Specific Tripod/head needs

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Hi All,

I am currently shooting a Toyo VX125 (6 pounds) which sits quite high because of its semi rail configuation. I am using a Manfrotto 3401B tripod with a short center post (6 pounds). I am using a Manfrotto three way 3047 head which is very tall at 7.1 inches tall and 3.3 pounds. This makes my tripod/head almost 10 pounds and the camera is very high off the top of the tripod.I am having trouble handling it comfortably.

I am developing early arthritis in my hands and wish to change to a carbon fiber tripod for lightness and the lowest/lightest three way head I can find that will still handle my camera. Thus far, looking at Manfrotto and Gitzo, the clip action on the Manfrotto legs appeals to me more than the twisters on the Gitzo. Can you give me some help on how to go? Here is a recap on the needs:

Carbon-fiber tripod to handle 6 pound Toyo VX125

Lowest and lightest three way head.

No need for center column.

Want the legs to splay fully out for ground level shots.

Thanks, Scott

PS at a recent Sexton workshop, I noticed he had very low and light Linhof three way head which used levers. I don't seem to find this on the web and don't know if it is still available. . .

-- Scott Jones (scottsdesk@attbi.com), May 01, 2002


You might try the Bogen/Manfrotto 3028 head. It's a three-way with levers, a relatively low profile, weighs under 2lb, is extremely cheap (maybe 10 percent the cost of that Linhof), very easy to use, and handled my 6.5lb Deardorff 5x7 just fine.

-- Chris Patti (cmpatti@aol.com), May 01, 2002.

I have just purchased a leg/head combo that sounds like it would fit your needs. It's new but so far I like it very much. The legs are Gitzo 1325. They weigh in at about 4 1/2lbs, no center column and can be splayed out low. The head is a Gitzo 1370M. It's a low profile 3- way head made out of magnesium. It weighs 2 lbs and it rated for 15.25 lbs. Total weight is about 6 1/2 lbs. If you buy from Robert white you can save about 3 bills. You can find more info on the Gitzo or Bogen web sites. Hope this helps.

-- Ed Candland (ecandland@earthlink.net), May 01, 2002.

P.S. Only down side with the low profile heads is a lowered range of movements caused from the levers and the lowered profile. But with LF I don't see it being much of a problem. Just wanted you to be aware.

-- Ed Candland (ecandland@earthlink.net), May 01, 2002.

The Linhof three-way head (no. 003663) is still available as far as I know. Badger Graphic ( http://www.badgergraphic.com/ )lists it for $395 (check under large format and then under tripods and tripod heads on their web site). I use it and like it a lot.

-- Arne Croell (arne.croell@inemet.tu-freiberg.de), May 02, 2002.

I have the Gitzo G1570M low profile head for my 8x10" monorail and quite like it. One size down, the 1370M should be plenty for 4x5", and it will solve the problem of the camera sitting too high.

I sometimes use this head with long lenses in smaller formats, and if I need more upward tilt than the head provides, I turn the camera around so the main tripod handle points the "wrong" way, and I can get plenty of upward tilt that way. With large format, this hasn't been an issue for me.

-- David Goldfarb (dgoldfarb@barnard.edu), May 02, 2002.


I highly recommend the Linhof 3663.. less than 2 lbs, very sturdy and quite affordable through Badger. I've been using one for over a decade, and although I look at other heads, have never found one that is as sturdy for the weight. I use it on a Gitzo 1325, and love the combination, but there are the twist locks...

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (gkroeger@trinity.edu), May 02, 2002.

With respect to your prefernce for the Bogen snap locks rather than the Gitzo collars, I too used to have this strong prefernce. I hate the collars on my Gitzo metal tripod (a Studex or Reporter or something like that tripod, which I seldom used because I hated the collars so much and which has now been retired to the corner of a closet). However, I recently acquired the 1325 Gitzo carbon tripod and the collars on it are much easier to use than the ones on the Gitzo metal. They're considerably larger than the ones on the metal tripod and so are easier to grip. It also seems to be easier to turn them. I don't find a major difference between using them and using the clip locks on my Bogen 3021 tripod.

I use the 3047 head (which, incidentally, the B&H ctalog shows as weighing 4.25 lbs) on the 1325 and like that combination. Before spending hundreds of dollars on a new head to save a pound or two, you might get the 1325 (from Robert White) and try your 3047 with it to see how it feels.

-- Brian Ellis (bellis60@earthlink.net), May 02, 2002.

Scott, I too have difficulty with twisting tripod collars to tighten the legs. I use a Bogen Manfrotto 3233 leg set with a Bogen Manfrotto 3410 head. This tripod outfit is relatively light weight, head is more compact than the 3047, has a crank center colum, and uses a clever tilt-lever locking mechanism on the legs. It is reasonably priced, easy to use, and will readily support my Toyo 45AII.

-- Eugene (TIAGEM@aol.com), May 02, 2002.

The CF Gitzos have revamped leg twist locks - very easy to use, even with cold hands!!

-- paul owen (paulowen_2000@yahoo.com), May 02, 2002.

I use 1370M low profile panhead (magnesium) with the Gitzo 1325 tripod for my 8x10 camera, and it's great, but this setup is overkill for the Toyo VX. For that camera (and anything lighter), go with the 1270M low profile panhead.

I would suggest a lightweight carbon fibre tripod, but if you are developing arthritis then I would recommend going with the non-twist type leg locks. I love the carbon fibre tripods, but if I had arthritis (or tendonitis or carpal tunnel) I would probably find the twist locks a problem.

-- E Rothman (erothman@hotmail.com), May 02, 2002.

You may want to consider the Burzynski Head reviewed by Bjorn Rorslett on his excellent website (http://www.naturfotograf.com/). It sounds both easy to use and weight and space efficient. The review is at http://www.naturfotograf.com/burzynski.html

-- Phil Glass (phi_glass@yahoo.com), May 02, 2002.

To attack the problem from another angle there are all sorts of gadgets these days to help us arthritis sufferers grip things. I find the most useful is a 4 inch square of clingy plastic which makes gripping and twisting much easier.

-- colin carron (cicarron@aol.com), May 02, 2002.

'Mornin Scooter,

I would be happy to bring in my Gitzo G1340 so you might try out it's attached G1370M (magnesium, low profile)head. Use it for a week or so...

Are you interested in attending the Blue Sky Gallery lecture next thursday?


-- joe sacamano (joseph@gorge.net), May 04, 2002.

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