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Thread: Tripod for G1 and long lens

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Tripod for G1 and long lens

    In the thread on the Leica Macro-Elmarit 45mm f/2.8 lens, I noted that the lens dwarfed the GF1 and suggested that "if one is going to be working on a tripod anyway, an APS-C or full-frame DSLR will deliver superior results at the cost of not a lot more bulk."

    nostatic agreed:

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    And yes, if you need to carry a tripod then you might as well take a larger body along.
    To which, Vivek rather sensibly replied:

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    You can also take a smaller, lighter tripod.
    He's right, I thought. But how much smaller and lighter? Given that I specifically want the tripod to support a G1 plus a Pen F 250/5 telephoto lens. The 250/5 lens weighs 800g (1.76 lbs) and has an integral tripod bush, as shown in this picture:



    I already have a Gitzo 6x Carbon Fiber GT3531 Mountaineer tripod which, with a Markins M20 ballhead, I've been using with Nikon D300 and D700 bodies. But its weight negates the main advantage of using a G1 outfit. Since I like Gitzo tripods, a logical smaller and lighter choice would be either the GT2531 or the GT1531. The key features of the three models are summarized in the following table.



    The GT1531 and GT2531 are approximately the same size folded and the GT1531 and GT2531 are 53% and 64% respectively of the weight of the GT3531. The price difference between them is not significant.

    Fearing that the GT1531 will be too light, I'm inclined to play it safe and get the GT2531. But, since I can't find a store in Sydney which has both models in stock for me to compare, I'm hoping that one or more forum members might have direct experience of using one or both and might be able to suggest which would be the best choice.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    I have used a gorilla pod with my 300f4 lens



    but to me the better question is not how much weight can it take, but how much vibration does it damp.

    I've used this setup on a desk beside me at a conference (got some looks) but it works well enough.

    What you really want to make sure of is that the system does not vibrate and that it damps out vibrations quickly ... lucky enough there is no mirror slap on this camera


    Normally I use a Manfrotto 190

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    I have used a gorilla pod with my 300f4 lens



    but to me the better question is not how much weight can it take, but how much vibration does it damp.

    I've used this setup on a desk beside me at a conference (got some looks) but it works well enough.

    What you really want to make sure of is that the system does not vibrate and that it damps out vibrations quickly ... lucky enough there is no mirror slap on this camera


    Normally I use a Manfrotto 190
    Wow, pellicle, I thought my Pen F 250/4 looked impressive on the G1 but your Canon FD 300/4 puts it to shame.

    I agree that damping is an important factor to consider, with carbon fiber and wood being the best materials to damp vibrations.

    In my quest for more information, it occurred to me that searching for "Gitzo GT1530 GT2530" (i.e. for the older models) would yield more results than a search for "Gitzo GT1531 GT2531" and I was correct. A post in one of the forum threads suggested that torsional rigidity is important (when focal plane shutters fire, the entire camera undergoes torque) and pointed to the Gitzo catalog as a source of information.
    Advances in technology are helping to gradually but consistently reduce the weight of camera equipment. If you are looking for a support that maximises image stabilisation, maximum load capacity is no longer enough to let you identify the correct support for your setup. If you only consider maximum load, you may find yourself using a tripod that’s strong enough to hold your equipment, but not sturdy enough to properly stabilise your images, no matter how good your camera or lens. While weight is decreasing, the actual lens view angle remains unchanged. A 200mm lens has a view angle of 12°, while a 400mm lens has a 6° view angle. A deviation of 6 degrees projected over a distance of 300m is equal to 31.5m. To take these constants into account, the ideal tripod should really be selected according to its torsional rigidity. The tripod’s torsion angle should always be inferior to the view angle of the longest focal length lens you intend to use.

    Gitzo’s Series numbers help you identify the right tripod: higher Series tripods offer superior torsional rigidity and consequently have a lower torsion angle. We’ve tested our tripods with the most popular lenses on the market to identify which Series provides the best stabilisation performance for different focal lengths. For example, we recommend Series 2 tripods for use with 200mm lenses. If you decide to use a 200mm lens on a Series 1 tripod, you’ll need to pay more attention to keeping your equipment steady and may have to avoid critical conditions like strong winds. On the other hand, if you use your 200mm lens on a Series 3 tripod, erring on the safe side will allow you to use your system in the most critical conditions without having to worry about image stabilisation.
    According to Gitzo, tripod torsion rigidity is directly related to lens view angle and a table in the catalog indicates which tripod is appropriate for a particular (35mm equivalent) lens:

    135 mm - Series 1
    200 mm - Series 2
    300 mm - Series 3
    400 mm - Series 4
    500 mm - Series 5

    A 250 mm lens on a 4/3ds or m4/3rds camera has the same angle of view as a 500 mm lens on a 35mm camera. Notwithstanding the fact that it's in Gitzo's interest to sell more expensive tripods, I've come to the (reluctant) conclusion that I might be best off sticking with my GT 3531.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    Wow, pellicle, I thought my Pen F 250/4 looked impressive on the G1 but your Canon FD 300/4 puts it to shame.
    yes, sometimes its a little embarrassing. when people go


    A post in one of the forum threads suggested that torsional rigidity is important (when focal plane shutters fire, the entire camera undergoes torque) and pointed to the Gitzo
    well back in the days when mirrors really did slap up and back perhaps Though I think that is insignificant with modern 35mm cameras. I can't imagine much happening on a professional level EOS camera and a EF300mm

    however that's even less likely to be significant with a micro4/3

    :-)

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    well back in the days when mirrors really did slap up and back perhaps Though I think that is insignificant with modern 35mm cameras. I can't imagine much happening on a professional level EOS camera and a EF300mm

    however that's even less likely to be significant with a micro4/3

    :-)
    Hmm, difficult to argue with that. Even though the G1 does have a focal plane shutter, the weight of the camera pales into insignificance when compared to the weight of the telephoto lens -- particularly your full-frame 300/4. OK, back to the drawing board...

