Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1997/01/08

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Subject: Re: thanks for tripod help
From: "Charles E. Love, Jr." <>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 1997 01:56:43 -0500 (EST)

At 04:21 AM 1/8/97 +0000, you wrote:
>In article <>
>, "Charles E. Love, Jr." <> writes
>>I often use the Tiltall "Junior" with the Leitz large ball-and-socket head
>>for M, R with small lenses, and even the medium format Mamiya 7.  This rig
>>is too light for long lenses, macro shots and heavy cameras.  When I really
>>get into perfection mode, I use my Gitzo 320 with Studioball head--but it's
>>BIG and HEAVY.  It's especially good with the 100 macro--made a real,
>>noticeable difference over the large Tiltall in the field.
>Was this over and above the difference made by mirror lockup, or didn't
>you use that? I'm asking this because my reasoning so far is that by
>removing the mirror shock from the equation with mirror lock on an SLR
>it effectively becomes a non-SLR camera and as shake-free as a
>rangefinder, and as usable as a rangefinder with a lighter tripod, and I
>would assume this advantage would apply even for macro. I may be wrong,
>of course!
>Joe Berenbaum
Joe--Actually I had a long period of experimenting in trying to improve the
quality of my abstracts done with the 100 mm. f2.8 macro.  I did a lot of
them literally in fields (peeling paint on old trucks and such) and blew
them up to 16 x 20 Cibachromes.  So the quality had to be high, and the
pictures had to be sharp all over--hence small apertures and shutter speeds
(on a sunny day, with slow transparency film) in the danger zone--1/15, 1/8.
I began with my R5 on a large Tiltall, which has a built-in pan head, and
some photos just weren't sharp enough.  So then I got the Gitzo with its own
pan head--much better.  Then, after having difficulty with a Pentax 67, I
replaced the Gitzo head, which was a bit flexible, with a Studioball (with
Kirk plate on the Arca-style mount), and there was an improvement, both with
the Pentax and the Leica Macro shots.  But things could still get better, I
felt.  I then eliminated the long centerpost, replacing it with the Kirk
short centerpost--still another improvement.  Then I tried hanging weights
from the tripod--the camera bag can be hooked on, or you can hang things
from the bottom of the centerpost (you can screw a hardware store hook in
there to hold them) and the photos got better again, but still with room for
even a higher percentage of sharp shots.  So then I took a deep breath and
moved to an R6, which has a mirror lifter, and there was a further
improvement.  So I recommend all these things.

The comparison with a rangefinder isn't quite apropos--I never felt the need
to do all these things until I began doing the macro abstracts, where the
slightest camera movement is a problem, and of course you cannot get very
close with a rangefinder.  Hence, I suppose, my  success with  a small
tripod and even the large Mamiya 7 medium format RF.

These same lessons apply to the Pentax 67, a fine medium format camera which
is a real bargain (like a giant 35 SLR; good lenses; an excellent MF field
camera).  The P 67 has a mirror lifter, but the huge shutter causes some
movement when it takes off on its journey, and you'd better have the camera
locked to a big tripod to get the best results, even when not doing
closeups.  I use the Gitzo/Studioball rig there too.

Hope this helps!  Charlie
Charles E. Love, Jr.