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Author Topic: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?  (Read 12387 times)

NancyP

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Do you use and like the "bent bolt" style tripods where the 3 legs are clamped simultaneously by moving a lever at the apex of the tripod. The center column pivots ~ 360 degrees and is fixed with a second control. Examples include Uni-Loc and Benbo, two UK brands. This looks like it might be helpful in shooting near-ground shots or in some other awkward situations where standard tripods might not fit or might be a bit unstable.
Other options include a swiveling center column attached to a standard tripod.
Currently I shoot with a ball head on a Feisol tripod without a center column - access to some subjects is awkward.
Has anyone used the Feisol swiveling center column?
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NancyP

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What load do you put on the Explorer? M4/3? full frame DSLR with 1.2 kg lens? DSLR plus heavy lens plus "Stackshot" or other rails system? And do you routinely counterweight the tilted column?
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NancyP

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I found some useful youtube videos demonstrating the different types of tripods.
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dwswager

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Do you use and like the "bent bolt" style tripods where the 3 legs are clamped simultaneously by moving a lever at the apex of the tripod. The center column pivots ~ 360 degrees and is fixed with a second control. Examples include Uni-Loc and Benbo, two UK brands. This looks like it might be helpful in shooting near-ground shots or in some other awkward situations where standard tripods might not fit or might be a bit unstable.
Other options include a swiveling center column attached to a standard tripod.
Currently I shoot with a ball head on a Feisol tripod without a center column - access to some subjects is awkward.
Has anyone used the Feisol swiveling center column?

I have used a Uni-Loc with a Arca Swiss B2 for 20 years.  My main tripod now is a RRS 34L.

There is tremendous flexibility with these.  They take some getting used to because when you loosen the bolt it goes all limp.  People describe it as holding a drunk octopus.  But for getting low or in hard to reach positions it is unparalleled.  You will sacrifice stability as you put it into freaky positions.  Try hanging it over a balcony or being able to prop it against a wall with one leg.

The other big thing is that the lower legs slide over top the upper sections so you can put it into water or muck up to the length of the lower section with no issues.

Down side is length.  With only 2 leg sections they don't collapse small and don't extend very far.

The Gitzo explorers seem to be a half way compromise between a regular tripod and the bent bolts!
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graeme

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There is tremendous flexibility with these.  They take some getting used to because when you loosen the bolt it goes all limp.  People describe it as holding a drunk octopus.  But for getting low or in hard to reach positions it is unparalleled.  You will sacrifice stability as you put it into freaky positions.  Try hanging it over a balcony or being able to prop it against a wall with one leg.

The other big thing is that the lower legs slide over top the upper sections so you can put it into water or muck up to the length of the lower section with no issues.

Down side is length.  With only 2 leg sections they don't collapse small and don't extend very far.


+1

I used a Uniloc tripod for about 15 years & still take it with me as a backup in case I have to get a shot from an awkward or confined space.

'They take some getting used to because when you loosen the bolt it goes all limp.' I trained myself to always keep a hold of the central column when adjusting the uniloc.
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NancyP

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I might give one a try. There seem to be a fair number of these used tripods on eBay for not much money.
Somewhere I read a comment about these tripods - that they are like "Marmite", you either love them or hate them. Marmite is another somewhat eccentric British product, yeast spread for your toast. That gave me a chuckle.
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DeanChriss

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I might give one a try. There seem to be a fair number of these used tripods on eBay for not much money.
Somewhere I read a comment about these tripods - that they are like "Marmite", you either love them or hate them. Marmite is another somewhat eccentric British product, yeast spread for your toast. That gave me a chuckle.

Or Vegemite, the even stronger tasting Aussie equivalent.
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- Dean

bjanes

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What load do you put on the Explorer? M4/3? full frame DSLR with 1.2 kg lens? DSLR plus heavy lens plus "Stackshot" or other rails system? And do you routinely counterweight the tilted column?

