wooden tripods

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I am seriously contemplating purchasing a wooden tripod to use with my hassy and a 5x4 field camera.The problem is that there don't appear to be a wealth of information available.I would really appreciate any remarks from user about the pros and cons.For example there seems to be a marked difference in the price of a Ries and a Berlebach;Is there an obvious reason which I am oblivious to?

-- kev walker (nyacush@hotmail.com), December 02, 1999


for ries take a look here http://www.riestripod.com/index.htm they give all they can about their tripod. surely the better wooden tripod. I also appreciate berblach one ( but don't like the zone vi) I think calumet sell berblach so you can go on www. calumet.com

-- nze christian (nzec@compuserve.com), December 02, 1999.

I have a Berlebach tripod that I bought from Calumet and am very pleased with it. It is much, much less expensive than the Ries.

-- Mark DeMulder (mdemulde@usgs.gov), December 02, 1999.

BTW, do the Berlebach tripods allow the legs to be independently lock at any angle (0 to 90 degrees)? I've found this to be a very useful feature of the Ries especially when shooting on uneven ground.

-- Carlos Co (co@che.udel.edu), December 02, 1999.

The Reis is a very fine tripod. I have had one for many years, but use it only when working at home or very close to my truck in the field. For portability, I use a Gitzo, much lighter, but not as nice as the Reis. You might try logging on to http://www.stabil.nu/suitcase. This is a very interesting Swedish tripod, appears to be beautifully made and with an interesting combination of wood and aluminum. But, if you don't have to lug your gear very far, the Reis with a Reis head is in a class by itself.

-- dick sheppard (hardhat@northlink.com), December 02, 1999.

If I am reading it correctly, according to their latest promotional flyer, Calumet is discontinuing carrying Berlebach tripods. It looks like they are selling them at about half price. (12/2/99).

-- Ellis Vener (evphoto@insync.net), December 02, 1999.

Ellis is right. I just bought a Berlebach (the big one for my 8x10) with built in ball head for $119 from Calumet. This seemed to be about 1/4 the price of the next most expensive leg/head alternative, wood or metal, I could find for 8x10. The ball head has limited range of motion, but enough for LF. Calumet is offering that deal on the web, and now in their stores (where I got mine). Not much experience with it yet, but so far, I'm happy with it. (By the way, it does have variable leg spread--three different settings.) They make smaller models that would probably be a better match for 4x5 and medium format, but I don't know if the deals are comparable.

-- Chris Patti (cmpatti@aol.com), December 02, 1999.

Not to confuse the issue but Ted Bromwell offers a series of wooden sticks with ball and socket crowns, some with extension columns, some without. The Master, the largest of the lot weighs a little more than the big Reiss, but costs about half and is rated for greater weight.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), December 02, 1999.

I've always wondered how a manufacturer determines the maximum weight a tripod will handle. Does someone know what standards Ries, Gitzo, and Bogen use?

-- Carlos Co (co@che.udel.edu), December 02, 1999.

I'm hardly an expert but have spent a fair amount of time shooting a 6x7 pentax form a tripod. Some important considerations:

1) If you are doing outdoor work, good metal spike feet are a must. The midgit ones that bogen supplies don't look like they'd be worth much. Their plastic aftermamrket ones fill me with distrust also. You need feet that will gip solid on rock or ice.

2) IF yo are working in sandy areas like the beach, or desert area, it really helps to have a model that you can take apart in the filed to de-grit it occasionally. I've talked to Gitzo users who said their tripods last about 3 years tops in S. Utah (where there's sand EVERYWHERE). If you're in such an area, I'd avoid wood designs that will fill with grit easily. Not only will they be sticky, but that raspy noice of sand against wood really can get on your nerves.

I've had a Ries C100 and it has been exceptional. Very stable even with out the Tri-lock gizmos of the J100s. THey make a backpack model that folds smaller. It looks frail but I have yet to damage mine, even after hauling it on some punishing hikes. I suppose if you are very tall, and don't use a very high head, you might want to consider something with a centerpost extension (which I think weakens a tripod). I'm 6' 5" and use a bogen 3047 head and it's plenty tall enough.

Good luck


-- Todd Tiffan (newhope@4dv.net), December 05, 1999.

I forgot to mention that the Ries have very strudy spike feet and also rubber tipped ones on the other end in case you're indoors. The other nice feature about Ries (and others may be the same) is that you simply loosen the leg lock knobs and the legs will extend themselves via gravity, you don't have to pull them out - kinda slick.


-- Todd Tiffan (newhope@4dv.net), December 05, 1999.

Calumet told me that they are nearly completely out of the Berlebach tripods that were being sold out on special. They have only the smallest for 35mm, for good reason. I liked that suggestion of $119 but obviously many others did too. Oh well.

-- Rob Tucher (rtphotodoc@juno.com), December 06, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