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Thread: Low-to-ground tripod?

  1. #1

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    Low-to-ground tripod?

    Hello, I've recently shifted from medium format to large format and am struggling to find a tripod (or other kind of support) that can secure a large format camera low to the ground. I'm mostly a macro photographer and often want to take photos of subjects on or near the ground, such as mosses and lichens, but our tripod, even at its lowest and particularly by the time you add on the head, is still a good couple of feet off the ground. This means either I just can't get close enough to low subjects, or the perspective is much more top-down than I would like.

    At the moment I'm using a 4x5 monorail, but I'm looking for a bigger camera again with extra-long bellows (probably something like an 8x10). Given that I'm struggling to find the right kind of support, I'm not sure if I would really want another monorail or a field camera.

    So I'd really appreciate anyone's thoughts on what combination of camera type and tripod/support might be suitable--including if you think I might need to just build something!

    Thanks very much,
    Sharon

  2. #2

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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    Novoflex has several devices that can do this. Berlebach make sure a ground spike that can also do this.

  3. #3

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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    My gitzo 1325 works well for ground level work. It's not made any longer but similar models exist with legs that open up to 90 degrees.

  4. #4

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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    A lot of tripods offer the option of hanging your camera upside down from the center post.

    But this whole exercise depends on how big and how heavy your camera is.

    Need more data.

  5. #5
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    The lower the tripod, or other support, the less you need be concerned with the flaws of a longer tripod. I have found that even a Leica tablepod resting on a little piece of plywood with a strong head suffices. There's almost nothing in that support that can vibrate or fail. If that idea seems non-intuitive, then go ahead and spend some money on Berlebach's overpriced low tripod. If Berlebach's solution doesn't seem expensive enough, then surf for motion-picture low-level tripods.

    Guaranteed frustration will come from mounting the camera upside-down on the center column of a conventional tripod.

    It is not really a difficult issue.
    .

  6. #6

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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    I had to shoot floor level 4X5's for a commercial shoot, and I borrowed an idea used in MP, by taking a head and directly bolting it to a 14" (X 3/4") square piece of particleboard for the flat floor... One shot had to be raised several inches, so the wood was then sitting on a cinderblock... If I had using this on uneven ground, I would have added 4 t-nuts + holes in each corner and put in bolts + locking nuts for levelers...

    And like Jac, I use a Leica table pod to place on top of walls & objects... (Don't let it topple, always have a hand on it!!!!!!)

    Steve K

  7. #7
    Tim Meisburger's Avatar
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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    I just checked my Amazon Basics travel Tripod and if you spread the legs as wide as they will go (i.e. almost flat) the top of the ballhead is about a foot off the ground. If you cut the column you could get it down to about six inches, and if you cut the collar at the yoke and bolted your head direct to the yoke you could get it down to the height of the head. Because its a tripod you would also be able to get some height if you wanted it, but with a monorail th epractical limit might be around three feet, as higher might get wobbly (its a small tripod).

  8. #8

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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    majestic with an outrigger and a 25 pound bag of lead shot

  9. #9

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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    The ubiquitous Majestic tripod with the sidearm will do this very well.

  10. #10

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    May 2011
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    Re: Low-to-ground tripod?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    The lower the tripod, or other support, the less you need be concerned with the flaws of a longer tripod. I have found that even a Leica tablepod resting on a little piece of plywood with a strong head suffices. There's almost nothing in that support that can vibrate or fail. If that idea seems non-intuitive, then go ahead and spend some money on Berlebach's overpriced low tripod. If Berlebach's solution doesn't seem expensive enough, then surf for motion-picture low-level tripods.

    Guaranteed frustration will come from mounting the camera upside-down on the center column of a conventional tripod.
    What kind of frustration? With a thread on the top it seems quite usable.


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