer having nothing inbetween the head and the camera as I sometimes end up spinning the camera 180 degrees if I need to point the camera significantly down (the Ries head can only significantly tilt one way front-to-back). My camera base is scrapped up a bit as a result, but since I am not worried about resale value and it does not affect its operation, I don't worry about it.

    Vaughn
    Last edited by Vaughn; 02-02-2007 at 06:09 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: spelling

  9. #19

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    for 12x20 shoot vertical ..Lotus VMD? Ries A250-2? (but Ries head can not pan)...

    Jeff,

    I'll bring us back on track (robert). I have been shooting vertical 12x20 images in the field with a Wisner Technical Field camera for 4 years on an A100/A250 platform. Virtually all of the 12x20 vertical images on my web site - www.bobherbst.com - were shot with this configuration. I tilt the camera to the left so I set the tripod up with one leg pointing directly out to the right side parallel to the film plane. Mount the camera on the head in the horizontal position. I use a very thin piece of packing foam on the top of my tripod to reduce slippage. It is free, "stickier" than cork and easily replaced when it gets frayed. A second mount hole is a better solution, but not an easy matter in my configuration.

    At this point I want to suggest a piece of insurance. I carry a 5 lb. sand bag in the vehicle to use as a counter weight. I hang it from the spike in the right side tripod leg (Assumes you are using the rubber feet end on the ground). The tripod and head are capable of supporting the camera without the counter-weight. It just makes the whole set up a lot more stable. In the early days, I just carried a cloth bag which I would fill with rocks from where ever I was shooting. But rocks aren't available everywhere so I now carry a sand bag.

    Using the scissors hinge of the head, turn the entire camera 90 degrees on its side to the left straddling the two legs on that side. You will have to get the feel for the spread of the legs to accommodate the camera. I try to set it all up such that the camera back is just resting on one of the legs to add rigidity. (Yes, I have dings in my camera and tripod. They are just tools.) Level everything using head adjustments, moving tripod legs, etc. and compose.

    A second piece of insurance is a second smaller tripod to place under the outer edge of the camera back to stop slippage, reduce vibration, and increase overall rigidity. I use a standard Tiltall tripod with an integrated head for the secondary support. It is light weight and simple to use.

    All of this equipment including the camera four film holders, a bag of lenses fits easily on a fold-up photo cart for transport. I've pulled it behind me for a couple miles on a graded gravel path with little exertion.

    As for limited movements, that depends on your camera. On the Wisner TF, you are not limited to the amount of shift for rise/fall in the vertical orientation. Point the camera up from horizontal and use swing on the back and lens standard to bring them back to vertical providing more rise. I have had my camera in extreme configurations in a vertical orientation to get 4-5" inches of rise with a 30" lens. It is possible. I have done it. But be very aware of bellows sag in such situations. Keep a roll of gaffers tape with you to tape the bellows tight to avoid sag intruding into the image area.

    I looked at the VMD. It looked more stable on the tripod once mounted, but hoisting a 28.5 lb camera plus the weight of the VMD up onto the tripod when the camera handle is now on the side didn't sound like fun.

    I liked the vertical format so much that I had Ron Wisner make a vertical rear standard made for my 12x20. It's probably the only one Wisner ever made and I wish I could get commission from him on Robert's. But I really only use it in the studio or if I am going to specifically shoot a vertical image in the field. Changing the camera configuration in the field is not really practical. So I pack a second tripod and a sand bag and I'm ready for both in the field.

    Hope this helps. I encourage you to give it a try. A vertical shot will take much longer to set up and compose the image but it is worth it. Your knees will probably be weak the first time but it will work. Try not to do your first one with the backs of your legs pressed against a guardrail along the edge of the road with a drop-off 4 feet in front of you. That was my first one - maybe why my knees were a little weak. Good luck.

    Bob Herbst

  10. #20

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    for 12x20 shoot vertical ..Lotus VMD? Ries A250-2? (but Ries head can not pan)...

    Jeff,

    PS You don't pan the camera when it is set up in this way. You move the whole tripod. That's part of why it can take a long time to set up and compose the image.

    Bob

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