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Terry Hull
13-Sep-2007, 08:44
When a manufacturer suggests a tripod works for weight say up to 17 pounds, or up to 26 pounds can it be relied upon, or is it marketing hype? I am specifically thinking of the latest carbon fiber products.

Ash
13-Sep-2007, 08:52
Terry, I think it will vary from one manufacturer to the next. I wouldn't trust it. I usually like to play with the tripod in store (lean on it) and if it feels fairly sturdy I'll research more.

I'd hate to trust a label and then find my prized cameras in pieces! :eek:

Aender Brepsom
13-Sep-2007, 08:57
My experience with Gitzo carbon fiber tripods showed that they can really support the weight that is indicated by the manufacturer, but there are many factors to be considered: the head, the underground (grassy vs. firm rock), wind, focal length used, etc.

My small G1228 (used for hiking) can support a 4x5 camera or a DSLR with a 300mm lens, but on the other hand, even my G1548 beast can get wobbly on grass. With my field camera, I mostly use a G1348 with an Arca Swiss ballhead. Rock solid!

David A. Goldfarb
13-Sep-2007, 09:02
I think those weights should be looked at as the weight the tripod can carry without slipping or collapsing. If you use long lenses on your 6 lb. camera, you might want a tripod rated for significantly more than that (how much more?--depends on the camera and the lens).

Scott Davis
13-Sep-2007, 09:27
Certain manufacturers (Gitzo, Bogen/Manfrotto) often rate their tripods conservatively (anyone remember the old ads with Lester Bogen sitting on top of one of his tripods?). Others tend to be a bit generous with their ratings. When in doubt, try it out in the safety of a store or in your living room before putting a valued camera on it in the field.

David A. Goldfarb
13-Sep-2007, 09:45
The issue isn't just whether it supports the camera insofar as it prevents it from falling to the ground. The tripod also should ideally be strong enough to keep the camera from vibrating due to shutter vibration, camera vibration, or wind with as much extension as you plan to use.

For instance, the weight of the camera doesn't change if you use the same lens for shooting a landscape or a macro shot, but the macro usually requires a stronger tripod than the landscape (unless you're using strobes and only one pop).

Ron Marshall
13-Sep-2007, 10:30
To play it safe, in terms of vibration, I look for a tripod rated to hold approx. twice the weight of camera + head + lens.

Terry Hull
13-Sep-2007, 11:52
I have an Arca Swiss Discovery with bino viewer.T he heaviest lens I use is a 90MM f6.8.
I am thinking of a Gitzo 2530-has anyone used it with a rail camera? It seems a rail camera, perhaps needs more stability than a field camera?

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
13-Sep-2007, 11:54
Terry,

Why would we, Giottos, Berlebach and Linhof tripods, print a figure that is not at least conservative? That also goes for all of the tripods from Manfrotto. Word gets around too quickly to play with numbers that way and there are hundreds, and hundreds of camera stores in the USA that stock these tripods.

It is too easy for any consumer to go to a store and see for themselves how sturdy and strong a tripod is and how conservative or how liberal a distributor/manufacturer is with their specifications.

It is also very easy for anyone going to a show like next months NY show to see all major brands of tripods on one floor at the same time and to go booth to booth to compare them.

Ash has the correct advice. Go check for yourself.

Terry Hull
13-Sep-2007, 13:03
Bob-Why would film manufacturers sell film as 400 ASA when maybe it isn't?
I have been checking out the tripods in various stores but am unable to bring my camera to really check it out.

Thanks to all of you for the input.

Vaughn
13-Sep-2007, 13:58
Bob-Why would film manufacturers sell film as 400 ASA when maybe it isn't?


That's an apple/orange sort of thinking. ASA is not something that is set in concrete, but varies with developer, developing method, and as I have read, even the contrast of the scene.

Vibration, like others have mentioned is an important factor. The material the pod is made of is as important as its rated weight. Wood vibrates less than metal, I do not know where carbon fiber fits in.

Vaughn

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
13-Sep-2007, 15:11
Bob-Why would film manufacturers sell film as 400 ASA when maybe it isn't?
I have been checking out the tripods in various stores but am unable to bring my camera to really check it out.

