Tripods : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Hello LF World:

I have just experienced an epiphany. Tripods are more important to succesful LF photography than the camera and maybe even the lens.

I have just used my new(to me) Super Speed Graphic on a Chinese copy of a Manfrotto 055. The tripod is great for 35 & 6x6 BUT, it shakes like a leaf with the Graphic.

I have a big heavy Gitzo tripod that weighs about 15 lbs with a head and platform that is the size of a dinner plate, but it is home in Toronto, while I'm stationed here in Singapore, forced to use the locally sourced 'pod. It is possible, but the difference is noticable. I used the Gitzo with an 8x10 I had for a while and took it for granted.

In all the stuff in the forums (Fora?)I can not recall seeing anything stressing the need for a VERY steady tripod. Back to basics!!


-- RICHARD ILOMAKI (, November 03, 2001


Richard, one of the beautys of LF!! You lug a ton of camera equipment around and then need something hefty to put it on!! This is probably the reason that carbon-fibre tripods have been so well received! Getting a good match between camera/lens and tripod is vitally important. BUT if you're stuck with a lightweight tripod try weighting it down with a carrier bag of small stones, or hang your equipment bag from the yoke. Also, wait until vibrations have died down before firing the shutter - especially after removing the dark slide! Good luck Paul

-- paul owen (, November 03, 2001.

Steady tripods aren't necessarily heavy ones, I mean de ability to absorb vibrations is more important than bulk, take wood for example! Ries or the much less expensive Berlebach wooden tripods! They are great to look at but even better to work with. Give it a try and you wouldn't look at the metal gear the same way again. Good luck.

-- andrea milano (, November 03, 2001.

Sorry I forgot the answer to your question, I second all Paul said and if I may add one thing .....extend the tripod as little as possible always work from the to of the legs to the bottom leaving only to extreme situations the thin part of the tripod. The column is best left down extend only if needed.

-- andrea milano (, November 03, 2001.

I second Andrea's preference for wood. I love my Bromwell wooden tripod -- it could be a bit lighter, but it seems to absorb vibrations very well. It's also very tall--- the leg extensions make it higher than my eye level (I'm 5'7") so I almost never have to use the less stable center post. But mostly I only use one leg extension (two sections total) because the Arca bino viewer lets you look down into the ground glass, so the camera doesn't need to be up high unless you need more rise or there's an obstacle.

-- Sandy Sorlien (, November 03, 2001.

Talking of which, does anyone know what the heck has happened to Bromwell? Their website doesn't seem to be up, and they used to have some useful gizmos

Tim A

-- Tim Atherton (, November 03, 2001.

Bromwell is still around - I just went to Photoplus Expo East in N.Y. and they were there (didn't see Ted though, he must have been on a break).

-- Wayne DeWitt (, November 04, 2001.

I have a Graphic View II, about 13 lbs with lens, and a Bogen 3051 tripod with a home made, 1 inch thick 3x4 aluminum plate on top of the center post to screw the camera on to. This puppy weighs in at about 15 to 16 lbs! I have used it on the beach at Lake Michigan in late February faceing into a stiff 35 to 40 mph breeze and making exposures of 1/10 and 1/5 sec without any movement/shake. It's a pain in the butt to lug around but its a small sacrifice I think for the quality of the resulting negative! I tried to use a 35mm tripod before I got the Bogen but even in my living room the camera shook with just someone walking around in the next room. Needless to say I waited untill I got the heavy one before I made any exposures. Got to have a steady platform!! I second the use of rocks in a bag, or any other heavy thing you could hang on it, maybe a concrete block, they weigh about 23 lbs. Good luck

-- Tim McDonald (, May 16, 2002.

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