Linhof tripod problem : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

I've recently been given an assortment of large format things, basically an 8x10 Burke & James field camera and all the stuff that goes with it.

I have a problem with the tripod, which has no identifying model name or number on the tripod or head but which was identified in the inventory list that came with the stuff as a "Linhof Gigante."

The problem I have is that the connection between the head and the tripod doesn't seem very solid or stable and that the camera can and will move side to side and even tilt up and down when the pan/tilt/etc mechanisms are supposedly locked down.

The connection at the top of the base/legs (sorry, I'm new to large format and don't know the lingo yet) part is a threaded hole about 1/4" across that projects up about 1/8" from the top of the center column. The head attachment is like so: there is a disk that sits directly under the lower pan disk and has a short screw projecting from its center on each side: one that screws into the bottom of the pan disk on the head, and the other that screws into the threaded hole at the top of the tripod base/legs part. This screw is very short and there doesn't seem to be any way to secure it tight, so it can unscrew when the camera is on it, especially when I'm wrestling a film holder into the very tight back on the camera.

I'm also afraid that before I finally realized that the camera was turning on this screw, I kept thinking that the pan screw wasn't tight enough and I kept trying to tighten it harder, and I'm afraid I've stripped that screw.

Any ideas short of a new tripod, which is what I'm thinking? Thanks, Katharine Thayer

-- Katharine Thayer (, June 11, 2001


In the U.S. call Linhof service at 973 808-9626. It sounds like the Large Dual Thread Top Plate is unscrewing when you rotate the camera to the left.

If that is the problem a couple of drops of Locktight on the threads will cure the problem.

-- Bob Salomon (, June 12, 2001.

Another question for Bob: the legs on this tripod have braces that attach to the bottom of the legs on one end and to a plastic flange near the bottom of the center post on the other end. When the braces are attached, even with the center post at its lowest position, the legs can only be pulled out a short ways. I can see that this narrow- stanced, braced configuration would provide a really solid, sturdy support for working on a flat floor or a paved surface at a normal working height, but that's not how I work. I mostly work outside on uneven terrain, and I tend to work low. So am I going to sacrifice a great deal in stability if I take these braces off and use the tripod without them? Or is it that this is the wrong tripod for my kind of work?

-- Katharine Thayer (, June 12, 2001.

There is no reason why you can't remove one or more braces as you see fit.

But the legs will not spread that far out when they are removed.

-- Bob Salomon (, June 12, 2001.

So far I've bought and tried three different strengths of thread locker in two different brands. I've tried household strength, automotive strength, industrial strength. None are having the desired effect. I've tried one drop on each side, two drops each side, and fill the whole *&^% hole with the stuff. I let it set overnight before trying it. Each time the thing unscrews as easily as it would without the threadlocker; it just screws right off. I've been careful to shake the container each time to be sure I'm getting the real stuff and not just the binder.

-- Katharine Thayer (, June 16, 2001.

Katherine: You got the wrong tripod for what you do. The center column in these tripods, even if you could remove the side brackets and open the legs, would prevent you from getting really low. Additionally with this design, there is no way from restraining the outward movement of the legs once the brackets are disconected. Put aside a good freebie and get what you need. Gitzo tripods have leg restrainers on various positions of the legs and can be used without column. Better yet, get a Benbo tripod. No other tripod matches its complete adaptability to terrain. Linhof makes excellent tripods for studio but none, absolutely none for landscape work, which requires greater adaptability to terrain and different heights. I can't think of anything more vexing than using studio tripods for landscape work, except perhaps for the tripod salesman that recommends one!

-- Julio Fernandez (, June 21, 2001.

Thanks, Julio, I've about come to the same conclusion, that I've got the wrong tripod. I looked at the Benbos and while they look perfect for uneven terrain and working low, they also look rather.... flimsy? I can't find any maximum weight limits for them, and only the Benbo 5 and 6, which are described as studio tripods, seem to be recommended by the manufacturer for large format. Photographers reporting satisfaction with the benbo on different forums seem to be almost invariably working small and medium format. So I'm wondering if this is the right tripod for 8x10. I work with the bellows way extended when I'm working low, so I need something pretty sturdy. This should probably be a new topic, now that I've rather given up on the Linhof.

-- Katharine Thayer (, June 21, 2001.

There are 2 ways to go very low with your tripod.

1: reverse the center column by removing the snap ring. This woud go so low that the top of the camera can touch the ground, if desired. 2: there should be a mount for the top plate on the side of one leg. This would let you mount the head as low as 3" from the ground.

No tripod with a spread leg will mount a camera as low as the above.

-- Bob Salomon (, June 26, 2001.

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