Sunday, April 21, 2013
Thursday, April 18, 2013
James - "Only available solution?" Hmmm?? Way loaded question. I had better play it with an extra safe answer, "No, grasshopper" - as all cat skinners know, one picture is worthy a 1000 solutions.
Top three ballhead/column solutions-
1) Reverse the existing column (if your Tiltall is Unifot or later) and use the 1/4-20 TEP6 to mount the ballhead. If you have Leitz or Marchioni, have a machinist create a removable platform/plug for the bottom of the column.
2) Cut (I did this, so I am not joking) the Tiltall head from the existing column and have a machinist create a platform/plug for the top of the column.
3) Buy an used Tiltall from Ebay - same manufacturer as your Tiltall - remove one of the legs - which just happens to be the same diameter as a column - have a machinist create a platform/plug for the bottom of the end of the middle leg section - then you have a telescoping column and two extra legs to sell off to other DIY column makers and a extra head/column to restore the head/column destroyed in #2 above.
Silver Plume CO USA 80476
studio +1303 569.3236 fax .2932
mb +1303 888.8099
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Friday, February 1, 2013
Here are the options that this production with offer.
Color: Everyone seems to prefer black - so with Henry Ford's 1909 suggestion, "You can have any color as long as it's black."
1) Telescoping Monocolumn: Shown left and below. The clever Marchioni brothers used the same tube diameter and stock in their original Tiltall head and column assembly as they used in the upper and largest leg section. Efficient use of materials and necessary extrusion dies. Ofcourse the outer leg section telescopes to the next diameter down, and etc. So with just a bit of lateral thinking - ergo - why not a telescoping monocolumn with existing "leg" tubes?
look it up), I am the first proponate to shoot ONLY from that top meeting of the three leg,s and never ever, ever to use the extension of a column - period. Let alone a telescoping column. OMG! But, think one moment that an unextended telescoping column is also a double walled column, a heavier column and just probably dampens any vibrations better than a single walled column. . . and, and if ever pressed to need to be just a little bit higher, well, then, OK, use the telescoping feature you just happen to be carrying aboard your Tiltall. Expected price $55 with US priority post.
2) Monocolumn simplex - Having denigrated all single walled monocolumn above - here is that straight forward single walled normal monocolumn with removable 3/8"-16 and 1/4"- 20 threaded end caps. I would highly encourage deciding which end is your primary use and expoxing that end permanently in place. The other end cap needs to continue to be removable so that your column continues to be removable from the tripod. Expected price $45 with US priority post.
3) 3/8-16 END ONLY - many photogs would be happy just to reverse their existing Tiltall head/column assembly and add a monoball or videohead to the bottom cum top of the existing TEP-6 insert (this applies only to the KingHome, Unifot and. Leitz and Marchioni have a different inner threading.) Except, it would be nicer if that 1/4-20 threaded TEP-6 end cap was a bit larger in diameter and prooffered a 3/8th-16 thread. So we have. Expected price about $15 with US postage.
4) Yes, we have no Monoball Heads - Again, we do not plan to market any monoballs or video heads. Take a look at our earlier blog on this subject for suggestions.
Sunday, October 7, 2012
A - The original stock Tiltall head and column assembly - seemed to have gone missing in your photo of your Tiltall - often considered too complicated for easy travel and "bush" work - handles however can be carried inside the length of the current center column and hidden out of the way.
B - a telescoping and headless column made from one leg of the TILTALL - increases column length by 18 inches - meaning a birder could extend the column to comfortable eye level, but not need to extend the three legs as much as with the normal head and column - so much less tripod foot print around your feet. See an earlier "birder" prototype post.
For a photographer one could extend the column and legs 18 inches higher than the original - OK for smaller cameras, not OK for that 4x5 field camera (am I showing my age?). I expect to have this monocolumn available by the end of the year - expected price $55 with shipping - pre orders $45 with shipping.
C - Headless column - you choose the articulating device (monoball, other brand tripod head) - usually more compact than the original head design - same length column as original - 3/8-16 thread right and "top" end, 1/4-20 thread on left and "bottom" end - this is a black prototype similar to my run of a silver headless column which has sold out and I am not planning to do another production run.
