PDA

View Full Version : Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.



Greg
16-Oct-2016, 13:09
OK, a new Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod with center column will now set you back $4,289.45, and you still will need to purchase a head for it. I'm guessing that there are very few photographers out there that are willing or even could dole out that much money for a tripod. So why even consider it? Well current model is all black and I'm sure has it had some minor improvements or revisions in recent years. Well there are plenty of earlier versions of the current model out there. I believe there was a first version with a bit different leg configuration made are till the 1960s? (Bob S. comment on this?). Older versions of the current tripod model can be had for under $500. Shipping costs can take your breath away. In the past few years have I bought 2 of them. One to use for photography. The other one for use with a Questar telescope (Questar once recommended this tripod for mounting their excellent telescope on).

So why consider this tripod?

This is one very seriously stable heavy duty tripod. At maximum leg and column extension it places your tripod head 6 feet 8 inches inches above the ground and the tripod is still rock steady. I have yearly used it to photograph our local school's plays from the back of the auditorium. Tripod is extended way up there. I actually attached two clamps to the 2 rear feet/legs to stand on. Tripod easily held my weight and the weight of camera with ease. Another little secret is that the 4 foot long geared column off a Linhof Heavy Duty Copy Stand can be used with the tripod. All you have to do is remove the top clamp from the tripod's column. Little round piece of metal holds the top clamp and the column together. Drill a small hole in the side of the copy stand's column matching the one in the top clamp. Use a easily removable clevis hitch to mount the top clamp onto the 4 foot column. Using the column from the copy stand increases the maximum height to 8 feet 8 inches without a tripod head and is amazingly solid.

Legs fold out and are held in place at maximum extension by aluminum rods. One time I needed to have the camera about 2 feet above the ground. I first removed the center column. I then removed the aluminum rods and replaced them with longer chains allowing the feet to extend out to maybe 20 degrees to the ground. You have a very solid 1 to 2 foot high tripod.

Choosing a head for this tripod seems to be it's Achilles heal... using too small of a tripod head will be the weakest link. I personally prefer a Ries J250-2 head.

Portability... you've got to be kidding. Weighed mine without a head and came in at 24lbs. I have a fabric carrying case for it and have carried it for distances of several hundred feet, but to be honest I use mine either in the studio or from the back of my car.

There is a 90 degree adapter to have the camera column extend horizontally out from the top of the tripod. Never considered one until I found a 90 degree adapter at a price I couldn't pass up on. For table top photography an amazing accessory to have and use. You're able to sit in a chair with clear leg room and have the camera right in front of you. I use 2 sandbags over the opposite tripod leg as a counter weight.

Tripod Dolly: never used one but have been told that Linhof's (OEM) dolly is an excellent product.

Variations: (posted this a few days ago on another thread) Back in the 1980s we rented a Linhof Heavy Duty tripod whose bottom legs were probably X3 or X4 the length of the normal chrome bottom OEM legs. Center post was raised all the way up (possibly with an extension). I'm guessing the top of the tripod was 12 feet above the ground. Was actually a very, very stable. Working with the Sinar mounted way up that high was a challenge since I was standing/balancing atop a way less stable step ladder.

Replacement parts? I have no Idea. The rubber/composite feet ends I've epoxied them to the bottom of my tripod's legs. Never needed to use the spikes and replacement rubber/composite feet ends probably not available or maybe by special order with a price to match.

So what do I use my Linhof Heavy Duty tripod for? One with legs only for my Questar telescope. The other has been used over the years for high speed film photography, photographing plays from the back of the auditorium, testing lenses, using my 11x14 from the back of the car, Digital FX with an 800mm lens and Sidemount Wimberley Head, and always in the studio. One time shot on a very windy day with the tripod and a 4x5 Sinar Norma mounted on it... extended bellows vibrated with the wind but the camera was rock solid.

Would love to have others comment on the Linhof Heaby Duty Tripod. I've used them since the late 1970s. Sold them twice in the past, always with regrets later on. Would never even consider selling my current two.

