Open Photography Forums  
HOME FORUMS NEWS FAQ SEARCH

Go Back   Open Photography Forums > The Gear > Gear Support: Bags/ Cases/ Tripods/Transport or anything else needed for a shoot!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old November 18th, 2010, 07:05 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posts: 592
Default My search for the most stable tripod

Hi All,

I have never posted on the subject of tripods before!
Regarding these essential tools, I suspect I am not alone on two fronts:
  • For some use-cases, I require an exceptionally stable tripod (though I'm mostly a hand-held guy)
  • I eventually ended up spending more on camera support than any of my current camera bodies

For a long time, I used el-cheapo tripod(s), or did without. When my cheap carbon-fibre tripod finally died (of shame, I think...) about two years ago, I vowed to not get a tripod again until I can get one that is truly stable. Truly stable. How do I quantify that? Well, my current most extreme use-cases are:
  • Vibration-free images with a mechanical camera (Olympus OM-1, OM-3Ti) when taking high-magnification Macro images with a 20mm RMS-mount lens, 10x to 15x magnification.
  • Vibration-free images with my biggest and heaviest setup: A Linhof Technika 4x5in view camera, with the triple-extension bed racked all the way out to accommodate a Nikkor-T ED 360mm/500mm/720mm lens.

Both of these scenarios are - I think - above-average, and require truly exceptional stabiity. Of course, I don't want to carry 10 kilograms around either, nor a concrete block :-) Well, after waiting for two years, I acquired from a local shop (who seemed to be offering a special rate) the biggest, stablest Gitzo tripod available here, the GT5541 from their "Systematic" range.I find this to be the best compromise, the even taller GT5561SGT has a whopping 6-section leg extension, much taller than what I could possibly need, and more leg sections eventually decrease stability.


There is nothing else I can say about this set of legs - it is a flawless, massive, rock-solid, broad-base platform without peer at this price range. I specifically did not fit mine with a centre column, as this is one of the biggest robbers of stability (no matter how well made).

With this, I got their biggest "centre" ball head, the G1178M. An excellent head to be sure, with well thought-out friction control, excellent smooth panning, and a beauty. Still, I was never quite satisfied. I would never be confident to apply it to either of my extreme use-cases in, say, anything over a breeze. Stablity was just simply "very good", not "mind-blowing". I believe, at this price level, it should be?

After a lot of testing, I concluded that my source of instability was two-fold:
  • The little rubber pad between the quick-release plate and the camera is far too thick and soft, no matter how much you tighten it, there is a degree of "elasticity"
  • The panning base of the Gitzo ball-head, for all its engineering prowess, flexes a bit under heavy load

In short, I was connecting a peerlessly-solid camera (the Linhof, even with the bellows all the way out), to a peerlessly solid set of legs, through a weak link.

Looking around at other options, and wanting to "remove" the panning functionality out of the setup, I fitted my set of legs with a Novoflex Magicball (the original, large model) - and the difference is indescribable.


The coupling to the camera (no quick-release plate, I don't need one) is much better, basicaly metal-to-metal. The only moving part now is the sliding motion over the ball, and this head (quirky, but beautiful, as it is) is contructed to tolerances which I believe Gitzo has simply not demonstrated in their heads thus far - it's a work of engineering and aeshtetic beauty.

Now, with an absolutely minimalist setup, I have "mind-blowing" stability. In both of my extreme use-cases, I can actually tap my camera or lens, and see zero movement through the viewfinder - what a pleasure.

My summary is thus: The more "moving parts" or gadgets you cut out of the system (centre column - I need to go low-down to the ground in anyway for macro, and panning base) the more stable your setup will be. My original, extremely high-end all-Gitzo setup was let down my the panning base, and only after I got rid of it, did I achieve what I was looking for.

You're looking at an outlay of about $1300 here, but I can't imagine any setup personally which this could not stabilise. What are your experiences? I do know that, in theory, a really big wooden tripod absorbs even more vibrations, but I did not want to go there...
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old November 18th, 2010, 07:02 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser

In short, I was connecting a peerlessly-solid camera (the Linhof, even with the bellows all the way out), to a peerlessly solid set of legs, through a weak link.

