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Thread: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

  1. #1

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    Oct 2018
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    Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    Hi,

    I am looking to replace an old Manfrotto aluminium tripod (5.5 lbs) with a lightweight one. Just that the combination with the old style Arca Swiss ballhead (1.9 lbs) while very steady is becoming too much to carry and hindering me getting out. I am looking at the Gitzo 1545T. At 2.3 pounds and 22 pounds weight capacity will it be ok for a 4x5 / 8x10 usage if the total weight of camera plus lens is less than 10 pounds. Longest lens used will be 450mm/19in.

    It would be wonderful if you could make alternative suggestions as well if you think getting the 1545T for LF work is being too optimistic.

    Shan

  2. #2

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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    My own "lightweight" CF tripod is a Gitzo 2-series for my Canham DLC 4x5, so the 1-series may be a bit less stable than you want as an "only" tripod. But my travel tripod is an FLM Traveler, which is probably similar to a 1-series, and I've been very happy with it, albeit I've never tried it in heavy winds, or with anything heavier than my Canham. I suggest you send a PM to "Ari" (Ari Tapiero) who is the North American importer of FLM tripods; Ari has always been exceptionally responsive to tripod questions.

  3. #3

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    Jul 2007
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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    Berlebach

  4. #4

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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    Really Right Mark 2 CF tripod; expensive, but well made and last legs you may ever buy.
    ... JMOwens (Mt. Pleasant, Wisc. USA)

    "If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn't seem so wonderful at all." ...Michelangelo

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2012
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    7

    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    I’ve been happy with my Gitzo 1542T + Arca P0 with my 4x5 cameras (was a Tachihara and now a Linhof Tech V) but it definitely isn’t enough for 8x10. You have to factor in the weight of the film holders and the leverage a dark cloth will have over the head/legs. I use a 3 series Gitzo for my 8x10 instead, no complaints there. I suppose you could get away with a super light 8x10 like an Intrepid though.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2017
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    58

    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    By the time you add a head to the Gitzo your saving about 3lbs, hardly enough to make any real difference. Your wallet will be about a grand lighter too, once you've added a head.
    Probably better to examine the rest of your outfit or maybe a little weight training. Weight is stability, particularly in adverse conditions.

  7. #7

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    Jul 2016
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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by sanchak View Post
    a lightweight one.
    With light tripods... from time to time place a toy laser pointer in the front standard, it will tell you the vibration, the wind effect and the time you have to wait since you insert the holder until vibration stops

  8. #8

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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    My 2 cents: you're unlikely to find a one-size-fits-all solution that works equally well for 4x5 and 8x10. The most stable option is likely a tripod that doesn't have a centre column, with the camera mounted directly to the tripod (so no head). However, that's not very flexible. A geared head is generally more precise and stable than a ball head, but also much heavier. Some people will tell you a ball head can't possibly work, but others make them work.

    I haul around a Toyo D45M, which is a rail camera. My longest lens is 300mm (not telephoto) so at infinity it's a relatively long setup.

    I have a Manfrotto 410 geared head which works well but is so heavy. I'm happy with my Acratech GP-SS head mounted in the upside down position on a Feisol CT-3441T carbon fibre tripod. The tripod has a centre column, which works very well for my digital setup, but is not great with my 4x5. The problem isn't that it makes it less stable. Instead, the camera puts so much torque on it that it doesn't stay locked. It's a minor frustration that doesn't get in the way often. This makes for a very light setup, which is important because my camera bag minus the tripod weighs 25 lbs and carrying that around for long distances is not easy for me anymore.

  9. #9

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    Aug 2016
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    Scottsdale, AZ
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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    Making a stable, rigid, well-damped tripod is a tough enough task, but also making it compact, lightweight, and affordable complicates matters considerably.

    Although this site has only begun to scratch the surface with its review coverage, there are a lot of useful insights about tripod design and manufacturing to be gathered here: https://thecentercolumn.com/ ... check it out!

  10. #10
    Recovering Leica Addict seezee's Avatar
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    Re: Lightweight Tripod for Large Format Recommendations

    Quote Originally Posted by lcpr View Post
    I’ve been happy with my Gitzo 1542T + Arca P0 with my 4x5 cameras (was a Tachihara and now a Linhof Tech V) but it definitely isn’t enough for 8x10. You have to factor in the weight of the film holders and the leverage a dark cloth will have over the head/legs. I use a 3 series Gitzo for my 8x10 instead, no complaints there. I suppose you could get away with a super light 8x10 like an Intrepid though.
    I carried my Reis J100 with a Manfrotto 438 leveling base, Manfrotto 410 geared head, & Hejnar Photo extended plate with F63 Arca-type clamp thru the Wichita Mountains for an entire day. About 12 lbs / 5.5 kg. Not fun, and overkill for 45.

    I have the identical Gitzo/Arca combo as you and the next time I go shooting in the wilderness I'll be carrying them instead. Unless it's very windy.
    "Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig."

    seezee at Mercury Photo Bureau
    seezee on Flickr
    seezee's day-job at Messenger Web Design

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