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Thread: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

  1. #1

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    Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    OK, a new Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod with center column will now set you back $4,289.45, and you still will need to purchase a head for it. I'm guessing that there are very few photographers out there that are willing or even could dole out that much money for a tripod. So why even consider it? Well current model is all black and I'm sure has it had some minor improvements or revisions in recent years. Well there are plenty of earlier versions of the current model out there. I believe there was a first version with a bit different leg configuration made are till the 1960s? (Bob S. comment on this?). Older versions of the current tripod model can be had for under $500. Shipping costs can take your breath away. In the past few years have I bought 2 of them. One to use for photography. The other one for use with a Questar telescope (Questar once recommended this tripod for mounting their excellent telescope on).

    So why consider this tripod?

    This is one very seriously stable heavy duty tripod. At maximum leg and column extension it places your tripod head 6 feet 8 inches inches above the ground and the tripod is still rock steady. I have yearly used it to photograph our local school's plays from the back of the auditorium. Tripod is extended way up there. I actually attached two clamps to the 2 rear feet/legs to stand on. Tripod easily held my weight and the weight of camera with ease. Another little secret is that the 4 foot long geared column off a Linhof Heavy Duty Copy Stand can be used with the tripod. All you have to do is remove the top clamp from the tripod's column. Little round piece of metal holds the top clamp and the column together. Drill a small hole in the side of the copy stand's column matching the one in the top clamp. Use a easily removable clevis hitch to mount the top clamp onto the 4 foot column. Using the column from the copy stand increases the maximum height to 8 feet 8 inches without a tripod head and is amazingly solid.

    Legs fold out and are held in place at maximum extension by aluminum rods. One time I needed to have the camera about 2 feet above the ground. I first removed the center column. I then removed the aluminum rods and replaced them with longer chains allowing the feet to extend out to maybe 20 degrees to the ground. You have a very solid 1 to 2 foot high tripod.

    Choosing a head for this tripod seems to be it's Achilles heal... using too small of a tripod head will be the weakest link. I personally prefer a Ries J250-2 head.

    Portability... you've got to be kidding. Weighed mine without a head and came in at 24lbs. I have a fabric carrying case for it and have carried it for distances of several hundred feet, but to be honest I use mine either in the studio or from the back of my car.

    There is a 90 degree adapter to have the camera column extend horizontally out from the top of the tripod. Never considered one until I found a 90 degree adapter at a price I couldn't pass up on. For table top photography an amazing accessory to have and use. You're able to sit in a chair with clear leg room and have the camera right in front of you. I use 2 sandbags over the opposite tripod leg as a counter weight.

    Tripod Dolly: never used one but have been told that Linhof's (OEM) dolly is an excellent product.

    Variations: (posted this a few days ago on another thread) Back in the 1980s we rented a Linhof Heavy Duty tripod whose bottom legs were probably X3 or X4 the length of the normal chrome bottom OEM legs. Center post was raised all the way up (possibly with an extension). I'm guessing the top of the tripod was 12 feet above the ground. Was actually a very, very stable. Working with the Sinar mounted way up that high was a challenge since I was standing/balancing atop a way less stable step ladder.

    Replacement parts? I have no Idea. The rubber/composite feet ends I've epoxied them to the bottom of my tripod's legs. Never needed to use the spikes and replacement rubber/composite feet ends probably not available or maybe by special order with a price to match.

    So what do I use my Linhof Heavy Duty tripod for? One with legs only for my Questar telescope. The other has been used over the years for high speed film photography, photographing plays from the back of the auditorium, testing lenses, using my 11x14 from the back of the car, Digital FX with an 800mm lens and Sidemount Wimberley Head, and always in the studio. One time shot on a very windy day with the tripod and a 4x5 Sinar Norma mounted on it... extended bellows vibrated with the wind but the camera was rock solid.

