View Full Version : Tripod/camera matter

16-May-2005, 04:44
Greetings. Is there a set rule that says what kind of tripod (and tripod head) is suitable for a certain camera format? Tripod weight (& tripod head size) to camera weight configuration, perhaps? Are manufacturers recommendation good indication? Thanks!

John Cook
16-May-2005, 05:41
The manufacturer's statement on how much weight a tripod and head will support is certainly a good place to begin.

But I find that while a tripod will not collapse under that maximum weight, it can become whippy like a fishing pole. Carbon fiber I have seen tends to be worse (flexible) in that regard than metal.

Hikers seem to prefer the lightest tripod possible. And I can understand. But light tripods are more prone to blowing over in the wind.

My general advice would be to get the largest, heaviest tripod and head that you can manage to move around. It will anchor your expensive rig with the most security.

No such thing as too big in a pickup truck or a tripod. ;0)

Will Strain
16-May-2005, 06:22
I agree with John. Just because it can support the camera, doesn't mean it does so well.

My dad's (also an LF photographer) advice to me when I was 12 or so... was to carry the heaviest/sturdiest tripod you can. And after having one camera take flight in a heavy gust of wind... I have started to do so.

Calamity Jane
16-May-2005, 06:54
I have used various tripods for various formats (35, MF, LF) and was never happy with any of the commecial tripods. Anything "lighter" than a surveyor's tripod just doesn't seem to have the rigidity, so I build my own variation on a surveyor's tripod and find it remarkedly stable. It lacks the "crank-up head" of a commercial unit but it is very "dead" and vibrations die out quickly.


The cost of the tripod was under $100 and, made from fir, it isn't terribly heavy.

Jim Rhoades
16-May-2005, 08:08
That manufacturer's rating is under perfect conditions. Indoors, cement floor, infinity focus, normal lens and no dump trucks driving by either. Do you ever shoot outdoors in the wind, rain or on mud or sand? How about close-up's with lots of bellows extension? Or do you use or favor long lenses?

Mount that 4x5 with a 300mm lens on a CF tripod and as you wait for the wind to die down you can watch the camera blow away. If you think that's never going to happen, don't ask here.

Ted Harris
16-May-2005, 08:21
Nor should you have to spend a fortune for a heavy, solid tripod. The older larger tripods seem to come up in the used market all the time at good prices. Look for Davis and Sanford and Majestic as two solid ireliabel brands. Finally, you don't need pretty. I have a couple of tripods that are pushing 50 years old and they look it ...... doesn not affect their functionality at all.

Mark Sawyer
16-May-2005, 09:19
Most will know this already, but I'll throw it in: avoid using the center column if at all possible. Having it up greatly increases the chance of tripod wobble. I like low-profile heads for the same reason. Other than that, like everybody says, bigger is better. Wooden tripods (Ries, Berlebach) are nice; sturdy and light.

Emrehan Zeybekoglu
16-May-2005, 14:33
Broadly speaking, it is a good idea to use the heaviest tripod you can carry, and it should probably be no lighter than the camera it will support. My Ries does a tremendous job, it's rock solid. As suggested above, there are alternatives such as Berlebach.

16-May-2005, 20:46
Hi... Thanks! Lots of info offered. Really helpful. Appreciate the response.