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Thread: Head Question

  1. #1

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    Head Question

    I imagine this has been discussed before - i ran a search on some of the issues in my question and got some feedback, but couldn't find exactly what i was after.

    I have bought a Gandolfi 8x10 which will arrive fairly soon. This is my first Foray into LF, but i am coming at it having used a MF RB67 for some years, and i am reading every book i can get my hands on re the subject.

    I have Gitzo GT3540 Four stage Carbon Tripod and i am trying to make a decision (without the luxury of having the camera to look at and try out) re Heads.

    I have asked a question before about attempting to use my MF RRS Ball head and i think the consensus was that the Gandolfi fully loaded would be way too much and would be ungainly and possibly catastrophic on a ball head.

    Therefore i am looking at a Bogen 229 3d or a Gitzo 1570. I understand the Gitzo has two mounting points that would potentially make a more solid platform - The camera has two threads on the base which would line up - i am told.

    In addition I have read on this forum that some people go with quick release plates however i don't imagine that to be the most solid approach - I might want to be able to put the whole set up together at the car and walk with it over my shoulder to my location (obviously not too far). the man who sold me the Gandolfi says to go for a head that could take 10KG as a max.....

    So... any recommendations please re

    1) which head is the best

    2) whether quick release systems work at this level and if so which ones (remembering i already have a fair few of the RRS Plates knocking around....

  2. #2

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    Re: Head Question

    I don't know which head is best but if your shoulder can handle an 8x10 Gandolfi a quick release plate should be o.k. I used to occasionally carry a 12 lb Deardorff over my shoulder with the camera mounted on a Bogen tripod and the large 4" square Bogen/Manfrotto quick release plate. Not sure about your RRS plates, I don't own any RRS plates. But I'd sure try to find some sort of QR plate that will work, I wouldn't want to be fooling around with an 8x10 camera and tripod screws if that's what you're considering as the alternative to a QR plate. And FWIW, I agree with those who have suggested that a ball head isn't a good idea with an 8x10 camera.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #3

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    9,476

    Re: Head Question

    I prefer seeing the tripod head screw go into the camera, rather than seeing the screw go into a plate and the plate into the tripod head... at least that way I can tell at a glance whether it is in or not. Unless the plate has some sort of key to prevent the heavy camera from rotating, it will rotate.

    Gitzo used to make a low profile #3 series magnesium 3-way head a couple of years ago, of course I forgot the model number, but it would be a better match for your tripod than the massive 1570 head (which is a better match for a 5-series tripod).

    Depending on what model Gandolfi, the 3-series tripod could be marginal anyway, at least for a heavier, longer 8x10.

    Ultimately? get a Ries and one of their tilt heads to go with the elegant Gandolfi.

  4. #4

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    Re: Head Question

    Thanks, Frank - its a Gandolfi traditional. You may be right in that i may have to go with a heavier Tripod - maybe a Manfrotto Studio sort of thing. I will look into a magnesium Gitzo - the guy selling me the camera is saying that he recommends using the second screw for total stability.

  5. #5
    Downstairs
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    Re: Head Question

    I have my ten-eight Gandolfi double-screwed onto the Gizo P.L.5. It's the 3-way head with the lowest centre of gravity. The Cube is no match for the Gandolfi, if ever it crossed your mind. Do have a look at a pro video tripod with an oversized leveling cup (cupola) and a plain swivel plate. That's a very low CofG. You will be pointing the camera straight most of the time anyway.
    Last edited by cjbroadbent; 19-Sep-2008 at 06:09.

  6. #6
    www.reallybigcameras.com
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    Re: Head Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 747sp View Post
    I have asked a question before about attempting to use my MF RRS Ball head and i think the consensus was that the Gandolfi fully loaded would be way too much and would be ungainly and possibly catastrophic on a ball head.
    I wouldn't immediately dismiss a ballhead - unless you simply don't like working with one with a large format camera. I'm not sure which RRS head you have and how strong it is, but there are plenty of ballheads out there that are strong enough to support an 8x10 Gandolfi without "catastrophic" results. I've used my 7x17 Franken-ARCA with an ARCA-SWISS B1. With the tension preset at maximum, it's surprisingly usable, and quite rigid when locked down. ARCA-SWISS used to also make a B1G (the G stood for Ginormous, I think). It's like a much bigger version of the B1 and would easily handle your Gandolfi.

    Personally, I prefer the ARCA-SWISS B2 for big, heavy cameras. It's similar in size to the B1G, and looks like a ballhead (no big levers sticking out all over the place), but is actually a three axis head with separate controls for each axis. It actually weighs more than the Gitzo 1570, but is much more compact. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued and can be hard to find. I've heard rumors that ARCA-SWISS plans to release a new, smaller lighter version of the B2, but those rumors are old and I' haven't seen any formal announcements from ARCA-SWISS (Photokina, perhaps????).

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  7. #7
    www.reallybigcameras.com
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    Re: Head Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Petronio View Post
    I prefer seeing the tripod head screw go into the camera, rather than seeing the screw go into a plate and the plate into the tripod head... at least that way I can tell at a glance whether it is in or not. Unless the plate has some sort of key to prevent the heavy camera from rotating, it will rotate.
    Since his Gandolfi has two tripod mounting holes, I'd recommend an ARCA-SWISS style quick release clamp with a long mounting plate securely attached with screws at both ends to the bed of his Gandolfi. With a long plate and dual mounting screws there is no danger of the camera rotating.

    I've used this same type of set-up (mounting plate with two screws) for years for everything from a 4x5 Toho to a 14x17 Canham and have found it to be very secure - and easy to use. I find it much easier to set a big heavy camera on top of the quick release clamp and tighten the knob than to try to position a big heavy camera with one hand while trying to align the tripod mounting screw with the hole in the bottom of the camera while tightening the mounting screw with the other hand.

    Kerry Thalmann
    Really Big Cameras

  8. #8

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    Re: Head Question

    Like Kerry, I also use a B2 head for larger cameras. Simply an amazing piece of gear and it should not be confused with a ballhead - it's a 3-way head and IMO, the best one by a mile.

  9. #9

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    Re: Head Question

    I kind of belong to the quick-release camp. So much easier, and quicker, to fasten. It also avoids scratching the bottom of the camera, given the number of times one tries to fasten the camera to the head.

    The head that I would suggest is the Bogen 3039 head that can handle up to 26 lbs. It's a 3-way pan tilt version. I have one, and it's a great head. Smooth and tight.

    http://www.bogenimaging.us/Jahia/sit...AN&market=MKT1

    Bogen also offers a large 4"x4" plate (Bogen 030L) that can mate with this head. It would be nice for flat bed cameras. I think that the standard plate would also work. I use one on an 8x10 Kodak 2D, that's about an 11 lbs camera.

    http://www.bogenimaging.us/Jahia/sit...om_search=true

  10. #10
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    Re: Head Question

    Re the Arca B2. Don't you lose your horizontal the moment you release the knob?
    I've got a very old Arca ball-head and have always needed a pan plate on top. I even use a Linhof ball-head upside down (with double thread screws) just to get its' horizontal swivel plate where it is useful. I wrote to Cambo 15 years ago about putting the swivel on top. I got no reply, but this year they have done it.
    Last edited by cjbroadbent; 10-Sep-2008 at 12:36. Reason: misplaced apostophy

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