Originally Posted by Alan Gales
~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller
Hey Stone, you like Manfrotto. Have you ever used one of those 410 Junior Geared heads? I hear they are pretty nifty!
Thank you guys. I am thinking about doing more urban shots than landscape. So I will carry the camera and tripod around, but not day hikes like that. I am planning to travel internationally and shoot photos in China, so I don't want anything too big, too long, or too heavy. I am considering a Gitzo GT 2540. I don't know whether that will work well with the Chamonix plus lenses. Also, I am wondering whether the Manfrotto 808RC4 three way pan/tilt head will do? Or if there is better options, since the Manfrotto head is a little chunky and heavy.
I originally bought my Vanguard AltaPro 283 CT for my *slr, it weighs 1.7kg and can carry 8kg. Best thing it the camera is eye-level with the column down. Infinitely-tilting centre column (compared to the Manfrotto 055CXPro's 90/180-only) has proven great for macro, but also for those weird situations shooting ultra-wide angle where I had to push the camera forward to get the legs out of frame (wish I'd taken a photo of the setup at the time).
On top of that an Arca-Swiss Monoball P0, upside-down panning ballhead, so once you get the top level you can pan any which way horizontally (I used to do a lot of digital-panorama-stitching, but not anymore since I upgraded to 617).
Also, everything I own has proper A-S clamps, including my Kirk SS1 strap, can take anything hiking and clamp to tripod with no fiddling (except the stupid monoball P0 with a clamp is not a true "AS-style" clamp, so had to buy a bare one and Kirk clamp separate).
I've been using it with my Toyo 45GII recently with absolutely no problems in stability or vibration-blur. The upside-down panning is invaluable for 4x5, once I get the thing level I just pan it to the correct view and rise-fall as needed. So far not too far from the car, maybe 200m and 5m up a slippery hill to get a 617 vertical waterfall shot last weekend, or a 1km round-trip trek over rocks at the beach is the furthest I've taken the 4x5 with the tripod. I've also flown with it (both carry-on and underneath), and drove a few thousand kms with it and a Mamiya 645AF last year.
If you've got a lighter field-camera setup, I would highly recommend a similar setup, will also work great for any smaller formats. I've got nothing against pan-tilt heads, as long as the setup stays level as you pan it'll be fine. Just remember you can't always level out by using a levelling base or relying on the legs (depends how adventurous you get in the back-country / outback), urban you're fine but you never know what else you might want to shoot one day (like I said, I bought my kit for my *slr when I had no MF or LF gear at all).
I've now got a Cambo SC 8x10, total weight 10kg or so, so need a new tripod. Definitely thinking no centre-column, you don't really need one with LF (even though I did use it last weekend at the waterfall). Weight is no real factor as long as I can carry it with 10kg worth of 8x10, so I'll be watching this thread for suggestions on heavier cameras too.
An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.
George, for what it's worth I use a simple setup with my 4x5 that does double duty with my RB67. I won't go into too much detail on ballhead & pan heads, there are a zillion out there and I've had success with most of them I've used. However, for a tripod I'm super happy with my Feisol 3301. The newer Feisol units have non-rotating legs and the twist locks have a metal seal. You might check out the tripods and ballheads at Really Big Cameras. Kerry is always there to assist with ideas.
"Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care"
- Theodore Roosevelt -
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What you are looking at will easily hold a Chamonix with a lens and plenty of extension.
I would check out Ebay and try to find something used. You might find a tripod with head together for a much better price even if you go with carbon fiber legs. I rarely buy anything new and I have some nice equipment. Be patient and something will come up. After you start shooting your camera you will decide you want this lens or that one plus spending plenty of money on film. Trust me.
You ought to join Large Format Photography Forum while you are at it. It's free and it's a great forum like APUG. Stone and I and others are members. After you are a member for a month you can check out the for sale section. I'd look there and also the for sale section here on APUG. Your local Craigslist can also be a great place to buy a tripod. Sometimes a deal can be had.
If you want a travel tripod (i.e. if you intend to leave the house, ever), I recommend the Feisol carbon fibre tripods. They're not quite as nicely made as the Gitzo, but they don't need to be and they're a lot cheaper. Far, far nicer than carrying some metal monstrosity around! I use a CT-3442 with the Feisol 50mm ballhead, it easily supports my Toyo 45A or my RZ67 (similar-sized but heavier cameras than your Chamonix, with lenses that are about as long). Mine has done a lap of the world and some, working flawlessly and weighing basically nothing.
Make sure you buy a quick-release plate for EVERY camera you own, they're cheap, and buy the long one (100mm) if your camera has a large area for the plate to grip. The tripods are very modular, so if you want to travel light (legs+head only) you can, then you (later on) buy things like tilting plates, column, extension arm and all that jazz.
If you're shooting in a studio, don't use a tripod. Use a studio stand - it weighs more than you but will hold anything up.
Last edited by polyglot; 06-18-2014 at 07:25 PM. Click to view previous post history.