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01-22-2019, 02:38 PM - 9 Likes   #1
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My sturdy tripod project

For some time I have thought about a sturdy tripod. Most definitely not a travel tripod! It turns out I had most of what I needed to accomplish this on a budget.

I have a few land surveyors tripods. These are, of course, designed for precision land surveying work, so as sturdy as can be while still being portable.
From a friendly local Land Surveyor, I obtained some used equipment he no longer needs. A tribrach and a tribrach adapter. The tribrach is the grey device that mounts to the top of the tripod. It is designed to provide leveling and a secure mount for variety of survey gear such as a theodolite, a total station or similar. The black part, that fits securely onto that is called a tribrach adapter. It is used to fit a prism or other survey attachment to the the tribrach. I removed the tribrach adapter centre screw and fitted a bolt with the correct thread to mount a tripod ballhead.

The ballhead / tribrach adapter / tribrach combination is heavy enough to use on it's own as a small table top tripod and supports the K-1 II and battery grip with ease.

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01-22-2019, 03:43 PM   #2
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So do the three lugs rotate to hold the tribrach adapter or are there ball bearings or something to hold it in place?
01-22-2019, 04:29 PM   #3
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Nithce!!!!!

I like the leveling base as well, very handy. and being able to remove the head easily is a bonus.

I would say this is going to be very sturdy indeed..
01-22-2019, 04:31 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cmohr Quote
Nithce!!!!!

I like the leveling base as well, very handy. and being able to remove the head easily is a bonus.

I would say this is going to be very sturdy indeed..
Thanks!

01-22-2019, 04:36 PM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
So do the three lugs rotate to hold the tribrach adapter or are there ball bearings or something to hold it in place?
The tribrach has a plate, underneath, as part of it's construction that rotates and locks the tribrach adapter in place. The three round pins in the bottom of the tribrach adapter sits in the three holes you can see in the third photo. On the left of the tribrach you can see a black lozenge shaped knob. When one turns this knob 180 degrees, the tribrach locks the tribrach adapter in place by rotation of the plate under. It is held with no play whatsoever.
01-22-2019, 05:03 PM - 1 Like   #6
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that is exactly what I was looking to do, before I was given a heavy duty tripod.

Good work!
01-22-2019, 05:12 PM - 1 Like   #7
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Nice MarkII!

I see you are using an SAE bolt to attach the ball head. Does your local hardware store stock those, or do you have to order and have them shipped there?
01-22-2019, 05:40 PM   #8
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Given what the tripod is built to support, I would question the ball head, especially with something in the 400mm range, and if it is not for something that size, I don't see the point in using the set of legs you have

01-22-2019, 05:43 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Riggomatic Quote
that is exactly what I was looking to do, before I was given a heavy duty tripod.

Good work!
Thank you David!
01-22-2019, 05:47 PM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Racer X 69 Quote
Nice MarkII!

I see you are using an SAE bolt to attach the ball head. Does your local hardware store stock those, or do you have to order and have them shipped there?
Thanks mate! Our local motorcar parts shop sells SAE bolts. The hardware shop, while huge, is useless when it comes to stocking non-metric.
01-22-2019, 05:58 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Given what the tripod is built to support, I would question the ball head, especially with something in the 400mm range, and if it is not for something that size, I don't see the point in using the set of legs you have
The ball head is rated to 12-15kg, (depending on which supplier you believe) so I think we're good.
The aim of the game was to have something as sturdy as possible and, apart from the SAE bolt and two washers, this setup cost me nothing, as I already had the ballhead and the tripod and the tribrach and tribrach adapter was free. Total cost NZ$2.05.
01-22-2019, 05:59 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Re: sturdy tripod

I mated a Gitzo Cremailiere 3 from the 1970's with a Manfrotto 410 Geared head that can handle a 500 mm SMC Takumar on my K1. Sturdy as a rock! Also is a solid platform for my Mamiya C 330 f for landscape work.
01-22-2019, 06:07 PM   #13
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While I understand your point on the ball head rating, there is a difference between being able to support a load, and being vibration free while doing so.

I spent a long time sorting out vibration free support for my tamron 200-500/5.6 which weighs about 3 kilos, just by itself.

Even gimbal heads which are designed for the purpose, are not rigid enough. But I get you if you already had most of the bits and you got the base for free, something about that equations simply says why not!
01-22-2019, 06:17 PM   #14
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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.
01-22-2019, 07:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
While I understand your point on the ball head rating, there is a difference between being able to support a load, and being vibration free while doing so.

I spent a long time sorting out vibration free support for my tamron 200-500/5.6 which weighs about 3 kilos, just by itself.

Even gimbal heads which are designed for the purpose, are not rigid enough. But I get you if you already had most of the bits and you got the base for free, something about that equations simply says why not!
I'll certainly check if there's any vibration issues - thanks for the heads-up. Having said that, if everything is rigid and the one thing that gives me grief is the ball head, then I'll look to find a larger (movie camera style) head.
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