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Thread: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

  1. #1

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    Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    I'm wondering about the availability of pan-tilt heads that can support heavy cameras. (Heads without side-to-side tilt capability.) I have a Toyo G 8x10 that weighs just under 20lbs. In addition, I have a Wisner 8x20 conversion for the 8x10 G that probably brings the total camera weight up to about 30 or 35 lbs. Is there a pan-tilt head available (used) that can support these kinds of weights? Note that there's enough side-to-side tilt built into the rail/base of a Toyo 8x10 mechanism, that I don't really need that degree of freedom built into a tripod head as well.

    The first pan-tilt head that comes to mind is the Sinar. If it can hold a Sinar 8x10 P series camera, I imagine it can hold an 8x10 G that doesn't weigh any more than an 8x10 P. But, can it support 30 to 35lbs?

    I have a Gitzo, low-profile PL5 head on order that's taking for ever to arrive by USPS standard mail. That's an excellent head. But, it's possible that a pan-tilt head (no side-to-side tilt) might be able to better support the weight of these heavy cameras.

    There are heavier cameras than even these in use. What would you recommend?

  2. #2
    Unwitting Thread Killer Ari's Avatar
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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    A video head might be worth looking into; there are too many listed on B&H's website, but one popped up quickly: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc..._2_0_head.html

  3. #3

    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    The first thing that comes to mind is a Ries head:

    http://69.195.124.213/~riestrip/?page_id=103

    Good sized platform and low profile.

    But the big Gitzo is a great head too. It may work well enough for your purpose.

    For any monorail camera probably the best way to stiffen things up is add a second rail clamp with a length of aluminum flat stock between the clamps, then the flat stock attaches to the tripod head. Sinar makes an adapter like this, but one would be easy to make for any camera. It adds some weight, but I suspect you have quit worrying about weight with your setup.

    Len

  4. #4

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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    Any really good cine or video head easily will. They only have front to back tilt and pan. A Linhof Profi 3 Pan Head will also but it adds a great big handle to level 15 left to right as well.

  5. #5

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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    The Reis looks like a capable choice. A bit spendy, but perhaps available used at some point. If it can handle a 60lbs camera, it should work fine. For the 8x20, I'm planning on using an old Linhof tripod my folks gave me with about a 5" platform, and about a 2", hand cranked, rack & pinion, machined center column. As versatile as it is, and as much as I like using it, I don't think my Monfratto 475 legs are quite up to the task. But, the Linhof will handle the 8x20 with ease.

    I'll give the PL5 a try. If that doesn't work, the Reis would work. It's good to know there's a satisfactory option available.

    There's enough room on either the PL5 or the Reis head to mount both Toyo rail clamps that I have. I was going to mount them onto a piece of poplar and mount that onto the head platform. But, I may need the Sinar, or get one fashioned by a local metal artist.

    The video heads look very capable. Checking them out at BH PhotoVideo, they cost $1000's or more. The less expensive ones appear to be limited on the load that they can handle.

  6. #6

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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    Sounds like you have the big Linhof tripod that I have. There is a tilt (no side tilt) and pan head that was made for it that would easily support your set up. I have it holding up my 8x10 Linhof Color Kardan (a beast). here is a photo of the head. With the right top on the center post it has a very secure clamping arrangement.

  7. #7
    William Whitaker's Avatar
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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    I use a Ries Photoplane head (old and a precursor to the A200) for both 12x20 and 14x17 cameras. It works very well for those cameras. My low-profile Gitzo flexes excessively under that same load and is not really usable.

    The Linhof Kardan head already mentioned is very substantial but really needs to be on a Linhof tripod to be useful. Nice rig, but it'll get into some money.

  8. #8
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by brucetaylor View Post
    Sounds like you have the big Linhof tripod that I have. There is a tilt (no side tilt) and pan head that was made for it that would easily support your set up. I have it holding up my 8x10 Linhof Color Kardan (a beast). here is a photo of the head. With the right top on the center post it has a very secure clamping arrangement.
    I have the same thing Bruce has, and B&H sells the part you need to convert one of those tripods for use with 'normal' mountings. Here at B&H.

    The Linhof is rated at 45 lbs.
    sin eater

  9. #9

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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    Re using a video head - they're great, but what you pay for is very smooth fluid damped pan and tilt - since you pan/tilt while "taping" they have to be smoooooth. And the heads also have counterbalance springs so when you tilt a heavy video camera up or (mostly) down it doesn't take off on its own. All (except maybe the counterbalance) totally unnecessary for a still camera. The way the video heads are leveled is that most tripods have a 100mm (or 75mm) half bowl and there is a corresponding half ball with a clamp that fits into it and can be leveled and clamped in place. I have a relatively inexpensive set of video legs that I use for my bigger still camera and they're really solid because they're also designed not to twist when panning.

    $1k or more for a head is pretty inexpensive by pro video standards. An O'Connor or Vinten head for a heavy (up to 120 pounds) camera goes for something on the order of $20k. And $40k or more for a lens isn't unheard of.

    Makes LF seem downright economical!

  10. #10
    Richard Johnson
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    Re: Pan-Tilt (no Side to Side Tilt) Heads to Support Heavy Cameras?

    No head but maybe a Gitzo leveling base.... and twin rail clamps onto a longer Sinar plate (or home-brew Aluminum plate).

    The Gitzo and Sinar heads are going to be too wimpy. Try this: http://www.johnbirchphotography.com/...evelling-base/

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