Page 1 of 6 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 51

Thread: Question for headless photographers

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Currently New York
    Posts
    1,447

    Question for headless photographers

    I know that some people here attach their camera directly to a tripod, either to a plate on top of the legs that is flat or to a plate, from the film/video world, that provides about 15 degrees of leveling function. As I understand it, at least one person - Christopher Broadbent - uses a Novoflex Panorama Plate on top of a leveling plate to get a panning function.

    I happen to use the Arca-Swiss system for 8x10 and 4x5. A few weeks ago, I decided to attach a 50cm rail that telescopes to 75cm, and front and rear function carriers that fit both the 8x10 and 4x5 standards, directly to the flat plate of my tripod (a carbon fiber tripod made by Gitzo, model 1325, that supports 26.5 lbs). The effect of this is that the tripod, rail and function carriers are now one piece, and when I set up for a shot, I use a level to level them as one piece. Then I slide either the 8x10 or 4x5 standards/bellows on to the carriers depending on which format I want to use.

    I have come to the following conclusions:

    1. The cameras feel much more stable and I have gotten rid of a few pounds - I am not inclined to go back to a traditional pan and tilt head;
    2. I need to be able to level the tripod and camera, either by shortening/lengthening the legs in conjunction with a level, or with a leveling base;
    3. I need to be able to pan the camera after the 8x10 or 4x5 standards/bellows have been mounted (panning using the tripod legs at that point is problematic, and the Novoflex looks attractive);
    4. I do not, for the photography that I do, need to tilt the camera forwards or backwards.

    On the few occasions that this subject has come up on this forum in the past, there has been a tendency for people to say that they can't imagine anyone taking photographs without the tilt function of a pan and tilt head. On that issue, and for the purpose of this thread, please see #4 above.

    I would appreciate comments from people who are not using tripod heads on how they are dealing with leveling and panning, including any gear recommendations they may want to make. I'd also appreciate a recommendation for a good level (e.g. Starrett 98 6", something else?). In a thread a couple of years ago, Drew Wiley talked about a "self-leveling angle finder". A Google search has left me none the wiser about what this is. So, what is it?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by r.e.; 14-Oct-2011 at 20:50.
    Cheers!

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    6,704

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    When sking, I'll leave the head behind. Snow is generally very forgiving.
    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.

  3. #3

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    I tried going 'headless' a few times to save weight, but leveling with the legs on uneven terrain was a little fussy with the way my tripod works- I just can't see the level while I'm adjusting the locks. So I look forward to hearing about other methods/gear for working without a tripod head.

    That novoflex panning base looks as nice as anything I've seen and I've been casually looking for one for a few years.. It's seems a little small and might be difficult to use directly under the bed of a field camera, but looks like it might be just right for a monorail or tripod block.

    As for Drew's angle finder, try searching with the terms inclinometer or angle locator. I tried a cheap one just to compare the facility of it to a torpedo level, but preferred working with the level. I have the Klein Tools version of the 6" magnetic electrician's level and it is decent- the castings are good and the vials are sensitive. I tried using the smallest Stabila torpedo level I could find for a while as well, but like the Klein better.

    Of course, Starrett levels are the gold standard in machinist's levels, but I wonder how practical they would be in the feild. I've never handled one, but the castings make those look very heavy, and I like having a 90 degree vial as well.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Currently New York
    Posts
    1,447

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Colin, thanks for the reference to Klein's 6" level. Turns out there's a brief YouTube video about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJOiWgDvY2I
    Cheers!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Montgomery, Il. USA
    Posts
    541

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...ed=0CDsQ8wIwAA

    Manfrotto leveling base +/- 5 degrees weighs just over a pound and looks to have a very solid manner of adjustment.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Posts
    2,395

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    There is a cheaper version that will also let you rotate the camera when it is loosened for adjustment:

    http://www.google.com/products/catal...I&ved=0CBMQrhI

  7. #7

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    I use a leveling base made by Feisol for their CT-3371 tripod. It works well and gets rid of a lot of weight while using a Wisner 8x10 for landscapes when a geared head is not needed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Feisol-Leveling Base for CT-3371 or CT-3471.jpg  

  8. #8
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    2,940

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    procedure for item 2:
    I do 8x10 without a head. I aim the camera roughly first, then level it. If you have the front axis over one tripod leg, you can use that front leg to go up/down, then only deal with 2 legs for leveling in the other axis.
    3. I pan by loosening my 5/8-1/4 adaptor, adjusting the camera, and tightening it back up.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Stevens Point, WI
    Posts
    1,487

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Barber View Post
    I use a leveling base made by Feisol for their CT-3371 tripod. It works well and gets rid of a lot of weight while using a Wisner 8x10 for landscapes when a geared head is not needed.
    I've been curious about that, especially for travel.

    How does it operate? Does the "handle" on the bottom rotate to screw the camera tightly to the base, or does it loosen/tighten the leveling mechanism? Is it rock solid for 8x10?

    Also, how do you attach the camera? Must you spin the camera around the screw or does the handle rotate the screw so that the camera remains stationary?

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Currently New York
    Posts
    1,447

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by jp498 View Post
    If you have the front axis over one tripod leg, you can use that front leg to go up/down, then only deal with 2 legs for leveling in the other axis.
    Yes, and it doesn't take much time.

    I pan by loosening my 5/8-1/4 adaptor, adjusting the camera, and tightening it back up.
    Could you expand on this? What 5/8-1/4 adaptor are you using? Is it just a bushing or something more complex? Are you essentially using it in lieu of a quick release plate? Sorry, having trouble understanding/visualizing this, but want to understand.
    Cheers!

Similar Threads

  1. How many LF photographers out there?
    By BarryS in forum On Photography
    Replies: 30
    Last Post: 24-Jun-2008, 12:53
  2. Top do's and don't for websites
    By cyrus in forum Business
    Replies: 161
    Last Post: 13-Mar-2008, 09:50
  3. Advertising experiences
    By matt naughton in forum Business
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 6-Nov-2007, 05:02
  4. Iceland- any LF photographers there?
    By Christopher Nisperos in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 18-Oct-2007, 13:11
  5. Mentoring younger photographers
    By David R Munson in forum On Photography
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 18-Nov-2003, 06:20

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •