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Thread: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

  1. #21
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    I have a 2.5 lb 4x5 (weight w/ lens). I tried a light carbon fiber pod, but the camera moved all over the place with the slightest pressure, movement of the darkcloth, etc. I prefer to use an old Gitzo Reporter -- twice the weight of the camera/lens, not including the head.

    Seems like most large tripod heads come with both size screws (often double-ended), with most tripods having the 3/8" screw to connect the head to the pod.

    Video heads are not designed to tilt side-to-side, so if you set the pod up level, that should be no problem. I used one on a 4x5 that had a revolving back -- I would get it close to level with the tripod and then level the scene by rotating the back.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

  2. #22

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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    I have a Chamonix 45N-2 which is 1550 grams--3.4 lb. I have a small carbon fiber tripod that weighs 2+ lb. The tripod has a hook at the bottom of the center shaft. I have a mesh bag and I put rocks in it and put it on the hook. Rocks are usually plentiful outdoors. Indoors, not so, but also, breezes, not so.

    Yes, I have to be very careful inserting film holders. Yes, I have messed up that step, and had to go under the cloth to reposition the camera--but focus itself is usually still okay. Yes, I have to be careful about breezes and the vibrations they can cause.

    But rocks and a firm calm hand on the tripod head produce sharp shots for me.

    I use this setup because I am an elder photographer. I have observed that elders often get away with shortcuts in much of life. That's my excuse. And my full kit in a Pelican clone is 18 lb, and for this elder, that is enough! 50 yards to the shoot is enough! I keep switching hands.

    True Confessions
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    Peter Collins

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  3. #23

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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    The Luland LD-115P Head seems to have a top I have been imagining for years. You can even get at the knob under a 8x10 bed and the knob doesn't interfere with the camera bed.
    Bill
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

  4. #24
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    Yeah, the Luland heads look terrific.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  5. #25

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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    Another Chinese presumable knock-off that's worth a look is the Benro GD3WH Precision Geared Head. Looks an awful lot like a Manfrotto 410... Somehow Benro managed to get the weight down a bit. A big plus is it's not using those Manfrotto 410PL QR plates.

  6. #26
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    Yeah, I dislike Manfrotto quick releases. I replaced the clamp on my 410 with one from Hejnar. It allows direct use of standard Arca plates.
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer, Nothing you don't already know

  7. #27
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    Tapping the camera shouldn't induce any vibration, especially the kind that takes awhile to settle down. Otherwise, you've got a system which is just too lightly built to be realistic for your format. And aaronate ... yes, a decent ss bolt should take a fair amount of torque without snapping. But it's a new era, that of "outsourcing", and all kinds of bolts nowadays break even with a simple thumb turn. And I've seen alleged stainless steel tarnish within half an hour due to simple ketchup or lemon juice acidity. So I don't take anything for granted, but check out every bit of hardware that comes with gear nowadays, and if necessary replace the screws and bolts etc with trustworthy alloy. You're a former mechanic, and I'm someone who not only once sold to mechanics, but in another role afterwards worked for a company that sold millions of dollars worth of stainless fasteners to various trades every year. You gotta be darn specific these days or you get bait and switch junk. For most of us, a supplier like McMaster is excellent because they give real specs in their web catalog, with distinct explanations of the various alloys. Go to a hardware store, and you take your chances; most offer nothing but junk, if they offer true stainless at all, and the people that work in those places rarely know the facts, or even care.

  8. #28

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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Tapping the camera shouldn't induce any vibration, especially the kind that takes awhile to settle down. Otherwise, you've got a system which is just too lightly built to be realistic for your format. And aaronate ... yes, a decent ss bolt should take a fair amount of torque without snapping. But it's a new era, that of "outsourcing", and all kinds of bolts nowadays break even with a simple thumb turn. And I've seen alleged stainless steel tarnish within half an hour due to simple ketchup or lemon juice acidity. So I don't take anything for granted, but check out every bit of hardware that comes with gear nowadays, and if necessary replace the screws and bolts etc with trustworthy alloy. You're a former mechanic, and I'm someone who not only once sold to mechanics, but in another role afterwards worked for a company that sold millions of dollars worth of stainless fasteners to various trades every year. You gotta be darn specific these days or you get bait and switch junk. For most of us, a supplier like McMaster is excellent because they give real specs in their web catalog, with distinct explanations of the various alloys. Go to a hardware store, and you take your chances; most offer nothing but junk, if they offer true stainless at all, and the people that work in those places rarely know the facts, or even care.
    This is where I buy fasteners. As you say, you don't know what you get most hardware places. These guys started as a family owned hardware store that supplied a lot of hardware to saltwater boaters. They have everything, and you can buy any quantity you want.

    https://www.boltdepot.com

  9. #29

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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    Two comments:

    There seems to be a lot of confidence that the problem is the mounting platform. I disagree. I think the most likely spot for problems is the thinnest spot in the system the farthest from the weight. On most systems this would be either around the pivots of the head or the top of the elevating post, if there is one. The mounting plate is larger than either of these spots, the camera has less leverage on the system there, and the mounting of even a small plate is usually quite secure and short in height, leading to more stability than elsewhere.

    Second, I recently discovered that the stiffness of my system was immediately revealed shooting movies with my digital camera and a 200 mm lens. It's a good test because you can see in live view how bad the situation really is. Same head and plate on a different tripod resulted in radically different results. People here say wood is good and in this case the wood tripod did win by a long shot. So maybe we can add flexing in the legs as a big factor, too.
    Thanks, but I'd rather just watch:
    Large format: http://flickr.com/michaeldarnton
    Mostly 35mm: http://flickr.com/mdarnton
    You want digital, color, etc?: http://www.flickr.com/photos/stradofear

  10. #30

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    Re: Light Tripods: The Weak Link?

    I use an Otto tripod along with either an Otto 2 way head, or a Baco head. On each of these is mounted a Horseman quick mount. Tht Horseman is approximately 3.5" square and very strong. Each of my cameras from 4x5 to 7x17 is mounted to a Horseman plate. This is the strongest quick mount I have ever encountered other than those for movies.

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