Relief from tripod burden? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

After getting my new backpack (see previous thread) I'm still trying to deal with a 14-pound tripod, a Bogen 3236 with a 3047 head. It's solid as a rock and the price was nice. But could I get the same stability and shave off about 4-5 pounds? My back would appreciate any suggestions.

-- Bruce Schultz (, January 18, 2000


I use a Gitzo 1410 and 1570M head for my Wisner 8x10. It does not have a center column, which saves and weight, and the head is the magnesium type, which is lighter. I have done some searching, and I this is the lightest combination I could find to support 8x10, except for carbon fiber.

-- William Marderness (, January 18, 2000.

an assistant.

-- Ellis Vener (, January 18, 2000.

I use the Gitzo 1348 Carbon Fiber tripod (rated to 26 lb) and Arca Swiss B1 ballhead (rate to 90 lb!) for an Ebony 8 X 10. I've found the combination to be absolutely stable, and it weighs about 7 lb, including the Really Right Stuff QR plate. Also nice is the folded length of ca 30 inches for the whole shebang. Easily lashes on the side of my backpack. Downside is cost (about $800 for the tripod, $400 for the head).


-- Nathan Congdon (, January 18, 2000.

Geez, Ellis, have you ever tried carrying and assistant? :)

-- Rusty Brooks (, January 18, 2000.

I have the same tripod but it sits in the closet most of the time now as I am not using large format at the present. I made a mount to carry it on the waist, it's much more comfortable and easier on the shoulders. I hope to have a picture of it on my website within the next couple of weeks. The site is but there is no information on the site at the present.

-- Garry Teeple (, January 18, 2000.

Rusty, I have native bearers carry both me and my crew of three assistants. Why three assistants? One to load the film one to focus the camera and one to recock the shutter. (LOL!)

Although this is very close to how Richard Avedon and Irving Penn do it.

Even Ansel Adams used assistants and pack mules to carry his 8x10 gear. And supposedly Edward Weston once said something like "If it is more than 100 feet from the car it isn't photogenic." Seriously, you can wear yourself out phsically just getting to a site if you are carrying too much gear or your gear is too heavy (I've done both unfortunately). This is why manufacturers like Canham, Wisner, and Phillips are making lightweight 8x10 cameras that are just as rigid as a Deardorff or other heavy weight manufacturers. If you are working in areas where there are paths you might consider using a small two wheeled cart to carry the load. save your energy (and your back) for image making.

-- Ellis Vener (, January 19, 2000.

I also use a Gitzo 1348, but prefer a pan/tilt head for LF work. I highly recommend it and don't think it can be beat for stability/weight ratio. It has no center column, but its legs extend enough that at 6' it's over my head. It can also go down nearly all the way to ground level.

However, I don't have an 8x10 so I can't say for sure that it's enough for that (you didn't specify what format you are using). I do use it with a 600/4 that weighs in at 13 lbs and I find it is plenty stable enough for that. It's overkill for 4x5.

-- Lanier Benkard (, January 19, 2000.

I have a Gitzo 345 Compact performance (w/o center column) which holds up to 22lb and weighs 6lb. Minimum hight: 3.8", the lowest you can get of all Gitzo tripods. Maximum extention: 57.8". Folded length: 22.5". I think this tripod is a good candidate for your consideration. The triopd is priced about $350. Mine is not a new Mk2 version by the way.

I chose this tripod because it's all-rounded for backpacking at a good price compared to carbon fiber ones. I use the tripod for my 4x5 set-up with a load ~10-12lb on the tripod. Depending on how much your 8x10 set-up weighs but this tripod is a solid performer to me.

-- Masayoshi Hayashi (, January 20, 2000.

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