Bob Salomon
16-Oct-2016, 13:24
Well, you left out a couple of things.
The tripod is supplied with a 90mm top plate with a " mounting thread. The same plate is offered as an accessory with a " thread.
Linhof makes heads with a 90mm base diameter which replace the top plate and clamp firmly in place and the Linhof Master GTL camera comes with a leveling head which also clamps directly onto the tripod in place of the top plate.
To extend the maximum height of the tripod Linhof makes the Large Geared Center Column, which you mentioned. This also uses the same 90mm plates and heads. But besides the geared colum Linhof also offers solid extension posts that clamp onto the 90mm holes and also has the same 90mm fitting on the other end.
For heads from Linhof with a 77mm base plate Linhof also offered a 77 to 90mm adapter ring so they could also drop and clamp directly in.
While today this tripod is all black eager versions were silver legs with tan castings and really early ones had wood legs.
It is important to note that the braces on Linhof tripods are attached directly to a tube which is not in contact with the center column so there is ne direct contact with the center column itself. This drastically reduces vibration from contact with the legs. The tube on the latest versions can unscrew when going low or for use with certain Linhof dollys for low angle shooting.

Greg
16-Oct-2016, 14:40
Thanks Bob for all the additional info. In a move many years ago, I had to store most of my stuff, including my collection of Linhof literature, in a storage unit for over a year. The envelope with all my Linhof literature never made it to our present house so had to rely pretty much 99% on my memory to write up the post.

Good point on mentioning the 77mm and 90mm dimensions. Twice I've seen Linhof heads up for auction with the seller not mentioning the diameter of the head's base. I remember asking the 2 sellers the diameters. One time was told 77mm and the other time told 3 inches.

One question: I'm guessing in the 1950s... Was there a first model of the Linhof Heavy Duty tripod that the lower leg retracted not in between the two top posts but in front or behind the two upper posts? I remember seeing an older tripod like that but don't remember if it was actually a Linhof brand or not.

Hope the post now will help anyone who's in the market for this Model Linhof tripod.

Bob Salomon
16-Oct-2016, 14:47
Thanks Bob for all the additional info. In a move many years ago, I had to store most of my stuff, including my collection of Linhof literature, in a storage unit for over a year. The envelope with all my Linhof literature never made it to our present house so had to rely pretty much 99% on my memory to write up the post.

Good point on mentioning the 77mm and 90mm dimensions. Twice I've seen Linhof heads up for auction with the seller not mentioning the diameter of the head's base. I remember asking the 2 sellers the diameters. One time was told 77mm and the other time told 3 inches.

One question: I'm guessing in the 1950s... Was there a first model of the Linhof Heavy Duty tripod that the lower leg retracted not in between the two top posts but in front or behind the two upper posts? I remember seeing an older tripod like that but don't remember if it was actually a Linhof brand or not.

Hope the post now will help anyone who's in the market for this Model Linhof tripod.

Greg,
I really don't know, that was well before my time with Linhof plus they made a lot of variations. But it would not have been a Heavy Duty Pro, it would have had a different name.

Randy Moe
16-Oct-2016, 15:54
First, I am looking for that 90 degree adapter! I want one.

I happen to have 3 of the HD Linhofs as I use them with my 2 early model Linhof Color Kardan. They demand a sturdy tripod with the 90mm interface. I have tilt adapters, geared columns and the column extension Bob talks about. Also a HD Linhof Pan tilt movie head with QR. The dolly is exquisite, big and sturdy.

I like the early Kardans for their almost no holds barred construction, but they are not perfect. Delicate knobs! Amazing bellows. Big 9" lens boards.

I also have 3/8" & 1/4" 90mm adapter plates for usage with lesser camera. But I don't trust those plates, too delicate. A large base head like a big Ries will be fine. I will add one one when my ship comes in. Last week I made an adapter from 90mm to 1.5" to use Majestic 1200 head on Linhof tripod. My adapter is much stronger and used off the shelf McMaster parts bolted securely together. Cheap!

156271156272156273156274

Bob Salomon
16-Oct-2016, 15:59
First, I am looking for that 90 degree adapter! I want one.

I happen to have 3 of the HD Linhofs as I use them with my 2 early model Linhof Color Kardan. They demand a sturdy tripod with the 90mm interface. I have tilt adapters, geared columns and the column extension Bob talks about. Also a HD Linhof Pan tilt movie head with QR. The dolly is exquisite, big and sturdy.

I like the early Kardans for their almost no holds barred construction, but they are not perfect. Delicate knobs! Amazing bellows. Big 9" lens boards.

I also have 3/8" & 1/4" 90mm adapter plates for usage with lesser camera. But I don't trust those plates, too delicate. A large base head like a big Ries will be fine. I will add one one when my ship comes in. Last week I made an adapter from 90mm to 1.5" to use Majestic 1200 head on Linhof tripod. My adapter is much stronger and used off the shelf McMaster parts bolted securely together. Cheap!