Looking around at other options, and wanting to "remove" the panning functionality out of the setup, I fitted my set of legs with a Novoflex Magicball (the original, large model) - and the difference is indescribable..............

Now, with an absolutely minimalist setup, I have "mind-blowing" stability. In both of my extreme use-cases, I can actually tap my camera or lens, and see zero movement through the viewfinder - what a pleasure.
Dawid,

I like your approach. You have a great system. The number of leg sections is important. 2 is better than 3 and that's better than 4. If one needs to pack the thing in a rolling overhead airline case***, then the minimum packed length may require a 3 or 4 section design. I love the design of the ball head and the color s pretty too, LOL!



I'd like to know what others do for a rock solid platform, especially for panoramas and long exposures.

Asher

*** Airline cases have to be a max of 22" x 14" x 9", 26.4 lbs
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:35 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posts: 592
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Dawid,

I like your approach. You have a great system. The number of leg sections is important. 2 is better than 3 and that's better than 4. If one needs to pack the thing in a rolling overhead airline case***, then the minimum packed length may require a 3 or 4 section design. I love the design of the ball head and the color s pretty too, LOL!
Hi Asher,

Thank you for a couple of very informative posts around your ideas for the ideal setup. For my purposes, I just cannot believe that all those gadgets could possibly be stable enough for my purposes, especially since I have seen a real improvement even in cutting out the (excellent) Gitzo rotating base, i.e. moving just to a ball-head.

Stabilising a 300mm or 400mm f/2.8 lens with a 35mm camera is (literally) nothing compared to stabilising a 4x5in camera with a 500mm lens and a big bellows that vibrates in the wind.

The only real down-side with the Novoflex Magicball is that - despite having a clever built-in friction adjustment - if one is not careful, it's easy to cause the whole setup to flop over. This is not fun, and happened to be once - if the Linhof was a wooden camera, I am sure it might have sustained damage.

So - this is a very real risk, but one that I am aware of. Novoflex have an equally pretty (the blue is anodized, not pained, it's really quite something!) rotating base which could fit underneath the Magicball - which I might try out sometime - but at this stage, since I do not need panoramic movements. I have no intention of shooting digital / stitched panoramas soon, I have come from that world, and have chosen to try and master another medium now. Thus, I am extremely happy with my minimalist setup.

I visited my parents by the coast this week-end, and the setup has proved itself quite well. I carted the Linhof all over the beach for two days, and even difficult shots - a 1:1 "macro" (not so "macro" on 4x5in!) of a beautiful moth that came to sit in the dune bushes was quite easy to set up and frame perfectly, despite a very difficult, non-level angle, and windy conditions! It appeared rock-solid, although I will only be able to tell once I've developed and printed the negative.

Off-topic: It's a pain to take 5-10minutes to set up a shot, but the pleasure of seeing a 1:1 image on that big ground glass, and the freedom of focus-plane movements, makes it all worth it, I think! (the proof, again, will be in the result).

I too, look forward to hear about others' camera support systems for ultimate stability.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:02 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
Hi Asher,

Thank you for a couple of very informative posts around your ideas for the ideal setup. For my purposes, I just cannot believe that all those gadgets could possibly be stable enough for my purposes, especially since I have seen a real improvement even in cutting out the (excellent) Gitzo rotating base, i.e. moving just to a ball-head.
Dawid,

Every moving part adds a potential for flexing. The massive size of the Novoflex Magicball limits that considerably. Your setup is inspirational. Thanks for the lead!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
Stabilising a 300mm or 400mm f/2.8 lens with a 35mm camera is (literally) nothing compared to stabilising a 4x5in camera with a 500mm lens and a big bellows that vibrates in the wind.
Having a custom setup and even a different tripod for each use is an advantage. I have ordered the Really right Staff largest ballhead as my leveling base with the new massively built gimbal head PG-02 LLR. This I'll be these for using for interior and exterior panos and all my people shots and video.

The great advantage is that it should be easier to reproduce angles to get people into my panos!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:06 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default Beautiful Moth

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
......