    Would love to have others comment on the Linhof Heaby Duty Tripod. I've used them since the late 1970s. Sold them twice in the past, always with regrets later on. Would never even consider selling my current two.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LINHOF!.jpg   LINHOF2.jpg  

  2. #2

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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Well, you left out a couple of things.
    The tripod is supplied with a 90mm top plate with a " mounting thread. The same plate is offered as an accessory with a " thread.
    Linhof makes heads with a 90mm base diameter which replace the top plate and clamp firmly in place and the Linhof Master GTL camera comes with a leveling head which also clamps directly onto the tripod in place of the top plate.
    To extend the maximum height of the tripod Linhof makes the Large Geared Center Column, which you mentioned. This also uses the same 90mm plates and heads. But besides the geared colum Linhof also offers solid extension posts that clamp onto the 90mm holes and also has the same 90mm fitting on the other end.
    For heads from Linhof with a 77mm base plate Linhof also offered a 77 to 90mm adapter ring so they could also drop and clamp directly in.
    While today this tripod is all black eager versions were silver legs with tan castings and really early ones had wood legs.
    It is important to note that the braces on Linhof tripods are attached directly to a tube which is not in contact with the center column so there is ne direct contact with the center column itself. This drastically reduces vibration from contact with the legs. The tube on the latest versions can unscrew when going low or for use with certain Linhof dollys for low angle shooting.

  3. #3

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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Thanks Bob for all the additional info. In a move many years ago, I had to store most of my stuff, including my collection of Linhof literature, in a storage unit for over a year. The envelope with all my Linhof literature never made it to our present house so had to rely pretty much 99% on my memory to write up the post.

    Good point on mentioning the 77mm and 90mm dimensions. Twice I've seen Linhof heads up for auction with the seller not mentioning the diameter of the head's base. I remember asking the 2 sellers the diameters. One time was told 77mm and the other time told 3 inches.

    One question: I'm guessing in the 1950s... Was there a first model of the Linhof Heavy Duty tripod that the lower leg retracted not in between the two top posts but in front or behind the two upper posts? I remember seeing an older tripod like that but don't remember if it was actually a Linhof brand or not.

    Hope the post now will help anyone who's in the market for this Model Linhof tripod.

  4. #4

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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    Thanks Bob for all the additional info. In a move many years ago, I had to store most of my stuff, including my collection of Linhof literature, in a storage unit for over a year. The envelope with all my Linhof literature never made it to our present house so had to rely pretty much 99% on my memory to write up the post.

    Good point on mentioning the 77mm and 90mm dimensions. Twice I've seen Linhof heads up for auction with the seller not mentioning the diameter of the head's base. I remember asking the 2 sellers the diameters. One time was told 77mm and the other time told 3 inches.

    One question: I'm guessing in the 1950s... Was there a first model of the Linhof Heavy Duty tripod that the lower leg retracted not in between the two top posts but in front or behind the two upper posts? I remember seeing an older tripod like that but don't remember if it was actually a Linhof brand or not.

    Hope the post now will help anyone who's in the market for this Model Linhof tripod.
    Greg,
    I really don't know, that was well before my time with Linhof plus they made a lot of variations. But it would not have been a Heavy Duty Pro, it would have had a different name.

  5. #5
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    First, I am looking for that 90 degree adapter! I want one.

    I happen to have 3 of the HD Linhofs as I use them with my 2 early model Linhof Color Kardan. They demand a sturdy tripod with the 90mm interface. I have tilt adapters, geared columns and the column extension Bob talks about. Also a HD Linhof Pan tilt movie head with QR. The dolly is exquisite, big and sturdy.

    I like the early Kardans for their almost no holds barred construction, but they are not perfect. Delicate knobs! Amazing bellows. Big 9" lens boards.

    I also have 3/8" & 1/4" 90mm adapter plates for usage with lesser camera. But I don't trust those plates, too delicate. A large base head like a big Ries will be fine. I will add one one when my ship comes in. Last week I made an adapter from 90mm to 1.5" to use Majestic 1200 head on Linhof tripod. My adapter is much stronger and used off the shelf McMaster parts bolted securely together. Cheap!

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  6. #6

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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    First, I am looking for that 90 degree adapter! I want one.

    I happen to have 3 of the HD Linhofs as I use them with my 2 early model Linhof Color Kardan. They demand a sturdy tripod with the 90mm interface. I have tilt adapters, geared columns and the column extension Bob talks about. Also a HD Linhof Pan tilt movie head with QR. The dolly is exquisite, big and sturdy.

    I like the early Kardans for their almost no holds barred construction, but they are not perfect. Delicate knobs! Amazing bellows. Big 9" lens boards.

