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Author Topic: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?  (Read 6876 times)

adam z

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I've just ordered a RRS TCV-34L and am unsure if I should order the separate centre column. I tend to not use the column on my current tripod as the tripod alone struggles with stability with the gear I am using on it. Sometimes when shooting architecture I want to move the camera up or down a bit, but it feels like guess work extending the legs a bit only to find I haven't extended them enough, or I have gone a bit too far. Is the slight drop in stability when using a good sturdy tripod like the RRS likely to be noticeable by adding the column? Is it worth the slight compromise? I really want to get the views of some other architectural photographers before making the extra purchase. If you shoot architecture, I'd like to hear what you are using and why.

Note: gear used is Canon 1Dx bodies with various lenses, mostly wide to normal though I do carry the 70-200 2.8LII to architectural shoots just in case. Currently using the Manfrotto Junior geared head, though plan on upgrading to the Arca C1 cube in future.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2014, 12:51:09 PM »

I have nothing against really good or even Really Right Stuff carbon fiber tripods but my feeling about tripods for architectural work, particularly for interior work,  is that the heavier the better - even better is one with a geared center column.  For that reason, for architectural and stitched panoramas  I still prefer to use a Gitzo 410C bought back in '86 with my first view camera (A Sinar 4x5 C) over my lighter carbon fiber tripods.
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Ellis Vener

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2014, 01:34:32 PM »

here's another one I'd consider:http://www.ebay.com/itm/Foba-Alfae-Tripod-w-Crank-Operated-Head-27-95-Closed-59-84-Max-Height-/331134673639

Once again, it's a heavy duty tripod, and very smooth. full disclosure: I know the seller, who is a dealer specializing in high end used photo gear, and whose office is around the corner from me. I have looked at this specific tripod several times.
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dwswager

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2014, 02:25:52 PM »

I've just ordered a RRS TCV-34L and am unsure if I should order the separate centre column. I tend to not use the column on my current tripod as the tripod alone struggles with stability with the gear I am using on it. Sometimes when shooting architecture I want to move the camera up or down a bit, but it feels like guess work extending the legs a bit only to find I haven't extended them enough, or I have gone a bit too far. Is the slight drop in stability when using a good sturdy tripod like the RRS likely to be noticeable by adding the column? Is it worth the slight compromise? I really want to get the views of some other architectural photographers before making the extra purchase. If you shoot architecture, I'd like to hear what you are using and why.

Note: gear used is Canon 1Dx bodies with various lenses, mostly wide to normal though I do carry the 70-200 2.8LII to architectural shoots just in case. Currently using the Manfrotto Junior geared head, though plan on upgrading to the Arca C1 cube in future.

I have that tripod and it is great, though I agree that heavy is better.  Of course you can weight it down with ballast.

I have the center column, but only use it for groups of head and shoulder portraits and that type of thing.  Most of the time the center column stays at home.  If you don't need it exactly level (using a leveling base or leveling under the camera at the head), it is relatively simple to get to the height you want without using a center column.  Depends how lazy you are (don't take that the wrong way).  If you think you will leave the camera in the wrong position rather than adjusting the legs a little, but will move it to correct position if you can do it with the center column, get the center column. 
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allegretto

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2014, 01:25:07 PM »

Just one opinion here but the aversion to just a bit of center post to square the image in the frame of  that monster tripod you bought can't be much. Even your 1Dx (love that camera, just don't want to lug it or I'd buy it) with your most massive lens is less than 10lbs from what you say

There is "kill" and "overkill"

BTW; how do you like the locking apex?
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dwswager

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2014, 01:22:30 PM »

Just one opinion here but the aversion to just a bit of center post to square the image in the frame of  that monster tripod you bought can't be much. Even your 1Dx (love that camera, just don't want to lug it or I'd buy it) with your most massive lens is less than 10lbs from what you say

There is "kill" and "overkill"

BTW; how do you like the locking apex?

I'll speak to the Kill vs OverKill.  I went OverKill on the 34L for 2 reasons.  First, I shoot very long exposures and RRS put me in touch with one of the guys that actually does this and we discussed it thoroughly.  Also, the price was not much more than the 24L.  And finally compared to size (without offset legs) and weight of the Gitzo I was looking at, it still is smaller and lighter.   The image below is the Gitzo 5 series (everything from 3 up has a 90mm apex I believe) and the RRS 3 series.  Not quite comparable, but close.



The entire review is here (with multiple photos): http://scottgrobarek.blogspot.com/2011/07/really-right-stuff-tvc-34l-review.html

Not sure what you are asking about with respect to the apex.  There are 3 set screws that hold the apex into assembly.  The apex is one single piece of machined metal.
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ripgriffith

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2014, 02:05:38 PM »

Someone once said that using an extended center column instantly converts your  tripod into a monopod.
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dwswager

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2014, 07:08:12 PM »

Someone once said that using an extended center column instantly converts your  tripod into a monopod.

