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Thread: Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2022
    Oakland, CA

    Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia


    I'm brand new to the LF Forums (and to LF photography). I recently purchased a kit that includes the Shen Hao HZX45-iia 4x5 camera with 3 lenses (all Schneider: 58mm f5.6; 120mm f8; 210mm f5.6) and an assortment of miscellaneous items. I'm thinking of purchasing a used Gitzo tripod - one that supports 40-50 lbs. This might be overkill, but I'd rather be sure it will support this setup, and perhaps a heavier setup in the future.

    I've read that a geared head (rather than ball head) is more useful for LF cameras. First, what type of head would you recommend for my setup? If you recommend a geared head, which one(s) would you recommend?

    Thank you for your input,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    South Dakota

    Re: Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia

    A 3-way head is most useful for a light camera like yours. While the load rating won't have to be very high, what does help is to have a large QR plate or contact surface. The more contact surface the better to dilute vibrations.

    Kent in SD
    In contento ed allegria
    Notte e di vogliam passar!

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Purcellville, VA

    Re: Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia

    I'm afraid I can't comment on geared heads, but many of us, not all, do prefer to avoid ball heads for LF. Gitzo is a top-quality brand, certainly, and purchasing a tripod inadequate for your camera/lens is poor economy. However, I wonder if you really need to consider the 50- to 60-lb capacity you mention. It may depend on where you intend to be photographing, and what, and whether you're thinking of going to 8x10 eventually.

    I can tell you my own experience with my Bogen 3051 (Manfrotto updated it to 058B). This model weighs 13.5 lbs and lists load capacity at 26 lbs. It's one verysolid tripod. With my monorail 4x5, I can tell you it was a bear to lug around outside-- about 26 awkward pounds on the shoulder. The heaviest of the 8x10 Shen Haos also weighs in at about 13 lbs. If you can afford carbon fiber, that's a consideration, though some landscape photographers prefer a weightier tripod, wind doing what it does.

    I lightened my load when I came back to photography and now carry a field camera and a solid, adequate but much lighter tripod. With a lens, my carry load tops out around 11.5 lbs., but I'm primarily a portrait, not landscape photographer now.

    I hope this is helpful.
    Philip Ulanowsky

    Sine scientia ars nihil est. (Without science/knowledge, art is nothing.)

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Re: Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia

    The Manfrotto 410 geared head is very popular & is what I use with a Gitzo CF Series 2.

    They also have another model for higher loads.
    You can prob use a lighter tripod with your camera - but stability is good

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Nov 2010

    Re: Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia

    I am partial to Gitzo’s low profile 3-way magnesium heads with large platform. Of course I was mostly using it with monorail cameras along with several Gitzo series 3 legs. I shifted to CF gitzos legs several years ago and use the g1580 head when shooting 4x5. There is also the g1380 which is slightly lighter. It appears Gitzo only offers one 3-way head currently (?) but you can find these discontinued large platform models used on eBay etc. For LF work they are unmatched imho and provide good stability even with the lighter carbon fiber legs. They pretty much last a lifetime with occasional lithium grease refreshers and can take quite a bit of abuse. Perhaps overkill for a light field camera except when you need the extra stability on difficult terrain.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Madisonville, LA

    Re: Recommendations for tripod head for Shen-Hao HZX45-iia

    It really doesn't matter. Just get what you like. L

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