I visited my parents by the coast this week-end, and the setup has proved itself quite well. I carted the Linhof all over the beach for two days, and even difficult shots - a 1:1 "macro" (not so "macro" on 4x5in!) of a beautiful moth that came to sit in the dune bushes was quite easy to set up and frame perfectly, despite a very difficult, non-level angle, and windy conditions! It appeared rock-solid, although I will only be able to tell once I've developed and printed the negative.
Looking forward to the result!

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old November 30th, 2010, 10:28 AM
Murray Foote Murray Foote is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 394
Default

Here's an interesting alternative, Asher - a complete system from China on EBay. Tripod levelling base, indexing rotator, 240mm rail, vertical lever-clamp rail, clamps, panning clamp, nodal rail with lever clamp, universal L-Bracket.

I have a couple of their clamps and they seem fine to me (haven't really used them yet, waiting for an Arca-Swiss universal L-bracket).

It would be interesting to see a review....

Regards,
Murray
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old November 30th, 2010, 11:25 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,558
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murray Foote View Post
. . . nodal rail with lever clamp
Not likely. A nodal rail is part of an apparatus used in the laboratory to identify the location of the nodal points of a lens (one at a time), often part of an exercise to determine the focal length.

The manufacturers of that rig are probably speaking of an arrangement for adjusting the position of the camera so that the pivot axis passes through the entrance pupil of the lens, the condition for avoiding parallax shift in multi-frame panoramic photography.

Looks like a lovely rig, however its features are described.

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old November 30th, 2010, 10:20 PM
Murray Foote Murray Foote is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 394
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Not likely. A nodal rail is part of an apparatus used in the laboratory to identify the location of the nodal points of a lens (one at a time), often part of an exercise to determine the focal length.
The manufacturers of that rig are probably speaking of an arrangement for adjusting the position of the camera so that the pivot axis passes through the entrance pupil of the lens, the condition for avoiding parallax shift in multi-frame panoramic photography.
That's probably me, using an imprecise shorthand. Sunwayphoto describes it as a "Rail Nodal Slide Arca Lever Clamp" if that makes any difference and RRS describe their equivalent as a sliding clamp package under the heading nodal clamp options.

Regards,
Murray
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old November 30th, 2010, 10:40 PM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,558
Default

Hi, Murray,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murray Foote View Post
That's probably me, using an imprecise shorthand.
No, you're fine.

The word nodal should not appear any place in any discussion about camera positioning devices for panoramic photography - that is the result of the long-lived misconception that the pivot axis for panoramic photography should go through "the" nodal point of the lens.

Quote:
Sunwayphoto describes it as a "Rail Nodal Slide Arca Lever Clamp". . .
Just as inappropriate.

Quote:
. . . RRS describe their equivalent as a sliding clamp package under the heading nodal clamp options.
Just as inappropriate.

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old November 30th, 2010, 11:16 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr View Post
Hi, Murray,


No, you're fine.

The word nodal should not appear any place in any discussion about camera positioning devices for panoramic photography - that is the result of the long-lived misconception that the pivot axis for panoramic photography should go through "the" nodal point of the lens.

Just as inappropriate.
Doug,

Yes you are correct. Just as you are when we loosely talk about focal length equivalents and ISO of the camera, when there are accepted logical bases for being more careful in using terms. Moreover camera MFRS themselves may assign their own working definitions which might be even more elastic, LOL, as in the case of so-called "ISO" settings we think we decide on!

We would think that with optics, however, there's no wiggle room at this gross level of light bench physics, as we know it. However, the reality is that some meanings drift ion the area of enthusiast photography. When someone calls for finding "the nodal point" in panoramic photography, we all know that it's the one point along the optical axis, near the front of the lens that's critical to fix as the rotational axis for pano swings and tilts. We reckon that point is close to or equal to the the entrance pupil of the lens.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old December 1st, 2010, 04:06 AM
Murray Foote Murray Foote is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 394
Default

Doug and Asher

I'm part-way through reading a book on panorama photography that uses the term "non-parallex point" which to me is the best term I've encountered because it is simple, non-technical and difficult to misunderstand.

