View Full Version : LE 450 stabilizer

17-Dec-2008, 18:55
Wiht my LE 450, I am using the Bogen 3221 with Bogen 329RC head and quick release plate. The head is great for my MF system, but is not as rock solid tight for the LE 450. I want things really stable for my 300mm lens and am hoping to acquire a 450mm lens. I hate the idea of having a lens that will resolve 30 or more lines per mm and not having camera system that is rock solid steady. I'm trying to keep weight down, so am looking for something other than a bigger head and tripod. The Bogen 4th leg stabilizer is an option, but I'd need to machine a thread into a block for the monorail. I got to thinking and came up with the following.

Have your heard of the following approach to securing and tightening up the camera. I can't imagine I'm the only one to come up with this idea to tighten up the camera on this head and tripod and solidify the system and avoid vibrations. I use two pieces of light weight chain that are mounted via a small hole on each of the front and rear rail caps. The chain goes under the head (between tripod legs) and is joined using a small 3.25" turnbuckle to apply tension, which locks the system down much tighter. I really could use a longer turnbuckle to get things tighter than it now is, but it seems very promising.

Thanks for any thoughts and comments.

Dennis Felty
17-Dec-2008, 20:01

Sounds like a great solution. I do something similiar, I attach a bunjee cord to the front of the rail and the other end is attached to the forward tripod leg at one of the joints. I have found putting tension on one end of the rail is adequate and stops all movement and vibration. I use an adjustable bungee with a large plastic hook. This allows a very quick set up and puts significant tension on the rail and tripod mount system.

Nathan Potter
17-Dec-2008, 20:15
Well I've never thought about such a scheme but it sounds interesting. If I understand the approach correctly, I'd be concerned about the downward force applied to opposite ends of the rails (assuming a compound rail would be well extended for use with a long FL lens). You'll bend the rails downward at each end causing a great compressive stress on the rail underside as well as force the front and rear standards off parallelism depending on how tight you screw the turnbuckle. It would clearly rigidize the front and rear standards but that is only part of the problem.
It may be that tripod leg vibration is a bigger problem even in a light wind. Wind can set up a mechanical resonance in the tripod legs that can cause extraordinary displacements of the entire LF camera. If you're aim is to extract the maximum native resolving power of the lens there will be no substitute for a very robust tripod IMHO.

Even with a hefty tripod I'll use two monopods to support the lens as well as a bag of rocks hung from the center of the tripod when using 300 to 600 mm lenses on 4X5.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

Nathan Potter
17-Dec-2008, 20:24
Dennis beat me to it! Come to think of it bungee cords are a hell of a good idea. Especially I can see them used as a damping device when wrapped around the tripod legs say at mid level. When stretched tight circumferentially around the three legs there could be significant damping achieved eliminating, at least partially, one segment of camera shake. This is worth investigating. Thanks Dennis.

Nate Potter, Austin TX.

17-Dec-2008, 21:03
Dennis and Nate,
Thanks so much for your thoughts. The LE 450 (Horseman) has and extensible rail and is very robust. It is not extended for 300mm. I'm not concerned about overstressing the rail so far, but with 600mm that could be a concern.
I guess I need to get a lens resolution target and do some measurments which I have never done. We couldn't get 3 LF users further apart than Gig Harbor, WA, Harrisburg PA and Austin TX or it would be fun to collaborate in a study.


Thanks !