mounting alternate tripod heads

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Skaperen, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. Skaperen

    Skaperen TPF Noob!

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    I see various photo equipment vendors have many tripod heads for sale. What I am assuming is that somehow, these heads have a standard mounting of some kind, much like the standard for the attachment between the head and the camera itself (a screw of a particular height, width, thread depth, and thread pitch ... the specifics of which I don't know). There is a specific tripod head I want to buy, and I am trying to figure out if it will attach to my tripod. But I am not sure how the heads are supposed to be attached. I did manage to remove the head from the tripod I have. But this required some work to accomplish (while trying to be careful not to damage it). There was mostly just a big round post to attach to. Is this how all tripod heads are attached? Or do I have a tripod that might be non-standard. The head I am looking to buy is the Nodal Ninja 5 with RD-16 rotator, to replace the 3D head I have now.

    Here is my tripod:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    Underneath the round, aluminum base are three set screws. Loosen those and rotate that BOGEN/MANFROTTO had off the threaded tripod mounting stud, which is a 3/8 inch National Coarse thread, if I am not mistaken. It's a 3/8 inch diameter thread, that much I am sure of. (I happen to own that exact Bogen head.) As far as I know, basically all tripod heads of standard manufacture use the same 3/8 inch diameter thread.
     
  3. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yup, it's a standard 3/8" threaded connection. The stud is at the top of the mounting plate on the centre column.
    As mentioned, there may be up to three set screws that might need to be backed out from the underside of the mounting plate.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    You'll need to raise the center column to get to the set screws.
     
  5. Skaperen

    Skaperen TPF Noob!

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    OK, now it makes more sense. With the head off, it actually looks like some of the pictures I have seen of tripods. I had previously interpreted those pictures as having some kind of "null head" with no movements, but suitable for dead mounting a camera. But the head mounting screw is larger (good). What I had done before is effectively disassembled the head itself around the rotator.
     
  6. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    You'll find that the 3/8" thread is the standard for almost all of the better tripods. The 3/8" thread is sometimes used by large format view cameras and in years past, generally pre-WWII, it was common in European roll film cameras.

    The 1/4"-20 thread that is today's standard for connecting a camera to a tripod is rarely used to hold heads to legs, though it is occasionally used in smaller table-top tripods.
     
  7. Skaperen

    Skaperen TPF Noob!

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    Anyone know the exact "standard" for these screw mounts ... not just the width, but also the height (shank above the mounting surface), the thread pitch (20 per inch?) and thread depth, with tolerances?
     
  8. Skaperen

    Skaperen TPF Noob!

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    Some web searching has revealed that the thread depth on both the 1/4 inch and 3/8 inch screws is 55 degrees (most screws are 60 degrees).
     

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