tripods Tag

I am not being rude to either you or Gitzo. When you give them money and they hand you a product it may be the last time you see each other. The things they supply are so well made that you would be hard pressed to break them in a lifetime. Their best bet for repeat business is to keep designing unique camera supports - you may never woear out the last thing you bought but you might be so pleased with it that you'll come back with more money. Thus the studio three-way head you see in the top image. The GHF 3W. Under a kilo weight. Supports 13 Kg. Arca/Swiss plate included. Three way fluid damped. Foldable levers. Horizontal/vertical option when tilted. Locking lever to keep camera on head even when you lose yours. Rotatable levelling bubble. The price is serious folding money but if you want a rock-solid head for your rock-solid Gitzo tripod here it is. I can't have one because I haven't finished my Gitzo Studex 5 and large format head yet. It's been holding studio cameras since 1990 and I still haven't chewed it up....

And be prepared to be horrified. I say this having been told of some of the things that tripods do by the repairman in our shop. He has a set of tales that would have Stephen King sleeping with the lights on. With his encouragement I tested out my tripods and found them wanting. To be fair, they are not new - and they are not the first tripods I ever bought. They came to me over a period of decades when I felt I needed better camera support. In some cases I was not thinking very well at the time. The repairman told me of a test that can be done for the overall condition of the support. Remove your camera and set the tripod open upon a firm floor. Then push down on the tripod head as if you were applying the weight of a camera. If all is well it won't collapse. If it does collapse quickly you have a basic problem - it may be made of flimsy materials or with poorly-designed joints. It may be overextended for the weight-bearing...

No really. Go ahead. I won't scream. Because if you feel it and it seems loose, I can tighten it. The maker of my photo tripod included a natty little Allen spanner that can firm up the leg lock. If I have lost the spanner, the technician at Camera Electronic can do the job for me - and check out all the other things to which a tripod may be prone. a. Corrosion - With the exception of very few specialist tripods, they can all go manky if you stand them in salt water or chemicals. This may not be evident from the surface but can affect the joints. b. Sand - And other particulate matter. This also gets its entry into the sliding joints of a tripod as well as the locks and screw parts. Enough grit and enough wear can loosen or jam any tripod. They don't mention this in the advertisements but lots of the beaches in  Western Australia are made up of sand...

Sorry about the tortured English of the title - late night and too much coffee. What I really meant to say is " Here is a tracking gimbal mount for a very large telephoto lens that is not made with the Wimberley uni-pivot design. It's from the old masters of aluminium - Manfrotto. The design is double-pivot over a central training point with friction locks for the horizontal axis. It has a very simple but very sturdy construction - there has been no over-styling with it. The lower section of the support bracket has also been clad in a neoprene or rubber material - i suspect this is to assist photographers in cold weather conditions to avoid freezing to the metal. The mount is the standard large Manfrotto 577 sliding mount adapter that will couple to very large cameras and lenses. There is no more to this than what you see, but what it is is imminently usable and durable. I do note one bit of swank; they've included a plate that attributes the design to Graziano Ferrari. He turns out to be a...

No surprise that Sirui Optical is a Guangdong company - the products they turn out are excellently made - but it was interesting to google up their main site and see that they've been putting things on the market since 2001 and that they're also selling humidity control cabinets. I'll bet they sell like hot ( and wet ) cakes in southern China, given what we see of their weather conditions. The two products today are concerned with tripods, though they are accessories rather than the tripods themselves. Of course, we have a good range of those as well in store but sometimes you need a little more than the basic three leggers. This arm is designed to attach where you would normally put a or three-way head and it lets you move the action out and away from the centre line of the tripod. This is no new thing - I have a similar accessory for my giant Gitzo Studex but it is a much cruder casting and can only allow 90º displacement from the vertical. This Sirui HA-77 unit tilts as...

a. Camera. In the end it can only do two things - sit inert or take pictures. Most cameras make good paperweights and in the old days several of them made fine doorstops. It is when you start exposing film or sensors that the complications start. Not that we should complain - those complications are what keep the shop, the customers, and the manufacturers going. If they get out of hand, you can always switch the thing off and then on again. b. Lens. These are for looking through - either you look through it with your naked eye and curse your horse for running too slow, or you attach a camera to the back end and take pictures. Some lenses see images and some project images. Rather like people in the photo trade, really...

And you're darned lucky at that. It's a piece of junk. The legs are thin-wall aluminium tubing with a profile pressed into them - so far so normal. They ride in white plastic bushes that are held in place by cutouts in the tubes - again pretty much what you might see in better tripods, albeit a bit flimsy here. But the whole edifice falls into a heap with the leg clamps - they are cheap plastic clipovers that compress a rubber block onto the next smaller tube. I do not decry clipovers - Manfrotto have used them on some of their new tripods and they are a model of good design. Their clips are metal and they have adjustment bolts to let you take up slack as they wear in. But these flimsy clips are just disasters waiting to happen. One's broken - and has been replaced by the only sensible alternative - a car hose clamp. The other two at the same level of the tripod are showing the same cracks that broke the first one, so it's off to Supercheap...