Regards,
Murray
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old December 1st, 2010, 06:50 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,558
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murray Foote View Post
Doug and Asher

I'm part-way through reading a book on panorama photography that uses the term "non-parallex point" which to me is the best term I've encountered because it is simple, non-technical and difficult to misunderstand.
Yes, and that is exactly what it is (insofar as our interest in it).
(Non-parallax, actually.)

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old December 1st, 2010, 07:04 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Alamogordo, New Mexico, USA
Posts: 8,558
Default

Hi, Asher,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
However, the reality is that some meanings drift ion the area of enthusiast photography. When someone calls for finding "the nodal point" in panoramic photography, we all know that it's the one point along the optical axis, near the front of the lens that's critical to fix as the rotational axis for pano swings and tilts. We reckon that point is close to or equal to the the entrance pupil of the lens.
That's all well and good until I need to speak of one of the nodal points. Then what do I call that, "the 'real' front nodal point"?

I cannot endorse (or condone) calling the entrance pupil "the nodal point", even as slang, since the term has another meaning in the same field.

And the proper pivot point is precisely at the entrance pupil.

And in some cases it is in front of the lens (many box cameras, for example).

Suppose someone, having heard the matter described in the common way, has a specification that shows where the nodal points are for a lens, and decides to mount his camera so that the front nodal point is indeed at the pivot axis. He may very well not have the desired result in a critical multi-frame panoramic project.

He writes in and asks why. We tell him, "Oh, you put the pivot at a nodal point, you silly goose. You are supposed to put it at the 'nodal point' - you know, the one that's not at either of the nodal points. You know, the one you find with the nodal point test. No, not that nodal point test."

Best regards,

Doug
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old December 1st, 2010, 07:12 AM
Murray Foote Murray Foote is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Canberra, Australia
Posts: 394
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Kerr
(Non-parallax, actually.)
... Ah, true.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old December 1st, 2010, 07:53 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 4,054
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
The interesting thing is that it looks like a copy of Really Right Stuff's older setup with some slight variations. The most significant are the provision of click-stops!
Which looks similar to the Manfrotto 300N, or one of the Fanotec/Nodal Ninja versions.

These click stops are very useful if you cannot (e.g. backed up to a wall), or don't want to, look through the viewfinder when going through the horizontal rotation steps. It also helps to position (featureless) tiles at their (approximate) angular position before stitching.

What I currently use for pano leveling is this low profile, light weight, 10 Kg load capacity "EZ leveler II":

Click on the image to go to their website

It makes leveling a very fast and accurate activity, almost like with a geared 3-axes head. Its small size, with a click stop on top, will also allow a very small nadir footprint which is usefult for 360x180 degree stitching.

Cheers,
Bart
__________________
If you do what you did, you'll get what you got.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old December 1st, 2010, 09:44 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

Bart,

I wondered about Easy Leveler and am glad you added it to our options. I was wondering about how easily the threaded wheels would move.Having put away that concern, this makes for a great option. How many degrees does that allow? Likely it's about the same size as the equally beautiful Acratech Leveler. But that latter has a knob and a spirit level. A + and -

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old December 1st, 2010, 11:50 AM
Richard Jackson Richard Jackson is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5
Default

Dr. Kelman,
I was wondering if you had tested these items with some large glass yet and put a good load on that Acratech Base. I know the PG-02 will hold up a Mac truck. But, I'm skeptical about the stability of the base. I really would like a leveling base before I go on my annual trip to the Smokies this year and I already have the PG-02 full gimbal and a set of clamps to use it for panos too. I really would like to have the upcoming RRS Series 2 leveling base for my Induro CT-313 tripod. But, they can't give me a release date. So, I'm thinking of getting the Acratech one. Thank you for any help you can offer!

Take care and God Bless!
Richard
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old December 7th, 2010, 12:14 AM
Dawid Loubser Dawid Loubser is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Posts: 592
Default

This thread has taken a different (off-topic?) direction.

I initially posted this as my search for the most stable platform, with the greatest capacity for absorbing vibrations. I came to the conclusion that that only way to achieve this is to get the absolute highest quality components I could afford, and to remove all unnecessary moveable linkages from the chain.

