Stability of ULF camera on Reis tripod/head : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

Finally got my 12X20 camera from Wisner about 2 months ago, and have run ca 75 sheets thru it, mostly for Pt/Pd. Everything seems to be working fine, except that the camera rotates freely on the A250 Reis head, despite my best efforts to lock it down. I'm using a 3/8" screw, but there is so little resistance to rotation of the camera, even when I screw it in as tightly as I am able, that inserting a filmholder nearly always results in some movement unless EXTREME care is taken. Thus, where exact framing is important, I lose a % of images (painful to throw away a sheet of 12X20: that's 4-5 rolls of 35 mm film, or half a box of 4X5, gone up in smoke!) I'd like to shoot a few verticals occasionally as well, and I will leave you to guess how this has been going with this much play between camera and head! There must be some sort of rubber grip I can use to prevent this, as a number of quick release attachments come with out of the box. What's my best bet to stabilize this 25 pounder?

Thanks as always,


-- Nathan Congdon (, March 10, 2002


Why not use two tripods...the 2nd can be rigged underneath the area of the lens to both support that area better and prevent the 12x20 from spinning while loading or dipping with long exposures. I need to always do this on my 12x20 Korona. Nathan , how do you like your Wisner anyway? I've often thought of getting a 6x10 from him. Same neat proportions as your big boy!

-- Emile de Leon (, March 10, 2002.

In order to prevent rotation on the head, you might try attaching some material to the top of your Ries head so as to increase friction with the bottom of the camera. What I did was to find some thin leather and glue it to the top of my J250, suede side up. This has pretty effectively kept my 8x10 from rotating when I don't want it to. You could try something similar with your A250. Aside from leather, a couple of other matierals come to mind. You might try rubber cut from a large innertube, or possibly sheet latex (avaiable from The most extreme, though possibly the most effective, solution to this problem I've heard would be to glue carborundum paper, abrasive side up, on your tripod head. Your camera wouldn't rotate, but then I doubt you want to scratch the hell out of the bottom of your camera. There are a number of rubber materials available that are very "sticky," such as the rubber used for the soles of climbing shoes. If you could find a source for that kind of rubber, it might be ideal. You might actually try manufacturers of climbing shoes (eg La Sportiva) to see if you could fenagle a 6" square for your tripod head. Good luck. Let us know what solution works for you.

-- David Munson (, March 10, 2002.

An Answer and a SPECIAL NOTICE.

That is a good idea, In the hardware stores there is a rubber mat that looks like it is woven and is thin,about 1/16th", It is used to hold wood by friction when a router is being used . the wood does not slip. you may want to try that. The idea of two tripods is good but maybe just attatching a strut from one of the tripod legs to the focusing bed would do the same. I am doing that for the long extentions on my F2 8x10. I use a monopod and I rigged a clamp for the bottom so it clamps to one tripod leg. I use a very strong box sectioned surveyors tripod. I found that increasing he size of the tripod head made a big difference in rotational stability. My favourite head is now the 4x6" majestic. Of course you could just write to Ron W and ask him why he didn't put two holes in the bottom so you could put two screws in. But canyou put in both a 3/8th and a 1/4? I did that in my 8x10 traditional to kep it steady.


I had to make adaptors to use the Wisner boards on the Sinar. In doing that I took parts from another Wisner adaptor {Linhof to Wisner} I was jsut shocked to find that the screws that held my heavy and expensive lenses were tiny tiny brass self tapping!!! So I went down to the hobbie shop and got some stainless steel screws of the same diameter but longer, these were in the fling model airplane section. I then replaced the tiny tiny screws with the much much stronger and longer stainless steel screws. I spent abot tow bucks for this piece of mind. I want you to do the same, don't even think you should not. I replaced the two scres ws on the bottom btrss strip and the two in the top diagionally sliding brass strip that hlds ALL THE WEIGHT of the lenses. Whenyou take that one ut you will be amazed that barely two treads hold the lense in place. If you were smarter thn me you would want to use a fine stainless steel throught bolt with double lock washers on these four screws!!!

-- ED (, March 10, 2002.

Tiltall tripods have a soft ruberized cushion on the head which can be purchased individually from B&H for a couple of bucks.

-- Bill (, March 10, 2002.

I have the Ries A250, your local hardware store(Home Depot etc.) will have 5" and 6" sandpaper in circular disks which are designed for random orbit sanders, and I think these could address your problem.

You could attach this sandpaper to the bottom of your camera with doublestick tape(adhesive on both sides) so the the backing side is facing your camera, and the sandpaper side is facing the Ries head, and since this sandpaper comes in a number of grits, you have a selection to go through to find a disk that works.

You gotta A250 then you know the sandpaper isn't going to hurt the head which is built like a tank, and once you fasten the camera down with the sanding disk attached, I don't believe your camera will be going anywhere!

Let me know if you try it, Double stick tape sticks like glue, but is removable, which is why you might try it.

-- Jonathan Brewer (, March 10, 2002.

I don't have anything that big, but a thin piece of rubber works very well here. It does not have to be glued down either, because of its "stickiness". Rubber "wants" to hold on. That's all you need. The glue just ensures you won't lose it. Try a few thicknesses. You want it thick enough to last a while but thin enough that the tripod screw can still reach the camera. Sandpaper works well too, but being a klutz, there was a risk of getting "knuckle blood" on something. That's my studied and highly scientific answer :)

-- Steve Gangi (, March 10, 2002.

The problem is that the Ries head is machined flat and needs a perfectly planar mounting plate on the camera, or some padding to compensate for a convex or concave surface on the camera. DO NOT USE SANDPAPER! The grit will act like ball bearings.

I use gaffer tape on the bottom of the camera. You could put the tape on the tripod head surface instead. Either will work like a charm.

-- Carl Weese (, March 11, 2002.

As for the second tripod/monopod bracket, Manfrotto (Bogen?) makes a ready made device like this. Can't remember the number, but try the Luminous Landscape site ( I think that's where I saw it.

-- Terrance McDonagh (, March 11, 2002.

Carl.....I've never heard of that happening, the grit on sandpaper are shaped like 'chips' they not round, and it only happens if the surface and sandpaper are wet. If the surface of the Ries is dry, that shouldn't happen.

-- Jonathan Brewer (, March 11, 2002.


A good source of rubber interface pad is the flat rubber jar openers that hardware stores sell or in my case, my realtor gave me as a freebee. They're about 4 inches in diameter and about a 16th inch thick and have a pattern cast in the surface. If you epoxie this stuff to the top of your tripod it grips the bottom of the camera real good.


-- Hank Johnson (, May 31, 2002.

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