Orbit (Calumet) stability

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Hi, I recently purchased an old Orbit (I'm told this is the same camera as a Calumet C-1?)8X10 view camera. The camera is rock solid and in good shape, but it feels as if I'm mounting the battleship USS Missouri on top of my Bogen 3051 tripod with 3047 (I think) head. This is one HEAVY camera. It just doesn't feel very secure on the Bogen. What's a good tripod and head for this camera? Anybody else out there shooting with this model camera? Thanks for responses. Ben Calwell

-- Ben Calwell (bcalwell@aol.com), December 26, 1999



I have a Calumet C-1 as well, and have asked myself the same question regarding a specific tripod/head combination. If you look at Bogens recommendation for the 3051 tripod, they claim it will only support a decent sized 4x5 studio camera (which is true...I use a Cambo Legend on it all the time...works great). However, no 4x5 studio camera is as heavy as our good old "Orbit" friend! The best tripod choice (in the Bogen line) would have to be the 3058. This is the only tripod Bogen recommends for 8x10 studio use. As for the head, I currently use the 3057. This head is very stable, and features the larger 4x4" plate. I'm sure Gitzo also makes several tripods that would work good, as well. A good cheap alternative is to find an older heavy-duty tripod that has the head built in. I've got a "Samson Quick-Set" that will hold an 11x14 with no problems. I found it at a garage sale and paid something like $20.00 for it! It doesn't have nearly as many movements as a Bogen or Gitzo, but it will support a good amount of weight (including me...I've stood on it before, so that's about 180 pounds). It's a great, outdoor, "let it roll around in the back of the car" type of tripod. Hope this helps.

-- Adam D. DeKraker (adam.dekraker@wmich.edu), December 26, 1999.

If you don't want to spend big bucks on a spiffy new Bogen or Gitzo, scour the used-equipment market for a clean used Majestic tripod and gear head. They're pretty common and usually don't go for more than about $100 simply because the market for them is so small.

I used an old Majestic model 3000 tripod w/model 1200 gear head for 8x10; absolutely nothing moves or wiggles. This isn't a backpacking outfit though.

You'll probably want to add some sort of quick-release gizmo; look at the heavy-duty Bogen stuff, especially what's designed for heavy video cameras etc.

BTW, Calumet still has parts and lensboards for that camera

-- John Hicks (jbh@magicnet.net), December 26, 1999.

Speaking of Calumet, I recently received a copy of their Commercial catalog which showed the Majestic head with a choice of top plates, and another made by CAmbo (I think) which should adapt to several of the leg sets out there. A friend with a small home shop might be able to help with some custom work. I believe the prices were around the $250 mark, but what's it worth to replace the camera and lens if it topples? My old Majestic had no trouble handling an 8 x 10 Deardorff with a heavy lens. Feel free to e-mail for more info if I can find where I put the paperwork.

-- Tony Brent (ajbrent@mich.com), December 27, 1999.

If you are willing to spend the money, the Arca Swiss B1 (head is rated at a 90 pound capacity - somewhat less than the battleship Missouri but surely more than your camera. It is, of course, a ball head which some people like and some dislike. Kirk makes a large (probably 4" x 4" or so) quick release plate that should work well with a larger camera. I don't know about a tripod. I've never used a camera as heavy as yours apparently is.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis@tampabay.rr.com), December 27, 1999.

To add to the first response, I use the C-1 with the Bogen 3058 and Majestic 1000-E geared head. This tripod setup can also serve as a car jack! Of course, tipping the scales at 35+lbs it's as likely to stray from my car as my jack is anyway. Definitely studio material. The C-1 feels like a pocket camera after I lug the tripod around. For what it's worth, I've seen this same tripod/head on Ebay at least once for under $300. It is an excellent setup: smooth and rock solid.

-- Gregory Froelich (gregfroelich@atheneum.org), December 28, 1999.

FWIW Cole Weston, when he shoots 8 X 10 uses a Calumet on a Ries (unless he's switched recently) Michael A. Smith uses an 8 X 20 'dorff and a 18 X 22 Empire on the Ries as well.

I have used a C-1 on an older (gray) Majestic and although I could get it up to 9 or 10 feet it wasn't real stable. At more moderate elevations though it worked like a champ. The "advantage" to the older Majestics is that they are heavy and very non-sexy so they can be had fairly inexpensively - quite a bit less than even a used Ries on occassion. Also, they can often be fixed with hardware available at the nearest True Value.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), December 29, 1999.

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