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Thread: backpacking with a Tiltall?

  1. #1

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    backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Call me crazy, but I love the design of the classic Tiltall - robust, simple, elegant, functional - and I'm wondering if it would make for a good travel/hiking/backpacking tripod? At over 6lbs, I understand that is getting a bit on the heavy side, but for the extra stability it offers, is it worth it? I would be using this with a Technika III, sometimes with a relatively heavy, 1.5lbs Wista sliding 6x9 back/loupe combo I've adapted for use on it. I would probably also use it with a Mamiya Super 23.

    As a student, I don't have a lot of money to spend (the Technika III was the deal of a century, as was much of my other equipment) but I of course don't want to cheap out on a tripod. While a different animal, I've also considered this: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...um_tripod.html

    Your thoughts would be much appreciated! I currently backpack with an old Linhof Report, though it's a bit questionable for use with medium format, let alone a field camera.

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Les
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Here is my philosophy. Get the best tripod you can afford (preferably 3-leg without mid column) and carbon fiber for light weight....something that would last many years. This would allow you to shoot 4x5....tho you may have to get something even more sturdy for larger formats. I've seen folks (a hint) with 1/2 closet of tripods and none of them performed as desired. Don't forget to obtain really good tripod head, as well.

    Les

  3. #3

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Thanks for your reply Les. I would say $270 CAD is about as much as I can spend right now. As far as build quality and strength goes, I'm sure the classic Tiltall falls into the category of what is good (aside from weight, of course). What are your thoughts on the Sirui tripod? They come in both CF and aluminum versions, although the weight difference seems to be negligible in this case. I haven't heard much about them, but from what I have heard, they are well regarded products. Above all else, I want a tripod that lasts me well. After all, that's why I bought a Technika. The Tiltall can do that, from what I hear - what about others like the Sirui, or similar products at that price point?

  4. #4

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    An original Leitz or Marchioni Tiltall is a good tripod for schlepping around with a lighter field, press, or monorail camera by itself, but for backpacking might be harder to mount on a pack... For street use, get an artist's easel bag from an art store or long pouch case that makes it easy to carry around...

    For smaller (shorter) tripods, there will be more leg sections + locks, so the locks better be good, or they can slip with your rig on it... The heights are usually limited on the legs, and the center column extensions are often the worst part, so a pod without one is a good bet overall...

    There are now MANY different CF tripods on the market for different prices, but I have seen some that look strong from a distance, but up close, often junk with many plastic locks, poor design, awful heads, etc... (You can tell if a black lock or part is plastic or metal by touching it in a temperate room, where metal will feel cool to the touch (as it draws heat from your finger) but plastic feels warmer as it reflects your heat...

    I went to a superstore and saw 2 different import medium tripods (one slightly bigger for $189, and one slightly smaller for $129), and proceeded to test them in the store... To my surprise, the cheaper one was much better than the other more expensive one, with better locks (screw knobs instead of those awfully flimsy breakable lever locks), didn't flex when twisted, didn't ring when hit, more metal, etc... And these were from the same company (Benro, I think)... The heads looked barely passable for light digital use, so another head would be in order ($$$)...

    So my point is it is easy to play "tripod roulette" if buying online a cheaper tripod, and there might be some OK ones your (medium) size, but if you can't actually check them out in person before buying, you will probably make a mistake buying one sight unseen... (Reviews online might be near useless, as many users have little experience using different tripods...)

    Saving a little extra to buy from one of the established makers is wise, or you can start filling up the back of the closet with unwanted tripods...