Nancy,

I purchased the Gitzo G2228 carbon fiber explorer used from B&H for flower and macro photography. I already had a RSS BH40 LR ball head (having replaced it with the BH 55 for my main tripod), so I put it on the Gitzo. I use the Nikon D800e with the RSS L plate on the tripod and my heaviest lens is the Sigma 180 f/2.8 macro. As yet, I have not employed a counter weight on the tilted column. Stability can be a problem when the tilted column is extended horizontally, but is less of a problematic when the legs are spread out for photographing flowers near the ground.

Operation of the setup requires a learning curve, but I find the adaptability of the unit to be excellent. I am quite happy with the setup.

Cheers,

Bill
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NancyP

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Thanks, all. I have also found a tilting adapter for center column by Feisol, and I may try that, since I like my Feisol tripods, and the main plate and the adapter change out by loosening three screws (like RRS) - easy, peasy.

Vegemite, Marmite, etc - have a little salt with your salt, sir?
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dwswager

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2015, 05:31:16 pm »

It depends what you mean by compromise. I find the Explorer to be every bit as configurable and adaptable as the bent bolt tripods.

The Gitzo is a great product and I almost bought one recently.  I do like the leg structure that slides over top the upper section.  I use these in mud, sand and water and that is a big benefit.  Not sure I would slide a Gitzo leg up into the upper section while still coated in muck.  If calf boots or hip waders are part of your gear, you might like the bent bolts.

That said, if I was going for either as a 1st or only tripod, I would recommend the gitzo over the bent bolts.
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NancyP

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2015, 08:54:58 pm »

I am a tripo-holic - I have three, each has its special uses.
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NancyP

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2015, 01:31:39 pm »

My new-to-me used Uni-Loc Major 1600 bent-bolt tripod arrived yesterday from England via eBay. It should handle swamp mud and river rocks locales on the Mississippi and other local rivers. Macro use looks interesting. Yes, it is like handling a drunken octopus (actually, drunken quadruped), and will take a little practice.  ::)
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tom b

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2015, 03:46:47 am »

Tripod!

I love my Canon Ring Flash.

Cheers,
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Tom Brown

PeterAit

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2015, 08:36:45 am »

My new-to-me used Uni-Loc Major 1600 bent-bolt tripod arrived yesterday from England via eBay. It should handle swamp mud and river rocks locales on the Mississippi and other local rivers. Macro use looks interesting. Yes, it is like handling a drunken octopus (actually, drunken quadruped), and will take a little practice.  ::)

Based on this thread I bought a Benbo and have been using it for about a week. It will take some getting used to but I am very impressed with its flexibility and sturdiness. But then there is a new Lula article on hand-held focus stacking which seems to work very well, so the need for a tripod may be less.
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Peter

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Herbc

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2015, 08:47:50 am »

I got a Benbo, and a "super clamp" which will allow me to use my Sony 5 inch viewer with the camera so I don't have to get on the ground as much for low shots.-the camera is near the ground, and via a 5 foot cable, the viewer is waist height. 8)
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NancyP

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Re: Macro shooters - your comments on "bent bolt" tripods (UniLoc, Benbo)?
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2015, 12:36:44 pm »

Now, there's a thought - separate monitor.
I am going to measure the legs and see if a SuperClamp works. Slowly I am accumulating flash and regular hardware. Clamp - spigot - "line-lok" - tool (cold shoe, small plant clamp). Also, I saw a nice ground spike - cold shoe apparatus in a macro book. Sprinkler spike?

Do people use SuperClamps on carbon fiber? I could see devising a golf umbrella holder from a Superclamp - spigot - umbrella hinge - bolt and nut - cup with a hole drilled in the bottom. Straight handle lightweight golf umbrella to rest very loosely in cup, so umbrella is able to fly away without taking tripod with it. I saw a fancier homemade aluminum clamp - hinge - cup arrangement at a photo seminar once.

Eh, just an excuse to wander around a hardware store   :)
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