156271156272156273156274

Good luck finding the 90 adapter. I don't believe that we ever sold one even though we sold quite a few of both them Heavy Duty Pro and its later brother, the Profi III tripods. We also sold a lot of the geared and solid extension columns as well over the years.

Randy Moe
16-Oct-2016, 16:09
Good luck finding the 90 adapter. I don't believe that we ever sold one even though we sold quite a few of both them Heavy Duty Pro and its later brother, the Profi III tripods. We also sold a lot of the geared and solid extension columns as well over the years.

I saw the 90 degree adapter on eBay in the last year with a package I did not want.

I use a heavier duty and taller copy camera setup than a Linhof stand.

Bob Salomon
16-Oct-2016, 16:49
First, I am looking for that 90 degree adapter! I want one.

I happen to have 3 of the HD Linhofs as I use them with my 2 early model Linhof Color Kardan. They demand a sturdy tripod with the 90mm interface. I have tilt adapters, geared columns and the column extension Bob talks about. Also a HD Linhof Pan tilt movie head with QR. The dolly is exquisite, big and sturdy.

I like the early Kardans for their almost no holds barred construction, but they are not perfect. Delicate knobs! Amazing bellows. Big 9" lens boards.

I also have 3/8" & 1/4" 90mm adapter plates for usage with lesser camera. But I don't trust those plates, too delicate. A large base head like a big Ries will be fine. I will add one one when my ship comes in. Last week I made an adapter from 90mm to 1.5" to use Majestic 1200 head on Linhof tripod. My adapter is much stronger and used off the shelf McMaster parts bolted securely together. Cheap!

156271156272156273156274

I think that the knob problem probably has something to do with the age of the knobs. Some plastics deteriorate over time and/or storage. And the plastics made all those years ago are a likely candidate.

We fortunately did not have that problem with our CombiPlan system even though the tools were made for a specific plastic which was common in the 50s in Germany when the tools were first made. Today those pellets are only still made, in small quantities from BASF. And we did not have an aging problem with that plastic.

neil poulsen
16-Oct-2016, 19:26
I have an older version of these that my parents gave me when I was in my 20's. (Just the legs.) For example, it worked great during the brief period that I had an 8x20. (With that outfit, I sure got ULF out of my system!) The tripod weighs about 19lbs without the head. I keep it more for nostalgia than any other reason.

A lot of tripods can be subject to "structural" vibration, like the Manfrotto 475 that I used for many years. One can have a camera mounted on it that's within the maximum weight capacity. Yet just by the way the camera, head, and tripod all come together, the combination can be prone to vibration. But with it's 2", rack and pinion, gear driven, steel center column, not the Linhof!

It's main drawback is it's weight. If ever I use mine, it would be an impressive studio tripod. It's also worth being mindful that, if being used on a slick floor, one needs to connect the three legs with chains that meet in the middle. Else with any kind of heavy camera, they'll slide out from under the camera. (The legs connecting to the center hardware rely on friction to hold their position.) A tripod dolly would be another way to prevent this from occurring. Or, carry a carpet to put under the legs on slick floors.

I don't know if the new ones are like this, but mine had another problem. For all of Linhof's design expertise, every once and a while, a Linhof design will be quirky. That's the case with my model of this tripod. It has a rod that runs up through the column and emerges with a 1/4" or 3/8" screw at the top that would connect with whatever head. One can reverse an end-piece to change from one diameter to another. The idea was to mount the head, turn a knob at the bottom of the column, and everything would tighten together. Trouble was, when it came time to remove the head, the rod and end-piece would come apart inside the column. :confused: With its design, it could never work properly. (Perplexing.) But, this was easily fixed by running a threaded rod of the desired diameter through the 2" column with a thumb nut at the bottom.

Every once and a while, I will see one of these for sale between $200-$300 or so at a camera show, or in a photo store. Personally, I sure wouldn't buy a new one, not at that price. (Jeepers.) Who knows. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might run across one at a fraction of the cost.

Jac@stafford.net
16-Oct-2016, 19:49
Without an apology, I do not believe any tripod can better a surveyor's tripod for being steady.
.

neil poulsen
16-Oct-2016, 20:34
. . . It's also worth being mindful that, if being used on a slick floor, one needs to connect the three legs with chains that meet in the middle. Else with any kind of heavy camera, they'll slide out from under the camera. (The legs connecting to the center hardware rely on friction to hold their position.) A tripod dolly would be another way to prevent this from occurring. Or, carry a carpet to put under the legs on slick floors. . .

