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07-24-2011, 12:16 AM   #16
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I agree with your point of view and experience. I have found that it is very difficult to get sharpe photos using MF gear and lenses with focal length greater than or equal to 300mm. One must use both the right equipment and the right techniques.

I use an aluminium Gitzo G1500 tripod together with a matching systematic 5 hydrostatic head with quick release. It is shown in the first photo below supporting a P67 plus Takumar 400mm telephoto. The top tubes are 37.5mm dia with 2mm thick walls. They join into the top mounting ring with separation of about 125mm, so very good at resisting axial torsion. and can carry very heavy weight.

The head, shown in close up in the second photo, is seamlessly bolted into the tripod, has a very thick neck, and short vertical distance from the tripod mount to the quick release plate - all factors contributing to the overall stiffness of the mount. There is only one ring beneath the mounting plate that needs be turned in order to change the orientation of the camera.

I always now use with long lenses a mounting rail as a quick release plate so that I can bolt both the lens and the camera to it - the subsequent reduction in vibration, compared against a single point mount to the lens only, is obvious even in the viewfinder. This of course makes portrait orientation difficult because the orientation of the lens and camera can no longer be individually changed, but there are always compromises to be dealt with. I manufactured a steel L-bracket with 7mm x 50mm cross-section that I leave permanently attached to a quick release plate, so to go to portrait mode, I simply attach the L-bracket/mounting plate to the head, and bolt the rail of the camera assemblage yo the L-bracket, as shown in the 3rd and 4th photos.

If all that is not enough, additional practices are necessary for ultimate sharpness: 1) I never use the tripod with legs extended any further than is shown in the 1st photo - and this is true for any tripod, not just mine; 2) even though the tripod/head/camera/lens weighs in at about 9kg, I hang an additional 5-10 kg from the hook under the head - this assures that the tripod feet are securely set on the ground; 3) I drape a further additional 8kg diver's weight belt over the lens to add mass to the camera system - good for reducing the effect of the shutter release; 4) I always use MLU; 5) when I take the shot, I rest my left hand atop the lens above the mount and I hold the camera with my right hand, in order to add damping; and 6) I squeeze the shutter firmly and slowly, holding my breath, like one fires a gun.

Some of you may consider this extreme overkill, but I have examined all aspects mentioned above over many years, and am left with no doubt that it is all necessary - necessary that is, if you want to achieve the most sharpness possible out of a telephoto lens/MF camera combination. Now, if you are willing to tolerate a little less sharpness, well, that is another matter...

Best, Alan





QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I disagree, even the strongest Gitzo system tripods can have have their stability compromised depending on how you use it, and the surfaces you place it on. Using a tripod isn't a simple matter of extending the legs composing the shot and taking it, there is extensive technique and planning ahead involved especially with long lenses. With wide angle lenses such techniques aren't as necessary but they still can be the difference between getting the shot and not. With my lighter tripods I often use my camera bag on a bungee to counteract vibrations and strong winds, having a heavy weight close to the ground lowers the centre of gravity and greatly enhances the stability of a tripod considerably. Using a tripod head that has a low profile head on it like the low profile Ballheads made by Gitzo do wonders for enhancing stability. Also spreading out the tripod legs and using a lower angle will often compositionally improve your images and from a stability standpoint lower the centre of balance of the tripod and assist in keeping vibrations to a minimum.


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07-24-2011, 01:12 AM   #17
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An impressive set up you have there, Alan. You certainly seem to be getting the most out of the 67 Takumar 400mm f/4 - and I envy the fact that you have an angle finder for the metered prism.

Personally I prefer to use a wimberly sidemount head for long and heavy glass like my Pentax SMC-67 M*400mm f/4 ED* on the Pentax 67II. I do not like the full gimbal head wimberly makes because of the way it moves in the vertical axis. The sidekick keeps the cameras movement focused around the centre of balance of the lens/camera which means you don't need as much room to move the camera around - which can be very useful when you are in cramped locations or when there is a yawning abyss a few steps behind you.

*Really Right stuff makes an Arca style quick release plate specifically for the 67 M*400mm f/4 ED [IF] lens which I recommend for users of the Arca QR system and it is essential for use of this lens on gimbal style heads.

Last edited by Digitalis; 07-24-2011 at 05:34 AM.
07-24-2011, 04:30 AM   #18
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None, to be honest....
07-24-2011, 05:37 AM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
None, to be honest....
Interesting comment from a guy with an avatar like yours Rense.

