Right Bogen tripod head for a 4x5?

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Dear Colleagues,

I'm looking for advice on the appropriate Bogen tripod head for a Toyo 45D. I may also occasionally use my old B&J 5x7 on it (inasmuch as no one was dumb enough to try to buy it from me. Oh, well.).

I rather like Bogen's 3047 ("Deluxe 3-Way Pan Head"). But the hexagonal quick release plate I demo'd in a local photo store seemed to be a little "wiggly" with my 4x5 on it. That was a used head; wear of some sort could have produced the unwanted "play" in the quick release.

I'd spend the extra bucks for the 3057 (Heavy Duty Head). But I can't determine from Bogen's catalogue photo and description whether it's a 3-way pan head. Kinda looks like it, but I'd like to be sure.

And, while you're contemplating the above, what might your thoughts be on the appropriate *legs* to put under the head? Most use would be in the field. And I don't plan to carry it *too* far.

Thanks for your counsel.


Denny Wilkins

-- Denny Wilkins (dwilkins@sbu.edu), July 11, 1998


Denny, I've used both the 3047 and 3057, for 4x5 and 8x10 respectively. Some brief observations:

The QR plates for the 3047 seem to vary in size/snugness. Several accessory QR plates I've bought over the years, for use with long telephotos and other camera bodies in 35mm and MF, were a bit loose on the 3047, others were a bit large.

The 3047's locking lever has some adjustability, to make up for the looseness/tightness of the QR plate. The lever cam device can be removed from the pivot point and replaced at a slightly different angle to make up for any variances in plate size. Or you could try several QR different plates on your 3047, till you find several that fit just right.

In my experience, the 3057 head would be overkill for your 4x5. It also does not have a very convenient side-to-side adjustment mechanism.

The 3047 is probably the perfect head (for the price) for your format. The 3039 is also very good, just a lot more expensive.

Hope this helps, Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), July 11, 1998.

You said that there was some play on the used head. Go back and see if the corking on the QR is worn or frayed. Somebody may have tried turning the head without releasing the appropriate head gear. This rips the corking off the QR and results in more play (I speak from experience). Go back and check the cork to see if it's laying flat

I've got a 3047 and it's fine.

-- stuart goldstein (satgre@worldnet.att.net), July 11, 1998.

Dittos on the 3057 for 4X5, or 5X7 for that matter. I have used one with a Zone VI 4X5 for 7 years, and haven't worn it out yet, even after 3500 sheets of film or so. It has never had a "wiggle" problem with the quick release. For 4X5 I use the flat plates that screw into the tripod socket. That plate also has two set screws that can be snugged down to keep the plate from turning on the camera, works quite well. There is no need to remove the plate to set the camera on the floor of your car, as there is no thumb screw protruding from the bottom to make the camera "tippsy".

I vote for wood when it comes to tripods. No skreeching aluminum to contend with in sand and dirt, and the legs are never cold on your hands like metal in 10 degree weather. Besides being very functional, they look damn nice with a mahogany and brass mast head sitting on them. I would look for something with out a center post, or at least a removable center post, that makes low level photography much easier.

Remember that all I did was vote for wood, there are a LOT of choices for tripods. I would mount your camera on some and see what feels right, and expext to put out some real cash for one, it is worth it in the long run.

-- Marv Thompson (mthompson@clinton.net), July 12, 1998.

I would advise a different Bogen model: the #3275, the Compact Gear head. gearing+ better plate design. I use one with confidence for my 35mm gear, Pentax 67, and Canham DLC. It works for my Arca-Swiss F-line as well, but I have slight reservations about it at long extentions. In use it exhibits no creep (the way my Gitzo heads (except for the 1570) do.) and the clutch on each gear drive makes rapid positioning a cinch. I also very much like that there are no projecting handles. Good shooting, Ellis

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), July 12, 1998.

I also vote for the 3047. I've not seen a problem with loose hexagonal plates. Really Right Stuff makes a great plate without the corking. For a tripod, I like the Gitzo 340 (340 has not center column while the 341 does). When I absolutely have to carry something small, I pack a Bogen 3021. It worries me in the wind but always seems to do the job.


-- Mike Long (mlafly@aol.com), July 13, 1998.

I use a 3047 head for an old Burke & James 5x7 field camera. At first, it was a little loose, but then I really worked on tightening the larger of the two knobs (for lack of a fancier term). Then it was great. I tried the QR plate with the flush screw and it didn't seem to work as well. I've got the 3036 set of legs and they seem to be good, sturdy but allowing independent adjustment down to a very low level. Have fun Jim

-- Jim Worthington (jcw@phr.ccmail.compuserve.com), July 16, 1998.

My Kirk hex plate has become standard for the Bogen 3047. Fits fine, allows the camera to sit flat on its base, and unlike Bogen anti-twist hex plates, the Kirk is cut so that it doesn't interfere with opening a film back on non-motorized 35mm bodies.

-- Steve Singleton (singleton1@bigfoot.com), March 14, 1999.

I've used the Bogen 3047 head with a 45D in the past and it has performed well for most tasks. However, I must agree with Ellis -- you should give the Compact Geared Head serious consideration. Its disengagement clutch mechanism allows for quick positioning while the gearing provides controlled movement for final composition. It is much more user friendly and you are not constantly manipulating large, unwieldy knobs to make minor adjustments. The QR plate ain't too shabby either! Cheers.

-- Matt Long (long@ycsi.net), March 15, 1999.

I have used a Bogen pan head #3265 for about year. Recently, I got a 3275 (410) minigeared head, and it performs perfectly. For field cameras, the only right Bogen head is the minigeared head. For a heavy 8x10 or monorails, the #3275 might not be adequate though. I've never heard anyone say anything about the high-end Bogen geared head (~$400).

-- Carlos Co (co@che.udel.edu), March 15, 1999.

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