Tripod for Deardorff 8x10?? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello all,

Thanks to everyone who responded to my last question regarding my new 8x10 camera... As I begin to consider which tripod to get for this camera, I wanted to get some ideas as to what some of you are using. Currently, I have a Bogen/Manfrotto 3001, which is fine for my Rollei TLR but the legs seem a bit flimsy with the 8x10 mounted on it. On the other hand, I really don't want to spend 600 bucks on a Ries - although they are beautiful to look at and have a great reputation. I really won't be doing much hiking so weight isn't really an issue. Any ideas?? Thanks.

-- Mark Minard (, February 05, 2001



My vote is for the Ries as first choice. But a few years back I found a Great and Inexpensive sub. Check out the local Survey and Civil Engineering Sup. house. They will have a good selection of Heavy Tripods. I picked up a SOKKIA on sale last week for $147.50. It is fiberglass and adjusts very nicely and is rated for 25lbs. of survey instrument. I also have Sokkia "Quick Changes" on my survey tools and my 5X7 and 8X10. I keep them in the back of my trucks and when they get dirty I run them through the car wash. I can't do that with my Ries. I also have the old photo plane (A-100 I think), one direction of adjustment. Not as nice as my new one but you can get used to it because the price for a used one is a bit less than the nice new one. I payed 25.00 for the last one I purchased and it is like new. The one before that cost me 55.00 and it was a bit rough. But I still prefer the Ries set-up for the weekends.

-- R. L. (Mac) McDonald (, February 05, 2001.

Ok I allways get confused ---- Do you read it BEFORE or AFTER you hit submit!! Just to make it clear, the 5x7 and 8x10 do not go through the car wash with the Tripod. And there is one MAJOR POS. or NEG. depending on how you look at it.. These Tripods are BRIGHT!!! Yellow and Orange! I have never been run over (yet)..

-- R.L.(Mac) McDonald (, February 05, 2001.

How's this?

I have bought all my gear used and although it took awhile I have what is for me the ideal kit. (Well, o.k. I want a casket set yet). I got a Majestic head on Ebay for $25.00 - it was listed in the "Hand Tools" section. I traded in some odds and ends on a Bogen 3036 and mounted the Majestic head on that and had no worries about my 8 X 10. Then I lucked into a Ries A-100 circa 1953 in a little camera store in south Jersey. They only wanted $175.00 for it. I traded in the Bogen/Majestic combination in a heartbeat. If you shop dilligently, the deals are out there, just be ready to pounce when you see them.

-- Sean yates (, February 05, 2001.

Forgot to mention - ala' Mr. McDonald I noticed that Mennards, a large Midwestern hardware chain has aluminum surveyors tripods for very good prices. The caveat is you have to devise a way to mount your head on the surveyor size stud.

-- Sean yates (, February 05, 2001.

If you want to be fairly cheap, big heavy Majestic tripods w/gearheads are pretty common the used-equipment market. The only real drawback is that you wouldn't be doing _any_ hiking with it.

-- John Hicks (, February 05, 2001.


Many people like Ries tripods. There must be a reason. You use one, you will understand the reason(s). It's NOT just because it's pretty! It's because of its quality, function, service, and beauty. Call Keith Soderstorm and you will learn more. I got my Ries J100-2 (mint) for much less than your $600. If you want a cheap good tripod to support your 8x10 Deardorff, call Midwest Photo Exchange, they have a large wooden tripod, including a Gitzo head, for about $350. It's good enough to hold at least 40 lbs. Good luck!

-- Geoffrey Chen (DB45TEK@AOL.COM), February 05, 2001.

Jeez! Those Ries 'pods are priced at more than half what my 5x4 camera gear cost in total.
I sometimes think that we photographers get rooked blind. How come a surveyors stand costs far less than a decent photographic tripod? I can't believe that economies of scale come into this one. Worldwide, there must be 20 or 30 serious photographers for every surveyor.

-- Pete Andrews. (, February 06, 2001.

Thanks everyone, for the ideas... I'm going to do more research on the Ries and perhaps I'll get lucky and find one slightly used. Bogen also makes two that I think would work - the one that Sean mentioned (3036) or the 3046.

-- Mark Minard (, February 06, 2001.

The 3046 is a nice set of sticks, but the angle of the legs cannot be adjusted independently - the spreader is rivited (?) into place and doesn't expand or contract.

The 3036 (and it's black counter-part) will allow independent adjustment of the leg angle. There is another model, similar to the 3036, can't recall the #, but it has a "quick-release" feature for the legs - you can drop all three at once by applying pressure on a lever. Additionally, the 3046 has two leg sections while the 3036 has three.

-- Sean yates (, February 06, 2001.

I picked up a used Ries A100 legset and a mint J250 head (not the ideal match for the A100, but great nonetheless) a few months ago for my Deardorff and paid no more than $500 for the two. Still not entirely wallet-friendly, but a heck of a lot cheaper than what I would have paid new. However, now that I've used a Ries, I think I would pay full price for a new one of I had to. Absolute top quality stuff.

-- Dave Munson (, February 06, 2001.

Ries are a beauty but they come to a price and that is a fact of life, in Europe since East met West 10 years ago in Germany, we can still enjoy the beauty of Berlebach tripods at a price which isn't very much more than they use to be when east-German. They come in all sizes and colours all made of nice wood and aluminum. Dont' have an address right now but look around, Hama was marketing them too under their own label, at the Fotokina they were all over the place with different brandnames.

-- Andrea Milano (, February 06, 2001.

This one has been on Ebay at least three times. He has listed it in advertisements, with the head, at $500.00. Don't know what his minimum is now. While it is neat, it seems to loose two advantages of Ries sticks - wood doesn't stick to your fingers in the cold and weighs less.

