Need a sturdy tripod?

February 14, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

I've tried to use my 8x10-inch view camera with my original tripod head, and with a slightly lighter-weight, but more accommodating, tripod head with more contact with the camera. It just hadn't been working. I decided to go for a new tripod, but I didn't want to pay what it would cost, and I knew most tripods wouldn't have the proper bolt size. This camera consists of everything above the monorail as well as the lighter color head mounted on the tripod, just below the black metal rail. Usually, tripod heads accept something like a 5/8-inch bolt, but this one accepts a 1/4-inch bolt, very similar to most cameras. For this reason, I needed to find a tripod that could mount directly to a camera. 

Since this isn't the normal method, I knew I'd either have to spend a ton on a really expensive tripod, or somehow modify one. 

Enter the Bosch BT160 Contractor's Tripod (Aluminum). Hopefully this link will always work. It redirects to a reconditioned model available online. It's also available at The Home Depot. 

This contractor's/surveyor's tripod (whatever you want to call it, chances are you usually see somebody doing surveying with it) has a different way of mounting an instrument. It has a large hole in the top, with a floating bolt mechanism. This means you can slide the originaly, larger bolt aside, and use some washers and just a normal 1/4-inch bolt in around it's place. 

This camera, a Burke & James Grover, has a different kind of mount clamp. It has very few contact points and essentially only in contact in the very middle where it's screwed in, and around the circular mount clamp where it meets the black part of the tripod under it. This is perfect for my camera, since it has very little contact in the center or indeed anywhere else, until the camera's circular mount comes in contact with the tripod. 

I'm definitely down to help anybody with information on one of these tripods if they feel it's for them. 

Benefits of this tripod: It's very sturdy. It's made to dig into soft ground to keep it sturdy. It has soft tips which help it stay put on harder surfaces. It's built to be used in on a construction site. It's easy to adjust the length of the legs, and they go pretty high. Lower price than similar tripods meant specifically for cameras.

Downsides: It wasn't built for cameras (but it still might work). It's just a set of legs, not every tripod head will fit; bring yours with you when you look at a surveyor tripod. In my case, I can tilt my camera up and down because of the circular mount (you can see the large, over-sized knob on the side) but I can't rotate left to right and so I need to actually rotate the whole tripod in order to pan to the side. 

 

 

 


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