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Tripods for 503cw


New Member
As a new blad owner I am looking at tripods for landscape work. Anyone out there got a view on recommended tripods. I am fit and will be carrying it a few miles on occasions. I am bewildered by choice and want to know what others use. Thankyou in anticipation.
Lloyd Morgan

Tripods are something I know about, but have an open mind and am always learning. I currently have three (1) 3021 Bogen (monfrotto)with 3265 hand squeeze head, (2) 3221 Bogen with a large ball head #3038, and (3) mono pod 3249 (680) with pro ball #308 head.

I use the 3021 with the 3265 head the most. but when using a long lens like the 350 CFE, need the heavy 3221 with 3038 ball.

I seldom use the Mono pod, which was something used with 35 mm long ago.

Best bet is to go to a large photo store, and try the display models. Ordering from a catalogue will only lead you to disappointment. Trick is to balance the weight of the camera, so that wind will not affect the performance in the field.

Tripods tend to be bulky and heavy, but without the weight, a lightweight pod is useless.

I have been very happy with the Manfrotto 444 carbon fiber with the 3265 pistol grip head. You pay extra for the carbon fiber but when you are carrying 30 pounds of body, lenses and film up hill, every pound counts. My longest lens is the 120mm plus 2x telextender so I have no comment about using it with a 250 or 350. The pistol grip is great but I also have a ball head to use when I want to get closer to the ground.
Hi, Lloyd.

I have an aluminum Gitzo "Pro Studex Compact w/ leg spreading" that I've used for more than 25 yrs, first for 4x5 and now for that plus a 503CW. They don't sell exactly that model any longer, but they have similar ones. A few years ago I replaced the old Gitzo head with a Bogen #3047 with quick release that I use for both cameras. The tripod collapses quite compactly and although it and the head are not lightweight -- together they weigh about 12 lbs. -- but I've walked a lot with it, from wilderness to Manhattan, and have never thought I had to replace it.

jim schaefer
The bigger the better to some extent... There are rubbishy ones that are cheap but NOT WORTH IT. There are probably a number of makers (Manfrotto, Slik, Gitzo) that make suitable ones.

But you might consider:

1. the limit of weight tolerance, with enough stability and HEIGHT. I have used a relatively light and compact tripod (Manfrotto 190) with Blads. It is possible, but the lower limit, IMO.

And I might brace the whole thing with weight (this works with care) and only carry it when I am making a compromise. I have found as much limitation in the legs not having enough length in steep terrain.

A bigger tripod might be pretty manageable for a 'few miles', although reducing weight is always nice. Carbon ones might be a help, but are expensive.

2. look for replaceability of all components...the tripod might end up like grandad's axe, but should last for a LONG time even if bits are replaced.

3. has a good tight locking head. In my humble experience, this is often the bit that rocks.

4. it is OT, but consider a back pack...I have found this the single most benefical ergonomic step in carting gear for landscape.
Manfrotto 058 with 029 head heavy as .. but nice and very stabil. I have started to bring my big Fuji along sometimes and that would not work wih out a good tripod. Also use a Gitzo reporter with a ball head - nice for the SWC´/m but to loose for the bigger "blads"

It all depends on how much you are willing to spend. If you want to do yourself a big favor you buy a Gitzo. I use a 2227 carbon fiber tripod with a Arca Swiss ballhead. This is a great combo that I can recommend although there is another option now as far as ballheads, the Arcatech one. It is much lighter than the Arca Swiss and probably my choice if I was buying now.
But, although the Arca Swiss is a pretty heavy ballhead, you can't beat the quality.
I use a 503 CW with motor and sometimes Quantum strobe on the tripod. It is steady and very easy to use.
I cannot imagine myself using a tripod without a ballhead anymore...
For quick release plates you can buy at, they make everything for the Arca Swiss quick release. Also a nice plate for Hasselblad.
Their website has numerous pointers for choosing tripods and heads; I suggest you read their site.

Good luck to all,

I use the Gitzo 320 with the NPC Pro Head. The tripod is very sturdy and not too heavy to lug around in the field. The head is a marvel. Very solid. It acts much like a ball head and locks down tight.
Sometimes, when I only take the SWC out, I use the Gitzo Safari. It is very lightweight and good for tr&ing around outdoors. It would handle the 500C/M, but I generally like the heavier tripod for the heavier camera.
It is a pleasure, especially, to use the Gitzo 320. An easy handling and stable tripod makes a big positive difference in outdoor photography (indoor, too).
Have had good luck with the Gitzo 1227 with assorted ball heads and Kirk or Really Right Stuff plates. The 1325 MkII is much more sturdy, but way too heavy for field use IMHO. The Acratech Ultimate ball head is ok, but not up to the quality of the Arca-Swiss models or even the Kirk Ball heads.