This is obviously not the case with the tripod shown in the photos.

Greg
18-Oct-2016, 16:29
I think that the knob problem probably has something to do with the age of the knobs. Some plastics deteriorate over time and/or storage. And the plastics made all those years ago are a likely candidate.

We fortunately did not have that problem with our CombiPlan system even though the tools were made for a specific plastic which was common in the 50s in Germany when the tools were first made. Today those pellets are only still made, in small quantities from BASF. And we did not have an aging problem with that plastic.

Also had the knob problem. A non photographer friend of mine (actually an auto restorer) looked at them and attributed it to aging plastic. Told me it was a common problem that he had to deal with on restoring '50s and '60 cars, even on some of the high end models he had worked on. To be original he would epoxy the parts back together. Also told me not a solution for the knobs on my Linhofs since the knobs were constantly used and intern constantly stressed. Not a problem with the automotive plastic parts that he had epoxied together since they weren't constantly stressed. Still think I have some Linhof knobs salvaged from Linhofs that were to far gone to be restored. Actually this was one of the reasons I switched to Sinar Normas.

Randy Moe
18-Oct-2016, 17:09
99% of my old Linhof knobs have aged very well. No Bakelite disease. Old Bakelite tube radios age worse from the internal heat.

The knob problem is people let the very heavy cameras fall over when they dismount the camera and put it on the floor. The knobs crack and shafts bend. When I find better parts, I upgrade. However my newest 5X7 Kardan Color is NOS in a Linhof case. A very heavy and nice fitted case. A wonderful example nobody wanted on eBay. It was a bargain and the seller was happy I got it. Me too!


I now dismantle the old 8X10 Linhof piece by piece and pack it very carefully for storage.

They are strong yet delicate flowers.

Bob Salomon
19-Oct-2016, 07:49
Without an apology, I do not believe any tripod can better a surveyor's tripod for being steady.
.
You obviously have not used the Linhof Heavy Duty Pro tripod. Military uses for it include satellite dish support! Museums use it for fidulously heavy IR video cameras for mapping what is under the visible surface of old paintings. For them it is essential that while elevating the camera their is no horizontal movement and while panning there is no vertical movement.
Quest at use to test the tripod by putting their 8" scope on it while the tripod was on a concrete pad and then dropping weighs up to 300 lbs. next to it and see if there was any movement of the image. There wasn't.

linhofbiker
25-Feb-2017, 05:41
I just obtained a Linhof Heavy duty pro, the grey version. It was stored for a long time and has that awful smell. I took some degreasant used for my car project and sprayed it all over the tripod and then hosed it down. Some grease-like substance washed out along with all trace of the awful smell. The rack for the column looks like brass, does it need grease? The legs expand only when I brace my legs between two tripod legs. It does hold the Kardan TL like a rock when attached to the drop-in 90mm attachment piece. What is recommended for lubricating the legs, or should I leave them as-is. I am also building a refractor telescope, so this tripod will be great for this too!

LabRat
25-Feb-2017, 06:32
I just obtained a Linhof Heavy duty pro, the grey version. It was stored for a long time and has that awful smell. I took some degreasant used for my car project and sprayed it all over the tripod and then hosed it down. Some grease-like substance washed out along with all trace of the awful smell. The rack for the column looks like brass, does it need grease? The legs expand only when I brace my legs between two tripod legs. It does hold the Kardan TL like a rock when attached to the drop-in 90mm attachment piece. What is recommended for lubricating the legs, or should I leave them as-is. I am also building a refractor telescope, so this tripod will be great for this too!

A good light lube for the metal parts/tubes is silicone spray... Penetrates well and is dry to the touch when dry...

Note that most of the aerosols contain acetone, so stay well away from plastic parts & painted surfaces... But works well on sliding metal surfaces, and locks will still lock well after light use... Spray on a rag, and wipe it on...

Steve K

Bob Salomon
25-Feb-2017, 07:24
I just obtained a Linhof Heavy duty pro, the grey version. It was stored for a long time and has that awful smell. I took some degreasant used for my car project and sprayed it all over the tripod and then hosed it down. Some grease-like substance washed out along with all trace of the awful smell. The rack for the column looks like brass, does it need grease? The legs expand only when I brace my legs between two tripod legs. It does hold the Kardan TL like a rock when attached to the drop-in 90mm attachment piece. What is recommended for lubricating the legs, or should I leave them as-is. I am also building a refractor telescope, so this tripod will be great for this too!

