Stability of 8 X 10 with loooooooong lenses : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've recently started using a Nikkor 1200 TED (bellows extension at infinity circa 750 mm) with my 8 X 10 field. Not surprisingly, I'm noticing stability problems, especially if there is much/any wind about, and for closer subjects (read 1 full meter of bellows extension, max for my camera). Various suggestions have been offered on this forum for this problem, most pretty cumbersome (carry an umbrella, carry an extra tripod, carry an umbrella AND an extra tripod, etc). Any elegant solutions for this problem, beyond the obvious "wait for a totally, totally windless day"? Anybody tried using some sort of strap or tension device between front and rear standard to increase rigidity? The camera in question, by the way, is a very well-made modern field.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts.


-- Nathan Congdon (, March 20, 2000


Have a look at Alan Brubaker's Stabilization Kit. It might work for you.

-- Carlos R. Herrera (, March 21, 2000.


First off, get yourself a bigger tripod than that carbon fiber air weight wonder you have. #:^)*

My rule of thumb has always been that the tripod should weigh as much as the camera.

In the old days they called what you're refering to as a bread board. It is essentially a piece of wood that fits between the tripod and camera and is tapped on the underside for the tripod and on the top for the camera. The camera bolt is in a slot so the camera can be positioned at various distances up and down the length of the bread board, allowing for better balance. It is "bulky" obviously but it works well enough.

Edward Weston had Brett make a similar device for his Century Universal which weighs a lot less than your Ebony and even on the Ries was prone to a bit of shake, rattle and roll on a windy Death Valley day. His was more like those chin-up rods that you can put in your doorway at home, Essentially a telescoping device with screw adjustments on both ends. I should think you'd be able to fabricate something along those lines with the collapsible poles used for light weight camping tents.

-- Sean yates (, March 21, 2000.

A little trick I've been using for years is to take a couple of telescoping radio antennas and solder an alligator clip to each end. What you do is to create a triangle with one point being the lens shade and the other two being the legs of the tripod. The alligator clips attach to small tabs made from gaffers tape attached at appropriate points. At first glance it would appear too flimsy to do any good but it's as effective as anything else I've tried.

-- Bruce Wehman (, March 21, 2000.

I have the same problems with 600mm non teles. I have considered mounting a monopod under the front part of the camera for additional support. It seems there is no way to have one support point for a sail boat this long and expect total stability...even if the tripod wieghed 100 lbs!

-- Bill Glickman (, March 21, 2000.

Try a Kinesis SafariSack II weight bag and fill with rocks or sand. Clip it round the les of your tripod.

-- Richard Stum (, April 01, 2000.

I use a Nikkor 1200/800 T regularly with good results. I use a calumet C-1, which is very strong and a surveyor's tripod with a Arca Swiss B2 head. The surevyor's tripod is key because I can stomp the large spiked feet deep into the ground, this makes it extemely stable, plus it's made out of wood which dampens vibrations instead of amplifing (sp?) them like aluminimum. Surveyor's tripods are cheap relative to photo tripods and much stronger. After I compose, I tighten all knobs, the tie a small rope around the front standard of the camera, run it down through one of the tripod legs and back up to the rear standard. I cinch up the rope pretty tight buy running it back through a pre-tied loop in the rope in a way that lets me not loose any tension on the rope. This camera is strong enough to take it. I aslo use a 3ft cloth cable release. I have really good results even in moderate winds with the 800. The 1200, I only use in light winds. I hope this helps

-- Paul Stimac (, December 21, 2000.

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