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Thread: backpacking with a Tiltall?

  1. #11
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Bipin, the Tiltall TE284 is different than the old American made tripod in having four instead of three leg sections and in not coming with a head. Four sections are less stable than three. If there are any reviews on the TE284, they are likely in a language I can't read. The Tiltalls imported several years weren't reported to have the quality of the original Marchioni, Leitz, or even Star D versions.

  2. #12

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    I bought a nice used Leitz Tiltall tripod for $75. You should pay less than $100 for a Marchioni or Leitz version. I hear the original Marchioni are the best.

    Sometimes you can find Berlebach wooden tripods pretty reasonable too. I paid around $150 for one that looked close to new. It even had a Berlebach head with it.

  3. #13
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Gotta agree. The one thing you shouldn't cheap out on is a tripod. It will always cost you more than you think in the long run.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

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  4. #14
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    CF will dampen vibrations better than aluminum. Also better when it gets cold, unless you wear insulated gloves. Weight not the only issue.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

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  5. #15

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    I've used a Marchioni (original designer/manufacturer) Tiltall as my 'lightweight' tripod for many years; I rescued it from an industrial junk pile. My 7lb. Zone VI 4x5 will work on top of it... but it takes a lot of effort to tighten the tilt controls when I do. I'll say that issue is because of many decades of use (mostly before my time) are beginning to wear the head out, and because the tripod was designed for home movie cameras, Leicas, and Rollei TLRs. I'm keeping the tripod though! If you get a good (Marchioni or E. Leitz) Tiltall it should work just fine. Star-Ds are cheap copies (I destroyed one in the early '80s) and I have never used the recent ones, so won't comment on them. Gary Regester of Plume Wafer softbox fame has kept the Tiltall flame alive, btw.

  6. #16

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Jones View Post
    Bipin, the Tiltall TE284 is different than the old American made tripod in having four instead of three leg sections and in not coming with a head. Four sections are less stable than three. If there are any reviews on the TE284, they are likely in a language I can't read. The Tiltalls imported several years weren't reported to have the quality of the original Marchioni, Leitz, or even Star D versions.
    Oh yes, I know. Sorry - I should of clarified that what I meant is I was considering the new TE284, and the TE Classic/the real deal (Marchioni, Leitz, Uniphot).

  7. #17
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Bipin:

    Back in 1994 I brought along a Tilt-All Knock off (Star) on a trip to the Grand Canyon. We did most of the tourist stuff from the car that did include day hikes. Married with a mortgage and car note (and under-employed) we felt poorer than when we were in college. I had a Pre-anniversary Speed Graphic beater packed into a thrift shop book bag (Jansport, bright blue) with pieces of cut up surplus sleeping mat all hot-glued together. It all worked pretty well but looked . . .rough. I could set up and shoot in ~2 min , then rig-down , pack and step off about as quickly. The self storing press camera body really helped in this.

    The Star brand Tiltall hung from the backpack's grab-handle and was strapped down with a bit of rope. The tripod worked well enough with the light weight S-G but became a bit shaky with a 5x7 Burk and James. Liked it enough to get another one, but both had problems in securing the center column no matter how tightly it was screwed down. I traded or sold them off at the old Houston Camera Show (that long ago) and moved on to other things.

    As our professional lives improved later in the early 2K years, I bought a Velbon CF tripod and got a Magnesium Ball head. This holds up a Wista-made Zone VI 4x5. My 8x10 Kodak 2D sits on a set of wooden legs.

    Buy the tripod you can afford. You are young so weight is an inconvenience not a health issue. Spend your money on film and processing. In the end, its not about the gear that you use, its the images you create.

    Cheers
    Drew Bedo
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  8. #18

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bipin View Post
    Oh yes, I know. Sorry - I should of clarified that what I meant is I was considering the new TE284, and the TE Classic/the real deal (Marchioni, Leitz, Uniphot).
    I examined one of the "new" Tiltalls at a store, and they are not NEARLY made as well as the vintage namesakes!!! Thinner metal, shallow cut threads for the locks, locks didn't have a positive lock, and didn't positively secure when tightened, head locks not positive, etc... Stay away!!!!

    You can look for a vintage model, but check for these things;

    The legs should slide in and out with fingertip pressure... If they don't, sometimes the legs are bent where they look straight, but will slightly oval, where the outer part is slightly larger in diameter and bind in the locks... If you have one with this, you can carefully sand the lobes down with 400 emery paper until it slides better...

    The lock threads eventually build up sand, dirt, grit, and oxides, so they can be cleaned with acetone, and re-lubed with lithium or silicone grease...

    Keep them from getting soaked, and dry them upon returning home, but don't tighten the locks while drying... Keep them clean and away from salt water...

    Polish the natural finished ones once in a while with a good metal polish...

    Don't lube the tripod head pivots, but if they bind, shoot some silicone spray inside...

    An upgrade point is that the head is only secured with 1 screw to the column, and the tube has 1 hole for the screw that can expand over time and weight... Having a solid metal insert for the tube + head that 4 screws drilled around the outside of the head, will hold the head better without rocking over time... (Good project to bring to a machine shop)

    The 3 screws that tension the leg pivots from swinging sometimes break, so installing a stronger bolt before it breaks will save a broken bolt removal later...

    One of mine (Marchioni) was purchased heavily used over 35 years ago, and with some minor work has been used countless times well and is still a daily driver...

    But take care of them, and they will serve you well for many years!!!

    Steve K

  9. #19
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    The Star-D Tiltalls are often maligned, but mine worked well until I lost it. The leg collets have a plastic instead of brass insert which might not tolerate hard use as well as the Marchioni or Leitz versions. Also, a handle had a plastic grip which broke when the tripod fell. Steve gives very good advice on caring for a Tiltall in the above post.

  10. #20

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    Re: backpacking with a Tiltall?

    Thank you once again everyone for the copious amount of info, much of which was very helpful. It ultimately guided my decision to purchase a Tiltall - just a moment ago - at a phenomenal price.

    As a Canadian student, the USD/CAD exchange rate on top of shipping can get a tad out of hand. The tripod didn't come with two handles, so I will need to buy replacements, but I figured this was an acceptable trade-off given what I paid. Finding the proper handles is an easy task - I know where I can get them - although to be honest, I'm not sure if I want them. A large gripe of mine with the Tiltall had always been with how far the handles stick out. I understand that the knobs accept a 1/4'' male thread. Are there any sort of knobs I can pick up at Home Depot or Lowes that should fit within the metal sleeve, surrounding the threads? I could easily pick up the proper handles, but I figure this is a good chance to do what I really want and create something that protrudes less.

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