View Full Version : suitability of a Bogen 3021 tripod for 4x5 field
Any thoughts on the suitability of a Bogen 3021 tripod for 4x5 field work? I am just starting out in large format and currently have a Busch Pressman, but I am thinking of upgrading to a Tachihara or a Wista field camera. I will backpack on occassion with my equipment. Also, any thoughts on a head for this tripod, i f it is in fact appropriate? What about a 3028?
I use a 3021 for 4x5. It works well for me, and is about the heaviest I want to carry around on a hike. I prefer 3 way heads, as I can adjust and set each axis independently.
John H. Henderson
Do you already own the 3021? Bogen says that the 3021 will take a load of 13.25 lbs, and the 3028 head, 11lbs. I would think that would be OK for most 4x5 cameras - of course, sturdier is always better.
I'm fairly new to LF myself, and I get the impression that a lot of people insist that you use a $300 ball head and some outrageous tripod. I guess a lot depends on what you're willing to spend. If you're hauling the equipment a lot, you can spend a lot of money on a carbon fiber tripod and save some weight. From my purchasing research, I don't think that you're going to get more tripod for the money that with the Bogen-Manfrottos.
I personally use a 3046 legset with a 3047 tilt-pan head with my Toyo 45A. I don't know what all the fuss is about with using anything other than a ball head. I can't imagine that I can set up the ball head much more quickly. I also can't imagine that my photos would be any sharper by getting a more expensive tripod. I love this tripod and head combination. I chose the 3046 because I can get the camera almost to eye level without extending the center column. It was also relatively light (8.25lbs) for its load capacity (26.5 lbs.)
Note: LF photography is a hobby for me. Also, I don't tend to take the equipment on 10 mile hikes. So low cost is more important to me than low weight.
Thomas A. Castelberg
I completely agree with Ron. I think the Bogen 3021 is called Manfrotto 055nature in Europe. I use it quite with success and I even load a sinar f2 on it which is rather heavy. The Bogen 3021 can be carried around more or less comfortable, even on longer hikes.
I would not go with a ball head. A pan head give needed control with large format. I had a Bogen 3021 and it will be okay, but I think Gitzo is a better choice. Gitzo tripods have a better weight/support ratio. You could try Bogen's mini geared head.
Another thought, I like the Gitzo's that come without a center column. This allows you to save weight, and an extended center column is unstable anyway.
The bogen 3021 or 3221 (black version) is a great choice for the $$. I use the 3221 with a bogen compact gear head. I removed the bottom half of the center co lumn (an easy task) to save on a little weight. This system works great for my Toyo AX while backpacking; I would not want anything much more heavy. Even with a 300mm lens and a slight breeze I can get tack sharp images from this system. The bogen compact gear head (I forget the product number) is very nice because you can easily disengage the gears to move each axis very quickly. This allows you to quickly set your approximate camera position on each axis, re-engage the gear, and then fine tune your composition.
I've mounted a fairly heavy monorail on a 3021. Photographed on a fairly windy day off the shores of Lake Michigan (not blustery but enough for fingers to get cold). Didn't see any problems. I find that splaying the legs out (which you typically do to get closer to the ground) is also good with the legs at full extension for stability since it gives the entire tripod+camera a larger footprint without an excessive loss of height. DJ
I've been using the Manfrotto 055 for both medium format and LF and find it more than substantial enough. I will second the need to splay the legs as this really lends to the overall stability. I use it with the Manfrotto 029 standard quick release head (not sure what the Bogen ref number is) and this combines to make a fairly lightweight but very stable tripod. I agree that the Gitzo Carbon fibre are impressive, but the U.K. price is in excess of $550 for the legs!! I also use a Benbo 1 (British made tripod) but this is heavy, but if they ever make a carbon-fibre Benbo it would be a definite winner (something between the model 1 and 2 would be fantastic!!!!) Until then I'll stick with the Manfrotto. Regards Paul
Paul D. Robertson
I used to haul a Bogen 3021 around with my monorail 45N, and never had any stability problems with it. It packed fairly well too, just sticking up from my pack. I've since given in to the dark side and switched to carbon fiber (The larger Mamiya because the store was out of large Giztos when I went on the shopping spree), when I went to 5x7, I thought the 3021 would be too light, and I got a huge wooden Berlbach, it was too much of a pain to haul around for more than 4 miles (mainly due to bulk, not weight, I was always knocking it into trees.)
I didn't use a head with my Bogen, just attched the block where the head would go, that worked fine for me using the leg length adjustment to level the camera. I find ball heads easier to work with now because I tend to carry multiple cameras with quick release plates on them and the ball is easier to adjust with my MF gear.
You should also consider Uni-loc tripods, with a Manfrotto head. It is a great combination, plus with the Uni-Loc (Benbo with extra bells and whistles, you can use virtually any camera angle, though if you buy the system tripodyou should get a replacement double 3/8" platform istead of the 1/4" one
This is only personal preference, but go for a Uni-Loc Major or Major System tripod (basically a Benbo with some extra bells and whistles), but by all means use a Manfrotto/Bogen head. I use the 168/3055 and fidh with a little modification to the release plate, an excellent system.
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