Today you can buy numerous brands of tripods, most of them are relatively cheap, not all of them are stable, and future will tell how long they will survive of they are used often.
Most beginners ask for a cheap, lightweight, stable tripod, though getting all these features in one tripod is quite impossible.
Which old tripods would you recommend in terms of stability and usability if beginners so not have a big budget and are at risk buying a cheap, shaky tripod that will not hold their camera steady? Which are most likely useful after many years and will work for many more years?
I collected some names and hope you can add some more:
- Linhof tripods in general (Rekord, Rekord Profil)
- Gitzo Gilux Reporter
- Velbon Aluminium tripods from the 1970s
- Berlebach ash wood tripods
- Pentacon tripod, a good choice for macro photography
- Benbo tripods
I have a Manfrotto 3221wn. A good tripod is great!
Old Bogen/Manfrotto tripods are often sold cheaply and they last forever. I still use my old Bogen 3011 with 3047 head every day. I bought it new when I was 15 years old, 22 years ago! It still works perfectly; I'd buy an ancient used one with no worries if I needed another for some reason.
I have a 40 year old Leitz Tiltall that sill works perfectly, a larger Bogen that is just fine and a Gitzo carbon-fiber that for its size and weight is perfect for traveling. The Gitzo will hold a mf with a
250mm lens or a 150 with a 2x. It's better to invest in a good (used if available) tripod. It will be supporting equipment that costs more than the tripod and should last many years and probably one's photographic lifetime.
Thalhammer wooden tripods are nice, sort of an obscure gem.
+1 on Tiltalls.
Linhof has a great reputation, Velbon I have never used but I have heard good things about.
I bought a Marconi "Tilt-All" new over 30 years ago, all aluminum construction, durable and very well made. It is a workhorse, I think you could mount a 4x5 or 5x7 View camera on it without any problems.
Even though they might be heavier, the 1970's or 1980's vintage aluminum tripods aren't the lightest but very well made and durable. I believe the Marconi Tilt-All was made by A.B. Marconi & Co. in New Jersey, if they are no longer around I bet their products are still floating around for sale out on the web.
I went to get the Tripod for further review, Manufactured by CM Marchioni & Co. in Rutherford, NJ. Model #4602, "Tiltall".
To give a better idea of the craftsmanship with this product, the descriptive information was printed on an aluminum tag, "riveted" to the central unit of the tripod................You don't see that very often anymore.
At least I got the state of Mfg. right.........
Old Leitz/Marchioni Tiltalls offer the best bang for the buck in used tripods, in my opinion. They go for around $100 and include the head, are relatively compact and weigh about 6 lbs. They were made for 4x5". A new one is about the same price, but an old one in good condition is a better tripod.
For larger cameras or people needing a really tall tripod, Majestics are usually a good deal. If you get the extension legs and the combination geared column with the rapid column inside it, it goes up to at least 15 feet, and they have separate bubble levels for each leg, which is a great feature. The geared head is pretty heavy, but if you have the type where the head clamps onto a tube, you can get an adapter for it--still made--for a standard 3/8"-16 tripod head bolt.
Tiltalls began in the 40's(66 years) and unless they've been abused are still going strong.
There are not many items that have that longevity.
Yeah, new owners, & production is Chinese but still essentially the same tripod.
I bought my Tilt-All used about 12 years ago. Best money I ever spent on photo gear. Not real light, but like you say, you could put a view camera on it and it would be stable. I use a tripod strap to carry it which makes it easier.
Originally Posted by FL Guy
I too, have a soft spot for the older Tiltalls. No bells or whistles, but they are simple and reliable equipment. I've used one with cameras from 35mm to 4x5. They can be had for short money too!