This included getting rid of the panoramic base, and even the centre-column. And swapping the biggest Gitzo ball head (a mean piece of engineering!) out for smoother-and-more-stable-yet Novoflex Magicball.

I didn't give up any flexibility (I can't think of any other setup that's much more flexible in position a very large camera system in any reasonable plane) but, of course, I gave up repeatability (even if I pan slightly to recompose, I may have to re-align the horizon again) and ease of use. In return, I gained the ability to take macro photographs even in the wind on a beach, with a bellows extended quite far. This setup is metal-to-metal (no rubber between the giant block of aluminium on the ball head, and the metal Linhof body) rock solid, cannot-get-better. This has been my search, and I am sure some others have gone through the same.

I just can't believe that all the funky arms and leveling bases you guys are posting here could complete in terms of stability, or am I wrong? Have any of you tried a truly minimalist setup? Or is it just a bit too masochistic?

The great thing, of course, is that my "giant" tripod is comparatively compact and light without any of these gadgets, an important factor for me. It attaches nicely to the side of my small0ish backpack.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old December 7th, 2010, 08:00 AM
Richard Jackson Richard Jackson is offline
New Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 5
Default

Dawid,
I think that I am partially to blame for taking your thread in the wrong direction. I apologize for that.

To address your statement about stability and the machinery that we were all talking about, I agree with you. The most stable platform is your camera screwed down to anchor bolts seated in bedrock(I'm not trying to be sarcastic). The key is the usage I think. While the anchored camera may be able to shoot 2 second exposures (of other anchored rocks) in a hurricane and remain tack sharp, the draw back is usage and subject matter. Your stated usage was macro bellows work where you basically have a sail(bellows/body combo) that you want to use in windy beach conditions to capture tack sharp macro images. I require my setup to be a "jack of all trades". I love shooting stitched multi row panoramas that include foreground elements (requiring the use of a multi axis "nodal" (flinch... anti-parallax I mean) head. I also would like that head to support supertelephoto shooting with moving subjects without the risk of falls, "flops". So the machinery that gets me the most solid platform to do both is the PG-02. I would argue with anyone that said they found a better platform with which to do either of these things more completely.

I also found that I need some type of leveling mechanism to make using the PG-02 quicker and easier. So, I am searching for a solution that gives the most stability to quality to weight to ease ratio(we did that ratio in algebra I think,s/q/w/e=x, haha) just as you are. But, my end goal is different and I accept compromises in different area accordingly.
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old December 7th, 2010, 08:58 AM
Bart_van_der_Wolf Bart_van_der_Wolf is offline
pro member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 4,054
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dawid Loubser View Post
This thread has taken a different (off-topic?) direction.
Hi Dawid,

You are correct, but it might also be because it's hard to improve on a minimalist setup.

Quote:
I initially posted this as my search for the most stable platform, with the greatest capacity for absorbing vibrations. I came to the conclusion that that only way to achieve this is to get the absolute highest quality components I could afford, and to remove all unnecessary moveable linkages from the chain.
Vibration is amplitude and frequency. Exposure time / shutterspeed can make a big difference depending on the forces at play.

There are a couple of things that contribute to your goal, deviations from it increases the vibration risk. Pure mass protects against vibration due to inertia, Carbon fiber or wood dampen existing vibration (e.g. road traffic), low center of gravity protects against external forces (e.g. wind) getting hold of the angular moment.

Quote:
This included getting rid of the panoramic base, and even the centre-column. And swapping the biggest Gitzo ball head (a mean piece of engineering!) out for smoother-and-more-stable-yet Novoflex Magicball.
I suppose the greatest contribution is due to lowering the center of gravity.

Quote:
I didn't give up any flexibility (I can't think of any other setup that's much more flexible in position a very large camera system in any reasonable plane) but, of course, I gave up repeatability (even if I pan slightly to recompose, I may have to re-align the horizon again) and ease of use. In return, I gained the ability to take macro photographs even in the wind on a beach, with a bellows extended quite far. This setup is metal-to-metal (no rubber between the giant block of aluminium on the ball head, and the metal Linhof body) rock solid, cannot-get-better. This has been my search, and I am sure some others have gone through the same.
I suppose all custom ArcaSwiss style camera plates, certainly the RRS ones, follow the same metal-to-metal principle and protect against rotation as well.

