View Full Version : tripod

26-Sep-2005, 18:25
Hi. Well, I went and done it: just bought a hideously enormous Calumet C1 8x10. Guess my wimpy
manfrotto 3042 and 3011 legs won't be sturdy enough. Anybody familiar with the Berlebach (Germany) ash wood Tripods?
I found one locally at a good price. There web site idicates the particular model (3042) has a "maximum stress" of 10 kg/22 lbs. The camera weighs (per seller) 17 lbs. I am planning on ordering a 300 f5.6 Fujinon, weighing in at 2.5 lbs, or so I have been told. The camera with lens will weigh approx 19.5 lbs.....I guess with a film holder, I'll be right at 22 lbs. Am I pushing it? Are tripods generally rated conservatively? I am completely new to this, and don't want to risk my camera falling over!

Any advice appreciated.


David A. Goldfarb
26-Sep-2005, 19:28
I don't know about the particular Berlebach tripod you're looking at, but I would say that tripods are not rated conservatively in general. Some of them seem to be rated for how much weight they can hold without collapsing, rather than how much weight they can hold steady, accounting for the leverage of a long camera rail with an 8x10" back at one end and perhaps a bellows vibrating in the wind.

Also pay attention to the head, which is often more of a weak point than the legs.

The good news--for an 8x10" camera of around 20 lbs., you might think about a Majestic head. These are often fairly cheap used, and they are very solid. I can point my 8x10" Sinar P straight down on my Majestic head for copy work, and it doesn't budge. If you find a Majestic head with a post mount and you end up with a legset that has a 3/8" stud, you can buy an adapter inexpensively.

Mark Sawyer
26-Sep-2005, 19:36
Percy- I have a Berlebach (but seldom use it as I also have a Reis and Bogen 3021; I can't turn down a nice tripod under $50...) I think it would hold up fine under the weight of a C-1. Most tripods are rated very conservatively, and are in more danger of wobbling a little than collapsing if overloaded. I doubt you even need to worry about the wobble. A metal camera on a wooden tripod may look a little strange, though...

26-Sep-2005, 20:32
So far we've read that tripods are overrated and underrated. I guess I'll take the middle road and say they are unrated.

Anywho, the Burlebach that I have (aw, am I gonna have to get off my butt and look?) Okay, did that and there's no model number. I put a 29 pound camera on it, legs fully extended (not the center post) and it was steady as a rock - in fact, the legs were bent such that it was at the point of exploding. Or not. Not it was. Vibration free, nailed to the earth. I use it that way when I'm lazy.

Point: You really can overload some tripods.

Now don't get heavy on me or I'll have to show you the massive 'pod that actually scares people.

David Roossien
26-Sep-2005, 20:54
I use the Berlebach 3032 with an Arca Discovery 4x5 monorail. Weight isn't an issue for me and I don't think it would be a problem up to its 26.5 lbs rating. I use it fully extended and with legs spread--very sturdy. Easy to use. Relatively lightweight for its capacity. It goes very low to the ground--4". Good tripod for the price, about $200.


Of course, buy a bigger tripod if you can afford it. At 22 lbs I'd want an even larger tripod than the 3032.

26-Sep-2005, 21:36
I was using a Gitzo 410 with an Arca ballhead. It worked OK, but not the best in the woods. Then I got an older wooden surveyor's tripod, and mounted the Arca ballhead. Now I can sink those legs deep in the ground, and it's the most sturdy tripod I've ever used. I'm convinced it could hold 50 pounds or more.

Ben Calwell
27-Sep-2005, 06:26

I take my hat off to you for being willing to shoot with the battleship otherwise known as the C-1. I had one, but the weight, for field use, just got me down. As a man on the wrong side of 50, I found the C-1 to be a real pain to use. I used it with a Bogen 3050, with a 3047 head, which I found to be too small. The Majestic head is good advice with that camera.

27-Sep-2005, 06:39
I do have a Berlebach, but I don't remember the model number either (Report 3032? 3082? 3042?, two section, no center post, integral ball head).

I think its great. The legs are rock solid with a big ole B&J Commercial View 8x10 and a Symmar S 300/5.6 on it. The integral head, on the other hand, tends to be a little loose unless I really tighten it down. Perhaps tha'ts normal, though, as this is the largest, heaviest camera I own (and likely ever will).

I wouldn't hestitate to recommend a Berlebach for anyone who wanted a classy looking tripod (wood!), with excellent capacity especially compared to its price and weight. Its not exactly small, though...

27-Sep-2005, 06:52
Eric is on the point - surveyors' tripods are super sturdy. Zone VI had the temerity to actually rebrand one for their large tripod. They substituted a flat top for the typical surveyors mount and called it photographic. It weighs about 17 pounds. Now I am curious about the modern versions made of composites; they could solve a lot of support problems.

Ed Richards
27-Sep-2005, 07:14
Time to check out that famous photo store - Home Depot. I have seen modern surveyor's tipods made of some sort of high tech plastic that look like they could support me - and I am more like a 1950s TV camera.:-) Spiked legs that could probably be driven into concrete as well. Height is usually the issue with these, but with an 8x10 and a big head, that might not matter.

27-Sep-2005, 09:20
How far do you extend your bellows? How far away from level do you tilt the head? Excesses in these areas are what strain a tripod, combined with the C-1's weight.

Many disagree with me, but I think a 3-way head rather than a ball is more and more important as the weight of the camera goes up.

tor kviljo
28-Sep-2005, 01:27
surveyors tripod with gitzo 1570 low-profile 3-way head will help you out better than the slimmer Berlebach, & cost will not kill you ($$ 60 for a new surveyors tripod in US, & sub $$ 100 for an used 1570...) . For the ultimate in stability: same tripod but with Linhof's "Neigkopf" 2-way head. This is Linhof's solution for absurdly heavy LF equipment - still not beaten. Impossibly for the camera to tilt away in any direction using this head. The Linhof Neigkopf's and the equivalent from Burke & James (I think) were typically supplied for 8x10 studio-cameras, can be found inexpensive on (german) ebay.

Lars Åke Vinberg
28-Sep-2005, 03:01
The problem you run into with telescopic-style leg is lack of torsional stability in the horizontal plane. So if you slap a 600mm lens on your 8x10 it will not be stable even with the biggest Gitzo. I have tried, I have a G1548 which is great but not with the 810G and a 600.

The fork-style legs of surveyor's tripods (and Sachtler plus many wooden tripods) solve this problem to some degree. This design adds weight which is good for stability and bad for your back.

The alternative (which is what I do now) is to carry an extra tripod to stabilize the front. The second tripod does not have to be very stable - all it needs to do is prevent oscillations by providing an independent support point. Actually any cheapo consumer tripod will probably do as long as it is tall enough. A geared center column is a convenience as it allows for fine adjustments. Just don't extend it more than necessary. I think the solution of carrying two tripods will actually save you weight, as your primary tripod can be less rigid. In addition, two tripods means you get good torsional rigidity in the vertical plane as well.

2-Oct-2005, 09:31
Thanks for the replies, gentlepeople. I bought a Berlebach. Pretty. Wood and metal. Brand new, it cost a mere $99. Camera was very wobbly , even with legs extended to widest angle. I returned it the very next day.

Ended up with an old, ridiculously stable Majestic, in rough, but extremely functional condition.
Cost: $75. Camera (actually an Orbit) with titanic 300mm f5.6 Fujinon W is far more stable than on the girlie-pod I returned.

I might purchase the Berlebach again to use with Hasselblads.