Berleback tripod - First impressions

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Tom Stanworth

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As it can be tough to order blind, I thought I'd let you know what I thought...................

Blown away with the value and quality! It is a 4002 report series. It is 3.2 kg with a gitzo 1570 head of about 1.4kg. Trpod rated to 10kg and head more I think.

It is long.........I went for a 2 section with no column for added stability and am glad for that. Simple and bomb proof. The nutwood finish is gorgeous and perfect colour match for an Eony (tho this will support a Zone VI ultralight). It is well made and very stable. There is no way at all one ould need a Uni series tripod unless using a very big and heavy metal 10x8 or so and even then I reckon this would be fine. The combo does not even flinch with the 4 kg on top. Rock solid. Locks are superb, very positive with little pressure required.

Berleback answered my queries right away (by email), sent the tripod so that I got it 2 days later (germany to UK) and charged £10 to do so.

Only criticism so far is that the spike protectors (rubbery plastic) for use on smooth surfaces or indoors, is too hard and not rubbery enough (think someone else said this too). This means that the legs try to slide outwards. This would be a pain if it were used on a hard smooth floor (such as laminate), but a solution would easily be found. In any case this tripod is for outdoors and the plastic feet would be perfect on concrete or tarmac.

The tripod cost 163 Euros plus 16% tax. The 1/4 to 3/8" adapter was 1.8 Euros and a little chair to perch my botty on (weighs 450g) was 20 Euros. This is all very cheap and a far cry from Calumet US that told me if I wanted to buy a single grub screw for my camera, "there is no way to do it apart from ordering a catalogue as you need to have something with a part number and it will have to go parcel post...........at $15 (or close)". Despite speaking directly to Calumet and getting mucked about, they were unable to put a screw in an envelope, so there goes my future business! Berlebach on the other hand uphold the finest German traditions of quality and efficiency. Heck, most companies would be ripping us off on things like thread adapters, because they 'can'.

Full points to Berleback (and Gitzo) and I do not hesitate to recommend them.
Any further Qns, PM me. snaps attached with CD case for scale

NOW I'M UP AND RUNNING FOR 10X8!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:smile: OH, .....:smile:

Tom
 

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matt miller

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What a beauty. I've been contemplating a Berlebach. I didn't know there was a choice of finish color aside from the blond color I always see.
 
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Tom Stanworth

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Yup. This one is 'nutwood', but grey and black are also available -costs an extra 15 euros over the light ash colour, though mine still came to less than the advertised price on teh website (http://www.berlebach.de/e_index.php). If I have cash in the future I will get a smaller lighter 3 peice one for my 5x4 ebony; either an 8003 or 9003. I have had a play with the 8x10 atop it and there is not once little bit of bend, play etc. I reckon mine goes a good bit taller than the spec (I guess they do not recommend extending to the limit) and is rock solid all the way. The extra length helps when on a forward slope as to shoot standing upright, the front leg has to be that bit longer. It will also mean I can shoot from the verge and sit on the roof of my car when I need extra elevation. Before you get converned about the roof of the car, I will point out that it is worth less than the tripod and head! This nutwood finish is also really nice and that bit less obvious than the lighter std finish.
 
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I can see the quality in the product Tom and never having heard of them, had looked at their website after you'd mentioned having one on order in an earlier post.

Very evidently good for med and high level view points, but "how low do they go?" I often find myself shooting from positions quite close to the ground or on uneven ground where I have to elevate one leg by using the angle adjuster.
 
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Tom Stanworth

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matt miller said:
The model I've been eyeing, the 3032, can go as low as 3.5 inches according to this website:

http://www.photobooksonline.com/gear/features.html

They have 3 leg settings, one being about 20 degrees, the next being quite a bit wider (not sure of actual degrees) and the next being anything you want. This means that all legs can be splayed effectively flat, or you can use one leg or more at a custom angle if you have very uneven ground or obstacle to deal with. Mine is a biggie and still does this.

Tom
 

Mongo

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I have the 2032, and it's an amazing piece of equipment. The integrated ball head gives me all of the movement I ever need for my 8x10 (a Calumet C-1...no lightweight), and loaded down with a Nikkor 480mm f/9 mounted on a Packard shutter, it is absolutely rock solid.