Quote:
I just can't believe that all the funky arms and leveling bases you guys are posting here could complete in terms of stability, or am I wrong? Have any of you tried a truly minimalist setup? Or is it just a bit too masochistic?
That's a fair question, but then one would require an objective means for testing the impact. Most of the contraptions mentioned are empirical finds, solutions to solve one or more ease of use issues. But there are some features that still apply, like lowering the center of gravity (within the possibilities of simultaneously solving other issues), and making use of vibration dampening materials where they can make a difference. Short exposure times, or the use of flash can also be adequate under circumstances.

For all these different shooting scenarios one would like to have an objective means of measuring the impact of the various variables, do they increase or reduce the vibration risk, and how do the frequency and amplitude affect the image quality at the given effective exposure time?

Quote:
The great thing, of course, is that my "giant" tripod is comparatively compact and light without any of these gadgets, an important factor for me. It attaches nicely to the side of my small0ish backpack.
I agree that relatively compact and light, if anything, helps to get out on location, but I can also imagine that e.g. with extreme macro (one of the most vibration critical endeavors) one would also like a possibility to get the subject in the field of view in the first place, something a low profile leveler can assist with. So we're still stuck with compromises involving some form of 'convenience'.

Cheers,
Bart
__________________
If you do what you did, you'll get what you got.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old December 7th, 2010, 10:58 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

Dawid,

I agree that one wants to be simple as possible and have the least height, sections and joints. Could you update your experience as you use the system.

The most stable tripod for me has to provide a rock solid platform that can be used for panoramas of interiors and exteriors and putting people in them.

This means it must be rapid to level and fine adjust the height, and have no sag when rotated loaded with the camera and lens. I have bought the RRS gimbal head as above in post # and am testing it with various supports. Currently I have the Acrotech leveling, half ball device, and it worked under pressured conditions of a difficult shoot. The set up was solid.

I'll be testing other leveling bases. I could not have leveled the tripod adequately with a lot of added stress, using just the legs working in e cramped space of the balcony of the theater. The Acrotech was simple and it worked as designed.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old December 10th, 2010, 02:54 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

Dawid,

Again, forgive me about for continuing discussing leveling bases and gimbals. For a lot of work, this is an essential part of the tripod's ability to perform. When my system is assembled, we could devise some test to compare shooting with and without the extra hardware to see if what might degrade the stability of the tripod as a platform.

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old December 13th, 2010, 09:46 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
OPF Owner/Editor-in-Chief
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 34,727
Default

The posts on the platform on a stable tripod moved away from Dawid's simplified but sturdy system to allow for accurate pano photography. So these posts have been moved to a new location here

Asher
__________________
Follow us on Twitter at @opfweb

Our purpose is getting to an impressive photograph. So we encourage browsing and then feedback. Consider a link to your galleries annotated, C&C welcomed. Images posted within OPF are assumed to be for Comment & Critique, unless otherwise designated.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Tags
gitzo, novoflex, tripod

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Tripod head geometry Doug Kerr Gear Support: Bags/ Cases/ Tripods/Transport or anything else needed for a shoot! 23 April 25th, 2010 09:08 PM
FS-Gitzo 2227 tripod Alain Briot Buy and Sell Photo Equipment: Excess gear by participating members. Pictures please! 9 July 2nd, 2008 07:23 AM
Question on Wimberley Gimbal head & Tripod support John Harper Gear Support: Bags/ Cases/ Tripods/Transport or anything else needed for a shoot! 6 October 9th, 2007 02:27 PM
Tripod questions David Robertson Gear Support: Bags/ Cases/ Tripods/Transport or anything else needed for a shoot! 13 September 25th, 2006 02:34 PM


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 09:29 PM.


Posting images or text grants license to OPF, yet of such remain with its creator. Still, all assembled discussion 2006-2017 Asher Kelman (all rights reserved) Posts with new theme or unusual image might be moved/copied to a new thread!