D - a very hybrid TILTALL using KingHome "Tiltall" four section "monopods" for both its column (D2) and three supporting legs (D1) - the center column could be reversed as "B" above extended to another four feet longer than "B" - also note the altered one handled camera platform - this would be smaller and less expensive if one was only using a scope or video cameras - rather than cameras where you do NOT need the second 90degree gimbal. Completely a concept piece with no expectation of production.
E - Standard TITTALL included for comparision of length with all the items above it.
Last note: maybe hard to visualize, but "D" can be used as a video motion stablizer - extending the center column as a monopod and extending the three legs laterally as balance arms - I said "hard to visualize" - see my earlier design Handipod.
Thanks for your interest in scope use - your timing was good. Photo below - Telescoping center column installed with scope. Click on any photo for enlargement.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Subject: Tiltall Story
Message: The Tiltall story still seems to be a bit foggy. I intend to update the story at photoscala.de and would like to mention your website.
Since the Davidson Optic company is now a subsidiary of a German company in Wedel, I'll ask them for any details. I'll let you know about their answers. Best regards, Christoph firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, please link me and I am remiss not to have linked to you earlier and will do so - actually, now. . .this email is immediately upload to the blog.
Foggy indeed. Two days ago I had a quick conversation with Steven Tiffen (CEO, TIFFEN Filters, etc and son of the founder of TIFFEN). Steve was a teenager at the time but added this hint to the fog.
According to Steve: PhotoBarn's Fred Albo bought the trademark "StarD" from Davidson in the late 70s or early 80s when they decided to stop their manufacturing of their tripods. PhotoBarn had been a "StarD" tripod retailer up to then. Fred also either had or would shortly acquire the rights to the TILTALL mark and its design from Lietz. Fred then split the TILTALL design into two versions - a low end "StarD" for "mass marketing" and the Unifot Tiltall for pro stores which more or less continued the Marchioni/Leitz features, except for simplification of the leg bushes (no brass). I think we are close to closing the case.
--no fooling! Gary
Monday, March 19, 2012
Best ball head thinking to present:
California's genius - ACRATECH
Germany's longtime best innovator - NOVOFLEX - ballheads and many other marvels.
The Gemini (aka Vitec) twins - Gitzo and Manfrotto.
and ofcourse the standard, original but mysterious Arca-Swiss ballheads of photographers-designers (and father-son) Phillipe and Martin Vogt - the only mystery is two too busy to get a site up - I know the pain. -Gary
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The Marchioni Bros sold to Leitz in 1974. And I believe relocated the factory. Some time in the early '80s Leitz sold the TILTALL brand to Fred Albu of Camera Barn in New York City. Fred added the Leitz iteration of TILTALL to the offerings of his import/export company, UNIFOT and split off a simplified version (no double threaded brass legs inserts) he named STAR D - puzzles remain (see next). After Fred's death, the Unifot executors sought to sell Tiltall (to among others, the Tiffen Company in Long Island.) Fred's West Coast manager together with Oliver Yang, who had already long been supplying Unifot with manufacturer goods from Taiwan, purchased the brand from Fred's estate and formed the company, Omicrom in San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles. Oliver's production followed the design changes made to the StarD variant. Oliver bought 100% ownership of the brand Tiltall in about 1995.
There remains the mystery as to why the patent number and brand name "StarD" owned by the Davidson Optic Company in Los Angeles are featured in the literature of Fred's StarD NYC version? see several earlier blog entries on this StarD mystery or comment to solve the mystery. UPDATE after a second conversation with Bob Salomon two days later: Apparently, Mr. Albu sold the Davidson StarD tripods from from Los Angeles at his shop "Camera Barn" long before he purchased the TILTALL brand from Leitz. My surmise is that Davidson announced the end of their production and Fred purchased the name and patent near the time of his purchase of the TILTALL brand from Leitz - the rest of the TILTALL story would then fall into place. Fred has a son in the biz at Camera Barn named Henry who just might know the answer.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Gene- Sorry I am not clear - I have corrected on the order page. The $8 is for the two nylon pieces needed for ONE leg section - and the $8 does not include the outside knurled metal sleeve. Note that the original Marchioni and the Leitz iteration uses inner brass bushes. My leg bushes at present are the nylon iteration following the lead of the StarD NYC variant. The cleaning instructions that follow usually solves the problem for ALL TILTALL variants using the bushes you already own.