Thanks to all of you for the input.

Terry,

First film has not used ASA in years. It is ISO. And with film it is a starting point. Do you expose for the shadows and print for the high lights? Do you always underexpose 1/3rd stop for greater color saturation? It is a guide, a starting point that you refine for your particular way of shooting.

A tripod is not a guide. It supports a certain amount of weight without falling down.

But there can be variations in what a specific tripod can support under particular set ups. A Giottos Professional series tripod has a center column that goes up and down and can canterlever to any angle horizontally. Obviously the weight capacity with the column in a vertical position is much higher then in a canterlevered position - unless you hang a counterweight off the hook on the end of the column when you canterlever the column.

Ash
13-Sep-2007, 15:27
ASA/ISO isn't a definite figure. In fact it can be fairly off the mark when it comes to personal taste.

You can alter exposure, then push and pull film during development to determine the adequate and optimum EI (exposure index) for the film for your own purposes.

A TI (Tripod Index) would be great, though :D

Michael Graves
13-Sep-2007, 15:58
Terry,

A tripod is not a guide. It supports a certain amount of weight without falling down.



Bob, you would be the best person to address this observation/question, then. I own two Berlebach tripods. Love them both, so there is no questioning quality here. One is a 2024 and the other a 3032. I equipped both of them with Gitzo R3 heads (didn't like the ball movement as my only option). Both tripods are rated at 12Kg. So that makes them identical, right?

The 2024 is seriously shaky with my Toyo 810M, whereas the 3032 handles it without a quiver. If the ratings are absolute, where is the discrepancy? The 2024 should handle the 810M with equal ease if the ratings are to be believed.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
13-Sep-2007, 17:26
Bob, you would be the best person to address this observation/question, then. I own two Berlebach tripods. Love them both, so there is no questioning quality here. One is a 2024 and the other a 3032. I equipped both of them with Gitzo R3 heads (didn't like the ball movement as my only option). Both tripods are rated at 12Kg. So that makes them identical, right?

The 2024 is seriously shaky with my Toyo 810M, whereas the 3032 handles it without a quiver. If the ratings are absolute, where is the discrepancy? The 2024 should handle the 810M with equal ease if the ratings are to be believed.

We don't stock a 2024 so I don't have the specs for it at home. I will see if I have it at the office tomorrow. We would not recommend the Report series for 810.

alec4444
13-Sep-2007, 19:23
Well, all you Carbon Fiber guys will likely not care, but the Ries A100 Tripod is rated for 25 pounds and it holds my 30 pound Wisner motionless with a heavy 620mm lens, film holder, the A250 tilt head, and dark cloth in 20+ mph of wind. I'd call that conservative on Ries' part. You should see how solid the 5x7 is on that thing! :)

Dirk Rösler
13-Sep-2007, 19:54
To play it safe, in terms of vibration, I look for a tripod rated to hold approx. twice the weight of camera + head + lens.

I don't quite see the relation between load capacity and vibration.

For example, a tripod rated for high load can be shaky even when carrying a light setup. In reverse, a tripod carrying a setup at or near capacity may still be rock solid.

I would think design and build quality is what matters most to stability. It's like saying a vehicle with the most horsepower is always the fastest (tractor?).

Stephen Best
13-Sep-2007, 20:54
I've always thought of carrying capacities as a rating where the tripod will physically fold/collapse, not the weight they're usable with.

The head is maybe more important than the legs. If you've got a head that enables fairly severe tilts to the bed/rail but keeps the weight centred over the legs you can get away with a less substantial tripod. It's for this reason that I use a Gitzo Low-Profile head (G2270M would be the current equivalent) with my Mountaineer and it works brilliantly with a lightweight 4x5. It won't do the job in wind or with vibrations coming from the ground though. I've had a hate relationship with tripods for most of my life before I lucked onto the above combination.

