4x5 Norma Leitz Tiltall inspired by Julius Shulman

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Nokton48

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Lightweight Solid Norma Tripod Julius Shulman 1 by Nokton48, on Flickr

I am a huge fan of Julius Shulman and the volume of work he produced in the Los Angeles area and elsewhere during the 30s to the 80s. Among his many published books is "Photographing Architecture and Interiors", which I intensely studied 30 years ago. One snippet of information regarding equipment, Shulman used primarily the Sinar Norma 4x5 and 8x10. What I always thought was super cool was his tripod for all this work, it was the classic original Leitz Tiltall which was very sturdy and solid, he used a modified version for 8x10 and 4x5 Norma shooting. The original mounting plate was removed, and replaced with a solid 1/2" thick metal block which is super sturdy and solid. I used the pictures in his book to guide me. Notice how it just fits the Norma Tripod Clamp, the original rectangular plate was too small for Norma.

I just bought a machinists Band Saw from Lil Machine Shops, so bought a block of aluminum and cut it down with the new saw. Then drilled out mounting holes and countersunk them with drill press. Stainless steel bolts hold it all together super tightly, it's not coming apart.

Using this tripod with the 4x5 Norma in WA configuration is a joy and I could carry this around all day if I had to. Eventually I will try this with the 8x10 Norma and I have no doubt it will do the job. It worked for Shulman.

I have an old friend , whose Dad who knew Shulman and lived in the area at the time. He was also a photographer and Man he reveled when I told of my longtime interest in Shulman and his work. What a small world.

BTW the Norma, the tripod and the lens are all brand new to me. The lens is an original 90mm F5.6 chrome barrel Sinar Norma Super Angulon, with direct acting iris "mickey mouse" for behind the camera aperture control. The lens came from Germany and looks brand new. Super Nice and much brighter than my F8 90mm Super Angulons to look through. This vintage would be towards the end of Norma production. Much fun ahead.

This is -exactly- the same matched setup that Shulman shows in the above book.
 
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Nokton48

Nokton48

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8x10 Sinar Norma Julius Shulman Titlall Setup 1 by Nokton48, on Flickr

Here is my 8x10 Sinar Norma Julius Shulman inspired Leitz Tiltall Tripod. Believe it or not solid as a rock and WOW portable. Love it and I think I will buy another old old Leitz Tiltall to dedicate for this camera and quick location jobs. I do have other half of the block of aluminum which I can utilize. The Norma Tripod Clamp is locked onto the tripod and simply unscrew to mount and remount different Norma cameras. I will prolly add a little loctite maybe
 
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Nokton48

Nokton48

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I have plenty of tripods that are -heavy- and I have wanted this for going lighter. Recently I did something to my back and that has gotten me thinking about weight and solidity with Norma out in the field. I can throw this over my shoulder and carry a small soft bag full of stuff. And be pretty portable.

I own this program on Shulman and watched it again last night. It is beautiful and moving



And see here if not familiar





 

Renato Tonelli

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I have plenty of tripods that are -heavy- and I have wanted this for going lighter. Recently I did something to my back and that has gotten me thinking about weight and solidity with Norma out in the field. I can throw this over my shoulder and carry a small soft bag full of stuff. And be pretty portable.

I own this program on Shulman and watched it again last night. It is beautiful and moving

Wonderful series of videos - thank you for the linkage :smile:
 

Jim Jones

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I first bought a Tiltall in 1969, and three others since then. One was sold overseas rather than tote it back to America, one was lost, and a Leitz model was given to a promising new photographer. One is still used in preference to several other tripods for cameras up to a 5x7 with a 400mm lens. The "improvements" of many newer tripods are relatively modest. The simple design and good construction of the American made Tiltall are more important. Recent imports branded Tiltall may be a disappointment.
 

narsuitus

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In the late 1960s, a portrait/wedding studio where I worked provided me with a chrome Tiltall to use with the medium format and large format cameras that they also provided. I really loved the tripod. Later, I purchased a black Tiltall to use with my large and medium format cameras. I have also used it with my small format cameras when shooting long telephoto lenses and bellows macro.

Tiltall with Large Format by Narsuitus, on Flickr


Tiltall with Bellows
by Narsuitus, on Flickr
 
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I bought a black Leitz Tiltall a few years ago even though I have a carbon fiber Gitzo. Why did I buy it? Because I always liked them. Of course it isn't as flexible as the Gitzo. It won't go as low to the ground or anywhere near as high. I think the Gitzo hits maybe 8 feet. But I do like the Tiltall. I ended up modifying it with a ball head though. I didn't like the handles. I should probably sell the handles one of these days.
 
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Nokton48

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Hey Goran. Still having blast here :smile:

Starting Tiltall No 2 .5x3x4inch aluminum block by Nokton48, on Flickr

I like the custom Tiltall enough to start a second one. The .5"x4"x6" aluminum plate I bought on Ebay. Cut it in half with my Little Machine Shop Band Saw (see right) , will cut steel block if I need it to. Then it moves over to the drill press, cut the mounting holes, and a large center hole for 3/8" bolt and washer. I countersink the mounting holes and assemble with stainless metal screws from Lowes, I take the pieces in for custom fit.

Should be easier the second time around
 
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Nokton48

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Original Tiltall #2 arrives today from Tennessee
Time to get busy. Shouldn't take long to make another of these mods

I'm going to clean up both of these with electronic contact cleaner and elbow grease.
 