-- Sean yates (, February 06, 2001.

Calumet used to sell the Berlebachs and for a while was blowing them out at extremely favorable prices. I bought one with an integral ball head and adjustable leg spread for $119. It does not have the quality of a Reis, but it works just fine with my 8x10 and will probably last for many years. (I've had mine for about a year now and it's as good as new.) Calumet may still have a few available, and I know I've seen them for sale elsewhere but can't remember where. It was far and away the best deal I could find in an 8x10 tripod, and it's even reasonably light (about 7lb).

-- Chris Patti (, February 06, 2001.

I went through the same thing you're going through when I bought my Deardorff a few months ago. Like you, I don't do a lot of hiking (at leat not with an 8x10), so weight wasn't the biggest issue for me though it's always a consideration. FWIW, my thinking went as follows: Ries - too heavy, too expensive, no quick release, no thanks. Gitzo carbons - also too expensive, not sure that weight saving with the ones that seemed likely to support a Deardorff was worth the money. Bogen/Manfrotto - I considered the 3036 and the 3046. Both will support around 25 lbs so they both seemed adequate and the cost was right - around $150 for each. I opted for the 3046, mainly because it was more than a lb. ighter than the 3036. If I had it to do over I'd probably buy the 3036. The 3046 is very sturdy and is a breeze to set up - twist three knobs and you're done. However, the leg configuration makes it awkward and uncomfortable to carry over your shoulder, which is how I carry my tripods. There's a picture of it in the B&H catalog and probably on their web site. If you see the picture I think you'll see what I mean by the leg configuration. When folded, it's as though the tripod hasd nine legs, which is why it's awkward to carry over your shoulder. I suspect that this tripod is intended mainly for studio work, though I'm not so unhappy with it that I'm going to get rid of it, just that I think the 3036 would have been a better choice despite the extra weight.

-- Brian Ellis (, February 07, 2001.

Berlebach tripods are available through Lotus View Camera ( as well as directly from the manufacturer ( I made inquiries to both while investigating Berlebach tripods a few months back and both were very friendly and seemed quite willing to do business with overseas customers. Lotus was even kind enough to send me some product info directly from Austria.

-- Dave Munson (, February 07, 2001.

Just to add my two cents: I've used a Bogen Manfrotto 3021/3047 leg/head combination with my Deardorff for a couple of years now with no failures. I was skeptical at first, considering that this is the three-way head with the medium-sized (2.5") quick release plate, but I have been pleasantly suprised by both rigidity and portability. I do a fair amount of hiking with my camera, so a slight sacrifice in the former is worth it in weight savings. On that note, I must say that I RARELY extend the bottom leg segments more than 1/3 full, for there is a noticable splay beyond that point (an obvious indication that I'm pushing the max load).

-- Chad Jarvis (, February 07, 2001.

I bought a Ries for 4x5 and am completely satisfied with the tripod. These are worth the money, and I'd buy mine again.

I have, however, had a minor problem with their head. My 4x5's rotate on the mounting screw too easily. I think there is not enough mounting surface on my cameras to provide friction. Might not be a problem with their 8x10 head if it uses a 3/8 screw.

Don't use the Bogen 3047 with 8x10. It won't hold. Fine for 4x5, though.

Choose your tripod carefully. Try them out. Don't just go on others' advice.

If you work in the cold (or even just cool) at all, wood and fiberglass are much easier on the hands than metal.

-- Charlie Strack (, February 07, 2001.

I use a Gitzo G 1410 with a series 5 low-profile head for my Wisner 8x10. This combination is strong, not too heavy, and not too expensive. I am very happy with it.

-- William Marderness (, February 08, 2001.

Another vote for the Berlebach. Absolutely the best value in wooden tripods available today, AFAIK. And if you're mostly doing "regular" shots - landscapes, portraits, etc., where you're not going to point the camera up or down at a real steep angle, you can wait on buying a tripod head by using the model with the built-in ball head (gives maybe 35 degrees tilt up or down, max). I've been using a heavy camera (20+ lbs.) on the largest Berlebach (w/built-in head) for over a year now with no complaints. And the darned thing cost $129 or so from Calumet back when they were blowing them out.

And before I bought it, I was using my regular 4x5 tripod (Bogen 3036 w/3047 head) with the heavy camera in the interem, and it worked fine as long as you locked everything down. The 3036 is a great tripod for any 8x10 if you want to go with aluminum, but I'd go for the Bogen QR head with the 4" square plate (can't remember the # right now) over the 3047 with the smaller hex plate if I had the option.

I believe in using quality equipment, but similar to the hi-fi industry (where people tout cables costing a thousand bucks a pair!), there is a certain amount of snake oil salesmanship going around in the LF industry: some of the ancillary gear is priced WAY beyond it's intrisic value simply because LF shooters are thought to have more disposable income than, say, 35mm shooters. $500 for a wooden tripod (not even including the head)? $500 for a plastic box with slots in it to wash prints? Give me a break. I can see paying a substantial sum for a lens or a camera, but those things have a direct impact on the image. No one's ever said to me "You took that photo with a $100 tripod and washed the print in an inexpensive washer, didn't you?"


-- Mark Parsons (, February 10, 2001.

I tried the largest Berlebach for my 8x10. It was nice for the money, but I felt it was too light and flimsy for the 8x10. I felt uncomfortable with my camera on it. I think a stiff wind could have blown it over. Then I went to the Gitzo combo I described above. The Berlebach would be great for 5x7 down.

-- William Marderness (, February 10, 2001.

-- Sean yates (, February 11, 2001.

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