Chris Strobel
13-Sep-2007, 21:18
Well, all you Carbon Fiber guys will likely not care, but the Ries A100 Tripod is rated for 25 pounds and it holds my 30 pound Wisner motionless with a heavy 620mm lens, film holder, the A250 tilt head, and dark cloth in 20+ mph of wind. I'd call that conservative on Ries' part. You should see how solid the 5x7 is on that thing! :)

Hmmm....isn't that a little overkill for 5x7 ;) I'm no one to talk though, I use the A100-2 (2lbs heavier than A100) with my C-1 black beast.Most said thats overkill, but when I have the bellows racked way out with a heavy plasmat like my Nikkor-W 360, and factory
compendum lens shade, and the camera is at an extreme angle like pointing almost straight down, and the wind is blowing good, I find the extra 2lbs worth it.

squiress
14-Sep-2007, 05:59
I don't quite see the relation between load capacity and vibration.

For example, a tripod rated for high load can be shaky even when carrying a light setup. In reverse, a tripod carrying a setup at or near capacity may still be rock solid.

I would think design and build quality is what matters most to stability. It's like saying a vehicle with the most horsepower is always the fastest (tractor?).

I think you have nailed that pretty well. As far as I know, there is no standard for load definition, so numbers between manufacturers are perhaps poorly relatable. The vibration part is probably more critical and I would add materials to your stability factors. Wood, followed by carbon fiber and then aluminum. Gitzo rates their tripods for max lens focal length, which is a vibration factor. Leica Magazine published a tripod vibration study some time back. Berlbach took top honors, with the Giottos carbon fiber following closely. Manfrotto and Gitzo carbon fiber trailed a bit, and Gitzo Basalt line was pretty poor. I would put Reis right there with Berlbach or maybe a tad better if you don't mind the carry dynamics. :)

Stew

David A. Goldfarb
14-Sep-2007, 06:00
In response to Dirk's question, I see the manufacturer's load capacity rating as a way of comparing tripods made by the same manufacturer for this purpose. For instance, if you're doing bird photography with a 35mm camera and a 600mm lens, it's going to be within load capacity of a Ser. 3 Gitzo, but bird photographers will often lug a Ser. 5 Gitzo or something similar for this purpose, because they need all the stability they can get with long lenses that magnify shutter vibration.

Of course there is the separate issue of tripods that have the same resonant frequency as the camera, which can happen in spite of high load capacity, and that just needs to be determined by testing.

I'd also concur with those who say the head is as important as the legset, if not more so.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
14-Sep-2007, 07:36
Bob, you would be the best person to address this observation/question, then. I own two Berlebach tripods. Love them both, so there is no questioning quality here. One is a 2024 and the other a 3032. I equipped both of them with Gitzo R3 heads (didn't like the ball movement as my only option). Both tripods are rated at 12Kg. So that makes them identical, right?

The 2024 is seriously shaky with my Toyo 810M, whereas the 3032 handles it without a quiver. If the ratings are absolute, where is the discrepancy? The 2024 should handle the 810M with equal ease if the ratings are to be believed.

Michael,

I have just finished going through the latest Berlebach catalog and the latest factory price list and there is no 2024 listed. So I can't comment on it as I have no specs for it.

The latest 2xxx series from Berlebach are:

2002, 2012, 2022, 2022P (pneumatic center column), 2032, 2032P, 2042, 2042P and 2052/520 which is only sold with the Berlebach 520 head.

Terry Hull
14-Sep-2007, 08:01
Bob-Does the tripod carry weight then mean how much it can hold without falling over? Do all manufacturers apply any sort of standard or does each one have its own methods?

photographs42
14-Sep-2007, 10:08
I recently purchased a Carbon Fiber tripod and one thing I noticed immediately is the considerable difference in weight distribution. My 5x7 with a lens and tripod head weighs around 17 to 18 lbs and the tripod, while totally adequate to handle that much dead weight, weighs around 2 lbs. It seams solid but even the act of pulling the bail to insert a film holder can cause it to tip. It’s kind of like a Cattail reed. The center of gravity is very close to the camera.
Jerome

alec4444
14-Sep-2007, 10:40
I recently purchased a Carbon Fiber tripod and one thing I noticed immediately is the considerable difference in weight distribution. My 5x7 with a lens and tripod head weighs around 17 to 18 lbs and the tripod, while totally adequate to handle that much dead weight, weighs around 2 lbs. It seams solid but even the act of pulling the bail to insert a film holder can cause it to tip. It’s kind of like a Cattail reed. The center of gravity is very close to the camera.
Jerome

