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Thread: Tripod for 4x5

  1. #1
    Jeremy's Avatar
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    I searched through the postings for any mention of tripods with large format cameras and came up with nothing. Do you have any suggestions for an inexpensive tripod to use with a 4x5 monorail. I already have the Bogen 3221 (it's black, so it may be the 3221 or something like that), but I don't know if it will be strong enough. I'm hoping to get a more expensive tripod in the future (I'm a student and need to get rid of my credit card debt first), but need something to shoot with now. Should I just use the 3221 and set aside some $$$ every month and get a heavier gitzo, ries, berlebach, etc...?

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  2. #2

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    I have been using a Bogen 3021 for years and have found it to be more than adequate. I have used it with both a monorail (Cambo 45NX) and a field camera (Tachihara 4x5). I use it with a 3030 head which is on the small side but has worked great for me. I use the same tripod and head with my 4x5 and my medium format camera.

    Sherman

  3. #3
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    If you've got an adequate head, it's probably enough. I had a 3030 head, but I found the QR system wobbly. You might want to go up one size or consider a Gitzo low-profile 3-way pan head, probably a 1370, which is not too outrageously priced at Robert White.

    For 4x5" I usually use an old Leitz Tiltall. These can be had for around $100, about the same price as a new one, but the older ones are better made. Remarkably, I was just reading in the current issue of _View Camera_ (March/April 2003) that Steve Fitch uses a Tiltall for his Eastman 2D 8x10", often making exposures of 1 to 30 minutes. I usually use a bigger tripod for 8x10", but that's a real testament to the sturdiness of the Tiltall.
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    jd callow's Avatar
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    I have the 3221G. It is Green with foam on the upper half of the legs. I tried using it with my Sinar, but I found it a little light. The head I used was the 3047. The tripod was great for travel, and the foam makes it fairly comfortable on my shoulders when I carry it with camera attached. I have switched to the 3401 tripod and still use the 3047 head. This tripod does not have the best centerpost tightening arrangment, but it is otherwise a much better choice (for me). It is fairly light yet very stable and it comes with a second, short center post which has come in very handy. The 3221 came with a two piece centerpost which was more or less useless for 4x5, but ok for 35mm and my mamiya 6.

    The 3047 head is not quite up to the job of 4x5 and I hope to change soon for a geared 3-way head. I have never found a ball head usefull for 4x5, but then I have only owned the bogan/manfrotto 3055 and I've heard people speak more highly of the arca-swiss than they do of their spouses.

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  5. #5

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    I have used the 3047 head for 4X5 and 8X10. It is rated for 16.5 lbs, as I recall, and my Deardorf comes in at about 13 lbs. I am, however, moving into a Majestic geared head for the 12X20 since it comes in at 23 lbs plus lens and holder. I am not familiar with the particular Bogen Tripod that you have so I can't comment on that. I guess that the only true way to determine is to try it. If it is not solid enough for your usage then it will quickly become apparent. One can not be "too" solid but can certainly be "too" unstable.
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  6. #6
    Aggie's Avatar
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    I picked up a Velbon Sherpa 750. I'm not sure what the US name is for this tripod. Why do names get changed by US distributors??? [Might be the Velbon Chaser EFL-4 The specs match] It's rated at 12lbs. My monorail and a lens is pretty close to that and the tripod easily handles it. It's relatively cheap. If it is the chaser it's less then $100 at B&H in the US. It goes on sale around here every so often.

    http://members.bellatlantic.net/~vze2gkrc/...ripod-Test.html

    The velbon docs call it a "pro" tripod. I consider that a bit much. It's nice enough but I wonder how many pros would love the thing.

  8. #8
    hbc
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    like david i also use a tiltall for 4x5 its great verystrong and sturdy i was lucky to have found it at work, it was left , after 6months no one claimed it so it came home with me . i have even put my calumet c-1 8x10 on it .

  9. #9
    fhovie's Avatar
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    I use a Bogen 3205 - I don't know if that is "like" the one you have. It is light and inexpensive. It worked ok with my Calumet monorail and it works ok with my Tachihara field camera (4x5). IF THERE IS NO BREEZE. If I am careful. If I look at it and am sure it is not vibrating. I don't have negatives with motion blur and I shoot at 1 sec more often than 60th. Since I have to carry it and "more stable" is heavier, I'll use it - It is always a comprimise. (I think) .... Maybe .... Unless someone has a magic answer .... anyone? .... -Frank
    My photos are always without all that distracting color ...

  10. #10

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    I believe that people generally need lighter tripods/tripod heads than they think they need.

    That said, I think that the answers to your questions depend on your style of photography. Are you going to be using a 2-lb. Toho monorail or a 14-lb. Toyo? Will you use the tripod in a studio, in a desert, or both? Do you need it to be extremely precise? Will you be lugging it on 30-mile treks in the Rockies? So much of this descision is based on your personal preferences.

    I use a Manfrotto tripod/tripod head combination that is relatively light (about 6lbs.), but it's heavier than I need it to be for my 4-lb. Tachihara field camera. I've also tested this combination with a 10-lb. monorail made by Linhof. The tripod was a little light for that camera, but would have been okay for many uses.

    I'd suggest that you test your current tripod with the camera you'll be using. You may not need the pain of paying a lot of money for a lot of weight.

    Good luck!

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