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Thread: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Portland, OR
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    68

    I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    I thought it might be fun to sing the praises of this seemingly little-known tripod.

    The Linhof Twin Shank tripod is, for me, an excellent companion to my Sinar Norma 4x5 camera. It has a very favorable strength to weight ratio, and--because each leg uses only one lever lock--a very speedy setup time. The only downside is that when collapsed, the tripod doesn't get very small: a bit over 32" for mine, which has been modified from from factory configuration. With Sinar Pan Tilt head bolted on and Sinar Norma rail clamp attached, mine weighs 9 lbs 4.5 oz. I'd feel extremely comfortable using this tripod with an even larger camera than my 4x5, but I currently only have the 4x5.

    Here's a picture of the tripod. Below the photo, I'll describe how I modified it to make it better-suited to field use.



    If you search around for pictures of other Linhof Twin Shank tripods, you'll see that they come from the factory with struts that connect each leg to a collar that slides over the center shaft. Although one of these struts can be disconnected in the field, the other two are permanently attached.

    I removed these struts and the collar they all attach to. In addition, I removed the center shaft that the collar slides over (it simply unscrews from the yoke). Then, I got out the mitre saw and shortened the center column. I upgraded the nuts that secure the legs to the center yoke with Nyloc nuts, added braces to the twin-shank part of each leg, and finally, I attached fender washers to the bottom of each leg to better grip the ground when the tripod legs are spread wide. Oh, and I also put some spacers around the bottom leg extensions to keep the fender washers from interfering with the locking levers.

    The modifications took just a few hours and a trip to the hardware store, and they made this excellent tripod into a very nice unit for field use. My friend John Wimberley's tripod provided the inspiration for these modifications.

    This tripod has also been a winner in the price-performance ratio as well. I've seen crazy eBay prices on used models, like in the range of $800 (hint for the eBay sellers: they don't sell at that price. For that price, folks can probably get a new one or a high performance carbon-fiber tripod). On the other hand, I bought my main tripod and parts/backup tripod for less than $100 each. At this price, I couldn't be happier.

    Cheers,
    --Philip.

  2. #2

    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Philip, I too am a fan of Linhof Twin-Shank tripods, and use on with my Norma. Small world! Can you explain a bit how the modifications are an improvement? I can see that removing the struts saves weight and allows for more leg movement, but don't you sacrifice rigidity? Something for me to think about...
    ____________________________________________

    Richard Wasserman

    http://www.richardwasserman.net

    http://richardwassermanphotographer.tumblr.com

  3. #3

    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    You seem to have done more then that. What are those flat bars half way up the leg?

    You could also have bought the shorter Linhof column used on the Light Way Pro Linhof tripods or the Profi-Port center column from Linhof service.
    And all of the struts can be disengaged from the legs of all Linhof tripods by pulling the pin at the bottom of the strut.

    Lastly $800.00 is pretty close to the price of a new one. In fact, its big brother. the P version. Same legs but pneumatic center colum is only slightly more then that price.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Portland, OR
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    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Wasserman View Post
    Philip, I too am a fan of Linhof Twin-Shank tripods, and use on with my Norma. Small world! Can you explain a bit how the modifications are an improvement? I can see that removing the struts saves weight and allows for more leg movement, but don't you sacrifice rigidity? Something for me to think about...
    Rigidity is decreased, while ability to set up the tripod on uneven terrain, and set it up much lower to the ground is increased. The only situation where I feel like this tradeoff is not entirely worth it is where the tripod spikes can't get a good grip on the ground, like on pavement. This almost never happens. Instead, they almost always get a good grip and create a very rigid platform for the camera. Shortening the center column is also a tradeoff: maximum tripod height is reduced, but its ability to place the camera low to the ground is increased. Even with the shorer center column, I sometimes have to stand on my camera case to manage camera positions where the tripod is fully extended!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon
    You seem to have done more then that. What are those flat bars half way up the leg?

    You could also have bought the shorter Linhof column used on the Light Way Pro Linhof tripods or the Profi-Port center column from Linhof service.
    And all of the struts can be disengaged from the legs of all Linhof tripods by pulling the pin at the bottom of the strut.
    The flat bars are there to further brace the twin struts and increase rigidity. After adding them I must confess they add little rigidity to an already-rigid tripod. In retrospect they might be un-necessary.

    I didn't know the struts were so easily disengaged, but I did want the tripod to be able to go lower, and that was my ultimate reason for modifying it as I did.

  5. #5

    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    "I didn't know the struts were so easily disengaged, but I did want the tripod to be able to go lower, and that was my ultimate reason for modifying it as I did."

    Perhaps you should have called us first. 800 735-4373

  6. #6
    Peter
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Morro Bay, Ca
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    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Mine is just like Philip's in that two of the struts are held on with what look like big rivets.


    Peter

  7. #7

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    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Nice job! That Ries in the back looks so lonely and rejected!

    How are the braces when carrying the pod over your shoulder -- do they dig in?

  8. #8

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    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Vaughn View Post
    Nice job! That Ries in the back looks so lonely and rejected!

    How are the braces when carrying the pod over your shoulder -- do they dig in?
    Thanks Vaughn. I carry the tripod cradled in my arms in front of me because my huge camera case goes on shoulders traps behind me (and my shoulders are whimpering under the load as it is), so I don't know. I imagine they would be uncomfortable if I did carry the tripod over my shoulder, and because in the end they didn't add much rigidity, I'd advise others to skip that particular modification.

  9. #9

    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Mounier View Post
    Mine is just like Philip's in that two of the struts are held on with what look like big rivets.

    Peter
    Those are pretty old versions. Haven't been made like that in over 30 years!

  10. #10

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    Re: I like my Linhof Twin Shank tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon - HP Marketing View Post
    Those are pretty old versions. Haven't been made like that in over 30 years!
    That makes this conversion even better!

    I asked about the braces because I bought a big Majestic that has so many knobs it is almost impossible to carry on one's shoulder for any length of time (and I hike with the 8x10 all day) and the knobs would catch on the backpack's shoulder straps. Sort of embarrassing to be unable to remove the pod from one's shoulder! The Ries will also catch on the pack's straps if I carry it with the legs shortened -- but I usually walk with the legs extended.

    Fortunately I paid $25 for the Majestic and only used it while I scrapped up enough money to buy the Ries (A100 legs -- I had won the A250 head in a photo contest). The Majestic is my studio pod now!

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