Tripod for Arca-Swiss Discovery (already asked on : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

CAUTION! I already asked this question on But only got a few answers (thank you to Ellis and others). So I thought I'd ask it again here.

I recently got an Arca-Swiss Discovery 4x5. I'm really excited about it and everything that everyone says about the quality of these cameras seems to be true. However, now I need to address my tripod needs. I have my Bogen 3068 with a 3047 head. But let me tell you, that puppy is HEAVY. It will be great for studio work with this camera, but I'd like something smaller for use out in the real world. The Large Format pages have some information on tripods. However, everything there is mostly geared toward field cameras, not heavy monorails. I don't need it to be able to hold steady in a gale, but I'd like something I could roam around the city (on foot) with. So far, The Bogen 410 geared head has been suggested to me a couple of times, and it looks good. Ellis suggested a Gitzo legset, but I don't really like the twist-lock system that gitzo uses, I always seem to untwist the wrong one firs, is this just something I'd get used to (like taking the lenscap off a rangefinder, yeah I'm an idiot sometimes)? Thanks.

-- Josh Root (, September 19, 1999


The Gitzo takes a little getting used to, but the effort is worth it, I think. I have the heavier version of the Mountaineer which is relatively light and very stable. An added feature is the ability to grab the thing in the cold without welding your fingers to the legs. Perhaps the lighter mountaineer would work for you. The only drawback is the height as far as I'm concerned. I like to get a high vantage point at times and often use a little step ladder to reach the camera.

-- Robert A. Zeichner (, September 19, 1999.

After a while, operating the legs in the right order becomes automatic. If you look at the page about the gitzo tripod you'll see that there are now other companies who offer carbon fiber tripods.

-- Quang-Tuan Luong (, September 19, 1999.

I can strongly recommend the Bogen Deluxe Gear Head (3263) its the head that I should had bought five years ago, but I only have had for a month until now, for the work that Im doing; architectural, its the fastest and most precise head that Ive came across. The quickrelease is fast and very secure, and last it can take the load. But its a little heavy, a little is maybe and understatement.

Regards Adam

-- Adam Mxrk (, September 20, 1999.

If youre going to be using the monorail that comes with the Discovery youll want to be sure the focusing knobs will clear the QR plate on the Bogen 410 as it is much wider than the monorail. I thick they will, but better to be sure. The 410 is somewhat heavy for carrying around, but works wonderfully with the Discovery, once you have it set up. I use Ries J100 legs, but here again the top plate on the Ries is too wide for the 410 to use its full movements. An aluminum spacer will solve that problem, but youd probably have to have that made separately.

-- Steve Pfaff (, September 21, 1999.

I think I recommended the H600 in the regular Yes, the J600 has a 4" (I think) base which is way too wide for most heads (unless you get the Ries heads).

-- Carlos Co (, September 21, 1999.

I have 3 gitzos (1228 carbon, 340, 410). The 1228 isn't heavy-duty enough for my Toyo VX125 monorail (too top heavy...tripod needs a larger footprint and more mass in the legs). I use the 340 in the field (a little heavy for overnight or multiday backpacking trips, but fine for a short hike) and the 410 when I'm close to the car or need absolute stability. The 340 and 410 don't have the useless column (reduces stability, increases weight), have large 'wing nuts' to loosen the top segment, and bubble levels to level off the tripod. They both have 3 segments, so I often only have to extend the first segment for adequate height. The carbon 3-series seems a little heavier than I'd like (1349 only weighs 1 lb less than the 340 but costs 2.5x more). Something in between that and the current 2-series would really be ideal, IMHO. For your purposes, the 340 deserves a look.

-- James Chow (, September 21, 1999.

Josh, I used a Bogen 3001 with 3029 head (no quick release) with an Arca- Swis F-line "field" version for a week in the Grand Canyon this summer with no problem. The tripod is small, light, cheap with individually adjustable (angle & length) legs. I own 3 bigger Bogens, but this one worked fine!

Regards, Jim Blecha

-- Jim Blecha (, September 22, 1999.

It has been suggested earlier in this thread that the Bogen 410 head is a suitable head for something like a light to medium weight 4x5 (e.g. Arca Swiss Discovery/F-Line). I recently had a chance to compare a 410 head vs. an Arca Swiss B1 QR and an Arca Swiss B2.

My observation is that for the money, the 410 gives you very nice control similar to the B2 (but the B2 isn't geared). Leveling the camera was as easy with the 410 as with the B2, and much easier than the B1 (I personally find monoballs difficult to use with view cameras). The weight of the 410 is somewhat less than the B2 and greater than the B1. The packing volume of 410 is about the same as the B2, and greater than the B1. The 410 has an anomaly in that the panning rotation axis of the head doesn't align with the point of camera attachment (probably has the greatest impact when taking a series of shots you plan the stich together). The view camera didn't appear nearly as stable on the tripod when using the 410 vs either the B2 (rock solid - could hold the camera stable during a magnitude 7 earthquake) or the B1 (very solid). I wouldn't classify the 410 as "loose", but there was a bit of give and wiggle in the joints. I don't know if this relative difference in stability has any bearing on actual picture taking. Maybe others could comment on the 410 in actual field use. My ideal view camera tripod head would be something with the controls of the Arca Swiss B2, but sized closer to the B1.

-- Larry Huppert (, September 24, 1999.

The bogen 410 is good for medium or 35mm. I know, I've used it for a year with my sinar norman 4x5 (about 11 lbs with my heaviest lens) and it sure does wiggle when I slide in my polaroid back or sheet film holders. Not by much but enough to tilt my images juuuust slightly. I'm a perfectionist and the slip in the gears bothers me. I have now the bogen 3047 pan tilt--not good. Steady as a rock but bothersome to level. Also it let my camera tip over (my fault) but the center of gravity for this tripod head should be lower. Enter Gitzo low profile head. Magnesium. Light. Sturdy and easier to level. More expensive then bogen but worth it. Just my opinion, of course. Hope this helps.

-- Raymond A. (, April 19, 2002.

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