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Thread: Formula for a Universal Tripod

  1. #1

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    Formula for a Universal Tripod

    If carbon is so expensive and weight is such a premium issue one would have thought to make a universal tripod by making the legs detachable...you'd get the stability to put an 8x10 on a less-than-2-pound. Point is I'm interested in buying something very light on my surgically-fused spine yet continue shooting with the medium format up to 8x10. I don't want to spend over $1,000 on two separate tripods and will do it if I have to. And I definitely don't want to make a fool of myself by spending double on a make with a G in the name if the qualilty of another is equal (come on already, haven't physicists and engineers had enough time to solve the mundane complexities of tripods yet? time to move on to more interesting problems). For example, there is a make with an F in the name that is half that price but no head to head reviews. Wonder why not. Seriously, why not (please respond if you know of the url that I keep missing in my internet searches)

    They say when everyone is agreeing no one is thinking so it bothers me when I walk into camera shops they point me toward that make (you all know which I'm talking about...the one with the goobledygook numbering system that is almost uniterpretable from year to year) and don't explain the diff between the Rolls and the Ford.

    So, does anyone know if you can take a heavier, stable tripod, remove enough legs sections to make it packable and portable for backpack or travel and turn it into something you could prop on a rock/table top and still use effectivey for large format. (Hopefully this is a reversable process and preferably NOT done with a hacksaw)


    Why didn't I think of that?

  2. #2
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    Ries H600 wooden tripod.

  3. #3
    Resident Heretic
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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by emo supremo View Post
    If carbon is so expensive and weight is such a premium issue one would have thought to make a universal tripod by making the legs detachable...you'd get the stability to put an 8x10 on a less-than-2-pound. Point is I'm interested in buying something very light on my surgically-fused spine yet continue shooting with the medium format up to 8x10. I don't want to spend over $1,000 on two separate tripods and will do it if I have to. And I definitely don't want to make a fool of myself by spending double on a make with a G in the name if the qualilty of another is equal (come on already, haven't physicists and engineers had enough time to solve the mundane complexities of tripods yet? time to move on to more interesting problems).
    It always amazes me that the vast majority of people seem to think that the other guy's job is easy. It doesn't seem to matter what the other job is, because they "know" that they have the hard job so the other guy's job must be easy. It's a variant of the old saw "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" maybe.

    If you think you know enough that, for you, designing a tripod is a mundane task, I invite you to bring your wares to the market. If you can actually make a 2 lbm tripod that works for even the lightest 10x8 rig, the market will beat a path to your door. Get to work, show us all how it's done, and make a fortune doing it. It's a simple mundane task after all. How hard can it be?

    Bruce Watson

  4. #4

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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    " I don't want to spend over $1,000 on two separate tripods"

    Help the economy, buy three tripods. Grin.

    Me, I ended up buying multiple tripods to do specific jobs.

    That said, my Ries tripod is very close to universal.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

    http://www.walterpcalahan.com/Photography/index.html

  5. #5

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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    Dear Bruce, Well said, but I thought I just did that. If I could NOT introduce dampeners into the materials I would minimize those segments that amplify vibration. Since leg length on a tripod has an exponential (and inverse) effect on vibration shake is magnified at the vertex where film place and lens coexist. Second, (and probably unrelated) vibration is probably exacerbated by whatever resonance the structural composition has the capacity to set itself into; not unlike the Takoma bridge (I might have that name wrong) anecdote in which resonance had an irreversable and catastrophic failure.... can we agree that camera shake may be a partial manifestation of a resonance problem? I suppose the lack thereof might partly explain why carbon is preferred over aluminum. Partly. I didn't want to start a discussion over Young's modulus etc. nor defend a (my) crack pot idea but I do work with scientists and we are NOT liberals but very conservative in our thinking when evaluating thesis and manuscripts. "New" is dangerous in science. I think building a tripod is all about science. This is good for science because vibration and resonance and materials can be discussed in time proven ways (my intent of my comment) but I disagree (politely) with you: at some point a problem can be overanalyzed and that's the question I'm trying to come to grips with. Real versus Ideal. Unfortunately for me, BUYING a tripod has not had even a nodding aquaintance with science; this is why I'm struggling. This is definitely NOT the way the merits of tripods are discussed in the marketplace. If they were I would part with the money freely because I was convinced, not by puffing, but by accepted measures that a product was indeed 'better.'

    My conservative method would be to mount a paper cup filled with water on the center post and measure/observe water surface vibration on the edge of highways, in the wind, on the story/floor above the HVAC system. Something like that for starters to see how short to make my legs. I'd also study the effect of pulse dampeners (those curious objects sticking out of competition bows from which arrows are shot). I'd like to try a fluid-dashpot model (not unlike the viscosity models we use describe semisolids and in fluid dynamics) to see how inexpensive 'shock absorbers' might benefit my tripod.

    I am tired of trying to save a few bucks here on ebay and getting burnt with junky stuff and so was about to buy the 1541 IF it had any real advantage. I'd also support the good work of other companies if a heavier but more expensive was in order but there is that back surgery of mine to factor in. Do you know how the keywords that would help isolate where the required information is?

    (BTW would you put a deardorf on a Gitzo 1541?)

  6. #6

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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    You're a riot Walter... I can build a yurt to live in with my three tripods when my spouse sees how much I spent on them. (grins on this end as well) You are right of course and if and when I come to find where the tripods are reviewed (and hopefully in some kind of table that makes them comparable) it will be two or three separate acquisitions in the end. I'll look into the Ries. Emilio

  7. #7

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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    Dear Gem, Have you ever seen tripod legs fashioned from bamboo?

  8. #8
    Eric Woodbury
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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    http://reallybigcameras.com/Feisol/Tripods

    Feisol are very light quality tripods. I just got one and it is taller and lighter than my Gitzos. In a few years, I'll give you a head-to-head comparison, but for now I'd say it as good or better and certainly lighter.
    my picture blog
    ejwoodbury.blogspot.com

  9. #9
    Octogenarian
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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    Emo,

    Bamboo?

    I once owned a fishing rod made of bamboo. However, have never heard of a tripod made of bamboo.

  10. #10

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    Re: Formula for a Universal Tripod

    Spot on! In a spectacular leap of reverse engineering you perceive my thoughts. I too still have my split bamboo pole from Herter's and that's what got me thinking about it... you see the new ones are made from CARBON/GRAPHITE! I'm amazed to see you pull the fly fishing rod analogy into this...are you thinking over my shoulder?

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