View Full Version : mounting mammoth cameras on to tripods

25-Dec-2003, 15:03
Working with a 14x17 view camera, antique, 36" bed, and very difficult to almost impossible to attach to a tripod. This is a precarious and difficult process with a high probability of dropping the camera (disastrous results).

I am thinking of eliminating the tripod and making up a tilting platform the size of the camera, cover it with felt and just slide the camera on to the platform. The tilting platform would be placed onto a portable table.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

clay harmon
25-Dec-2003, 16:26
Cine 60 quick release heads are made for heavy TV and movie cameras. They work very well with large cameras. I use one on my 12x20 and it works wonders.

The cheapest solution is to tilt the head to 90 degrees, and screw the tripod screw into the camera while it is folded up and supported with your free hand. Screw it in tight and then tilt the head back to horizontal before you open up the camera. It is amazing how much easier it is to direct that blasted little screw into the camera when you can actually see the screw and the target hole from the side.

25-Dec-2003, 16:59
If you don't mind the size, you could just stick a giant plate on the top of the tripod head. Since you're thinking about a portable table, I'd think this wouldn't be too bad. My idea is a piece of metal or wood (strong). Attach one side of the wood to the tripod/head. On the other side, put a couple of clamps on it. So, when setting up, attach the board to the tripod first. Then, simply place the camera on the board and clamp it down.

Just a suggestion, the first thing that comes to mind.

jerry brodkey
25-Dec-2003, 17:28
I mount a 30 lb 11X14 on a majestic tripod. (Majestic tripods go very cheaply on eBay and will hold 30-40 lbs.) I changed the plate on the head to a 6X7 plate and coated the metal with felt that has a sticky side that you can get in a hardware store. I gave up on quick releases because they don't really hold the camera steady enough. To mount the camera I put the plate parallel to the ground and place the camera over the vertical screw by resting one side of the camera against the felt covered head and moving the camera until the screw falls into the hole. This is made easier by the fact that the screw in a majestic head is spring loaded so that it will get pushed down if it is not right in the screw hole and will pop up into the hole when it is in the correct position. Actually the plate itself has a slot so that all one has to do is place the screw hole over the slot and move the screw until it engages the hole. All this is alot simpler than it sounds...


Carl Weese
25-Dec-2003, 18:20
Reis tripod heads also have a spring-loaded mounting screw. This makes all the difference mounting a heavy camera. I have no trouble with my F&S 12x20 on the Reis.---Carl

John Kasaian
25-Dec-2003, 20:54
I recommend the Ries as well. It fits my 12x20 F&S just fine.

Michael Legan
25-Dec-2003, 23:16
Find an old Ries Tripod with the Photoplane head. The tripod legs will hold a huge amount of weight and the head has a large square platform to rest the camera upon while you secure it. Mine easily accomodates my 35lb. 16x20.

jerry brodkey
26-Dec-2003, 05:07
One nice feature of the Majestic as compared to the Ries is the center column that can be cranked up. Thus one can put the camera on the tripod at waist level and then easily crank it up to a comfortable viewing level. The Ries is also heavier and with head can run almost 20 pounds. Also on the used market, the Majestic is usually less than half the price of a Ries. The only downside to the Majestic is that on very uneven terrain one can't adjust the legs for individual lengths....

Tracy Storer
26-Dec-2003, 09:05
Ries tripods are the way to go. I occasionally work with the field version of the 20x24, (often alone) and had to come up with ways of attaching it to the tripod. 1. The first thing I came up woth was to mount the (Ries) head to the bottom of the folded camera, then it was fairly easy to match the 6" circles of the head and legs. 2. My current technique (which may rely on the tripod dolly maintaining leg positions, I haven't tried it without) is to set up the tripod on the dolly then tip it over to attach to the folded camera standing up like a suitcase. then the whole thing tilts up to vertical like a barnraising. I hope that all makes sense...the coffee hasn't fully worked its' magic yet today. Oh and HI Krieg, glad to hear you're getting going with the camera, keep us posted on progress, Tracy

Robert A. Zeichner
26-Dec-2003, 10:01
I machined an adapter (essentially a cylindrical thing that looks like a top hat with 3/8"-16 threaded hole on the broad end) that I screw onto my Linhof twin-leg tripod. This allows me to mount my Majestic head on a relatively lightweight, but sturdy set of legs. I've only ever mounted my 8x10 Deardorff on it, but with the greater area of the 6"x7" platform of the Majestic under it, it gives me the impression that it would support an even greater load with no problem.

David R Munson
26-Dec-2003, 11:25
While I honestly haven't put anything huge on mine, here's another vote for a Ries tripod/head. I have an old A-series set of legs and head, and I swear the thing just laughs at my 8x10. I can sit on it and it barely even flexes (and have done so several times to prove the point). If it can hold 150+ lbs of wobbly flesh, it should be fine with any camera. And the spring-loaded mounting screw does make all the difference in the world.

26-Dec-2003, 11:37
While everybody's bragging, for my 8x10 I use a Cullmann CT200. It is about 7' high with full extension (center column). My 810N at full bellows is fine with the height, it's solid. Without the column up it's about 4'. And will hold 154 lbs according to Cullmann. I weigh 144 and to demonstrate this, I loop some rope over the top and stand in the loop.

It's got my vote for ULF, and it's cheaper than the Majestic or Reis.

Mike Troxell
26-Dec-2003, 16:06
"I gave up on quick releases because they don't really hold the camera..."

I've been using a Bogen 3047 head with the quick release plate for years with my 4x5. I just got a 8x10 and was wandering if anyone is using the 3047 with 8x10? Is it steady enough? I tried it earlier today and it seemed alright but I was indoors and there really wasn't much stress on the camera.

Donald Miller
26-Dec-2003, 16:31
Mike, I used a 3047 with my Deardorff V8 with no problems. I have since switched to a Majestic head (with the advent of using 12X20)and use it for both 8X10 and 12X20. I still use a 3047 for my 4X5.

jerry brodkey
26-Dec-2003, 17:10
Mike, I use the Bogen 3273 on a 5X7 and a Phillips 8X10. But when using it on an 11X14 camera weighing 30 pounds not counting lens and film holder I felt that it just wasn't as rigid as I would like. I use lighter tripods with these lighter cameras, using the Majestic with its huge plate would be overkill.

Jay DeFehr
28-Dec-2003, 15:50
I'm building a mammoth camera and intended to build a tripod for it like one I saw on a wet plate photographer's site (now I'm building a studio stand instead). It was shaped like a T with a leg at each end. It provides a large area for the camera to rest on, and with a pivot at the front, and an arc at the rear, could provide for some pan/swing movement.