07-24-2011, 09:03 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Interesting comment from a guy with an avatar like yours Rense.
He uses his 6x7 for street photography


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07-24-2011, 12:47 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
one of a handful of tripods that come close to my 188cm height
If you've already done the research which tripods do go that high??
07-24-2011, 05:24 PM   #22
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Alan shows what you need for the big guns. Here is the opposite in MF film. For wide-field photography, you can get a lightweight camera that uses no mirror plus a compact tripod with a small head. I also have a heavier duty pan head I use for the Hasselblad which I prefer to use on that camera. The body of this camera weights just under 1000g. And the wide angle lenses for it are 390g, 465g, 380g and 520g for the 43/50/65/80mm lenses. The configuration shown here weighs less than a K-5 with a DA* 16-50mm lens. It makes for easy backpacking.









Last edited by tuco; 07-24-2011 at 06:56 PM.
07-26-2011, 06:49 AM   #23
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Thank you for making this point so vividly, Luc. It is very important for people to understand that what is critical or vital for telephoto photography is not terribly relevant to wide angle photography - one really can get by nicely with much less, thankfully.

Best, Alan

QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Alan shows what you need for the big guns. Here is the opposite in MF film. For wide-field photography, you can get a lightweight camera that uses no mirror plus a compact tripod with a small head. I also have a heavier duty pan head I use for the Hasselblad which I prefer to use on that camera. The body of this camera weights just under 1000g. And the wide angle lenses for it are 390g, 465g, 380g and 520g for the 43/50/65/80mm lenses. The configuration shown here weighs less than a K-5 with a DA* 16-50mm lens. It makes for easy backpacking.










07-26-2011, 01:04 PM   #24
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I should note that the picture has the camera shown offset from center line of the head. But in practice I actually turn the mounting plate 90 degrees and can adjust the lens over the center line. And unless the ground is vibrating, gusts of wind are blowing or you need to raise the camera really high, a larger tripod will not, IMHO, add much to the critically sharp results you can get from this camera.

Last edited by tuco; 07-27-2011 at 08:59 AM.
07-29-2011, 03:01 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by ARCASIA Quote
I use an aluminium Gitzo G1500 tripod ...
...
1) I never use the tripod with legs extended any further than is shown in the 1st photo ...
Exist some paritcular reasons behind don't use a wood tripod?
For example on berlebach exist many models with two sections with quite similar performance (18 kg vs 20 kg) - but less weight.
07-29-2011, 03:07 PM   #26
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I use an inferior carbon fiber Benro tripod with my P67II. The tripod itself is great, but the ballhead is a bit too small even with the short lenses I use (55, 75, 90 & 105 mm).




For 99% of my photography I shoot handheld, so I don't worry too much about the tripod. It works when I use it, and I hate to use it as much as I hate tripods overall.
07-31-2011, 03:11 AM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Interesting comment from a guy with an avatar like yours Rense.
Haha, yes, you're right! Once I used a tripod for landscapes in the evening....
But as Steve said: I mainly use my 67 for street photography.... And a tripod is not very handy in that case....
07-31-2011, 06:37 AM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
And a tripod is not very handy in that case
I use a Carbon fibre Manfrotto 694CX for that kind of work in 67 format - and I usually use the 55mm f/4 with an ISO 400 film. The other added benefit is that the Manfrotto 694CX is one of the few monopods that is able to come close to my height - an annoying fact is that being tall means you also have to pay more for the extra height. The same thing goes for when I buy a suit none of the ones off the rack are anywhere near appropriate for my height so I get custom ones tailored....the curse of being tall and slender.

Last edited by Digitalis; 07-31-2011 at 07:49 AM.
07-31-2011, 06:56 AM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I use a Carbon fibre Manfrotto 694CX for that kind of work in 67 format - and I usually use the 55mm f/4 with an ISO 400 film. The other added benefit is that the Manfrotto 694CX is one of the few monopods that is able to match my height - an annoying fact is that being tall means you also have to pay more for the extra height. The same thing goes for when I buy a suit none of the ones off the rack are anywhere near appropriate for my height so I get custom ones tailored....the curse of being tall and slender.
how tall are you???

I too mainly use the 55mm, but with the waist level finder and a neck strap the camera has enough stability when I pull it down a little.... After an afternoon shooting in this way my head feels like it will come off, but that is the only downside of it....
07-31-2011, 07:58 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rense Quote
how tall are you??? I too mainly use the 55mm, but with the waist level finder and a neck strap the camera has enough stability when I pull it down a little.... After an afternoon shooting in this way my head feels like it will come off, but that is the only downside of it....
I'm 6'2" - and it is incredibly annoying that most tripods are around 158cm at maximum height*. I admit it has been about five years since I last used my Pentax 67II for street photography, I prefer the stealthier shutters of my Hasselblad 500 series cameras, and the WLF is simply perfect on the hasselblads, and very bright especially with the modified Minolta focusing screen - if there is one thing minolta(RIP) does well it is focusing screens, the original one from hasselblad was terrible!


*without the centre column being extended, using the central column destabilises tripods and reduces their effectiveness significantly.
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