Berlebach Tripodsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
Does anybody know anything about the Berlebach wooden tripods which Calumet is advertising? The prices are a lot less than Reis, and are also less than the Zone VI tripods (which I assume are no longer available). From the pictures, these look an awful lot like the tripods which used to be sold under the Bromwell name--are they the same manufacturer? Has anybody had any experience, good or bad, with these?
-- Rob Rothman (firstname.lastname@example.org), January 19, 1998
To my knowledge, the Bromwells are Berlebach tripods. Here in Germany Berlebach tripods are also sold under Rollei and Hama brand names, sometimes with a different colour than under the Berlebach name. The surface finish of the wood is not as good as for the current Ries tripods, but the stability is quite good. The wood is ash, not maple. I actually own three of them (different sizes), so it is obvous that I really like them. One is of the larger "UNI" series with integrated swiveling ball and cranked center post; I bought it because it was a real bargain at the time after the Berlin wall fell (at that time Berlebach was part of VEB Foto-Kino in the former GDR). It is superstable, _very heavy_ and complete overkill for any camera smaller than 8x10. I use it only for 8x10 and if I am not more than 300 feet from the car. The other two are of the "Report" series, with different leg length; for both I have chosen the two leg section variety for stability reasons. The one I use most regularly for LF (not listed in the Calumet catalogue) has long leg sections (around 80cm/section, so I can get the camera easily to eye level), no center post, no swivel ball, because those compromise stability somewhat for the Report size tripods, and add some weight. With a Linhof three-way head (3663)and quick disconnect for my 4x5 it makes a perfect combination for me. The third one has shorter leg sections and a center post; I use it mainly for 35mm.
-- Arne Croell (email@example.com), January 21, 1998.
I recently puchased a Berlebach tripod for use with my Wista 4X5 Field. I bought the smallest model with 2 leg sections and a flat platform on top which takes a Bogen head nicely. I have used various Bogens for years but the traditionalist in me wanted to put a wooden tripod under a wooden camera. I found that the price and quality were everything that I hoped and it is been a pleasure to use so far. I got mine from Calumet and as usual the service was superb.
-- Bob Parsons (firstname.lastname@example.org), February 05, 1998.
The thing that makes these tripods so attractive to me is their integral ball head. I purchased a Report 4032 (two-section, with ball head, no center post). It is only 7.75 pounds and can support up to 8x10 cameras (mine is a heavy 5x7).
The tripod is stable, reasonably well-made, and the ball functions adequately, although it's travel limit is only 30 degress. The wood is free of defects and simply, but adequately finished. It has threaded rubber pads that can be retracted or removed to expose leg spikes. It has 20 and 45 degree leg detents and an unrestricted setting. Without using extension, the base of my camera is at 3'6". Adding 10 inches of leg extension brings the camera to comfortable viewing height for me (I am 5'11").
No, it isn't a Ries and the ball is not top-end. But at $200 from Calumet with head, the Berlebach seems like a great buy.
-- G.G. Finn (email@example.com), June 15, 1998.