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.
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.
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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 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.
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.
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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.
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Oh god I didn't need to see these.
Originally Posted by pcyco
I've been talking with my husband about whether or not to abandon the 5x7 format and go to shooting 4x5 and 8x10. I like I love 5x7 format, but I find myself having to crop more than with 4x5...so I think I need to stick with the 4x5 ratio...as much as I hate the idea of giving up 5x7.
My problem is that the Tiltall won't hold a 2D or Century Universal and that's what I'm going to look at in about 6 months time...so a tripod will be needed. I'm going to bookmark this and go back to it when the new camera happens.
No idea what's going to happen next, but I'm hoping it involves being wrist deep in chemicals come the weekend.
Indeed, those wooden tripods from Germany look to be rather good value, there seems to be a used Berlebach for about the same price, I will need to check out certain used prices nearer the time perhaps in the new year as I can use the tripod for medium format and 35mm - although a tad overkill lol
Worst thing ever invented with respect to view camera is a ball head, esp outdoors. Given the
laws of physics and vibration, it's the weakest link to the support system. I don't use any head, just
plop the view camera right atop a nice large tripod platform, just like surveyers did for decades.
But back to the original question: I have a couple of Ries wooden tripods - the bigger one for 8x10,
and the smaller one for 4X5 and MF, as well as a couple of carbon fiber tripods for similar applications. I use wood whenever possible; but that Gitzo Mountaineer is certainly nice on long backpack trips in the mtns - I have the original. Some of the more recent ones are a little to lightwt
for even 4x5 use - had a friend break a couple of legs on one this summer - and he ended up duct
taping tree branches on to replace the missing sections! The Ries tripods are so solid I sometimes
whack poison oak or blackberry vines off the path with it. Abuse I know. I finally did get a twist
fracture in one of the legs after about twenty years of such abuse, and tried to pay for a new leg,
but Ries insisted on outright giving me a new leg even though I told them what had happened. Now
that's a seriously good warranty!
I've been using this tripod too, and love it (4X5, MF and 35mm with large telephoto).
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera
The Induro also comes with spiked (and rubber) feet, a nice padded canvas carrying case, and a tool kit, all of which cost extra from Gitzo.
Originally Posted by TheFlyingCamera