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Thread: Question for headless photographers

  1. #21

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Drew, thanks very much for your comments. As a result of your earlier post, I had a look at a Reis today and I see what you mean about how the crown is designed.
    Cheers!

  2. #22

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    At the risk of derailing this discussion, I did indeed visit several NY camera shops today, as I said last night I was going to do, in an effort to check out tripod components. What I learned is how important B&H is (closed until next Sunday) and that everybody else is carrying minimal inventory.

    I went to Calumet, Foto Care and K&M and they all had limited Gitzo/Manfrotto tripod components. None of them had a Novoflex Panorama Base. The constant refrain was "We can order it". Having forgotten to pack my Toyo loupe and Linos lens wrench before coming to NY, I was also looking for a loupe and wrench. For these, I also dropped by Lens and Repro and, on the chance that they might have a loupe, Kurland Photo. Here's the bottom line. Nobody had a Linos wrench, and K&M was the only store that had a loupe of any kind - namely, a $9 Gepe 8x.

    Perhaps a little incongruously, Foto Care, which is my favourite NY photo store, is where I had a look at a Reis tripod crown as a result of reading Drew Wiley's earlier post. They had a Reis, but neither a lens wrench nor any kind of loupe.
    Cheers!

  3. #23

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    A sorry state of affairs. Even B&H is not so good anymore. I went a couple of years ago and they had minimal large format gear, locked up like museum pieces, almost no darkroom gear except for minimal chemistry, and loads of digital toys. I did not bother to go when I was in NYC this summer.

    I ordered the Feisol leveling base to check it out and see if it is a viable option for me when backpacking my gear. My Gitzo pan tilt head weighs ~3 pounds which nearly doubles my tripod weight.

  4. #24

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Jerold,

    Most of the problem that I ran into today applied to digital users as well as film users. The limited tripod components, etc. have nothing to do with film usage. The Novoflex base is apparently of principal interest to digital photographers making digital panoramas.

    What struck me is that B&H has this stuff and that other reputable NY camera stores seem to be cutting way back on inventory.
    Cheers!

  5. #25

    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by r.e. View Post
    It looks like several tripod manufacturers - Feisol, Gitzo, Manfrotto, Really Right Stuff, etc. - are making these. If I understand correctly, it amounts to replacing the flat plate on the top of the tripod with a socket in the shape of a bowl, into which one inserts a half sphere that can be moved around to make a level (or indeed up to 20 degree tilted) surface. It seems inspired by the standard setup for video tripods, which have a bowl at the top of the tripod legs, 75mm, 100mm or 150mm in diameter, into which a video fluid head is inserted and leveled.

    That takes care of leveling. By screwing a Novoflex Panorama Plate to the half sphere's flat top, one could add panning. This would make for a very low profile setup.
    I think you understand correctly and I compliment you on your ability to say it more succinctly than I was able to.

  6. #26

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    I received my Feisol leveling head today and installed it. It requires a 2.5 mm Allen wrench to swap out.

    Takes some getting used to. Definitely need levels on the camera. The clamp down mechanism is solid but not damped. All or nothing tension so you have to hold onto the camera to avoid flop.

    I think it is best for people who walk around with the camera attached to the baseboard. Removing it with the "Barber Method" results is the fairly large half-ball protruding from the base of the camera. Not a problem for me in the field but could be a packing problem with some cases. Attaching it was relatively easy with practice, not much different than attaching the camera to a regular pan tilt head. I don't like having two loose pieces, the locking handle and collar. Too easy to lose.

    It is quite solid. It locks solid too. The base plate on which the camera sits is smaller than the base plate of my Gitzo pan-tilt head so there is more potential for the bed of the camera to flex.

    The weight is 16 ounces. That compares to my Gitzo head at 44 ounces! That is a ~2 pounds saving right there which is significant in the field. So I think I will try it on my next trip.

  7. #27

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by jeroldharter View Post
    So I think I will try it on my next trip.
    I appreciate your observations on the Feisol. I would also be interested in your views once you have used it in the field.

    I'm rapidly coming around to Drew Wiley's view, but I'm going to go to B&H on Sunday when they re-open and have a look at various leveling heads and the Novoflex Panorama Plate. I also want to have a look at video tripods.

    I don't know whether Christopher Broadbent has seen this thread, but if so, and if he's inclined to comment, I'd like to know what he is using as a half sphere/plate for the 75mm bowl on his Vinten tripod. As far as I can tell from the Vinten catalogue, they only make full pan and tilt fluid heads, so presumably it is someone else's.
    Cheers!

  8. #28

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    I just weighed my tripod with the ball removed (attached to the base of my camera) and the handle/locking collar removed. It weighs a hair under 4 pounds. Amazing really. If I left the complete leveling base on the tripod, the weight would be just under 5 pounds. Still not bad.

    If only my film holders did not weigh 20 pounds...

  9. #29

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    I went to B&H today and had a look at levelling bases and dedicated pan plates.

    For the Gitzo 1325 tripod that I have, there appear to be two leveling base options:

    1. Gitzo 1521 levelling base,
    2. Gitzo 75mm or 100mm bowl adaptor plus Manfrotto 500 or 520 half ball adaptor.

    It turns out that Gitzo and Really Right Stuff, in addition to Novoflex, make dedicated pan plates.

    At the moment, my inclination is to use the tripod legs to level for awhile and see how it goes. A pan plate remains an interesting idea, not so much to make minute adjustments, but as a way to orient the camera rail in relation to the legs. Right now, the rail, when screwed down to the tripod crown, is almost directly in line with one of the legs. This is not ideal for close work. Still thinking about whether this is an issue as a practical matter.
    Cheers!

  10. #30

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    Re: Question for headless photographers

    Wouldn't the size of the camera bed make it awkward to access the controls of a pan head? I forget, is this 8x10?

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