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Tripod for SWC

David Nash , Jul 23, 2004; 04:25 p.m.

I've just bought an SWC/M, and I'll need to buy a tripod to match the camera. I currently have a huge Linhof tripod with Arca B2 monoball for my 10x8" monorail. I also have a Manfrotto 074 that I've lent to someone, but I should be able to get back. However, the Manfrotto is still rather heavy, plus it's got leg braces, so it's not really suited to landscape shots from a lower viewpoint. I assume that the SWC may be used for these lower level shots, and I'm not sure what sort of tripod to go for. There's obviously carbon fibre ones to reduce weight. I saw a Manfrotto one in a shop today, but it was fiddly to use, and the legs didn't lock at in-between angles. I'm not too keen on the Gitzo leg collets. What about the Benbo/Unilock ones? They may take a bit of getting used to, and I'm not sure about the bulk/weight/stability. Are there any small wooden tripods that can be used at low to chest-height levels? I'm thinking about various options as I'm typing this dis-jointed message, but I'd appreciate any further thoughts/recommendations.



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Keith Laban , Jul 23, 2004; 05:03 p.m.

Keith Laban Photography

I've been having an affair with a Benbo MK1 for many years. OK, she's a bit wild and loose legged at times, reminds me of an inebriated octopus, you simply wouldn't believe some of the positions she can get herself into, but once tamed and mastered she serves me well.

Keith Laban , Jul 23, 2004; 05:39 p.m.

PS. please don't tell her I said this but she's a bit on the heavy side.

Peter White , Jul 23, 2004; 08:01 p.m.

What's your objection to the Gitzo leg collets? I've had the Gitzo carbon fiber tripod since a few weeks after it's introduction (perhaps ten years ago, I'm not sure). It's never failed me. I even use it with my 4x5.

Jeffrey Abelson , Jul 24, 2004; 09:08 a.m.

Unilock is designed by the same guy who designed the benbo but left the company to start unilock - the unilock supposedly works out the flaws of the benbo design - though I never used a benbo so I don't know. The unilock can go into almost any position - it's an amazing feat of engineering, but it is slightly heavy (I hike with mine all the time) - i have the major 1600 system - they have smaller one...

Jay . , Jul 24, 2004; 12:17 p.m.

I owned 2 Benbos at one time, a Standard and a Trekker. On both of them, no matter how tightly I set the locking lever (and I'm 6'5" 260 lbs)I could still easily move the legs. I sold the Standard because there was no way I'd ever put a heavy camera on it; then eventually sold the Trekker as well. I just didn't trust them. There are many Gitzos which the legs spread out and you can put the pod nearly or completely flat to the ground (those without center column). The SWC is not a heavy camera, you can mount it securely on any tripod that will securely hold nothing heavier than a mid-range 35mm SLR with <200mm lens. You may want to make sure it won't tip easily though, since eventually you will become utterly disgusted with the SWC's ridiculous finder and end up fussing with attaching and detaching the GG back for each shot.

David Nash , Jul 24, 2004; 03:57 p.m.

Thanks. I think I'll give the Benbo a miss, although I'm still tempted by the Uniloc. A friend was selling his Benbo 5 (the huge one made out of scaffolding poles), but that one wouldn't tighten up either, and I wouldn't have trusted it with a large format camera.

Gitzo collets? It's just personal preference, and probably lack of experience with them. I know that people say you don't have to tighten them too much, but whenever I've played with a Gitzo tripod (especially the carbon fibre ones), I've found it to be really awkward, requiring both hands. The rubber grips also rip my dainty hands, and as a guitarist, I try to avoid anything that does that...

John Banister , Jul 24, 2004; 08:38 p.m.

It's probably too heavy for you, and the lowest it'll go without removing the leg spreader attachment is 29" (~3/4 meters) but I've been using the Libec T97C leg set with the Bogen 3141 half-ball adapter, and I like it a lot. It's like a carbon fiber version of a wooden tripod.

Jay . , Jul 25, 2004; 09:07 a.m.

<<I think I'll give the Benbo a miss, although I'm still tempted by the Uniloc.>>

Same difference. The guy who makes the Uniloc is the same guy who designed the Benbo. There was some kind of buyout gone bad and lawsuits etc. They don't lock any better.

Jeffrey Abelson , Jul 26, 2004; 08:28 a.m.

"Same difference. The guy who makes the Uniloc is the same guy who designed the Benbo. There was some kind of buyout gone bad and lawsuits etc. They don't lock any better."

My understanding is that the design flaws were worked out - I could mount YOU on my unilock and the legs won't move...

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