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  1. #1

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    Tripod heads - standardized sizes for mounting?

    I picked up a Calumet cc401 4x5 monorail recently (my first foray into large format, so forgive the possibly foolish question). I was given a cheap aluminum tripod with a 3-way head several years ago, which holds the Calumet in its default portrait orientation just fine, but when I move the head to get a landscape view, the head can't hold it at 90 degrees - it just flops over as far as it will go (and it can't be tightened any further).

    I was just given a Velbon Victory 450 tripod. It looks sturdy enough for the Calumet (at least as sturdy as my generic model), and is definitely newer than my other one, but it only has a 2-way head - so, I can't flip the Calumet. However, it does appear that the head comes off, exposing a bolt.

    I know almost nothing about tripod heads - are they standardized (ex, should the head from 1 manufacturer fit on another manufacturer's body)? I can't find a definite answer - failing the above, do other Velbon heads fit on the Victory 450? It's a low-end model, and it was given to me, so it's not a big deal if they don't, but it would be nice

    Thanks!
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  2. #2

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    Why are you flopping a CC-401 on its side? It should have a rotating back.

  3. #3

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    Ha! So it does Like I said, my first 4x5. Never mind
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  4. #4
    andrew.roos's Avatar
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    For future reference, the ISO standard specifies two standard tripod threads - 1/4"-20 UNC and 3/8"-16 UNC. If, as is likely, your Velbon tripod has either of these then there should be no problem mounting heads from other manufacturers.

  5. #5
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    However, tripod threads were traditionally 1/4" and 3/8" British Standard Whitworth so you might find both Whitworth and UNC.

    When I looked into it a while ago, I found one manufacturer using UNC and another using Whitworth. However, I suspect both use a cut profile optimized to fit either thread without binding.

    There is not much between them other than a five degree difference in cut angle. Threads per inch are the same for both standards.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  6. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.roos View Post
    For future reference, the ISO standard specifies two standard tripod threads - 1/4"-20 UNC and 3/8"-16 UNC. If, as is likely, your Velbon tripod has either of these then there should be no problem mounting heads from other manufacturers.
    Not quite so simple, some tripods have the female socket on the head and the male bolt stem on the tripod, others are vice versa. So there's a lot of permutations. Ian

  7. #7

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    The new tripod may work out well for you..........BUT when or if it loosens up or fails, invest in a decent major name tripod. Too many of us have gone through the experience of trying to save a few bucks each time only to spend more than a decent tripod would cost in the first place.
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Grant View Post
    Not quite so simple, some tripods have the female socket on the head and the male bolt stem on the tripod, others are vice versa. So there's a lot of permutations. Ian
    Most or All. not some! :o)
    Heavily sedated for your protection.

  9. #9
    winger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Koehrer View Post
    The new tripod may work out well for you..........BUT when or if it loosens up or fails, invest in a decent major name tripod. Too many of us have gone through the experience of trying to save a few bucks each time only to spend more than a decent tripod would cost in the first place.
    +1 to this I had a Manfrotto/Bogen tripod and got a Berlebach when I got my monorail and realized the head on the Monfrotto wasn't quite as stable as I needed for the bigger camera. Worth every penny.

  10. #10
    Leigh B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Smith View Post
    tripod threads were traditionally 1/4" and 3/8" British Standard Whitworth so you might find both Whitworth and UNC.
    While that's true, it makes no difference in the case of photographic tripods and camera mounts.

    The 60° UNC and 55° Whitworth threads are inter-matable except when component tolerances are very tight,
    which is not the case with any photographic equipment.

    - Leigh
    “Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something.” - Plato

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