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Thread: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

  1. #21
    Will Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    My first 8x10 camera was acquired in 1995. With it I bought a Ries A-100 with the A250 head and never looked back. 22 years later I object to the weight of the Ries. But then, I object to the weight of the 8x10, too. But once the camera is assembled on the Ries, it is a pleasure to use. Thing is, for 8x10 I use a Sinar Norma and support it not with a Ries, but with a Gitzo 1548 Mk2 with the Sinar Pan/Tilt head. For that camera the Gitzo is completely adequate and is far easier to transport. The only downside is that the leg extension locks are the twist-lock collars which, if over-tightened, can be a real pain to loosen and may be the ones Randy referred to above. I try to remember to tighten only as much as necessary. (It doesn't take a lot.)

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    My current Ries is an old model "A", precursor to the A-100, made by Paul Ries when the company was in Hollywood. I have a thing for vintage and this one suits me fine in spite of the lack of more modern refinements such as the "tri-lock mechanism" to secure the leg angle. This tripod replaced my earlier A-100 and is now the foundation for my 12x20 and 14x17 cameras with occasional duty supporting an Ansco 8x10. The head is the old Photoplane head. Again not as refined as the current line of heads, but quite sufficient for my needs including ULF.

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    Ron Wisner back in the day sold the Ries heads with a covering of bellows leather. I borrowed that idea and found some thin leather with which to cover the top of the Photoplane head. It provides a layer of protection between the head and whatever is attached to it. And it provides a friction surface against which to secure the camera to help prevent twisting or "unintended panning".

    My 12x20 is a modified Folmer & Schwing. Modifications include converting the back to accept Korona-style film holders so I can use S&S holders. Also the original ground glass springs were replace with modern stainless steel springs purchased from Dick Phillips. The brass knobs indicate that this is an earlier version camera (according to piercevaubel.com), probably made c.1915 or shortly thereafter. So still keeping with the vintage thing.

    I made a platform which I've written up previously in these pages. This time, though, I thought I'd add some photos in case anyone might like to copy the idea. It's very specific to the camera. The only camera for which I've made a platform is the 12x20 as that seems to be the one which best benefits from it.

    The platform itself is made from 3/4" plywood. There are stiles that run the length of the board, left and right. The width between the stiles is chosen to match exactly the width of the base of the 12x20. That way the camera won't twist on the platform (unintended panning).

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    (continued...)

  2. #22
    Will Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    (continuation)


    Similarly, on the bottom of the platform are two strips of wood that lie in a 1/4" groove the length of the platform. These strips are spaced exactly so that they lie on either side of the top of the Ries head. In this way the platform is kept from twisting atop the Ries head (again with that unintended panning).

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    The picture above shows the underside of the platform. You can see where there are two brass threaded bushings. Theoretically that was to allow offsetting the camera assembly to the rear in case I used a heavy lens. In practice it is not necessary and the first threaded bushing moving away from the camera screw is the only one I've ever needed or used. The camera screw was swiped from an old tripod and has the lock-down nut.

    To set up the camera, the tripod is planted and leveled. I usually set up with two legs away from me and one pointing to the rear. That way I can level the horizon on the ground glass by picking up only the one leg pointing back at me and moving it left or right a small amount. That translates to motion along the "roll axis" (effectively the optical axis) and very neatly allows me to level the horizon (all the more important on a 12x20 or similar semi-panoramic camera). If you have an A-250 Ries head you can simply employ the built-in side-to-side level adjustment. But for those of us stuck in 2-axis world, wagging the tripod's tail works very nicely.

    With all knobs locked down the camera is placed on the platform between the stiles with the bed still folded.

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    The camera is slid back so that the rear of the bed is flush with the back edge of the platform.

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    (continued...)

  3. #23
    Will Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    (continuation)


    That insures that the camera screw is perfectly lined up with the threaded bushing in the bottom of the camera. We've all at one time or another stood there trying fit the camera screw into the hole on the bottom of the camera with beads of sweat running down our foreheads. You can't see what you're doing 'cause it might as well be on the far side of the moon and you're just imagining what sort of damage you're doing to your favorite camera you just paid too much for on Ebay. Yep, we all been there; done that.

    This totally eliminates that problem. Camera sits atop the platform, automatically squared up and pointing in the right direction. You push up on the camera screw and it very satisfyingly hits home and all you have to do is tighten said screw and you're done. Well, almost.

    Lower the front extension. (It's like a drawbridge on this camera.) Now you're done

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    My Ries A is slightly larger than the modern A-100 I used to have. I have not weighed it, but it is substantial. I found a used Fiber-bilt case for it on Ebay. That works very well for transporting it as it protects the tripod and protects car window glass and friends from pointy spike tips. But it's a lot to carry. Just across the parking lot is enough for me. And the case closed up with tripod inside measures 50 inches long. So it's still an armful.

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    I apply an occasional coat of Johnson's Paste Wax and that seems to keep it happy. For that matter, that's what I used on the platform. First I stained it with a stain from General that closely matches the Folmer. The I applied paste wax over it and buffed it. Protects the wood and allows the camera to be slid as needed for adjustment.

    Very simple construction and materials. I used a table saw and a router table, although the whole thing could easily enough have been done on the table saw alone.

    Mods: If this is better suited for the DIY forum, then please transplant it. But it seemed very germane to the conversation here.

  4. #24
    Hatrick
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    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    I have had great success using Survey instrument tripods both wood and aluminum and where utmost stability is required I mount the camera directly to the top of the tripod.
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  5. #25

    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    Love the idea of leather on the Ries head. My Chamonix 11x14 definitely slips a bit on the head despite me giving the screw the tightest lock down I can physically muster.


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  6. #26
    Photographer
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    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by dodphotography View Post
    Love the idea of leather on the Ries head. My Chamonix 11x14 definitely slips a bit on the head despite me giving the screw the tightest lock down I can physically muster.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Cork works very well also. Find it at an auto parts store where they sell sheets for gaskets. Get the thinnest and glue it down with thin coatings of contact cement.
    Keith Pitman

  7. #27

    Re: ULF Tripod and Tripod Head Discussion

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Pitman View Post
    Cork works very well also. Find it at an auto parts store where they sell sheets for gaskets. Get the thinnest and glue it down with thin coatings of contact cement.
    Thanks! That's my project this week.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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