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Thread: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

  1. #1
    Between here and there
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    Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    I am thinking of getting a tripod for the Norma 4x5/5x7, using the pan/tilt head, with a 180 Symmar S. I have been using the 5x7 previously on a SLIK 700 DX, but that one is going to be used for "the rest" of the camera horde.

    The tripod is for outdoors mostly, maximum a kilometer walking in light terrain on nice days. I am thinking it won't be any frog-eye views from this combo, so it needs to go from about 75 cm up to 155-160 cm. I'd rather not use the column to get to that height.

    I had two quite different tripod options in mind: a wooden Berlebach (new) or a Linhof Twinshank (used). The Berlebach options are so plentiful, it is hard to navigate.The 302 could work, possibly, although a bit on the short side. While the Linhof options are much more limited, I am unsure whether the dampened column is anything to bring outside (most of the used ones seems to be the P version)?

    Just needed to get it out there - what is your ideas?
    "Be still and allow the mud to settle."

  2. #2

    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    Quote Originally Posted by Jimi View Post
    I am thinking it won't be any frog-eye views from this combo,
    Ah, but if you got the Franz Bagyi edition, "frog-level" would be a piece of cake, even if you had to hunker a bit on your conventional shots...
    https://www.berlebach.de/?bereich=de...prache=english

  3. #3

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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    I once had a Berlebach tripod. It was great. I only sold it because I bought a Ries. I like the leg locks on the Ries. I've never owned a Linhof tripod.

    Anyway, I once contacted the Berlebach people in Germany. They were just as nice and helpful as the Ries people are here in the United States. It's always nice to have great customer service!

  4. #4
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    Because the rail can be balanced anywhere along its length, it's relatively easy to stabilize a Norma. I happen to use my lighter wooden Ries tripod for the Norma, but the advantge of wood in general is how well it dampens vibration, is easy to handle in freezing temps, and with spike feet, is quite secure from slipping. Avoid rising center columns like the plague, and go for reasonably long legs instead.

  5. #5

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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    I haven't used either but I've been searching reviews about wood tripods... I saw one fairly critical review of the Berlebach, most of which seemed like personal preferences, but the reviewer said the legs would flop closed when he lifted the tripod up. If you move your tripod around trying to find the perfect position, that could be annoying. On the other hand with the Linhof, the braces from the legs to the center column don't appear to be adjustable, which would require all legs to be equally spread apart from the center column.

    I just bought a used Ries which was poorly described at what will be a good price if nothing is wrong with the legs. I'm hoping nothing was hidden by the poor description. The Ries tri-lock system would avoid the "annoyances" with leg positions of either the Linhof or the Berlebach.

    I mostly agree with Drew's advice to avoid a rising century column however some of the Linhof tripods have very heavy steel center columns which if clamped down seem stable but the weight is too much for me to carry it very far ... so my experience is limited.

  6. #6

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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Keller View Post
    I haven't used either but I've been searching reviews about wood tripods... I saw one fairly critical review of the Berlebach, most of which seemed like personal preferences, but the reviewer said the legs would flop closed when he lifted the tripod up. If you move your tripod around trying to find the perfect position, that could be annoying. On the other hand with the Linhof, the braces from the legs to the center column don't appear to be adjustable, which would require all legs to be equally spread apart from the center column.

    I just bought a used Ries which was poorly described at what will be a good price if nothing is wrong with the legs. I'm hoping nothing was hidden by the poor description. The Ries tri-lock system would avoid the "annoyances" with leg positions of either the Linhof or the Berlebach.

    I mostly agree with Drew's advice to avoid a rising century column however some of the Linhof tripods have very heavy steel center columns which if clamped down seem stable but the weight is too much for me to carry it very far ... so my experience is limited.
    Berelbach now has a cam controlled 5 angle leg spread control on ones made over the last 5 years.
    Linhof leg braces are disengageable on most models and adjustable on a couple of models.

  7. #7

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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    Wood over metal any day. I used a medium Otto with my Norma for 20+ years - never a problem.

  8. #8

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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    One of the advantages of a Norma and similar, slide both front & rear standards around on the rail loaded with lens and all on the rail to achieve good balance. This is not a small feature once BIG lenses, long bellows and more are added to the camera as needed to achieve what the print image goal demands. This is not so easy to do on a flat bed with a fixed tripod mounting point.

    Balanced camera helps significantly to reduce set up instability, loading on the tripod head and tripod and all.. It also can add to vibration damping and wind stability.

    GOOD wood tripods are a LOT tougher and more durable than aluminum leg tripods and similar metal tripods. High quality wood tripods also tend to damp vibrations better, work better in extreme cold and tough environmental conditions. Wood tripods can be lower weight for a similar size and load capacity compared to metal tripod.


    Bernice







    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Because the rail can be balanced anywhere along its length, it's relatively easy to stabilize a Norma. I happen to use my lighter wooden Ries tripod for the Norma, but the advantge of wood in general is how well it dampens vibration, is easy to handle in freezing temps, and with spike feet, is quite secure from slipping. Avoid rising center columns like the plague, and go for reasonably long legs instead.

  9. #9

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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    Personally use:
    Linhof Heavy Duty tripod with various heads when weight and portability are not considerations.
    BENRO TAD28C Adventure Carbon Fiber tripod with a medium RRS ball head when hiking or when I was backpacking. I think this tripod is very under-rated. Light and compact and I have no problem using it a 4x5 MF camera.
    GITZO G1325C Carbon Fiber tripod with a large RRS ball head is the tripod that always resides in the back of my vehicle. My favorite tripod and head for MF equipment. Started off using a Sinar Pan-Tilt head on the BENRO AND GITZO, but then preferred RRS ball heads after borrowing one.
    Large RIES with one of their large heads for whole plate & 8x10.
    Very Large RIES with their largest (at one time) head for 11x14.
    The Sinar Pan-Tilt head when I use my Norma, it just feels right to use with the classic Norma.

    When I started to shoot 8x10 in the mid 1970s, my first LF tripod was a circa 1960s wooden Burke & James "PORTABLE STUDIO STAND" with its Burke & James wooden piano type hinged head. Honestly if I were relegated to have and use only one tripod and it was that B&J, 99.5% of my images would be exactly the same as any the ones I took with my present way more expensive and featured tripods.

  10. #10
    Foamer
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    Re: Linhof vs Berlebach for Sinar Norma

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Wiley View Post
    Avoid rising center columns like the plague, and go for reasonably long legs instead.

    I agree with this. I haven't used a center column in over 15 years and don't miss it at all.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

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