Opinions on the Zone IV tripod for 8x10

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I am considering buying a Zone VI wooden tripod for an 8x10 and I would like any opinions on this tripod vs. an aluminum one. If I was to use it in humid climates, would i run into problems with warping?

-- Dave Anton (daveanton@home.com), January 18, 2000


Are you buying this used? I had though Calumet stopped making/selling Zone VI sticks?

I would have no problem recommending wood or carbon fiber over aluminum in cold or wet climates/conditions. Ries and their ilk have been around since photography began. I am currently using aluminum Bogen sticks because I got them second hand at a very good price, but if I could afford 'em I'd be using a Ries single tilt head on an older wooden film/video tripod with ball & socket mount.

FWIW the largest Bromwell sticks, although heavy are a very good value.

-- Sean yates (yatescats@yahoo.com), January 18, 2000.

I seriously doubt that any normal environmental situation will affect the performance of any tripod from a major distributor. However, if you are going to be knee deep in salt water on a consistent basis, contact the manufacturer for specific recommendations they may have for you. Along these lines, I think that Clyde Butcher uses a wooden tripod for his wide angle 8 x 10 shots of the Florida Coast waist deep in the lagoon.

A long time ago someone offered me a piece of advice about tripods. I found an opportunity to take my 8 x 10 camera to a nearby dealer that had several new and used offerings of both wood and aluminum. Try the tripod and head combinations with your camera as though you were preparing to make a photograph. I guarantee that one of them will feel real good.

Once I set up on the Ries it was all over. I found it to be the most solid and versatile platform for my 8 x 10. The double tilt head is fantastic. I also like the locking legs and the workmanship. The Zone VI seems like a cheap imitation to me. The Ries cost a little bit more, but is worth every bit in my opinion.

Good Luck

-- Michael Kadillak (m.kadillak@att.net), January 18, 2000.

Dave: The Zone IV is a surveyors tripod and is made for use outdoors without problems. Drive by any road construction site and you can probably spot several of those tripods with surveyor transits mounted on them. They are usually painted yellow or bright orange, but it is still the same tripod. Wooden tripods need to be waxed occasionally to keep them working smoothly and to keep out moisture. I have one but seldom use it because of the weight. With the big Bogen head on it that is one heavy sucker. It is sturdy and locks down solid. Mine never shakes or vibrates with the 8x10 on it. If you can handle the weight, it is a good tripod. Doug.

-- Doug Paramore (dougmary@alanet.com), January 19, 2000.


The previous poster is right on the mark. The Zone VI tripod (the regular version, not the so-called lightweight model) is nothing more than a surveyor's tripod, without the bright orange paint. I've had one for years, for use with 8x10 and 12x20. I've also had the lightweight model for nearly fifteen years.

The regular version is really a heavy and clumsy beast, but extremely solid and durable. The spiked feet alone probably have more metal than most other entire tripods. I've used it in swamps, streams, snow, ice, sand, rocks, etc. Never a problem of any kind. I just cannot seem to wear it out. Though, unless you have a strong pack mule, don't expect to carry it very far. About a hundred yards is my limit.

The lightweight model is much more manageable, yet also very strong and equally durable. It will handle up to 8x10 with no problem. Its design is not based on a surveryor's tripod, it looks a bit more "photographic", like something LF photographers used in the 19th century.

Yet both models look absolutely crude in comparison to the Ries tripods. If I had it to do over again today I'd get the Ries. But like I said before, I just cannot wear out these Zone VIs.

I don't know if all this amounts to a recommendation. Good luck, Sergio.

-- Sergio Ortega (s.ortega@worldnet.att.net), January 19, 2000.

Thanks to everyone for their contribution. I have decided to buy one. I saw a used one in excellent condition (and with a 3-way head on it!) for $120 bucks. Dave.

-- Dave Anton (daveanton@home.com), January 19, 2000.

We offer a truly versatile tripod. All steel construction. Light-weight., Portable, adjustable. less than 12 lbs. accessories available for anchoring on any terrain, pavement included. trupoint.com

-- Peggy Dorstewitz (trupoint@cpuinc.net), May 29, 2001.

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