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon Delacour View Post
    particularly your full-frame 300/4. OK, back to the drawing board...
    not sure which drawing board that would be .. but try the Manfrotto 190 ... its good enough to work with my 4x5 camera as well as everything else I own.

    I used it to take this shot with the 300fd



    and there wasn't any image in the days set which showed shake ...

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Here is my 190 holding up my LF camera



    its quite a versatile tripod btw

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    not sure which drawing board that would be ..
    Now you've managed to get me to take off my Gitzo glasses, that would be the Manfrotto drawing board...

    Looks like you have an aluminium model. B&H are selling the (carbon fiber) 190CXPRO3 for US$299.95, which is slightly more than half the cost of the GT2531 (US$579). The aluminium 190XPROB is only US$159.95 but it weighs 4 lb (1.8 kg) against 2.8 lb (1.3 kg) for the 190CXPRO3.

    I think it might be worth getting the 190CXPRO3 and seeing how I like it. If I don't, it shouldn't be too difficult to sell locally -- they retail for around AU$660 (US$610).

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    Senior Member petermcwerner's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Some heavy lenses do not have a tripod bush, such as the Leica Elmarit 35-70mm/2.8, the Angenieux 180mm/2.3 or the Kinoptik Tegea 9.8mm/1.8. The maximum recommended lens weight for the G1 lens mount is 1000g (1 kg) and these lenses are on the limit or heavier. A tripod alone is not the solution. You might even want to hand-hold them without damaging the camera. My solution is the Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support.

    Hand held, this lens support gives a good grip, particularly for vertical shots:



    Kinoptik Tegea 9.8mm/1.8 on the Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support

    Last edited by petermcwerner; 16th October 2009 at 08:36.
    Peter Werner
    Leica M8, R9+DMR & Digilux 2; Nikon D700; Panasonic FX01, FX150 & G1; Samsung TL350 (WB 2000)

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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    I use tripods quite a lot, regardless of the camera; with both ultrawide and longer lenses almost all the time. Any large and heavy lens MUST have its own tripod mount, regardless of how big or small the camera body might be IMO, or I'm not interested in it. To wit:


    The size of the body is irrelevant. Bodies which have well-damped mirrors or no mirrors at all work best. The G1 has been brilliant on a tripod, as has the L1 and E-1, with any lens I've used on them. I've used up to a Nikkor 400mm mounted in front of the Olympus 1.4x teleconverter.

    If you want to be certain of damping shutter operation vibration in any camera, use the 2 second self-timer.

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    Subscriber Member Jonathon Delacour's Avatar
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    Re: Tripod for G1 and long lens

    Quote Originally Posted by petermcwerner View Post
    Some heavy lenses do not have a tripod bush, such as the Leica Elmarit 35-70mm/2.8, the Angenieux 180mm/2.3 or the Kinoptik Tegea 9.8mm/1.8. The maximum recommended lens weight for the G1 lens mount is 1000g (1 kg) and these lenses are on the limit or heavier. A tripod alone is not the solution. You might even want to hand-hold them without damaging the camera. My solution is the Manfrotto 293 Telephoto Lens Support.

    Hand held, this lens support gives a good grip, particularly for vertical shots:


    Peter, that looks like an effective (if somewhat cumbersome) solution. Certainly those example shots indicate that it yields excellent results. I have a Voigtlander 180/4 APO-Lanthar lens in Nikon mount which I intended to use on the G1. Even though it's not overly large or heavy, the lens felt unbalanced handheld on the G1 and I was worried about putting the camera on a tripod then expecting the G1's mount to support the lens+adapter combination.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I use tripods quite a lot, regardless of the camera; with both ultrawide and longer lenses almost all the time. Any large and heavy lens MUST have its own tripod mount, regardless of how big or small the camera body might be IMO, or I'm not interested in it.

    The size of the body is irrelevant. Bodies which have well-damped mirrors or no mirrors at all work best. The G1 has been brilliant on a tripod, as has the L1 and E-1, with any lens I've used on them. I've used up to a Nikkor 400mm mounted in front of the Olympus 1.4x teleconverter.

    If you want to be certain of damping shutter operation vibration in any camera, use the 2 second self-timer.
    Godfrey, I agree -- that's partly why I went with the Pen F 250/5 (the other reason was its smaller size, compared to MF lenses of similar focal length for 35mm cameras). I've been using the 2 second self-timer but have ordered a Panasonic cable release for those shots where a delay isn't acceptable.

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