Sinar rail clamp 2 w/ a pan-tilt head : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I would like to hear from Sinar rail clamp (2) users: which pan-tilt head you use. I'm wondering the rail clamp with a Gitzo low profile head (double-tilt) would be bettter than with the Sinar pan-tilt head (only single tilt). I know Sinar made this head in this way so that I'm supposed to adjust the other tilt by the rail clamp. But I realized that this would be harder to adjust because I have to hold the camera. Any input is appreciated. Thanks. Masayoshi

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, June 14, 1998


I use the Sinar tripod head with the Sinar rail clamp (not the 2, although the only difference is strength, weight, and cost; the function's about the same).

I was choosing between the Gitzo 1370 head ($170) and the Sinar ($450--ouch); they weighed the same and both heads seemed equally sturdy (the 1270 is too flimsy for long monorails; the 1570 is overkill for my 8-lb. f2). Then I found the Sinar head in great shape for $200 used and bought it. I'm not sure it's worth 3x as much; it's Sinar-like in its quality, although does seem to flex slightly at long monorail extensions (20-inches-plus)--but most heads in that weight class do. It looks snappy, is right-hand-controlled, and has keys to quickly fit the base of the rail clamp (although I always keep the rail clamp attached to the tripod and just remove the monorail and everything above it when I take off the camera).

I don't know what you mean by "it would be harder to adjust because I have to hold the camera;" you'd have to catch the falling camera with a double-tilt head too. Sometimes there seem to be some moves of the camera that aren't possible with the Sinar head's single tilt design, but rotating the camera on the monorail theoretically should duplicate any double-tilt head moves. I HAVE found that as with any tall base system, when I want a close-to-the-ground shot the rail-clamp's height forces me to rotate the camera 90 degrees to one side so that shifts become rise/fall and vice-versa, just as swings become tilts and vice-versa. But this is no big deal once you figure it out.

Hope this helps; clue me in if I'm misunderstanding your question.

-- Bill Daily (, June 17, 1998.

Sorry if there was an ambiguity in my question. I meant to set-up the camera horizontally, it would be better/faster to have a double tilt head instead of the Sinar head. If you call the direction of object North, I have to loose the rail clamp to adjust the radial West-East direction with the Sinar head to make the camera straight up the horizon as necessary. If I had a double tilt head, I could do this movement without loosing the rail clamp and I thought this would be more/faster control. Masayoshi

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, June 17, 1998.

Actually, in this respect the Sinar setup may be more precise and quicker than a double-tilt head; it doesn't take much of a turn on the rail-clamp knob to loosen up the monorail enough to pivot the camera, and by varying how tightly you tighten down the rail-clamp knob you can make very fine adjustments in the verticality of the camera. In other words, even if I had a double tilt head, I would make the small, precisely vertical adjustments using the rail-clamp knob, not the tripod head's. As for full 90-degree pivots, there is less weight--and height--being pivoted when the monorail is pivoted in the rail clamp than when the camera and rail-clamp are pivoted via the double-tilt tripod head. Again, though, I'm still not sure the Sinar head is worth three times the cost, esp. since you'll have MORE pivoting options with the less expensive (double-tilt) head...


-- Bill Daily (, June 18, 1998.

The only times I ever had a problem with the camera moving significantly were when I had the camera pointing either nearly straight up or straight down. My solution was to use a Bogen superclamp on the rail as a stop.

-- Ellis (, June 19, 1998.

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