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Thread: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

  1. #1

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    Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    Is anyone in a position to debate the relative merits of Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods? What i mean is, is this an apples and orange comparison or they expensive and inexpensive versions of a similar product?

    While enquiring about the perfect tripod (and because there is an ongoing thread about Ries wood vs Manfrotto Al) I point out that a camera shop here in NYC lists what is a very good deal price wise over the Ries:

    BERLEBACH WOODEN TRIPODS FOR FIELD CAMERAS Preferred by many for their vibration dampening qualities, these ash tripods have been made in Germany for over 100 years. We have selected and stock a model for 4x5 and a model for 8x10.

    8023 model: 69" maximum height, 21" mimimum, weighs 6.2 lbs and folds to 27", it has a weight capacity of 22 lbs.
    For 8x10 fields we recommend the 2042 model: 65" maximum height, 20.5" minimum, weighs 7.1 lbs and folds to 32", it has a weight capacity of 26.5 lbs.

  2. #2

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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    Don't think it really matters. Comes down to personal taste. Me, I like supporting American companies, but I do own many German products. Both Ries and Berlebach have excellent damping characteristics. Wood works extremely well in winter.

    Ries comes with a lifetime guarantee, and it is an easy phone call to Washington state if you need a replacement screw or such.

    I own the Ries 4x5 and 8x10 models, with their corresponding heads.
    When I grow up, I want to be a photographer.

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

  3. #3
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    The Ries tripods I've looked at seem a lot sturdier than the Berlbach tripods I've seen. Wolf is very similar to Berlbach, if you want to consider yet another option.

    When I was last in the market for a tripod, I considered all three but eventually settled on one of the new Gitzo 6x CF legsets.

  4. #4

    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    I first purchased a Berlebach thinking it was a cheaper route to a tripod with the benefits of the ries. It came and worked well enough. The model I got allowed you to have three adjustments for the leg position with a click roller at the top of the legs--that seems great in the house but annoyed me often times in the field on uneven ground. The bottom part of the legs are easy to adjust and have measurements on them to help get the legs adjusted properly. The model I got also had a the ball head on top that allowed for some basic movements without an actual head. I used the tripod for about 3-4 months and after getting 5 mins of hands on time with one I purchased a ries. I now only shoot on the ries. I think that it has better stability and is much more robust in construction. The adjustments are easier on uneven ground and once a ries is set on the ground in position it doesn't move. I have had it in rivers, ocean tide pools, snow and uneven ground without any issues. I am considering getting their lightest tripod to hike with rather than upgrading my old lightweight tripod since I have upgrade to larger format and it was for 35mm. I agree with previous post that a lot of a tripod comes down to personal taste and for me the build quality and adjustablity of the ries won me over.

  5. #5
    grumpy & miserable Joseph O'Neil's Avatar
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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    I use two Berlebachs myself, I like them very much, but I think the Ries is a better tripod overall.

    For what it is worth, the comparison to me is like comparing a Cadillac to a Rolls.

    joe
    eta gosha maaba, aaniish gaa zhiwebiziyin ?

  6. #6
    Director @ Images Argentiques sultanofcognac's Avatar
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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    I have used a Berlebach 9043 for a few years now and have never had problems of stability anywhere at any time. The only concern is traveling - I still haven't found a good solution for keeping it alive when going by air short of putting it in my suitcase (it does take up loads of room). I therefore tend to take my photo excursions by train (or car).

    For the price I'll stick with my Berlebach and Arca Swiss Z1 ball head, but I've not had the pleasure of handling a Ries. I'd bet which ever you decide to buy you will stick with it.

    Johnny
    Are we truly creative, or simply too lethargic to become pedestrian?

  7. #7

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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    With my 8x10 on my back, I weigh mighty close to 300 pounds (okay, maybe only 290lb). I can trust the Ries to help me maneuver over rough steep ground...such the hike I took up from Yosemite Valley on last Saturday -- a 1000 foot (vertical) climb up a scree slope with a creek crossing and snow to cross.

    It is a sturdy son-of-a-gun.

    Vaughn

  8. #8

    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    Quote Originally Posted by Walter Calahan View Post
    Don't think it really matters. Comes down to personal taste. Me, I like supporting American companies, but I do own many German products. Both Ries and Berlebach have excellent damping characteristics. Wood works extremely well in winter.

    Ries comes with a lifetime guarantee, and it is an easy phone call to Washington state if you need a replacement screw or such.

    I own the Ries 4x5 and 8x10 models, with their corresponding heads.
    It is an even easier call to NJ, and free - 800 735-4373, if you need a Berlebach part.

  9. #9

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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    Thank you for the incisicive wisdom (and witticisms). Wish I could buy you guys (gals?) a cup of coffee and shoot with you.

    I haven't given up on that bamboo (instead of ash/maple) idea I threaded about last week. However, my foot tendons are all torn up; I'm sorry but I broke down and actually splurged on the carbon Gitzo today for the 8x10. I know, I know, traitor but just think how stupid i'd look wandering around Middle Earth kicking orcas with a synthetic staff. Please be assured when either of these come on the used market I'm going to try a wood tripod. I'm dying to do a side by side comparison. Besides, wood absorbs vibration and thus would prefer my head bashed in with the cheaper wood tripod when my wife finds out how much I spent on the Gitzo.

    It does mean it will hurt less, yes?

  10. #10

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    Re: Ries versus BERLEBACH wooden tripods

    Oh, I almost forgot. The factor that tipped me from wood to carbon today was that you all should know Gitzo is giving 50-$100 rebates! Does this help absolve my sin?

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