View Full Version : head for wooden tripod and Tachihara

kev walker
3-Dec-1999, 05:56
I wish to thank everyone that responded to my recent question regarding wooden t ripods,especially the information about the Calumet online sale re.Berlebach tri pods;I bought the 7023 model at $70 a significant saving over the recom. retail price.This leads me to a next,related,question:which is the most suitable ball & socket head for this tripod,bearing in mind that I will mounting a hassy or a l ight weight Tachiria (the right spelling escapes me at present!) 5x4 camera.

Sergio Ortega
3-Dec-1999, 11:50
Kev, Ball heads are not very convenient for 4x5. A three-way pan/tilt head, wi th separate controls for each axis, would be a much better choice. You might wa nt to consider something like a Bogen 3047--it's very strong, well made and does not cost too much.

Carlos Co
3-Dec-1999, 13:39
The Bogen minigeared head is probably the best head under $200.

Mark DeMulder
3-Dec-1999, 13:42
Another good pan and tilt head is the Bogen 329. It is lighter than the 3047 and has a higher max load.

Larry Huppert
4-Dec-1999, 01:01
I also find pan/tilt heads MUCH easier to use with a view camera than a ball head.

Gitzo makes several "low profile" pan/tilt heads like the G1370 which are pretty nice. Many of the models are available in Magnesium which reduces the weight of the head by about 1/2 LB, but adds a little cost.

I haven't seen the new Bogen/Manfrotto 3410/329 firsthand, so don't know how they compare (the Manfrotto website has some info about this head; the Bogen website appears to be 1 to 2 years out of date!). I'm a fan of the Arca Swiss quick mount system (supported by many manufacturers - see the archieves for other notes which discuss this issue), and the non-quick release Gitzo heads can be upgraded to this system via 3rd party clamps from RRS or Kirk. All the past Bogen/Manfrotto quick release products I've seen use proprietary plates which can't be permanently attached to the tripod head. Unlike the Gitzo line, many of these heads aren't available in non- quick release versions. In my mind, this has been the general issue with upgrading a Bogen/Manfrotto head to the Arca Swiss standard. I don't think a head with two operative quick releases is a good idea.

In terms of specs, the Gitzo 1370 and the Manfrotto 3410 weigh about the same. The Gitzo is quite a bit "lower profile" than the Manfrotto (over 1.5 inches lower). The Gitzo is rated to hold 15.25 lbs, while the Manfrotto is speced at 17.6 lbs. B&H price (after rebates) - Manfrotto 3410/329=$68 / Gitzo 1370=$143.

I once tried the Manfrotto mini geared head in a store. Except for panoramic use, the design seemed very appealing. Bogen/Manfrotto "positions" this head for 35mm up to medium format use, and probably for good reason (although I know a number of folks who frequent this site use this head, and seem to like it). After mounting my view camera (an Arca Swiss monorail) on this head, I did note a small bit of wiggle in the joints. I was concerned that this wiggle might get worse over time. In spite of the allure of this head, I decided to pass. For what it's worth, I once spoke with the RRS folks about this head, and they also noted the wiggle, and advised me to pass on it. I take a fair number of shots with very long exposures (15 sec to 4 minutes), so my bias is towards ultra-sturdy platforms.

Robert L Jones
4-Dec-1999, 02:43
Kev, I'm using the Bogen minigeared head with a Linhof V. It is so much easier t o use than a ball head (no flopping about or having the hold the whole camera st eady for make a small adjustment). I feel it is worth the slight extra weight. R egards, Robert

andrea milano
4-Dec-1999, 05:54
I disagree about ball heads being inconvenient for 4x5, if you are talking monorails yes I agree, but when it comes down to field cameras, nothing beats the ball head: is quick and sufficiently precise on all terrein situation where the spirit level zeroing happens constantly. I f you operate in the studio the 3 way heads offer more confort and stability under extreme tilting of the camera conditions. I too thought of ball heads being not practical until I used one. I have a Berlenbach tripod too made for HAMA, it is my second one and this has a swiwel element in its body so, it actually doesn't need a head! However I complemented it with a manfrotto quick shoe for easy click-attachement of camera tripod. Have lots of fun! Andrea Milano

Larry Huppert
4-Dec-1999, 10:01
For view camera use, maybe the preference of tripod head style is a function of the type of levels your camera has? I could see where those using a camera with a bullseye type level might prefer a ball head. Those with 2 or more spirit levels would go for pan/tilt heads.