What I recommend - First thought is usually adding some new lubrication. But new lube on top of old lube often does not do the trick because the problem is a very fine grit that, over time and use, has worked its way into the existing lube and onto the bushes and also into the fine thread of the legs and metal sleeve aka outside bush. New lube probably is only adding to the sticking problem.
My suggestion is - not buying new bushes - but a careful and gentle cleaning of bushes and all screw threads of the leg and knurled metal sleeves - AND the legs themselves - first with soft brushes (toothbrush?) using water and a bit of lightweight detergent, moving next to simple hand soap and then after the thorough rinse with water - then that re-lube. In the case of the Marchioni and Leitz, following this cleaning, I understand that reversing the brass bushes can give new life to your Tiltall legs. So, in all cases, to paraphrase Shakespeare, "a bush in the hand, is worth two in mine". Sorry, Bill! -Gary
Monday, September 19, 2011
Ed- The foot threading is one spec that did change through the various iterations of Tiltall. If your student want to keep everything in his collector's Titall as "stock", then I suggest that he follow EBay for the identical model and partake in some foot cannibalism. If he bought the new foot from me, he can return it for refund. However, if "stock" is not necessary and as you have the resources of a college at hand, I suggest a visit to the machine class for a bit of a marriage ceremony - threads can be re-threaded. Failing that, some Tiltall owners have removed the offending threads from the new foot and simply epoxy'd or gorrilla glued the new foot into place. A bit brutal, but works. -Gary
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Fred- Part 034 is a strip of adhesive velcro which is installed just inside the lip/edge of Part 033 and will solve your problem as your original strip probably aged and fell out some years back. As adhesive velcro loop is available from a good sewing / fabric shop in various versions and from various manufacturers - choose the stiffest or most dense version. Don't search too long, get whatever you can find to start with, knowing that there are other versions available on Amazon or EBay.
I did not understand from your email whether you are shooting motion with video or capturing a moving subject with a still camera - if the later - you should be good to go. If the former, I will suggest you get that missing TEP4 handle (part 028) so that you can lock down the column and then add a small video tripod head to the top of the Tiltall tripod head - this will smooth your motion as you follow the action of the subject. Someday, you might also consider placing that video head with one of my headless columns, but let's get that wobble of your present column sorted first. -Gary
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Friday, June 3, 2011
The lovely piece of paper taped to the aesthetic cardboard box reads "The World's 1st Fashion Tripod - $99". Certainly my kind of marketing - substance over fluff.
If you want a very good price on a brand new TILTALL, you have better give Harold a call quickly before he changes his fashionable mind. . .or sells out his current inventory +1310 450 7062
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Subject: TEP-4 B
Message: Hi Gary,
I am refurbishing a Star-D and I am interested in a pair of TEP-4 in Black. I seem to remember that the Star-D will accept parts that are made for a TiltAll.
Jim- Yes, if the StarD in question is the Tiltall clone - there were about 10 other StarD models over the years - jpeg me. -Gary
Attached are jpegs of my tripod, it is a TiltAll clone (I was not aware that Star-D made other models). So I think that the TEP-4's will fit. Just as a side note, I have owned this tripod since the early 70's and currently I have it fitted with a Gitzo series 3 center column so that I can use my ball head.
Jim - It is interesting is the yellow label saying "New York" as the Davidson Company was/is in Los Angeles. Hopefully someone reading the blog can fill us in on the NY/LA relationship or lack thereof. I am beginning to agree with others that the "StarD" tripods of Davidson were unrelated to the StarD Tiltall, though I am puzzled as to why one would lift the brand "StarD" without some agreement.
Several have used the Gitzo 3 column with their Tiltall. In fact, I have my Tiltall head/column in my Gitzo. Turnabout is said to be fair play.