    Steve K

  5. #5
    Pastafarian supremo
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    In my younger days, I traveled far afield with a Marchioni Bros. and a Calumet CC-400 4x5 along with enough gear to last a week in the wilds (roughly 60lbs). How much weight you are willing to carry is entirely up to you.
    Rick Allen

    Argentum Aevum

    practicing Pastafarian

  6. #6
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Cameras come and go, but a good tripod lasts a lifetime. I bought my first Tiltall in 1969, and have bought four more American made Tiltalls since then. One was sold, one was lost, one was given to a friend, one is kept in the car, and one in the house. Another half a dozen tripods are rarely used. The Tiltall has adequately supported a 5x7 flatbed with a 21 inch lens. It comes with a good three-axis head. A sling attached to a Tiltall makes hiking with it easier. Other tripods may be lighter, more convenient to use, and sturdier. They may even last as long, but my Tiltalls will certainly outlast me. I have no experience with the recently imported Tiltalls.

  7. #7

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    At SIX pounds including the excellent tilt/pan head, you'd have to spend hundreds of dollars to get something even a pound lighter.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  8. #8
    dpn's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    I've done a fair bit of hiking with a Tiltall. It's not light, but it strapped well onto my backpack and allowed me to shoot with a full RZ67 kit on some rough terrain.

  9. #9

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    6 lbs for tripod + head isn't especially heavy. A series 3 Gitzo carbon fiber tripod is close to 4 lbs, then add a head and you'll be at 5 lbs or more.

    The main limitation of a Tiltall is that it doesn't get right down to ground level which is more important with a SLR than large format.

    With the relatively light weight cameras you are using the tall design of the Tiltall head probably won't be a problem and you say you like it. Both of the cameras you are using have a short base so that you can't slide the camera forward/backward to center the weight over the tripod head but you may still want to put an Arca Swiss style clamp on the head so that you can quickly mount/remove your camera from the tripod.

    I would think the Tiltall would be a good choice for you.

    jeff

  10. #10

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Keller View Post
    6 lbs for tripod + head isn't especially heavy. A series 3 Gitzo carbon fiber tripod is close to 4 lbs, then add a head and you'll be at 5 lbs or more.

    The main limitation of a Tiltall is that it doesn't get right down to ground level which is more important with a SLR than large format.

    With the relatively light weight cameras you are using the tall design of the Tiltall head probably won't be a problem and you say you like it. Both of the cameras you are using have a short base so that you can't slide the camera forward/backward to center the weight over the tripod head but you may still want to put an Arca Swiss style clamp on the head so that you can quickly mount/remove your camera from the tripod.

    I would think the Tiltall would be a good choice for you.

    jeff
    I'm thinking it'd be a good choice too. For now, that's what I'm leaning (tilting? Heh) towards. I currently use Arca-type clamps and plates, so I'm a step ahead of you there. With my Technika and the sliding back I machined to fit it, weight is centered over the tripod mount quite well. Even without it, the centre of gravity isn't too far off. As for the Super 23, I replaced the M back with a Graflok back, so weight is distributed further back there as well. Both the Technika and Mamiya use L-brackets, so I don't have to make the camera "hang" on its side.

    I'll go to the local Henry's and see if any other tripods pique my interest, though this tripod seems to satisfy all my needs with a minimal number of caveats. Reconsidering my issue with weight; I suppose even with 3 lbs legs, a decent ball or 3-way would bring that setup back up to the Tiltall's 6lbs? I'd say the biggest downside is the length; I currently use a (relatively) tiny Linhof Report whose legs stick out just below the bottom of my bag. Even with a small tripod, when I set the bag down, it doesn't lie flat. I've got to put the bag down gently on its back, and that gets awfully annoying/awkward to store. On the other hand, it doesn't look like there is much that can snag on the Tiltall whilst removing it from the side straps of my bag, over my shoulder? That would remove the need to set the bag down to access the tripod, like I must do with the Linhof Report (whose levers tend to snag on things). In any case, that is why I was considering the Sirui N-1004KX, Tiltall TE284, among other tripods of a similar design - very compact and lightweight when folded up. If such designs are inherently too unstable for a 4x5 press/field though, then I'll stick with the Tiltall.

    Thank you everyone for your input - it has helped a great deal.

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