Andrea's statement, "If you operate in the studio the 3 way heads offer more comfort and stability under extreme tilting of the camera conditions" makes we wonder about the physics of these two different head designs. Under normal conditions, a good ball head will always give you better stability than a pan/tilt head (with the exception of the Arca Swiss B2 which has a unique design). With a ball head, the weight being supported is directly over what is supporting it. Pan/tilt heads have the loads displaced on these articulating cantilevered elements. With a ball head you only have to secure one joint; with a pan/tilt there are two joints involved. Now under the situation of extreme camera tilt, I'm not sure which design is actually more stable.

andrea milano
4-Dec-1999, 14:06
Dear Kev and dear Larry, The stability (I had in mind in mi comment was the one that the user will experience between positions using a view camera in the studio with a 3way head instead of a ballhead, my comment wasn't relative to the phisics of it all but simply about the fact that fine positioning a camera on a ballhead might prove tricky if at all possible under the circumstances which I described as extreme tilt . Ever tried to balance a 4x5 with lens ,compendium and binolupe on a ballhead while trying to level horizontal and vertical plane? If you ever did than you might make sense of my reference to the word "Stability" which i refered to in my contribution. The comment which Larry made on his last contribution was very well made, bullseye levels (many field cameras have them) are a lot more practical with ballheads. However I wouln't like to comment on inherent stability of the two systems, I am not a Physicist! My impression is that 3way heads are always sturdyer. I've never seen any ballhead even remotely up to the job of holding a 8x10 or larger camera but I've seen plenty 3 ways which can easily handle the job. It seems to me that if the thing was possible somebody would have done it. But again, I am not a phisicist and if I am wrong, be my guest, you are right!!! I wish you all lots of fun and a happy hannukkah. Andrea Milano

Glenn Kroeger
4-Dec-1999, 14:07
I've used both 3-way pan-tilt and ball heads and can't decide which I like better. Generally, the ball head is faster to frame your shot initally, but more finicky when you want to tweak the framing. Trying to tweak tilt without upsetting side-to-side level with a ball head can be frustrating, particularly with heavier cameras. In either case, get the best. Arca-Swiss ball heads. Linhoff makes a VERY solid and amazing light pan tilt head (I think it's a 3663 or something) that is wonderful and, of course, VERY expensive.

Larry Huppert
4-Dec-1999, 14:53
Andrea: Ball heads exist which can handle large loads. The Arca Swiss B1G (giant) is rated to hold loads up to 200 lbs. The regular B1 is rated to 90 lbs. Both are traditional ball head designs. I'd guess that some of the Foba and Linhof ball heads are also pretty good in this regard. I agree with your viewpoint that using a ball head in the studio would be pretty difficult.

Ellis Vener
4-Dec-1999, 14:56
Well ideally you want the Arca Swiss B2, which a double tilt + pan head that loo ks like a large monoball, but B2 heads aren't cheap. Before I got mine I used an Arca Swiss B1 monoball and by adjusting the friction control it was very eas y to level a wide variety of cameras in both directions. I was using an Arca Swiss F-Line (with lens, etc., probably this was about 8.5> 9.5 lbs. and later a much lighter Canham 45DLC.

John D de Vries
4-Dec-1999, 16:23
RE: Wooden tripods... The ultimate and sturdy head for Field use is probably the Ries head Have a look on ries.com

John D de Vries
4-Dec-1999, 16:28
Excuse...i was too fast The actual URL is: http://www.riestripod.com

Also Newsletter WFPA is on line : http://www.johndesq.com/visor

Yesterday there was some trouble getting there due to the Mars event....broadcsted live on Internet.

Natha Congdon
4-Dec-1999, 19:27
I've used an 11 lb 8 X 10 (Wisner) on an Arca Swiss B1 Ballhead, and never had any trouble whatsoever with stability. With leveling, the only trick is that you need a spirit level where you can see both vertical and horizontal orientation at the same time. Wisner is designed poorly for this, but my Linhof, which has a single circular spirit level for simultaneous horizontal/vertical, works perfectly and quickly with a ballhead. It's what I use by preference over a Bogen 3047 pan-tilt, which I also have and now never use.


andrea milano
5-Dec-1999, 06:42
Hallo everybody! I second John's advice to look at Ries (By the way among the best wooden tripods in the world!). This head is, in a way, a combination of the movements of a ballhead and a 3way head, and (Bob Solomon will love this!) looks very similar(not the same!) to the way that some Linhof heads work, certanly like the one I had on my master technika TL.

However the point is accademic though.

This whole discussion should be taking into account the limits like: avalaibility and cost of the materials and the type of work that you are supposed to accomplish. Some tripods perform better under certain circumstances, so do heads and anything else in the photographic world. There are no ultimate solutions because there are only relative problems. I do not believe in the perfect this, that or the other, exist.

Given a certain budget and describing the operation field, brings you, in general, to a number of solution being those specialized or multipurpose ones. I have a number of tripods and heads. This is the result of many lucky finds (second hand) and years of trials and too many errors. There is always room for improvement though and that's why I thank you all for your expert advice and nice contributions.