"Monopod with legs" 

As everything in photography, it is a tradeoff.  What you might give up in stability, you get in convenience and working speed.  Also, you have to figure if the shutter speed range you are working in is going to be impacted.  Of course, the more you extend the column, the less stable it becomes.  Finally, I also use a Uniloc (think Benbo) and sometimes it can put the camera in positions I just can do with my RRS or any regular tripod.  Picture the camera 1 foot or so over the side of a balcony railing.  So the tradeoff is the Uniloc or handheld or nothing!

"The good shot you get is always better than the great shot you don't!" - Me
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haefnerphoto

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2014, 07:16:04 PM »

You'll run into no problems using the center column of your tripod, that's what it's for.  You're shooting with a DSLR not an 8x10 or 4x5.  Jim
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Ken Bennett

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2014, 08:06:10 PM »

Someone once said that using an extended center column instantly converts your  tripod into a monopod.

Right, because when I extend my center column, and let go, the whole thing falls over, just like a monopod. Hmmm?

I use the center column on my Gitzo 3 series. I don't see any difference in a couple of inches of extension over just using the legs. But perhaps I've no idea what I'm doing.

Edit: thanks dwswager for the link to the RRS tripod review. I've been using the Gitzo for a long time, and this is the first piece I've seen that makes me think about the RRS tripod.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2014, 08:10:33 PM by k bennett »
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Equipment: a camera and some lenses. Ima

dwswager

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2014, 11:40:05 AM »

Edit: thanks dwswager for the link to the RRS tripod review. I've been using the Gitzo for a long time, and this is the first piece I've seen that makes me think about the RRS tripod.

Welcome.

When I first started looking, I never considered RRS because they 'tripod' and RRS didn't pop into my head.  Then I found a number of reviews basically saying that the 3 series RRS was as stable for them as their 5 series Gitzos.  I don't know if I would go that far, but since I have no experience with the big Gitzos I figured 4 or 5 which was good enough for me.

I went with RRS because I have always been happy with the products and support and I have been buying from them since you had to call Brian and Kathy on the phone!  I also like the more compact package and the single piece apex.  Also, the feet are nice since when splayed flat keep the legs off the ground though they will also screw into a Gitzo.  I bought the center column and use it when necessary.  Just got asked to do portraits for a local high school sports team media guide.

I landed on John Shaw's gear page by happenstance and noticed he is using the RRS TVC-24L.  Seems he is shooting D8x0s and he has some lenses much bigger and heavier (200-400mm f/4, 500mm f/4) than what I would ever use and he is a known stickler for tripods and mirror lockup.
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ripgriffith

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2014, 12:28:59 PM »

This is my mates Murray's idea of a useful centre column, a monopod on wheels....


Isn't a monopod on wheels a quadrapod?
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allegretto

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2014, 01:13:10 PM »

Well to add to the "short" side of this discussion

am on vacation and packed as light as possible

-A7R
-A7s
-Gitzo 1542 (yep, I know, but I'm always thinking lighter unless I can't)
-RRS BH-30

Definitely makes a difference to raise the center post with the 7R, but not the 7s. It's all shutter shock, right where you folks say ~1/160 - 1/30. However, even a bit of down pressure on the camera cleans it up nicely. In fact if I raise the center post a hand width and grip it right there it's really perfect or near so.

Darn it...! Sony should have made a pre-lock shutter or something... anything but what they did. If you don't hold the 7R on the 1542 some way it jiggles, even with the post collapsed. I have a Manfrotto leveling plate that has way more mass than need be but I bet if I loaded that up as a base it would help as well.

That's all from the Land of Lilliput...
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adam z

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Re: Tripod with centre column for architectural work for precise framing?
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2014, 07:57:48 AM »

Well my 34L arrived today, and I'm really impressed with it. I've been busy and hadn't had a chance to read all the comments until just now! I am going to shoot my standard real estate stuff without the centre column and take note of how often I may want to nudge the camera up just a little to improve composition. If it's a regular occurrence then I'll order the column, if not, I won't bother. I did consider getting a heavier tripod with geared column, but my equipment is already heavy enough as it is and the 34L is impressively light. Knowing how much it weighed and then feeling it in hand. I was actually quite surprised how light it feels. It feels rock solid, and I think it will do the job just fine, as well as being good for other jobs that I will use it for including portrait and landscape work. Everything is a compromise in one way or another. As for overkill, I'd like to be shooting high res medium format digital in a couple of years if all goes well, and I had that in mind when deciding between the series 2 and series 4.

Anyway, thanks for all the replies

I do have an issue though, but I'll create a new post for that.
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