I'm pretty tall (6'7") and almost went for the 3032, but it turns out that the 2032 is the perfect height for me when using 8x10 or a Mamiya RB67 with a waist-level finder.

I don't think there's a better deal out there in tripods. For a lot less money than some other wooden tripods, you get a beautifully crafted piece of equipment that feels like your grandchildren will still be able to use it. If you ever see someone walking around western Pennsylvania with a wooden tripod on his shoulder with a Calumet Green Monster stuck on top, it's probably me.
 

Mongo

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Tom Stanworth said:
They have 3 leg settings, one being about 20 degrees, the next being quite a bit wider (not sure of actual degrees) and the next being anything you want.

If I remember correctly, the 2nd setting is 45 degrees.
 

galyons

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How low can you go?...Berlebach wise, depends on the model and length of center column. I bought a short, (6" +/-) column on close out from Calumet.
With the short column, I can get to about 4" above ground, for all intent...flat.

The models with no column or with the ball mount can go to virtually flat as well!

Tom, I'm jealous, the US importer only brings in the clear ash or funky green ash!

Have fun with a great tripod!

Cheers,
Geary
 

janvanhove

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I've got one of the heavier "UNI" series tripods, the 14. Granted, it is heavy, but it is rock solid, and the 6" platform is ideal for a big camera !

Dead Link Removed

Berlebach tripods in my opinion are often unfairly overlooked by LF and ULF shooters who tend to favor Ries.

As for a head, I like the manfrotto 160 large format head I bought for it, it's sturdy enough for up to 8x10...

PJ
 
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Tom Stanworth

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Just an update....

The Berleback 4002 is WAY more stable than I need for my 10lb 10x8. It is by far the most solid support I have ever used. The spikes help gain a little more bite outdoors and I have found the leg locks to be quick and very secure. I am massively impressed and would seriously consider a smaller lighter 3 section (columnless again) for my Ebony. The nutwood is a good match for the dark ebony wood on the tripod.

As for the Gitzo 1570 MG head. Previous comment from another user was bang on the money. Some movements are a bit jerky (on mine teh lateral tilt only. This is a real pain at times as levelling the camera can be...overshot left.....overshot right.....and so on. I hope it smoothens up and think it will. The other movements are great. Sooooo smooth. Stability. This is weird. In real terms the head is rock solid. However there is flex fore and aft. This is not wobble, not slack, but flex in the alloy. This is because of the pivot being at teh front and there being 6 inches of plate behind it. I therefore try to get the securing nut right to the front, to improve stabilty. This is purely me being silly tho. The flex could never be induced by any natural phnomena that would otherwise allow shooting ie if it is blowing a gale that catches the camera and flexes the head, you would never get a sharp picure due to wind effect on teh camera and bellows, regardless of tripod head. In terms of its ergonomics, I find it great andinstinctive to use. All in all. Incredible tripod and very good head. The flex in the head is irrelevant IMHO as any shooting conditions that were still 'on' would not have any effect on the head. I will feel better still once that lateral tilt jerkiness has gone.

My tripod is rated at 10Kg but it would make light work of a 10KG camera IMHO. I reckon a 3 section berleback report series would easily be enough for my 10x8. I also strongly recommend the columnless option.

Tom
 

skahde

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If you like Berlebach you should know that their former employee Frank Wolf is now running his own business and sells, lets say "more than just similar" tripods at even lower prices: Dead Link Removed. Reports on german forums have been equally positive for both so far.
 
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Tom Stanworth

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They look good, but from the peek, they dont seem to go that low. I heard of Wolf, but was unable to find them anywhere. Still, the berleback nutwood finish is worth the bit extra!
 
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I bought a LF 5 years ago when they stopped importing to the US. Calumet had it as a demo holding a Zone 6. Two section legs with spikes and a built in ball head in the top so there is no extra height. I can use mine with a view camera without bending over and there is height to spare. I`m 6 foot tall.

Other than heavy, it is a gem.
 
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