    I also have 3/8" & 1/4" 90mm adapter plates for usage with lesser camera. But I don't trust those plates, too delicate. A large base head like a big Ries will be fine. I will add one one when my ship comes in. Last week I made an adapter from 90mm to 1.5" to use Majestic 1200 head on Linhof tripod. My adapter is much stronger and used off the shelf McMaster parts bolted securely together. Cheap!

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    Good luck finding the 90 adapter. I don't believe that we ever sold one even though we sold quite a few of both them Heavy Duty Pro and its later brother, the Profi III tripods. We also sold a lot of the geared and solid extension columns as well over the years.

  7. #7
    Randy Moe's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    Good luck finding the 90 adapter. I don't believe that we ever sold one even though we sold quite a few of both them Heavy Duty Pro and its later brother, the Profi III tripods. We also sold a lot of the geared and solid extension columns as well over the years.
    I saw the 90 degree adapter on eBay in the last year with a package I did not want.

    I use a heavier duty and taller copy camera setup than a Linhof stand.

  8. #8

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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Quote Originally Posted by Randy Moe View Post
    First, I am looking for that 90 degree adapter! I want one.

    I happen to have 3 of the HD Linhofs as I use them with my 2 early model Linhof Color Kardan. They demand a sturdy tripod with the 90mm interface. I have tilt adapters, geared columns and the column extension Bob talks about. Also a HD Linhof Pan tilt movie head with QR. The dolly is exquisite, big and sturdy.

    I like the early Kardans for their almost no holds barred construction, but they are not perfect. Delicate knobs! Amazing bellows. Big 9" lens boards.

    I also have 3/8" & 1/4" 90mm adapter plates for usage with lesser camera. But I don't trust those plates, too delicate. A large base head like a big Ries will be fine. I will add one one when my ship comes in. Last week I made an adapter from 90mm to 1.5" to use Majestic 1200 head on Linhof tripod. My adapter is much stronger and used off the shelf McMaster parts bolted securely together. Cheap!

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    I think that the knob problem probably has something to do with the age of the knobs. Some plastics deteriorate over time and/or storage. And the plastics made all those years ago are a likely candidate.

    We fortunately did not have that problem with our CombiPlan system even though the tools were made for a specific plastic which was common in the 50s in Germany when the tools were first made. Today those pellets are only still made, in small quantities from BASF. And we did not have an aging problem with that plastic.

  9. #9

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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    I have an older version of these that my parents gave me when I was in my 20's. (Just the legs.) For example, it worked great during the brief period that I had an 8x20. (With that outfit, I sure got ULF out of my system!) The tripod weighs about 19lbs without the head. I keep it more for nostalgia than any other reason.

    A lot of tripods can be subject to "structural" vibration, like the Manfrotto 475 that I used for many years. One can have a camera mounted on it that's within the maximum weight capacity. Yet just by the way the camera, head, and tripod all come together, the combination can be prone to vibration. But with it's 2", rack and pinion, gear driven, steel center column, not the Linhof!

    It's main drawback is it's weight. If ever I use mine, it would be an impressive studio tripod. It's also worth being mindful that, if being used on a slick floor, one needs to connect the three legs with chains that meet in the middle. Else with any kind of heavy camera, they'll slide out from under the camera. (The legs connecting to the center hardware rely on friction to hold their position.) A tripod dolly would be another way to prevent this from occurring. Or, carry a carpet to put under the legs on slick floors.

    I don't know if the new ones are like this, but mine had another problem. For all of Linhof's design expertise, every once and a while, a Linhof design will be quirky. That's the case with my model of this tripod. It has a rod that runs up through the column and emerges with a 1/4" or 3/8" screw at the top that would connect with whatever head. One can reverse an end-piece to change from one diameter to another. The idea was to mount the head, turn a knob at the bottom of the column, and everything would tighten together. Trouble was, when it came time to remove the head, the rod and end-piece would come apart inside the column. With its design, it could never work properly. (Perplexing.) But, this was easily fixed by running a threaded rod of the desired diameter through the 2" column with a thumb nut at the bottom.

    Every once and a while, I will see one of these for sale between $200-$300 or so at a camera show, or in a photo store. Personally, I sure wouldn't buy a new one, not at that price. (Jeepers.) Who knows. If you keep your eyes peeled, you might run across one at a fraction of the cost.

  10. #10
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
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    Re: Review of Linhof Heavy Duty Tripod, comments welcome.

    Without an apology, I do not believe any tripod can better a surveyor's tripod for being steady.
    .

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