That's an interesting observation, thanks for sharing. I'm wondering about that with my 5x7 and the carbon induro tripod I got for it. Less worried about tipping per se than the legs sliding around on the ground and changing the position of the camera. I'm giving it a go this weekend; I'll see how it works out. Perhaps the Ries A100 isn't overkill after all! :)

(though really, I'm pretty sure it is. LOL)

--A

Chris Strobel
14-Sep-2007, 10:45
Perhaps the Ries A100 isn't overkill after all! :)

(though really, I'm pretty sure it is. LOL)

--A

Yes it is overkill, and overkill is goooood :D

Scott Davis
14-Sep-2007, 11:05
Alec-

I know you were paying far more attention to my Canham than to my tripod, but it's a little Bogen/Manfrotto carbon-fiber number (3443 I think). It's fine stability-wise and size-wise for the Canham. I just have to make sure I don't kick the thing while stepping back to insert the film holder. But I'd have the same problem with it on a Ries A-100, just bigger bruises from where the tripod kicked back. :D

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
14-Sep-2007, 11:27
Bob-Does the tripod carry weight then mean how much it can hold without falling over? Do all manufacturers apply any sort of standard or does each one have its own methods?

I can't speak for other manufacturers. Our specs are what the tripod can support without the tripod collapsing, wobble, wiggle, collapsing, etc. Our specifications include the weight supported with the column either up or down.

The one exception is the Linhof ProfiPort tripod which is designed to fit into a brief case but to open to 62". It has two center columns that can be screwed together to reach the maximum height. The specs clearly state that it supports up to a 9 lb camera with up to a 135mm lens. But when the column is down it supports lenses over 400mm.

Tripods don't fall over by themselves. They fall over if improper technique is used. The lens should always be pointed so that it is over the front leg of the tripod. Not between two legs. The tripod should be counterweighted with a sand bag, a water bag, a plastic bag with a rock/s, by the camera bag, etc. whenever you are on an unsteady surface or the tripod is set-up in an unbalanced position. Cameras should not be manhandled when set up. Film holders need to be properly inserted and not forced in to or roughly pulled out of the backs. Cameras should be allowed to settle down after a dark slide is pulled or a lens is adjusted to fully dampen out all vibrations from handling. Cable release should have a droop in them so to dampen vibrations from the pushing of the plunger. A straight, tight release transmits more vibration then a loose release (tight and loose refer to the release itself - not how tightly it is screwed into the shutter).

To see if your tripod/camera/lens combination you can do what Leica magazine did for their test earlier this year. They mounted a laser pointer to the camera and pointed at a piece of graph paper. Then tapped the leg and watched (photographed) the movement of the pointer on the graph paper. You can also walk near the tripod and see what movement is transmitted. Do it with column up and down. Or you can take a small shot glass and fill it half full with water and place it on top of the tripod and watch how the water moves when you lightly tap the leg. And how long does it take for the water to stop moving.

But it is extremely rare for any professional quality tripod from any manufacturer to "fall over" when proper technique is used. In fact it is probably impossible.

Terry Hull
14-Sep-2007, 11:41
Thanks to all of you for the input. Its seems to be as much art and technique as science!

Chris Strobel
14-Sep-2007, 11:43
The lens should always be pointed so that it is over the front leg of the tripod. Not between two legs.

Kinda hard to do shooting those tide pools at Pt. Lobos :D

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
14-Sep-2007, 11:54
Kinda hard to do shooting those tide pools at Pt. Lobos :D

Then you should make sure you have a nice quality plastic literature bag that will hold water or a rock or sand and counter weight your tripod. Not hard at all and the empty bag weighs virtually nothing. Can even be used to carry some things to the shoot. Kodak does give out ones that work nicely at trade shows.

David A. Goldfarb
14-Sep-2007, 11:59
Not for backpacking in the field, but when I'm shooting out a window with a wide lens, my usual setup is to put two tripod legs collapsed on the window ledge, and one leg extended inside with a heavy counterweight from a lighting boom on the extended leg. Haven't lost a camera yet!