Friday, April 1, 2011
From: Clair Kunkel
Subject: New/Additional information regarding Star D tiltall variations
Attached is some information I put together based on two Star D
tiltalls that I own. Both have threaded brass inserts for leg locks.
Both are very similar to, and likely concurrent with, corresponding
Leitz tiltalls. I have a theory (explained in the attached document)
that these were built in the same N.J. shop as the Leitz tripods, but
rebadged as Star D's for Fred Albu of Camera Barn/Uniphot fame. This
is just conjecture on my part, but it bears a certain logic and may
explain some of the variations seen in the Star D tiltall lineup. I've
also attached photos that may be of interest.
I wasn't sure how to format this for our blog, so I'm emailing this to
you in hopes that you are willing and able to post it. Please let me
know if I can provide different formatting, additional material, or
any other assistance. In particular I wasn't certain how to post
photos in the document that could be enlarge by clicking on them (I'm
not very knowledgeable regarding the finer points of publishing).
I greatly appreciate the information and support you are providing for
these wonderful tripods. Your blog has renewed my pride and interest
in the tiltall design. Please continue your good work, as it is much
Thank you Clair. I had yet to find anyone to explain the existence of both west and east coast NYC StarDs and will post by direct email for the moment and edit and add your .doc file during the weekend. As you see from my earlier blog post,I did speak to Sam at the usual suspect, Davidson Optronic in LA, but the had no idea there was an east coast StarD.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
GR, I noticed today that one leg of my Leitz version unscrews. I was setting up the tripod for work, so didn't take it off completely. What is the function of this? Use as a monopod? What is TEP6? Seems to be something that goes into the bottom of the centre column -- and maybe can be attached to the removable leg. - MD Mukul Dube, Delhi India
MD- Yes, it's a monopod idea, and the TEP6 does attach to the top of removable leg in the current KingHome iteration. But the "idea" is an evolution from Tiltalls with all removable legs, to only one removable leg, then finally the TEP6 exchange from bottom of column to become a 1/4-20 top on the removable leg - I believe at the late Unifot models - I have not learned who suggested this "crowning" achievement.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
The hidden evolution of the Tiltall may best be revealed peeking up its leggings and accoutrements. The concurrent StarD, far left, appears to have innovated a number of changes- some perhaps improvements, some probably "shortcuts" - that Unifot and the current KingHome continued. First, the foot - the descending rubber pad vs the descending metal spike of Marchioni and Leitz. StarD also used the plastic seize bushing vs the brass of Marchioni and, as noted below by Daniel Wong, Leitz switched from a brass seize bush initially to plastic bushing later on - see Daniel Wong's note/photo below. Also note the threading of the aluminium tube of the StarD vs the more expensive brass insert sleeve of Marchioni and Leitz also noted by Daniel Wong.
Further evolutionary surmise - StarD offered a silver leg closure as Marchioni, but on a black painted finish. Leitz follows StarD, but Leitz eventually (see Daniel Wong) changes to a black leg closure, matching their black paint finish. This scheme was continued by Unifot and KingHome. Though KingHome presently offers black, silver and. . .sometimes gold. See Joe Farace's red/gold KingHome Tiltall below.
IMPORTANT ORDERING NOTE (28Feb2010)- The KingHome iteration is, as indicated (click to enlarge), at the right of the photo above, and is the only version of the classic TILTALL presently in production to the knowledge of its owner, Oliver Yang and myself. So, not to belabor the obvious, but it follows that the only parts I can supply to you are the ones presently in production. As example, if you have looking for a leg bushing, but you have a Leitz or Machioni TILTALL - best to watch EBay for a used Leitz or Machioni TILTALL for cannibalization, 'cause we have nada for you. Even a KingHome bush into a StarD "TILTALL' might need a mat knife and etc.
Uniphot - large/small knobs on raise/pan handles; phillips screws on tilts; unknown if black paint finish was the only choice. Sticky label. Thanks for loan of sample to Bernie Lehmann
Leitz - large/small knobs on raise/pan handles-this two size knob seems the innovation of Leitz, hex bolts on tilts; black paint finish believed to be only choice; Marchioni-type metal label.
