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01-22-2019, 09:13 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
Nice set up. I have one of those tripods sitting in the shed (free stuff). I have always thought I should adapt it. There is a substantial screw thread on the top but I may have less to work with than you did.
Thanks! What do you mean with substantial screw thread on the top?

01-22-2019, 10:27 PM   #17
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I was just noticing that Asahi still makes Pentax branded theodolites, levels, & other surveying products.
01-22-2019, 10:42 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by MarkJerling Quote
What do you mean with substantial screw thread on the top?
There is a screw thread sticking up where the base plate on a theodolite would go. It might be about 3/8 inch. I have a feeling I can get an adapter that will allow a connection with the standard camera mount thread. I can't check at the moment as I am down south, about to walk up Mount Kosciuszko with my grandkids. Won't be home for another ten days.
01-22-2019, 10:46 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by PJ1 Quote
There is a screw thread sticking up where the base plate on a theodolite would go. It might be about 3/8 inch. I have a feeling I can get an adapter that will allow a connection with the standard camera mount thread. I can't check at the moment as I am down south, about to walk up Mount Kosciuszko with my grandkids. Won't be home for another ten days.
Oh, I see what you mean. It's that screw that holds the tribrach to the tripod. In my case, it does not stick up through the base plate, but rather hangs below it.

01-22-2019, 10:48 PM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by wrench.doozer Quote
I was just noticing that Asahi still makes Pentax branded theodolites, levels, & other surveying products.
Yes they do. I have one like this:
01-23-2019, 08:35 AM   #21
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I notice the tripod is branded "Topcon" and made in Japan. I didn't realize they were into surveying equipment.

For all the Pentaxians who don't recognize the old defunct camera brands, Topcon (Tokyo Kogaku: "Tokyo Optical") was the company that just barely beat Pentax to bring out the first through-the-lens metering SLR.

The Topcon RE Super had its CDS meter cell mounted on the mirror. I think Pentax showed off a prototype Spotmatic with a through-the-lens spotmeter first, but Topcon were the first to market. When the Spotmatic finally arrived it had a more practical centre-weighted meter, but they kept the cool Spotmatic name badge.

So, is using a Topcon tripod for a Pentax camera some kind of nifty homage to camera history? Or is it some kind of treason?
01-23-2019, 01:34 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
I notice the tripod is branded "Topcon" and made in Japan. I didn't realize they were into surveying equipment.

For all the Pentaxians who don't recognize the old defunct camera brands, Topcon (Tokyo Kogaku: "Tokyo Optical") was the company that just barely beat Pentax to bring out the first through-the-lens metering SLR.

The Topcon RE Super had its CDS meter cell mounted on the mirror. I think Pentax showed off a prototype Spotmatic with a through-the-lens spotmeter first, but Topcon were the first to market. When the Spotmatic finally arrived it had a more practical centre-weighted meter, but they kept the cool Spotmatic name badge.

So, is using a Topcon tripod for a Pentax camera some kind of nifty homage to camera history? Or is it some kind of treason?
I did not know Topcon was originally a camera company. They are a huge global survey supplies company: Topcon Positioning Systems, Inc.
Very interesting! Thanks for posting.
01-23-2019, 07:51 PM   #23
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I think that Topcon was always something more than a camera maker. They also made a variety of precision devices for opticians/optometrists for example, and probably still do as their instruments were highly regarded.

VAV super sturdy tripods. I have but rarely use a wooden surveying tripod made by Wild, fitted now with a Sirui ball head that's rated for 80 lb. However I have found that when you get to about 500mm, no tripod is really "rock steady." The length of the lens gives it such leverage that you can get fore-aft vibration even with a really heavy tripod (mine weighs about 25lb) that's firmly on the ground (mine has steel spikes with a step-on flange to force them as much as an inch and a half into the ground). The only sure way I've found to hold a very long lens steady is to have a second brace that either attaches to the camera body (in addition to the main support on the lens tripod collar) or even better, something that braces out at the end of the lens on the lens hood. Such a rig makes it very difficult to reframe, and impossible to follow a moving subject. However, it's a time honored method for holding a very long lens steady, most commonly using a second tripod for the extra brace.


Last edited by WPRESTO; 01-24-2019 at 05:39 AM.
01-24-2019, 04:19 AM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I think that Topcon was always something more than a camera maker. They also made a variety of precision devices for opticians/optometrists for example, and probably still do as their instruments were highly regarded.

VAV super sturdy tripods. I have but rarely use a wooden surveying tripod made by Wild, fitted now with a Sirui ball head that's rated for 80 lb. However I have found that when you get to about 500mm, no tripod is really "rock steady." The length of the lens gives it such leverage that you can get fore-aft vibration even with a really heavy tripod (mine weighs about 25lb) that's firmly on the ground (mine has steel spikes with a step-on flange to force them as much as an inch and a half into the ground). The only sure way I've found to hold a very long lens steady is to have a second brace that either attaches to the camera body (in addition to the main support on the lens tripod collar) or even better, something that braces out at the end of the lens on the lens hood. Such a rig makes it very difficult to reframe, and impossible to follow a moving subject. However, it's a time honored method for holding a very long lens steady, most commonly using a second tripod for the extra the extra brace.
Thanks for the advice. I'll certainly be testing it when I get a chance.
01-24-2019, 08:47 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by WPRESTO Quote
I think that Topcon was always something more than a camera maker. They also made a variety of precision devices for opticians/optometrists for example, and probably still do as their instruments were highly regarded.
For sure. Many of our favourite photography brands have toes in other more profitable markets. It's interesting to find a defunct camera name brand re-appear on some other unrelated item after they've long been forgotten by photographers.

We all know a lot of current camera makers do well in medical imaging equipment, microscopes, binoculars, rifle scopes, laser rangefinders ... and apparently surveying equipment.

When a new market for optical goodies turns up out of the blue (like laser/lens assemblies for CD and DVD players) it's much easier, I think, to go after that business than to deal with the whims and fancies of whiny photographers. I was surprised some years ago to find out that Norita Kogaku, after they dropped out of the camera making business, did well with the big lenses required in rear-projection televisions. I wonder what they're up to now.
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