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Thread: Anyone using a panning clamp?

  1. #1

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    Anyone using a panning clamp?

    I just got a new Gitzo series 3 systematic tripod and I'm looking at my head options. For up to 8x10, I've been happy with my Arca Swiss B-1 ball head, but reframing after leveling the camera can be a pain. The panning control at the bottom of the head is useless unless the tripod is completely level. Replacing the clamp on the B-1 with a panning clamp looks like it might be a good solution, since the panning platform will usually be leveled. RRS sells some nice (but pricey) panning clamps, and Sunwayfoto also sells them (at less than half of the RRS price).

    My hesitation is never seeing one in use by another large format photographer. Is there any reason it wouldn't be a good solution for large format shooter already using a ball head? Is anyone using the RRS or Sunwayfoto versions? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    For my 4x5" work with Cambo and Crown Graphic cameras, I use a Gitzo video tripod with fluid head.

    The fluid head makes it very easy to adjust verticals and horizontals.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Terry Thomas with 4x5 camera.jpg 
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  3. #3

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    You answered your own question. The proper method for setting up a tripod is to have the base for the head level before making any other adjustments. Saves a lot of time, money and frustration.
    Last edited by Jim Noel; 14-Oct-2015 at 10:19. Reason: typing error

  4. #4
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    What Jim Noel wrote. For tricky situations I use a Manfrotto 338 leveling device under the tripod head. Once level, recomposing is simpler because all axis are locked in relation to each other. But I gave up on using a ball head for a 3-way head with long handle controls.

  5. #5

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    Leveling the tripod can be time-consuming, especially on uneven terrain. I almost ordered a RRS leveling base that allows the tripod platform to be adjusted in a 75mm bowl. That's along the lines of Terry's suggestion of using a video setup. That's great for a pan head, but a ball head would also need to be leveled, in addition to the platform. A panning clamp seems to address this problem, but whether it's practical for a large format camera is my question. I do have a Gitzo G-1570M 3-way head and a Manfrotto fluid head, but I find the ball head faster and simpler to use--with the exception of the panning issue.

  6. #6

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    Arca-Swiss puts panning heads on top of their newer ball heads and their (super-expensive) 3-way heads, so clearly having a panning head on top of the basic tripod head is a good and workable idea, for exactly the reasons BarryS gives.

  7. #7

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    Guess I'll order one and see how it works--the simplicity appeals to me.

    --Open tripod

    --Level ball head

    --Mount camera

  8. #8

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    I have a Sunwayphoto DYH-90Ri Rotating Leveling Base with panning and highly recommend it. The build quality is excellent and the action silky smooth. Also, the price is far lower than all comparable options from other manufacturers. I was hesitant to take the Sunwayphoto plunge since they're not widely reviewed, but I have been very pleasantly surprised.

  9. #9

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    Check out the acratech leveling base to put under the ball head. Get the tripod close, and the leveling base will let you level so you can pan and still keep the camera level. I'm sure there are other brands, but think about a base under the ball head as opposed to one on top of it.

    Cheers!
    Bill

  10. #10

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    Re: Anyone using a panning clamp?

    The Manfrotto 438 is an alternative to the Acratech. I've used one and its predecessor the 138 under 3-axis heads for decades.

    I had no idea what a panning clamp is so Googled. This http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/34361589 suggests that a ball leveler under the head is much preferable.

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