Thanks for all the nice words!
May I say something?
I don't recommend our field tripods for use indoors. That's what I hated about the old Zone VI philosophy - they gave you no choice. They had that silly stick thing to use indoors. Very inconvenient if you had to move the rig around.
I recommend our Majestic tripods for indoor use. The 6500 is good for outdoor work too except in the Rochester cold. Ouch!
I find the other wood tripod to be neither an ultra rugged field tripod nor a good studio tripod - it's a little of both. And it costs a lot of money. Also, lots of medium format people hate the heads.
Was that a commercial? Sorry. E-mail me and I'll send you a sample exposure record to attone for my sin.
...and our field tripods are different from the old Zone VI models. They're better - and without that silly string.
Anthony - Fine Art Photo Supply
I use and highlyreccomend the Berlebach wooden tripod. Excellent construction, sturdy and while not as light as a carbon tripod, certainly to be considered lightweight. And best of all, 1/2-1/3 the price of a a Ries tripod. I use a Berlebach with my 8X10 Wista and have never had a stability problem. And a nice feature of the Berlebach is you can choose a center colume that is on a type of ball joint, allowing for corrections of around 20° in all directions, without the need for a tripod head. Now I do indeed put a Ries 250 head on my tripod, but if shooting 6X6 with my Rolleiflex, the Ries head is not only overkill, it makes the kit heavy and kind of looks dumb as well. As far as spikes are concerned, the berlebach that I own has retractable spikes which is quite convenient.
In case you want to take a look:
BTW, as I recall, my tripod legs ran about $150.00.
I just looked at the tripods from Fine Art Photo Supply, and they are, with exception of 3/8 modifications identical to surveyors tripods I was looking into buying just a few months ago. To be fair, I did not see one similiar to the wooden one being offered by faps, but the Aluminium and the yellow metal are exactly the same, with of course a difference in price. The ones I looked at were all around $120 - $175, but again, without modification from 5/8 to 3/8. The silver/orange model had me interested, but I resisted the tempation. It was lighter than I expected, sturdy, but the clamping style leg holders could not withstand a good leaning of my bodyweight without slipping, and what bothered me most of all was how tall they were even when closed down to their smallest size. A good 10-15" longer than a Berlebach (or more). That would make for very awkward walking through a wooded area.
Well, I've chosen the Berlebach model 4032 tripod. It's the tallest one with a built-in adjustable-angle ball head (it has no tensioner, so it isn't a fully-functional ball head). The cost, which will not include the 16% tax, is 182 EUR for the tripod with 48 EUR shipping. The EUR to USD conversion is almost exactly 1.00, so the total cost is a very inexpensive $235 or so.
Thanks, everyone, for you insight and comments.
I use the smaller zone 6 tripod for everything under 12x20. Pretty solid. It has the string and until I figured how to use it, it was just in my way. I replaced the leather strap that holds the legs together with a 14" dog collar. When I use it indoors I slip some mittens on the feet. In real life they are tennis balls that I sacrificed for the good of the cause. I had the larger zone 6 and it was just too heavy.
As I live in Norway, the decision was easy for me when I decided I needed a sturdier tripod. Stabil from Sweden (www.stabil.nu).
It is a wooden surveyer's type thingy, but with inverted metal cups instead of spikes. Truly amazing grip on any kind of surface, and an amazingly stable tripod as well.
If you want to go the cheap route and don't mind not having a ball head (a sacrafice I know...), look on EBay and get an old tripod from the era of press cameras. I got an old Star D for about $20.00. Now, it is far from an ideal tripod. It is heavy, has a pan head, and is as ornery as a rabid dog to set up. But I only use it in studio or "within walking distance of the car". It is not my "main tripod" by far. But it works well and even does a decent job (although not ideal) with my old Calumet 4x5 which is VERY heavy.
Not bad for the money. You may want to consider going the "old and used" route.
I was using a Bogen 3021 + 3025 head (I know, too light) with the Bender 4x5 and the 75/135/203 lenses, which generally worked well as long as the wind was moderate. The 75 kept the camera crunched up to where all the mass was centered over the head, and the 135 and 203 are small lenses in small shutters. This system failed when I was given a 12" Wollensak in #4 Betax. So, when I acquired recently a Burke and James tailboard 5x7/4x5, I upgraded the head to a 3047. My back will not be happy, but so far no signs of problems in stability either.
I have ries tripod. There are several reason to spend the money and go with this tripod.
1) weight, same or lighter than tripods of the same class.
2) life time guarentee (sp). I sent one back because of a fracture and they replaced it with wood that matched as close as possible.
3) vibration. Wood dampens the vibration better than anything else out there. metal or alum. is next and last is carbon tripods then love vibration, then will pick it up better than anything.
I started out with a Bogen (aluminum and can't remember the number). I had a terrible time with the aluminum galling and I came across an surveyors tripod that must have been made by the same people that made Zone VI tripods. I attached my Bogen 3047 head to it and have used it for years. Heavy, you bet, but I have no vibration problems including my 'dorf.
I am just weird. I use a massive ITE tripod, with a Bogen 3030 head. A 3047 would be better probably. I can beat it, kick it, climb on it, and could probably even use it for zeroing in a rifle. But, you do not want one. It is gross overkill and is brutally heavy. On the other hand, my Calumet and everything else (including telescopes) will not budge when I lock it down. To give a sensible answer, my vote is for the Ries, if I had it to do over again, and the spare cash.