Big Head - Light Legs? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

It seems to me that the weak link in any tripod is the joints in the head. Doesn't it make sense then to go with a v. solid head and a lighter set of legs? Given that the thing doesn't collapse under the weight, I don't understand the advantage of a heavy tripod. After, all the downward weight of the camera plus head should have a stabilizing effect. Am I right here? PS I've been using the Manfrotto geared head, the smaller one, and I'm disappointed with how much play there is in it. Is there a substitute near the price/weight? Does anyone have experience of the large Manfrotto geared head? Thanks in advance.

-- Yaakov Asher Sinclair (, May 04, 2001


If those lightweight legs could be made absolutely rigid, and could damp all vibration, then your assumption would be correct. Until someone markets a tripod with legs made of artificial diamond covered in rubber, that ain't gonna happen.
The leverage of the legs is enormous, and a small wind or touch induced vibration can be amplified through to the camera easily. The head is really of secondary importance, except that some designs have a ridiculous thinning of the support just below the camera platform. (Have the guys that design these things never studied vibration?)
Sorry, but in my experience there's no substitute for mass, bracing, and plenty of it.

-- Pete Andrews (, May 04, 2001.

I have used the large Manfrotto geared head for a couple years now, and I’m very pleased with it performance - no play, just precise smooth movements when you want it.

-- Adam Mørk (, May 04, 2001.

I've been looking at the Gitzo Low-Profile Magnisium 3-way heads, and they seem very intelligently designed, without the thinning of the metal support below the platform mentioned above. Very nice prices at Robert White, too.

-- David Goldfarb (, May 04, 2001.

I have been using Bogen/Manfrotto 3263 for about a year with 4x5 & 8x10. Very secure (especially with long bellows extension) and very precise, also very heavy. I have Gitzo 1370M head which is fine for traveling light in the field with 4x5 but would need 1570M for my 8x10. I use the 3263 unless I absolutely have to lighten the load. Alex

-- Alex Weiner (, May 04, 2001.

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