Orquid "Phoenix"

Orquid "Phoenix"

by ceinmart

submit your photo


Hall of Fame
View past winners from this year

Please participate in Meta
and help us grow.

Take the 2-minute tour ×
Photography Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I get massively confused when it comes to tripod heads screw sizes blah de blah, so excuse the possible simplicity of this question. I have a GigaPan Epic Pro and a Manfrotto 475B Pro Geared Tripod. I also have a 2 way tilt head that came with my Monopod which I am currently using as the head for this tripod as well.

Problem is that this head doesn't seem the most stable to place the massive GigaPan unit on with a Nikon D4 and a 400mm lens (all in all a damn heavy setup!). The GigaPan unit has what I call the 'normal' screw (or is it a thread?) which is the same one you get in the bottom of almost every camera known to man these days (like I said, I'm useless when it comes to this stuff). The tripod has the 'big' screw (thread?) that the heads screw in to. This is all pretty normal. Here are my questions;

1- What are these screws/threads actually called, I've seen 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch thrown around a lot and I'd guess that 1/4 inch is the 'normal' one and the 3/8 the 'big' one?

2 - For the GigaPan I'd ideally place it straight onto the 'big' screw, obviously this is not possible, but would this Manfrotto 120 3/8 to 1/4 inch Adaptor be pretty much what I am after.

These might seem very simple questions but trust me, I consider myself a pretty decent photographer but when it comes to this I really struggle to get my head around it.

Thanks!

(also I didn't have the rep to create the tag 'GigaPan', but I think it should be, so feel free to add it! )

share|improve this question
    
Looking at a video review of the unit, it almost seems as though no QR plate or head was used at all by this user: vimeo.com/10513066 –  dpollitt Oct 27 '12 at 22:06
    
added the tag "GigaPan" for you - as i agree it should have that tag. 1/4 & 3/8 would be the screw diameter - though I'm not sure if with or without the thread. –  DetlevCM Oct 27 '12 at 22:06
add comment

2 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, there are two standard threads that are almost universal in the industry:

  • 1/4"-20 (threads per inch), used between tripod heads and small/medium format cameras, and in a host of accessories; and

  • 3/8"-16 (again, the 16 is tpi), used between tripods and heads and between heads and cameras in some large-format systems, as well as with many larger studio accessories.

These two thread sizes are standard to the point that if anything turns out to have a different thread size, it'll be a real surprise -- even if everything else in the system is metric.

And the Manfrotto adapter plate is pretty much exactly what you're looking for, yes.

share|improve this answer
    
Stan, I was worried with that adapter plate of not having any way of actually locking the adapter plate to the legs. Does that concern you at all? I personally would think a nice ball head would be safer, especially with a 20lb setup. –  dpollitt Oct 27 '12 at 22:05
1  
Take a good look at the picture again, and notice that there are three set screws on the plate to hold it firm against the tripod's mounting plate. –  user2719 Oct 28 '12 at 3:53
add comment

The GigaPan Epic Pro itself weighs 7.25lbs with battery. Then once you add in a Nikon D4(2 lb 15.3 oz), and a Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED AF-S (10.2lbs), you are talking about putting roughly 20lbs of gear on the tripod. This is significant, but certainly not unheard of.

The GigaPan Epic Pro has the standard 1/4-20 tripod screw at the bottom. You can read more about that here: Is there a standard tripod mount?

My assumption is that GigaPan included this standard screw so you can mount the camera to a non proprietary setup. If they chose any other screw, they would either have to engage head manufacturers to develop custom quick release brackets, or create their own heads.

I know that one option you brought up would be to mount legs directly to the GigaPan. I think that this might cause you issues. The reason is that without a proper head that locks into the legs, you might risk the connection between the legs and GigaPan loosening up. I cannot say this from experience, but I think you would be best suited with a very sturdy head.

For a head you might want to look at something like a Manfrotto Hydrostatic Ball head. They do an excellent job of making sure that the lock and ball aren't going anywhere.

share|improve this answer
    
So a tripod head can stay connected to the legs without problems, but a GigaPan robot cannot? If they wanted to, they could have used a 3/8" screw - which is what makes head and legs interchangeable between manufacturers. There are also 3 little screws to lock the head in place - that would work on a GigaPan too. The only reason to use a head would be for leveling out the GigaPan bot for example. A head isn't required for a secure connection - also, a 3/8" screw is stronger than a 1/4" screw. –  DetlevCM Oct 27 '12 at 22:09
    
Nice answer, but I think from Stans answer the adapter plate will do just fine. It will make my life simpler as well as with the current setup I first have to level the tripod and then the GigaPan unit once its on the head, whereas with a simple, flat adapter there wouldn't be a need to do this. If anything it would also just look safer and put my mind at ease. With a head between the tripod and GigaPan it just looks like a point of weakness (paranoia!) –  Rob Quincey Oct 28 '12 at 19:58
    
@RobQuincey - Stan knows what he is talking about, so trust him :) –  dpollitt Oct 28 '12 at 21:08
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.