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  1. #1

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    Tripod and Head Recommendations for 4x5 Chamonix

    Hi, I am new to this forum, and pretty much new to large format photography. I took a class earlier this year, and now I am trying to assemble a system.

    I am going to purchase a 4x5 Chamonix. I am wondering what tripod to buy, and what 3 way or ball head that I should buy.

    I am concerned about weight, and my budget for the tripod and head set is below $1000.

    Thank you so much.


    George

  2. #2
    Trail Images's Avatar
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    George, not sure if you've seen this video by Michael Gordon from awhile back now, but it is a nice review of the Chamonix 4x5 in general. I know he is well versed with those units as well as having had them long enough to sort out tripod & ballhead ideas. You might contact him directly through his website, he is always very helpful.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEJ0GMWJk-Y
    "Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care"

    - Theodore Roosevelt -

  3. #3
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    George, where will the tripod be used? Is it studio work, is it long distance hikes? 1/4 mile from car? Airplane carryon?

    I'm a big fan of the tiltall tripod for medium duty 4x5 work outdoors.
    For heavy duty outdoor work, the tripod+head to beat is something from Ries, but it's not lightweight...
    For indoor, older Majestic or Davis&Sanford are good options.

  4. #4

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    Chamonix 4x5's weigh about 3 pounds or slightly more.

    I'd second jp498's recommendation for a Tiltall. Buy an older used version for less than $100.00 and you will have plenty of money left over for film and lenses. I paid $75.00 for my Leitz Tiltall.

    If you do a lot of hiking the Gitzo carbon fiber jobs are popular but they are expensive.

    For me a pan tilt head is much easier to use with a 4x5 camera. To be perfectly honest I hate ball heads. There are those who like them and use them though. Poor guys, I feel sorry for them!

  5. #5
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    A metal manfroto tripod An older Gitzo or 3 axis Manfroto will be more than enough, the Chamonix are so light you really don't need to have an insanely expensive tripod setup, use your money on a lens or film and get a more expensive tripod when you get a heavier camera.

    The tiltall are the universal LF tripods but when I look at them all I can think of is that they aren't very adjustable looking and for the kind of work I do, I don't think I could get close enough to the ground with them, nor strap them to my backpack. So not very versatile if you aren't planning to use your car... That's my THOUGHT but I have never used one. Overall start cheap and work your way up if you need it.
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  6. #6
    jp498's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StoneNYC View Post
    The tiltall are the universal LF tripods but when I look at them all I can think of is that they aren't very adjustable looking and for the kind of work I do, I don't think I could get close enough to the ground with them, nor strap them to my backpack. So not very versatile if you aren't planning to use your car... That's my THOUGHT but I have never used one. Overall start cheap and work your way up if you need it.
    They go from about 2' to 5' height without any use of the center column, and my backpack has straps, so it carries easily for me. Get the anodized one if you use it near salt water. The Marchioni version is not anodized. The head spins around, tilts side to side and up/down, just what's needed. You and I might get the camera down low sometimes, but 99% of what I see for LF documentary selfies seems to be at pretty close to chest or eye level.

  7. #7
    StoneNYC's Avatar
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    Tripod and Head Recommendations for 4x5 Chamonix

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    They go from about 2' to 5' height without any use of the center column, and my backpack has straps, so it carries easily for me. Get the anodized one if you use it near salt water. The Marchioni version is not anodized. The head spins around, tilts side to side and up/down, just what's needed. You and I might get the camera down low sometimes, but 99% of what I see for LF documentary selfies seems to be at pretty close to chest or eye level.
    Good to know, that certainly wouldn't be low enough for my work, for example this was taken with the base of my Toyo45a at about 3 inches from the ground...

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I'm not saying 2 feet isn't good for most people but I often find needing to get much lower than that.

    So it depends on what the OP's style is, just giving other options not saying one is better than the other, just different abilities, I'm sure the tiltall will do much better in a wind storm.
    Last edited by StoneNYC; 06-18-2014 at 04:52 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: clarify
    ~Stone | "...of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong." ~Dennis Miller

  8. #8

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    About the Tiltall the center column is removable, the knurled ring at the bottom unscrews, you remove column and invert, insert from bottom, tighten knurled ring which is now at the top and keeps the center column from falling out, now how low can you go?

  9. #9
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    I have a Chamonix F1 4x5 and have been using a Manfrotto tripod with a ball head. I wouldn't say it's perfect, but I haven't had any issues with it slipping or being too heavy for it (the tripod and head are about 10 years old and not all parts work as they should - hard life). I also have a wooden Berlebach that I bought to use with my monorail Cambo and it would be overkill for the Chamonix.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jacaquarie View Post
    About the Tiltall the center column is removable, the knurled ring at the bottom unscrews, you remove column and invert, insert from bottom, tighten knurled ring which is now at the top and keeps the center column from falling out, now how low can you go?
    You would be surprised. Stone can go pretty low!

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