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View Full Version : Do Tilt-all tripods improve with age?



John Kasaian
1-Apr-2008, 14:29
I have two tilt-all tripods I bought new some time ago, before the manufacturer went overseas, a black "junior" for MF and a full size one in a cheesey gold anodized finish for 4x5.

A colleague over in the Mathematics Dept. ran off with the cheesey gold anodized tripod and I've still got the black "Junior" and while they are nice tripods and I'd certainly recommend them, I haven't really been able to get excited over them.

After getting a 4x5 GV2 I found myself in need of a 4x5 flavored tripod and since I'm out of a job right now, it had better be a cheap one. I found an old Tilt-all on ebay manufactured by Marchioni described as being "dirty and marked up... silver finish." I got it for $63including shipping and it just arrived and WOW! In spite of all the scarring and old adhesive from (?) this is one cool tripod! The legs lock up better than my old gold anodized model and the head controls lock up effortlessly. I think it might even have a taller max. elevation than what I remember the gold one had. This will easily handle the GV2 and my 5x7 Speeder.

I compared it with the remaining "junior" and quality was so much better on the old war-horse I couldn't believe it. So my question is: Do Tilt-alls improve with age or did they just build them better in the old days?

Don Wilkes
1-Apr-2008, 14:52
As you have no doubt suspected, the build quality of the old, original Marchioni model was much better than what is available now. I got one used in the '70s, and used it as my one-and-only tripod for everything from 35mm to 4x5 monorail until quite recently, and never had a problem. The only thing that gets "old" with these beasts is your own hands -- that knurling really gets hard on the palms of your hands after a lot of setups in the field.

Last year, with some extra bucks in my pocket, I finally got something new; I figured that after dealing with the Tiltall for 35 years, I deserved a treat. So, I got a spiffy Manfrotto carbon fibre, and a fancy geared head. It's a bit quicker to set up, easier on my hands, and locks up better, but all in all the Tiltall is a damned close second, for about a tenth the price. The combo is about the same weight, too.

Cheers,
\donw in Victoria

Ted Harris
1-Apr-2008, 17:20
I've had one since 1954. There were times in the late '60's and early '70's when it held my Linhof Kardan Color. It worked ok, could have been better but it did ok.

David A. Goldfarb
1-Apr-2008, 19:45
I've sold off my Tiltalls, but yeah, the old ones were better. My best was a black late Leitz model from the early 1980s, which had the particular improvement of a recess for the long handle, so it could tilt back farther and packed more compactly.

Bill_1856
1-Apr-2008, 19:49
For a few years they were made by Leitz (New York), which I consider the most desirable.
They are really a very difficult combination to beat (cost, weight, reliability) for cameras up to 4x5. There are many other brands which improve on two of the factors, but I don't know of any which can compete with all three.

Kirk Fry
1-Apr-2008, 20:54
I have a silver Leitz model (1970). It is very hard to find anything that works as well. I even bought one of those fancy carbon jobs but still use the tiltall. If I need heavy artillery I use a Majestic. K

Peter Collins
1-Apr-2008, 21:05
The leg colletts do NOT like sand. And, personally, the legs spread settings were not to my liking. The "inner" setting (tripod head higher) was too tippy for me and my Arca Swiss 4x5. Sold mine. Light, though.
ciao for now.....................................

Ron McElroy
1-Apr-2008, 22:02
I have a Leitz made one from the early 1980s. Its been overstressed with a 4x5 monorail, but still works great for the weight. I use it mainly for 6x6 and occasionally still use it with the Zone VI 4x5. With the handles off it fits into a hard suitcase for flying.

steve barry
2-Apr-2008, 06:27
i love my Marchioni tiltall - i use it on a 5x7 norma. the way i see it, if you need more tripod for up to 4x5 your a gear nut or just have spare cash.

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
2-Apr-2008, 07:25
"I have two tilt-all tripods I bought new some time ago, before the manufacturer went overseas, "

No they didn't go overseas.

When Fred Albu's businesses went bankrupt many years ago he closed the Star-D plant in NJ where the Tilt-All and the Star-D copy of the Tilt-All were made. He then spent several years trying unsuccessfully to sell the factory to various other photographic manufacturers and distributors and the trustees could not find a buyer.

Then a Chinese company agreed to buy the name and took Tilt-All off shore. The US manufacturer never did.

Mark Sampson
2-Apr-2008, 08:08
There is, or was, a history of Tiltall tripods on the Plume Wafer (softboxes) site, which expands on Mr. Salomon's post above.

John Kasaian
2-Apr-2008, 08:20
"I have two tilt-all tripods I bought new some time ago, before the manufacturer went overseas, "

No they didn't go overseas.

When Fred Albu's businesses went bankrupt many years ago he closed the Star-D plant in NJ where the Tilt-All and the Star-D copy of the Tilt-All were made. He then spent several years trying unsuccessfully to sell the factory to various other photographic manufacturers and distributors and the trustees could not find a buyer.

Then a Chinese company agreed to buy the name and took Tilt-All off shore. The US manufacturer never did.

Thank you for the explaination. All I knew was that at one time they were manufactured in the US, then moved overseas.

Is the "new" Tiltall the same outfit that made Tiltall film holders awhile back---the ones without a locking ridge?