Ries tripod head

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I currently have a 4x5 and giant Studioball head but I am unsatisfied with the degree of precision afforded by the ballhead. It's floppy and a bit tough to level precisely. I am considering switching to a Ries double tilt or Gitzo 3-way pan head. The control levers on the Gitzo look like they might stick out too far and get in the way while examining the groundglass. I'd appreciate comments from anyone who has used either the Gitzo or Ries head. Thanks.

-- Robert Kerner (BobCEN@aol.com), January 23, 1999


A head that I like for large format is the Bogen 410 or 3275. It is a geared head and very easy to get exactly the placement that you want. It is advertised as a small and medium format head but it will handle any 4x5 that I have seen. Give it a look.

-- Jeff White (zonie@computer-concepts.com), January 23, 1999.

I use a Ries A250 double tilt head for my 8 x 10 camera and was glad I did not go the cheaper way I was leaning. It provides me with a very stable and rigid platform and is easy to adjust to any circumstance. Yes, it is heavy, but the controls are easy to reach and when you lock them in, they stay. Like you, I did not go for the control levers sticking out of the side of some heads and I could not find a ball head that I felt comfortable with.

If I was using a 4 x 5, I would still recommend the Ries because they are of the same design - only smaller. If possible, I would take your camera to a store to set it up on several heads and play with them for a while. That is how I ended up with the Ries. Good Luck.

-- Michael Kadillak (kadillak@rmi.net), January 23, 1999.

You really want the Arca Swiss B2 monoball. I haven't used the Ries, but all of the rational (2 way tilt + pan) I have ever used had slight "creep" after tightening them down, including the Gitzo 1570. The B2 has the convience of a true ballhead, but no floppiness and is easy to level both side to side and fore to aft as these axis are controled seperately. Check the posts on the nature forum about the B2. It truly is great! (BTW: I do not work for nor am I sponsored by Arca Swiss in any way.) The other alternative I would seriously look at, especially if you own a Sinar 4x5 is the Foba/Sinar pan/tilt head.

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), January 25, 1999.

I tried working (struggling)with the FOBA Superball for a while before realizing that there was really no rational reason to use a superball (or any ball head) with a (heavy)large format camera (where it is crucial to level quickly..and your movements are mostly axial). The Gitzo works best. If the handle is too long. switch the shorter side handle with the longer back one

-- C MATTER (cmatter@riag.com), January 25, 1999.

Jeff, yes the 3275 (410) is a very interesting geared head. The head will probably handle a lot of 4x5 cameras. What really worries me though the flimsy looking quick release attachment. Is there any way to get the head with just a 3/8 or 1/4 screw and no quick release?

-- Carlos Co (co@che.udel.edu), January 25, 1999.

The quick release is one of the desirable things about this head. It takes two motions to release this plate, one is to push in a button and the other is to move the lever the button is on in the opposite direction. I haven't been able to figure out how you could accidently release the plate and I have tried, the quick releases on most Bogens is a real weak point in my opinion but this is a big improvement. Also, to place the camera on the head everything goes into place with a definite release noise from the lever or else it doesn't go together at all. I have also put it through its paces with a 20+ pound monorail to check to see if there would be any movement or drift from the gears and found none. I could imagine smacking the head against a rock and breaking it in 2 or 3 pieces but otherwise mine has performed very well for me.

-- Jeff White (zonie@computer-concepts.com), January 25, 1999.

I used the 3275 head as my main 4x5 head for about a year but then i realized that i was constantly adjusting the head to keep it level in either direction. For 6x7 and smaller it is a fine head, and maybe even for some small 4x5 field cameras, but otherwise i started to find it aggravating.

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), January 26, 1999.

I may not have made it clear in my original post but the B2 Monoball is a dual axial head, not a true freely spinning ball head.

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), January 26, 1999.

The Ries head is a great one. Fully recommended.

-- Michael A. Smith (smitcham@epix.net), January 26, 1999.

My friend has the same Ries A250 head that Mike has. My friend swears its Gods gift to tripods....in other words he likes it. He also has an 8x10. The few times I've used it, I too have been impressed. One note on the Bogen 3275. I use one (among others)for my smaller 4x5 camera and I have long felt it is one of the best bargains unknown to view camera users. For me, it has solved one continual problem I had and that was that I often forget to tighten knobs (eg: Bogen 3047) and the camera would do a nosedive. With the 3275 the camera is always locked down. The knobs are tricky and the level is impractical but otherwise I like it. I've never experienced the problems that Ellis has had. It's half the cost of a cheaper ball head. I've often felt that the ball heads are overrated for LF users and way overpriced.

-- John Wiemer (Wiemerjo@slcc.edu), January 27, 1999.

Just to be clear about my earlier comments. I shoot a lot of architecture so absolute levelness is important to me. The amount of creep with the Bogen 3275 was very minor but was annoying. It was still better than almost all other 2-way tilt + pan heads I have tried over the past fifteen years. Also I too wish it were availible in the non-quick release version as this is where I feel most of the creep came from. Graf Studioballs I found unacceptable since I had two of their heads pan-bases selfdestruct within a year.

-- Ellis (evphoto@insync.net), January 27, 1999.

You can't beat a Ries !! Simple as that.. I have a A100 with a J250 double tilt. I am on the small size weighing about 110lbs.. but when I lecture to groups on my workshops and chairs are limited.. I set up the tripod and head and sit on it !! What more can I say. GO RIES !

-- Nigel Turner (npturner@earthlink.net), January 30, 1999.

PS.. to add to the above, I have never fallen of.. and the Tripod and head don't move either. Kind of think my insurance policy would be void if they did !!

-- Nigel Turner (npturner@earthlink.net), January 30, 1999.

regarding the bogen 3275 tripod head:i understand that it is rated to support 5kg. i'm thinking of buying one for use with my toyo 45A (a 4x5 field camera) which weighs in at 2.8 kg. the heaviest lens i ever use is a nikkor sw 90mm f8, which weighs 0.6kg. this combination leaves 1.6 kg leeway for such items as a 545 metal polaroid back, filters, and a very light-weight compendium hood. i don't know the weight of the 545 back, but it might put me just slightly over the 5kg limit. so should i worry that this head is not recommended for anything larger than medium format? will i get wobble or vibrations? thanks for your help.

mark woods

-- mark woods (woods@post.harvard.edu), March 31, 2001.

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