KingHome - current version by Oliver Yang. Large knobs only on raise/pan; black and silver anodized finish available; allen bolts on tilts; sticky label on apex and on removable leg. The 1/4-20 tripod mount at the bottom of the column seems the innovation of KingHome.
StarD - believed to be a copy by the still existing Davidson Optronics company in southern California, production concurrent with the Marchioni Tiltall (see earlier blog) and ended with Leitz purchase. Knobs for raise/pan seem to exist in both a plastic and an all metal version; unknown if the tilt handles (as shown) were only available in silver of if painted black was only finish choice; sticky label.
Marchioni - the original. small/small knobs on raise/pan; phillips screws on the tilts; silver finish believed to be the only choice; very nice metal label.
If you can fill in missing information, let us know in the comment section below or email me via "About Me" link at right.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
For those interested in the headless monocolumn that I offer, the "shouldered" and assumed newer iteration (right) will accept the column, if the rather thickish inner bush strip is exchanged for a thinner bushing. The earlier lacks the bushing and I cannot recommend the expense of machining inorder to add a monocolumn.
No doubt there are even more earlier Marchioni design changes and if you have a curious version, I would be happy to post your jpegs and story. Click on photo to enlarge.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
I am happy to post links to all other useful objects d' Tiltall. I encourage Tiltall owners and designers to engage each other directly as my plate is overfull.
Monday, March 29, 2010
Hopefully, this idea would not only smooth the tiny new HD cameras, but the offerings of the Nikon and Canon still/motion convergence as well.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
design on my own Tiltalls: Left: Early model Leitz Tiltall tripod. (best-working; all brass, similar to Marchioni); Middle: Late model Leitz Tiltall monopod. (better-working; brass and plastic); Right: Star-D Tiltall tripod. (cheaply designed; soft nylon. Aluminum locking collar threaded onto an aluminum tube - a metallurgical no-no. Note that the nylon bushing has formed a small ridge as a result of repeated jams).
Somewhere in the mix, we have the mysterious Star-D Tiltall. The Davidson Optronics Company was located (photo left) in West Covina, a suburb of Los Angeles. The Davidson Company still exists and made a number of interesting tripod designs during its history including the tripod shown above with the unique "Star-D" handle crank. According to numerous rumours, Davidson did not "legitimately" trade on the Tiltall name (who knows, there may have been some partnership breakups between the Uniphot heirs) and seem to have used the name "Tiltall" with a number of other tripod designs - some quite innovative models with quick release mechanisms and removable tripod heads - in addition to their iteration of the simple "classic" Marchioni design. I believe some of these Star-D innovations, still marketed as "Tiltall" continue to be available - see some of Adorama's Tiltall offerings. [I thank Daniel Wong for the word "ontogeny"] Any corrections to this mythology are highly appreciated.
ADDENDUM March 12: Speaking today with Sam Bailey, of Davidson Optronics.. Sam started working for Davidson Mfg Company in 1963 and at that time, the Star-D Tiltall had already been in production by Davidson since, he believes, the late 50's. Sam says production ended in the late 60's, 1968 or so. We may surmise as the Marchioni Bros did not sell their concern to Leitz until 1974, that we have a parallel universe existing before the advent of the Leitz or Uniphot Tiltall.
ADDENDUM March 14: History detectives, thanks, Stan and Rolfe- --On Tuesday, November 26, 2002 01:00:08 AM -0500 Stan Yoder wrote:
I understood that the story went like this: when the Marchioni brothers(of NJ) died, the widows EACH sold the production rights, one to Leitz USA, the other to Davidson/Star-D, which at the time was an American firm. But that may be partly apocryphal. Leitz USA published a pamphlet on the Tiltall that states that it approached the brothers in 1973 about an "affiliation." The brothers then decided to retire from tripod production, Leitz moved their machinery to Rockleigh NJ, and the brothers trained the Leitz staff. It could be, then, that Leitz subsequently (what year?) sold the Tiltall to the entrepreneur who owned Star-D. OR, maybe the story is partially correct after all, and Davidson was producing its version concurrently (but after the bros. died?)
