The film photography & darkroom work of David Kirby

Coming Soon to a Mountain Near You

Well it may have taken me six months but now, finally, at long last I have replaced the tripod which fell apart whilst I was in Iceland.  My previous tripod was around £40 from Amazon, but after bits kept dropping off whilst in the photographers paradise resulting in me having to tape my camera to the ball head I vowed I would stop being so cheap and buy a decent tripod that will last.

Being a good boy I decided to wait until I actually had the money available instead of dipping into the savings, so decided to hold out until my work bonus came in towards the end of the year.  Alas the bonus was not quite what I needed and so I resorted myself to being tripod-less and instead focused on the joys of printing my Iceland negatives once my paper order arrived.

However, a recent bout of illness has been a blessing in disguise. After having a seizure whilst at work (don't worry I'm fine) I have been working at home, unable to drive to the office or site until I can provide written evidence from a doctor that I am ok to drive a work vehicle.  This has meant I have been saving a fortune in petrol money which, after a short time pleading with Mrs. Kirby, has resulted in sufficient funds for the tripod of dreams. 

After a great deal of research on the Internet (oh Internet how did we ever make decisions without you) I finally settled on a Manfrotto 055XPRO3 with a 498 RC2 ball-head which would easily hold my Bronica kit and any large format cameras I may happen to come into in the future.  It arrived on Saturday and it is immense.

It looks and feels fantastic, you can definitely tell the difference between this and my previous tripod.  Everything feels solidly built and looks like it won't fall apart whilst wandering around.  At full extension it reaches my collarbone so I will have to shorten the legs so I can use my waist-level finder on my Bronica, but it's good to know there is extra height there if I need it.  And that is without the central column raised! Speaking of the central column you can rotate it 90 degrees for shooting if required!  There's lots of nice details too like a hook for weights, a built it rotatable spirit level and a slot for accessory arms.  I think my favourite feature, however, is the easy open and shut leg locks.  It's so nice to have a chunky clip to grab which is so easy to use, when out in the cold (which I often am) it hurts the fingers to be fumbling with small, stiff plastic clasps.  It is also great how close you can get to floor level due to the 4 leg width settings.  Time to try some low profile shooting!

Moving to the head it feels really sturdy.  The quick release plate is just that, the camera just snaps into place on the head and the removal levers lock into position so you know that camera isn't moving anywhere you don't want it to.  I also really like the friction control which you can use to adjust how easy it is to move the ball around. 

Time will tell how it is to use.  I have a day off work in a few weeks so I will try to get out shooting (although I'll no doubt be tempted to stay in printing) and try it out.  I'll let you all know how I get on just in case any of you are tripod shopping at the moment. 

Until next time, happy printing! 

Oh, one more thing.  I just got in to upload this article and waiting for me was...

Time to commence the printing of the Iceland negatives!  I'll let you know how that goes!