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Thread: Thoughts on wood tripods

  1. #101
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    SF Bay area, CA

    Re: Thoughts on wood tripods

    Well I guess we could discuss this as both a "use" and "abuse" thread. My carbon Feisol
    supports my 8x10 fine, but I certainly wouldn't abuse the thing. My Ries on the other
    hand ... I whack weeds out of the way, clear the scene of sprigs of blackberry, even
    slap poison oak off the path with it. Nothing rusts. The legs don't freeze up when
    wet like cheap wood or otherwise tripods do. I routinely put both my Ries tripods thru
    pure undeserved hell. One leg eventually developed a twist crack. I told them about my
    abuse and offered to buy a new leg, but they insisted on sending me a free one. No
    copay a wait in line. ... beats health insurance!

  2. #102
    Land-Scapegrace Heroique's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Seattle, Wash.

    Re: Thoughts on wood tripods

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    I told Ries about my abuse and offered to buy a new leg, but they insisted on sending me a free one!
    One of the best arguments for wood = Ries customer service.

    I think they take happy medicine all day, but their knowledgable help makes me think they never get drunk on it.

  3. #103

    Join Date
    Dec 2011

    Re: Thoughts on wood tripods

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Dear Meerkat: I don't know what part of the country you market to, but around here
    the wind is nearly incessant on the hills. Nobody uses alum survey tripods except for
    very casual work. Large traditional wood tripods provide sheer mass. This give not only
    stability but bully weight for plunging those spikes down into the clay muck of trenches. Analagously, sudden gusts of wind have picked up my entire 8x10 along with
    my bigger Ries tripod. I can hardly imagine the risk with aluminum, or how numb my
    fingers would feel handling it. I do own a couple of carbon tripods too and use them
    on longer treks, generally in the summer high country. For snow or beach sand, plus
    these hills around here, it's really hard to get away from Ries for sheer reliability. I can't
    afford to waste too many 8x10 color shots. Just too expensive!
    Location has nothing to do with it. The products are sold nationally and are national brands. The business is located in Southern California (Santa Ana winds) with many Bay Area customers. Aluminum tripods such as Seca can weigh upwards of 16 lbs, a lot more than a Ries. Reis tripods are actually quite light by comparison. The material issues are expansion and contraction and not wind stability. Aluminum and composite tripods also have massive spikes with steppers (as do the wood versions) and are much more robust than a photographer's tripod. Stabilizers (spreaders) are also commonly used during extreme conditions and especially on asphalt where a leg can slowly sink over time with the heat.

    Material is primarily out of choice including durability and water exposure (excavation sites, etc.), and most often with a material preference dictated by expansion and contraction issues (the length of set up and use time.) Professional surveyors own more than one (or three, four) tripods.

    Bottom line is work with what you personally feel most comfortable using, and what works for you in the field and/or studio. All the current higher end tripods are excellent products, despite the material used. Reis, Gitzo, Cartoni, Vinten.

  4. #104
    Jan Becket's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Honolulu, Hawai'i

    Re: Thoughts on wood tripods

    The vibrations one might be concerned about, aside from the shutter mechanism, are those caused by 30+ mph wind. I used my Ries several years ago in a place w/ high winds and got rock-solid results — with the camera and bellows protected by an umbrella, to minimize the wind. (Actually, the umbrella helped with the rain too.) Not ideal conditions, but the negs (to my surprise) came out just fine.

    Ditto on the customer service plugs for Ries. Some of the screws worked loose on the metal collars on my legs two years ago. I sent them to Ries and received a new set of three legs. One of the upper legs developed a crack after that and Ries replaced the entire set up upper legs. How often does that happen these days? Gitzos are great, though, for compact use. Mine fits inside a check-on bag for flights to Europe. Recently I took my Reis to Scotland and had the impression that people saw me as an apparition out of the 19th century ...

  5. #105

    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Rochester NY & Toronto ON

    Re: Thoughts on wood tripods

    Too bad I just sold my Zone VI "Small" ... heavy but a kick-arse piece of wood

  6. #106

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    San Joaquin Valley, California

    Re: Thoughts on wood tripods

    Currently two Ries and two Tiltalls in my arsenal. Big cameras get Ries and littler ones get Tiltalls.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

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