The Star-D could be had in at least two models, the better/best of which (the "Professional") had the brass collets in the leglocks, like the original. I own (and prize) one of these and the only difference I can detect is that the two tilt handles have black plastic grips rather than the aluminum knobs of the Marchioni bros. original. Otherwise, built like the proverbial brick s---house, and NOT lightweight. Sturdy is as sturdy does.
I dunno about the current Tiltall, having neither seen nor handled one. I've heard that it's not made like the older ones. "They don't build 'em like they useter, Horace!"
Can anyone shed conclusive light on this history?
The Star-D and the Leitz branded Tiltall were definitely produced
concurrently. The Star-D was cheaper, both in price and in fit and feel.
The current Tiltall seems to be somewhere in between, IMHO. I can't get the
legs tight enough on my modern Tiltall -- they want to screw right off the
head up at the top. Also, the redesign of the feet was certainly a
questionable one. On my Leitz, there is no way you are going to lose a foot
but on the modern tiltall, it only seems a matter of time before one comes
unscrewed without being noticed.
Lucky Duck Productions, Inc.
ADDENDUM- June 08 Note Asian Star-Ds in Comments below. I am still hoping, as the California Star-D copy occured during the Marchioni Bros lifetime, if the relationship was friendly or acrimonious? Perhaps a Marchioni Jr or GrandJr would know.
ADDENDUM - June 09 On 4-Oct-2006, Bob Salomon - head of HP Marketing posted this on the Large Format Photography Forum. I know Bob and consider him very knowledgeable in the history of the photo industry, but having spoken to an employee of Davidson (above), I cannot yet sort the following. Some of the internal logic is a bit bumpy: "Star D ended up being owned by Fred Albu who also owned Camera Barn a large camera store in NYC and the Uniphot distribution company who, among other products, was the distributor for Hoya. Marchoni sold the Tiltall to Leica USA who manufactured it for a few years and then sold the Tiltall line to Star D who then sold two versions, the Titall and the Star D copy. (Ed: Davidson says they ceased manufacturing BEFORE Marchioni's sold to Leitz - above) Uniphot has been out of business for about 25 to 30 years. The Tiltall went off the market when Uniphot was closed. The tools and trademark were for sale by the Uniphot trustees and after a few years was purchased by the Chinese company that makes and sells it today. Under Uniphot several Star D tripods were sold and Star D also made tripods in the 50s as an independant company before Fred bought the company. There is no sucessor company to Uniphot or Star D and neither has existed for 25+ years so parts would have to be made. A replacement tripod would be more cost effective then repairing." Fred Albu is also mentioned in this history of Tiltall. which also mentions Omicron Electronics of Chatsworth which I believe is the missing link between Uniphot-Levitt's demise in the early 1980s and our current, Oliver Yang.
Monday, February 22, 2010
Gary- Oops! Sorry, I cannot defend the monopod idea now... I think you are correct. I am glad you asked. The original center column had the screw-in stop on the bottom end of it, mine shown here (original column at bottom, reversed end to end). That cap removes and will screw into the removed leg. However I discover that it is open ID and no monopod is possible, so there is no point of that. There is a smooth one inch hole in it. I have never used the monopod, however it was always my notion that it provided one. I am making this up now, but perhaps there was an accessory cap with 1/4" screw that did that? My memory fails me now on this. Anyway, it comes as a big surprise to me. But why else would one leg unscrew? But my memory came from somewhere, and all these years, I have always "known" that one leg removed to be a monopod. I see no marking or distinction on the leg which removes, you have to find it. Sometimes you have to use a little (reasonable) force to get it started loose, but no tools, bare hands only. One leg will, and two will not, AFAIK. I always assumed all Tiltalls did this. It is still a mighty fine tripod. -Wayne
Monday, February 15, 2010
From: Richard Karash, Feb 14, 2010
Hello Gary -- Following another blog post, I tried making a replacement for the paper/fiber bushing. A white/translucent Fuji 35mm film "can" looks just about right. Cutting a strip carefully to the right size, matching it to the existing fiber bushing. It's a great replacement for the paper/fiber bushing, perhaps a little thicker, which should help those who cannot lock the center column.