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Thread: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

  1. #1

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    A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    I sometimes photograph or film in places where there isn't much room for a standard tripod, or where one may get in the way of other people. At one point, I dropped by B&H and checked out all of the monopods that had three short legs that could be deployed. I understand why wedding photographers buy these hybrid monopods, but all of the ones that I looked at made me nervous. My conclusion was that they invite an expensive accident.

    The photo below shows a setup that I've used for about a year and that I've found to be acceptably stable. I mount a robust monopod on a solid ground tripod. The 3/8" female receiver on the bottom of the monopod screws onto the ground tripod's 3/8" stud. The tripod's legs can be extended for more stability, but I haven't found it necessary. With a little discretion, I've gotten away with using this setup in places where tripods are prohibited.

    The Walkstool in the photo, in addition to being comfortable, eliminates or reduces the need to extend the sections of the monopod. I am a fan of the Walkstool, which is popular with nature and sports photographers.

    The camera in the photo is a Blackmagic Cinema Camera, and the tripod head is a Miller fluid head, but the setup works just as well with a 4x5. I haven't tried this with an 8x10.

    Links:

    Gitzo GM4542 Series 4 Monopod

    Note that Gitzo's Series 4 monopods are the most robust monopods that it makes.

    Really Right Stuff Versa Ground Tripod

    There are alternatives to the RRS tripod. I believe that the Benro and Induro tripods linked below are the same tripod, except that the Benro is made of aluminium and the Induro is carbon fibre. The Benro comes with a half ball receiver, the Induro with a flat plate. Both tripods will take either. The Benro is significantly less expensive than the RRS and Induro. In his case, the difference in weight between aluminium and carbon fibre is insignificant. I'd also mention RRS's aluminium ground tripod, but it was discontinued last year.

    Benro Hi-Hat

    Induro Baby Grand Tripod

    There are YouTube videos on the Benro and Induro tripods. As far as I know, there are none on the RRS.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by r.e.; 31-Jul-2021 at 06:55. Reason: Explained what a Gitzo Series 4 is.

  2. #2
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    Maybe that will work for a DSLR . . .but it looks really shaskey for any LF set up.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  3. #3

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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bedo View Post
    Maybe that will work for a DSLR . . .but it looks really shaskey for any LF set up.
    In fact, it's quite stable. If it wasn't, I wouldn't have taken a photo from several feet away of a camera setup that includes a US$3800 lens

    It works just fine for 4x5, in my case an Arca-Swiss. That said, there's some common sense involved when it comes to terrain, wind and bellows extension. There are conditions where I wouldn't use this, and in general I stay with the setup when I'm using it. No need to go wandering off.

    The setup addresses a practical problem. With a bit of discretion, I can get away with using this in Manhattan, where standard tripods are prohibited, and in any event interfere with other people and invite a confrontation with a pedestrian in a cranky mood.

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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bedo View Post
    Maybe that will work for a DSLR . . .but it looks really shaskey for any LF set up.
    Then check this system out.

    https://www.novoflex.de/en/products-...s/triopod.html

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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    I've looked at that Novoflex system before. It's very interesting, although expensive. However, for the circumstances that I'm talking about it would only be useful in ground tripod configuration.

    I noticed that the Novoflex brochure shows that the system includes a riser, which can be very handy. For people who aren't familiar with risers, the first photo below shows a 150mm (6") riser on the right, and the second shows the riser in use.

    The tripod in both photos is the RRS Versa Ground Tripod discussed in the first post. The second photo shows the legs fully extended.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #6
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    Well if it works for you then of course go for it.

    And what a nice kit you have there.

    I may try it out carefully with my little Wista DX 4x5 kit at home, and keep the concept in my back pocket if needed the future.

    My tripod is a much lighter Velbon El Carmagne 540 with a magnesium alloy Gitzo G1177M ball head. That combination is probably not robust enough. Yet it is aimed at keeping me out of the back doctor's office and is is just stable enough for the camera with 90mm Nikkor.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  7. #7

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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    Hi Drew,

    I should stress that the Gitzo monopod in this setup is the most robust monopod that Gitzo makes, and that the RRS Versa ground tripod is very solid. It's not one of the inexpensive mini-tripods on the market. I'm comfortable using this setup with my 4x5 within reason. I'm not about to use it in high winds, or with my 700mm bellows and 600mm Fujinon C lens.

    The Benro Hi-Hat (link in the first post) might work just as well as RRS's Versa, and for much less money. Benro calls its tripod a Hi-Hat because it comes configured with a half ball receiver for use with a half ball video head, although it could just as easily be used with a levelling base. Most still photographers would want to replace the half ball receiver with a flat plate crown.

    If you have a back issue, you may find it useful to check out the Walkstool, link in the first post. B&H sells these because they are popular with nature and sports photographers. They collapse quite small, they're very light, and they come in a number of different sizes to accommodate peoples' different heights and weights. I think that the Walkstool is a great product, and it isn't particularly expensive. Made in Sweden.

    This is a Benro video showing the Hi-Hat in use:


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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    This is an Induro video for its Baby Grand Tripod (link in the first post), which I believe is basically a carbon fibre version of the aluminium Benro, but much more expensive. It comes with a flat plate top. My understanding is that the Benro and Induro brands have common ownership.


  9. #9
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    A string tripod is better than nothing and is quite affordable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjqPuHFoqhE.

  10. #10
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: A Tripod Setup for Tight Spaces

    A lot of professional movie/video equipment can be very useful for still photographers, and browsing through grip catalogues can give one a lot of ideas. Many of the most useful things aren't very expensive, like baby plates, grip heads/clamps....and much of the equipment is built for heavy and long-term use. Things have changed a bit now, but in the not too distant past, much less expensive "still" light support, background support, camera support" equipment was really awful. I remember buying a background support system....It didn't work once! It would've been much better to look at professional equipment, but it's a world that many photographers don't know much about, even today. I didn't until I worked in a big commercial studio, and they had the professional equipment catalogues.....
    “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

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