Call Bob Watkins at Precision in Niles, IL. He is the authorized factory service center and can tell you how to properly care for the tripod and the accessory Large Geared Center Column.

Randy Moe
25-Feb-2017, 07:48
Yes, call Bob Watkins.

I have several of these excellent tripods but have not washed or cleaned them.

Mine work fine as it.

JMO
2-Mar-2017, 16:50
I recently scored a Linhof HD Pro tripod with geared center column, and then a Majestic 1200 geared head, BOTH in really nice condition thru eBay - and am really impressed by how sturdy and useable this combination will be with my 4x5 Master Technika and Technikarden 45S cameras. This set-up will be perfect for my planned table-top or still life photography (in my basement), but is probably too heavy for most to consider taking any distance from the car when doing field work. 'Impressive combination...

Greg
2-Mar-2017, 17:25
I recently scored a Linhof HD Pro tripod, and then a Majestic 1200 geared head, BOTH in really nice condition thru eBay - and am really impressed by how sturdy and useable this combination will be with my 4x5 Master Technika and Technikarden 45S cameras. This set-up will be perfect for my planned table-top or still life photography (in my basement), but is probably too heavy for most to consider taking any distance from the car when doing field work. 'Impressive combination...

I'd advise getting a soft tripod carrying case that has a wide strap. With tripod cases's strap over my shoulder and camera equipment in a backpack, I have easily (well not exactly easily but very doable) walked a distance of several football fields away from my car. Also have corresponded with another photographer who carries his Linhof HD tripod in a modified and very stripped down wheeled golf bag carrying cart, with a "U" shaped top for the tripod to ride inside of, bottom "shelf" to support the tripod and three bungee cords to hold the whole thing together. While back bought another Linhof HD tripod with no center column but just a top plate to mount my Quester telescope on. Quester recommended using sed HD tripod to mount their telescope on, and they really knew what they were talking about. Was out one very windy night on a hill in northern NH (minimal, I mean very minimal light pollution if at all) observing the Universe with the combo, and honestly the images I viewed through the eyepiece were dead solid.

Bob Salomon
3-Mar-2017, 06:22
I'd advise getting a soft tripod carrying case that has a wide strap. With tripod cases's strap over my shoulder and camera equipment in a backpack, I have easily (well not exactly easily but very doable) walked a distance of several football fields away from my car. Also have corresponded with another photographer who carries his Linhof HD tripod in a modified and very stripped down wheeled golf bag carrying cart, with a "U" shaped top for the tripod to ride inside of, bottom "shelf" to support the tripod and three bungee cords to hold the whole thing together. While back bought another Linhof HD tripod with no center column but just a top plate to mount my Quester telescope on. Quester recommended using sed HD tripod to mount their telescope on, and they really knew what they were talking about. Was out one very windy night on a hill in northern NH (minimal, I mean very minimal light pollution if at all) observing the Universe with the combo, and honestly the images I viewed through the eyepiece were dead solid.

I sold Questar the Linhof tripods that they sold. When they were looking for a new tripod they invited me to their factory in New Hope to bring tripods out for their tests.
The test that convinced them to sell both the HD Pro and the ProfiPort models involved taking them outside and setting them up on a concrete slab with their big telescopes mounted on it. They then had an extremely large employee stand next to the tripod, he had to be well over 300 pounds, and while an engineer looked through the eyepiece the large guy jumped up and down very close to the tripod. The engineer was looking to see how much the scope vibrated. He did not hold or have his eye or face in direct contact with the scope while observing.
There was no movement whatsoever!
They also had other tripods lined up for this test from Gitzo, Majestic, Davis & Sandford, Manfrotto, Foba, etc.
The HD Pro was the only one with no vibration at all transmitted to the scope.

We kind of knew that this would be the outcome as we had been selling the HD Pro to major art museums to hold very heavy IR video cameras that they used to scan old paintings to observe what, if anything, was painted under the surface. To do this they needed a non vibrating tripod but with it they had to have a center column that did not move the camera side to side while elevating it and a macro slider that did not move the camera up and down while panning from side to side. Only the Linhof passed this test and we had a special package made up for these art museums. The only part that had to be specially made was the slider. It normally had a rail about 8" long that could move side to side. That rail was actually a short section from a Kardan JBL camera so we had the factory use instead the standard JBL rail that was 18" long.