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Nokton48

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Hacked Tiltall Tripod No 2 by Nokton48, on Flickr

Here's Tiltall #2 which arrived yesterday from Tennessee. It took about twenty minutes to cut the holes and remount the other half of my aluminum block. To finish it I will enlarge the center hole for a 3/8" steel bolt, then the cleaning up of both tripods will be the final project. These hold up very well for their age and both of these fully functional (no broken or missing parts). Both of these are identical to the tripods in Shulman's book so the design has been time tested
 
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Nokton48

Nokton48

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Two Marchioni Tiltall Mods by Nokton48, on Flickr

On the right is one of my 4x5 Normas with recessed Norma board and 47mm F8 Schneider Super Angulon focused very very close up. In the back of one of my 5x7 Normas with original Norma Bellows and 360mm barrel chrome Componon on a flat Sinar Norma board. Both Marchioni Tiltalls have been modded to match the ones in Julius Shulman's book "Photographing Architecture and Interiors". I acquired this book in 1991
 
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Nokton48

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My widest LF lens, the chrome 47mm F8 Super Angulon in Compur shutter, see above right ^^^^ Mounted on an original Sinar Norma Recessed Lensboard. Tim Kelly lighting, extreme close-up, lens less than a foot away from my test target. Three Broncolor Pulso C171 Monolights plus fill panel, HP5+ 4x5 (in Linhof Plate Holder) D:23 1;1 in 8x10 Unicolor Unidrum and Uniroller. 8x10 4X print Arista #2 RC Multigrade dev Omega DII laser aligned 180 black Rodagon Omegalite Diffusion Head

In close up mode this lens -almost- covers 4x5. You can see that in the four corners of this shot

47mm F8 F32 4x5 Norma HP5 by Nokton48, on Flickr

I can lift and move this camera easily with one hand without straining; I am really digging these new lighter weight Marchioni tripods
 
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Nokton48

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Thanks for that, Darr.

I am having great fun with my retirement projects :smile:
 

Nicholas Lindan

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I had a mid 70's Star-D model. It slowly failed a bit at a time: One of the legs would slide right out of its tube; the camera platform was rather flimsy and bent; and finally the larger of the tilt head castings cracked.

Great original design. But the Star-D variant seems to have been rather poorly made.
 

MarkS

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The Star-D was an inexpensive copy, not to be confused with the real thing.
I've owned both; once long ago I ruined a Star-D by mounting an Ansco 8x10 on it. I should have known better, but in those days I only had the one tripod. Then for a while I had none... until a friend loaned me a Majestic, which held the 8x10 much more securely.
 

Jim Jones

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Star-D certainly wasn't as durable as an original Tiltall, but the Marchioni design was good enough to overcome some fabrication shortcomings.
 
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Nokton48

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I tried to modify the Star D I have first thing with my metal block (see above). I nixed that idea as it couldn't handle the modification. I believe the original is made of aircraft aluminum grade materials or similar and can be machined without stripping out and falling apart

Star D works with my smaller cameras but not 4x5 and 8x10
 
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Nokton48

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Wide Angle Plaubel Peco Profia sawed off rail Komura 90mm by Nokton48, on Flickr

For now I am not cleaning up my original Tiltall. For grab n go wide angle 4x5 the Plaubel Peco Profia with Bag Bellows and second Bagg also with Profia Monocular is a good combo. I sawed off the long rail (using my band saw) to make a shortie Profia rail. I will glue the Plaubel emblem back onto the end of it. The lens is a Komura 90mm F6.8 with the original humungeous lens hood. Mounted onto a 120x120mm Peco Board with Wide supplemental wide angle board. Also works well with my 75mm F6.3 Komura, these lenses are in the original catalogs with the Plaubel stuff so appropriate. Very Very Good Lenses! Easy to look through, too being F6.3's. This setup is ideal for Architectural Interiors and Exteriors, without carrying around the kitchen sink. LOL just a small padded bags for holders and stuff and this thing. Will work with a lens out to 150mm so that covers prolly 90% of what I want to do.

So the Tiltall works very well on the Plaubels, too
 

Dennis-B

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Nice upgrade to the mounting plate. Your unpainted Tiltall looks like one of the original units from the Marchioni brothers in New Jersey. As I recall, the Leitz Tiltalls were black painted.
http://tiltallsupport.blogspot.com/p/tiltall-support.html

I own a Leitz Tiltall that is not painted black. This one has a very matte aluminum finish to it.


Leitz Tiltall - Lo Rez.gif
 

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It looks so right on the Tiltall, and of course, that block of aluminum is going to make the camera mount a lot sturdier. LF shooters are like sculptors, y'all deal w/ big stuff! Maybe you could carry that 8x10 around all day, but I don't even want to carry a heavy Nikon SLR.
 
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Nokton48

Nokton48

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It looks so right on the Tiltall, and of course, that block of aluminum is going to make the camera mount a lot sturdier. LF shooters are like sculptors, y'all deal w/ big stuff! Maybe you could carry that 8x10 around all day, but I don't even want to carry a heavy Nikon SLR.


Thanks Momus! I have the same feeling, this tripod is a good match to this camera.

Tiltall Peco Profia by Nokton48, on Flickr

4x5 Plaubel Peco Profia with 90mm F6.3 Komura. Fun to use and a center-tilting alternative to the base tilting Sinar Norma
 
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