Tripod for 8x10greenspun.com : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread
I need a new tripod and head for my Burke & James 8x10 field camera, as the Linhof set that came with the camera are not working for me for many reasons. I've read through the tripod threads again, and learned what I can online, but I still don't know... I can't afford any of the Ries or Gitzo that are recommended for the format, so while I'm sure they are fine tripods, they're not an option for me. It looks like Benbo and Berlebach are too lightweight for my needs. I need to be able to go fairly low, like down to a foot from the ground, and I need a head that is strong enough to hold the camera steady even with the bellows fully extended and a heavy lens on front, and I need something I can use on uneven ground so I want the legs to be easily adjusted to different heights and angles. Given all my restrictions and limitations, I'm not coming up with much. I'm looking at the Calumet midpro and the head that goes with it, but they are apparently new and a search on the name delivers no hits. (It's possible I spelled it wrong and didn't notice; I'm that tired and then some.) In Bogen/Manfrotti the only tripod left after my elimination process was the 3051. (Oh, I should say that weight isn't an issue for me because I'll have a cart to carry the equipment.) I haven't even started looking at heads, but the Bogen 3039 was recommended to me by someone at a camera store. She also recommended the Bogen 3021 tripod, which I don't think is adequate and for which Bogen's maximum load spec is 13 pounds, so I'm not sure how much weight to give her other suggestions. I would appreciate any thoughts or ideas; thanks, Katharine
-- Katharine Thayer (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 28, 2001
I use a uni-loc tripod, made by the same design team as benbo,it is easily sturdy enough for a metal 5x4, can't help you with the head though, as the manfrotto I use just holds it. for uniloc products go to www.uniloc.fsnet.co.uk/
-- david kirk (email@example.com), August 28, 2001.
For Bogen I went with the 3036. It's a little smaller and lighter then the 3051. The 3051 has an automatic leg release feature but working with 8x10 is slow going anyhow so this probably wouldn't be needed. It will not go as low as 1 foot. My info says 16.5in. For a head I use the 3057 not the 3039. It comes with a larger 4x4 quick release plate that is nice for large cameras. You could probably buy a separate large plate and use it on the 3039. Bogen catalog lists this head for large format.
-- Chuck Pere (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 28, 2001.
I use a Bogen 3036 / Manfrotto ???. It's similar to the 3051 without the automatic stuff on the legs. Your big problem with this thing is going to be
"I need to be able to go fairly low, like down to a foot from the ground"
because it doesn't go that low. If you're going to be using it in the studio only, you could hang your camera upside down underneath, but I haven't tried that strategy yet with my 8x10 Pocket View. I think you'll be lucky to get the base of the camera 20" off the ground with one of the big Manfrottos.
For a little less than the 3051, you can get the Gitzo 1340 from outside the U.S., and it'll support 22# and go very low to the ground.
-- John O'Connell (email@example.com), August 28, 2001.
I use my Burke & James 8x10 (the folding flatbed model) on a Bogen/Manf... 3221 with a 3047 head. The tripod and head are definately on the small side for 8x10, but not unworkable. I haven't measured, but I think you can get the camera pretty low to the ground with the 3221 (the legs spread really wide, the center column breaks in half, and the head isn't too tall). I don't have too much trouble with the smaller quick release plate, just have to pay attention to what you're doing. You might try bringing your camera to a shop that carries the Bogen line and try it out.
-- Andrew Cole (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 28, 2001.
If it helps any, the recommendation of Ries "A" series for 8x10 is conservative. The lighter and less expensive "J" series Ries tripods are fine for 8x10, and it could be worth trying to find one used or even haunting ebay for a while to find one.---Carl
-- Carl Weese (email@example.com), August 28, 2001.
Is there a problem with the Linhof or is it too light?
If there is a problem Marflex can fix most Linhof tripods.
-- Bob Salomon (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 28, 2001.
I concur with Carl. The Ries J will hold an 8x10. But I recommend the Bogen 3057 head.
-- Charlie Strack (email@example.com), August 29, 2001.
Hi Katharine, I use the Bogen 3221 with the 029 (Manfrotto, I don't know the Bogen #) head. I can't imagine a lighter Bogen tripod or head under an 8*10. I think one of the tricks to stability is the plate you screw on to the bottom of the camera, and you'll want the 4" x 4" flat piece of cast metal with three prongs which connect with the head. The mounting plate has holes in the corners so you can run wood screws into the wood on your slider thing so your camera won't pivot on the bolt. I don't know the part number of the quick release plate. To get it low to the ground you just separate the center colum. In my limited experience, I don't see how any tripod can really stabilize a fully extended 8*10. I've shot that way with a 24" lens and also extended for portraits, but it seemed awfully springy to me, and I've thought that to do it right a person would spread the weight over either a main tripod and a smaller tripod under the lens or perhaps a monopod under the lens. Speaking of springy, if you had a tripod that would alow you splay out the legs far enough to get the camera a foot off the ground, then how would you stop your 8*10 camera from becoming one bouncing springy mass? It seems you would lose all the rigidity of the tripod as the supporting angle becomes less. At a foot off the ground, it seems a concrete block (or two) would be the most stable foundation to sit it on. There are threads on this site that will introduce you to surveyors or the industrial tripods and where to buy them. They are cheaper and there is no question about their strength. That is probably the way I would go if I had to do some serious outdoor rugged work with 8*10 and weight wasn't a factor. Best, David
-- david clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 29, 2001.
Hi David and all, I agree that a fully extended 8x10 will be springy, and I can live with that. What I can't live with is the tilt mechanism suddenly letting go and dropping the camera perpendicular to the ground. I daresay that whole mechanism is stripped out; apparently the head just isn't adequate for the weight. What I'm doing now is setting it up extended over a picnic table with firewood and bricks piled up on the table to hold the extended bellows, but I need a solution that will work in the field, not just in my back yard.
I guess I should have said I need a head that's strong enough to * hold* the extended camera, rather than hold it "steady" which, you're right, is probably an unrealistic goal.
For the tripod, I've ordered a set of used wooden legs for $98 thanks to a tip from someone whose name I can't find now, but I appreciate it very much, and I'm working on a different approach to going low. I saw something in the Calumet catalog that looks like tinkertoys and claims to hold 55 pounds, and I may get that or devise something similar. And I will probably get the Bogen 3057 head. Thanks for all the ideas, Katharine
-- Katharine Thayer (email@example.com), August 29, 2001.
Another head to consider purchasing used is the Gitzo G1570 low profile. I like the fact that they aren't very tall (3.6"), so there's less moment arm that can vibrate when loaded with an 8x10. The platform is 3.4"x6", so it's plenty large. My first 8x10 was a Burke and James, and this head worked great. It isn't a quick release, but it's not that difficult to load the camera each time. I put mine at a 45 degree angle, and the screw is easily accessible. The screw has a turn handle on it that makes it easy to tighten.
-- neil poulsen (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 30, 2001.
Just wanted to thank everyone for their suggestions and report back on how much I like the used wooden tripod I got. I assume it's an old surveyor's tripod, but it's quite wonderful, solid as a rock at any height. It is a tool that works for me, instead of a constant aggravation and obstacle as the Linhof was for me. I love the warm natural feel of the wood and I really like the way the legs extend; it's so convenient and simple. And it's no heavier than the Linhof either. Thanks again all, Katharine
-- Katharine Thayer (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.