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  1. #1

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    how essential is a center column

    hi,
    I am in the run for a new tripod as some may have seen in 'the older gitzo topic'
    I was wondering in this light, how important do you guys consider a center column, wether it's geared or not.
    Is a column less tripod any good? I can imagine the adjusting can me quite a pain when one has to adjust all three legs all the time.

    I am curious about this. Thanks!

    game

  2. #2
    jp80874's Avatar
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    One brand that does rather well without a column of any sort is the highly regarded Ries in its many versions. I am just starting to use a twelve pound 7x17 inch camera. Many have suggested that using a column increases problems with balance. Several users of this camera use a carbon Gitzo. To make the rig lighter I may go this route. I have to ask if any of those have a column. I think not, but am not sure.

    John Powers

  3. #3
    Ole
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    Two of my five tripods have center columns.

    I never use them - except on the short-legged Gandolfi tripod. I prefer columnless.
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  4. #4

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    I almost never use the centre column. Somebody said a centre column turns a tripod into a monopod. Not sure it's true but I don't use it normally.

  5. #5
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    My Bogen/Manfrotto 3021 'pod has a center column that can be shortened. I removed the bottom half and have used what remains every so often when just a little more height (like when turning my MF camera on its' side) is required. It does diminish the rigidity a tad, but if I lean on the thing when I press the shutter, I get very sharp negs.
    John Voss

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  6. #6

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    that's what I use it for too. Just that little adjusting.
    Strange to read most people seem to favor no use of the center column.
    But to really cancel the center column from your tripod, I don't know...
    How do you guys decrease and increase your tripod? by taking every leg and adjust those every time??

    Game

  7. #7
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    It's not essential. I sometimes use it to make a small adjustment or occasionally to mount the camera on the bottom of the column or mount the column upside down (depending on the tripod) for a low angle shot. Occasionally the extra height can be handy, say for shooting from a ladder, but it's not the most stable setup.

    I have two old Leitz Tiltalls with rapid columns, a Bogen 3033 with a geared column, and a small Linhof studio stand with a rapid column.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  8. #8
    Ole
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    Quote Originally Posted by game
    How do you guys decrease and increase your tripod? by taking every leg and adjust those every time??
    I generally have a fair idea of how high I want the tripod to be before I set it up. If i then decide to change it a little, I reposition the legs (my Stabil goes all the way out to FLAT). Otherwise I'll sometimes hold the camera, loosen all legs, reposition, and lock all legs. Or one at a time. It isn't really difficult!
    -- Ole Tjugen, Luddite Elitist
    Norway

  9. #9
    Mike Kovacs's Avatar
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    I think whether adjusting height with the legs or not works for you depends a lot on the style of shooting. E.g., with my macro work its just not possible to work this way. Sometimes the tiniest movement is necessary and moving the legs is far from precise.

    I have an older Manfrotto 055 that had a ridiculously long centre column. I used a tubing cutter to make it rise maximum 5cm, which then allows me to work nearly at ground level with the legs spread flat. I can easily adjust the legs if I need more. I would never use the centre column just to gain height - that's just asking for problems IMO.
    If it says Zeiss or Rollei, the answer is YES!
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  10. #10
    Marco Gilardetti's Avatar
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    I seem to disagree with all other posters. I find it extremely useful expecially in macrophotography, when you want to adjust camera's height in regard to the subject precisely (most of the times it's a question of millimeters).

    I sometimes used it to raise the view camera over my head and take the picture from a higher perspective without needing to change focus. It is a Manfrotto geared unit. Mine raises up more than 3 meters tall. I took pictures from over a wall or bush in a pair of occasions this way.

    When stability is a priority, I simply collapse it and lock the gear.
    I know a chap who does excellent portraits. The chap is a camera.
    (Tristan Tzara, 1922)

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