View Full Version : Shooting Straight Down

Mike Chini
10-Feb-2008, 10:49
I usually work with a Gitzo 1411 mk2. I have a couple of different heads but none allow me to shoot straght down and THEN rotate the camera 90 degrees (once parallel to the ground). I was wondering if this would be compatible with my tripod since it seems to be what I need:


I could get an RRS L bracket for my 5D but I want to use every camera I own on this same set-up.


Matt Blaze
10-Feb-2008, 12:07
I'm not sure I understand what problem you're trying to solve; if your head can point the camera down, why not just rotate the tripod to get whatever orientation you want?

The RRS L-brackets allow you to rotate 35mm/DSLR cameras 90 degrees about the center of the lens, but the usual way to do that for LF (and many MF) cameras is to rotate the back.

Ralph Barker
10-Feb-2008, 12:32
Two questions, Mike. What are you trying to shoot? And, does your center column allow you to mount a head on the bottom?

Depending on the size of your from-above subjects, different solutions may be required.

I have a cross-arm for my Bogen that I've used with smaller cameras (35mm nd 120), and it was a bit wobbly, even with a counter-weight. I've never tried it with an LF camera as a result.

Mike Chini
10-Feb-2008, 12:55
Thanks guys. I'm shooting in a studio. I'm trying to shoot down onto a surface. Right now I have to spread my legs to full length but I still can't rotate my camera once it's pointing down. In other words, I want to shoot a vertical shot and not a horizontal shot. The lighting equipment prevents me from moving the camera around. I guess you just have to be there! At any rate, I'm thinking this might be a good solution. Would this be compatible? I can't tell from the website.

Matt Blaze
10-Feb-2008, 12:57
If you want to shoot vertically, nothing you do with a tripod will approach what you can do with a good copystand.

Matt Blaze
10-Feb-2008, 12:59
As for those crossarms, I've got one, too, and it really isn't suitable for heavy cameras. Even my DSLR is a bit hefty for it, especially if you need a long exposure.

Ralph Barker
10-Feb-2008, 13:02
The Bogen crossarm replaces the head and connects via the 3/8" stud on the center column. I'd assume that the Gitzo is similarly designed. With the head at the end of the crossarm and an LF camera at the end, you may want to add other support struts to give you stability, and reduce the stress on the column stud.

Doug Dolde
10-Feb-2008, 13:13
Here's an article about this


Mike Chini
10-Feb-2008, 13:25
I'm definitely going to get an Arkay stand at some point but I always like to find simpler solutions and ones that will work for different uses! I'll check it out tomorrow in the city to see if it will work. I know some of the new Bogen leg sets have a new set-up that allows the center column to be used sideways which is nice and very convenient.

Thanks for all of the great advice.

Ted Harris
10-Feb-2008, 14:26
Something like the Cambo Studio Stand that I use will work well. Square column with counterweights, available in either 7-9-12 foot height (mine is 9), with a very heavy (80++ pounds) base. It has a movable crossarm. I have a Horseman rail camera mounted on one end on an extendable rail, mounted on a heavy Horseman tripod block and a Majestic geared head. I can point it straight down with lots of extension and no problems at all.

Ted Harris
10-Feb-2008, 14:28
I'm definitely going to get an Arkay stand at some point.

Careful if you are thinking of mounting a camera with any weight and want to really extend it. There is only one model Arkay stand that is rated to handle the kind of weight I talk about above.

Brian K
10-Feb-2008, 15:23
Ted is right in that a heavy camera stand is best for what you want to do. If you are a serious studio photographer it is worthwhile considering the purchase of one. But bear in mind that new they are very expensive and new or used very heavy and expensive to ship. I currently have a Foba Astio and it weighs over 300 pounds and is about 10 feet tall so you can imagine that buying this type of item on eBay may have some difficulties.

The side arm you mention can work but you need to make certain that you add counter weight to stabilize the tripod.

Mike Chini
10-Feb-2008, 16:59
Foba would be nice but the Arkay's are MUCH more affordable.


Thanks for the info. Yeah - I know about the Arkay arm length. I've been getting all of my surfaces cut to 3x3 instead of the usual 4x4 so it shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Ted Harris
10-Feb-2008, 17:58
Mike, it'snot a problem with the Arkay arm length, it is a problem with the weight of the base and the counterweighting system. I believe the top-of-the-line Arkay model will support a reasonable LF rail camera but not the others.

To follow-on with what Brian says you should look for a Foba, Cambo or Linhof stand. Since you are in NYC you might able to get a bargain on one otherwise you can still find one used for about the same or just a bit more than a new Arkay.

Ed Richards
10-Feb-2008, 21:38
Saw horses with a cross beam with a 3/8" bolt through the side of it for the tripod head.