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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Extending" current TEP handles

As in earlier blog posts the current TEP handles are not tapped deep enough for the length of the earlier bolts used in the Tiltall made by the original Marchioni design, nor the iterations by Leitz and StarD. Unifot is where the change occured. Here's a solution: Gary- I finally had time to run by Lowes and get some steel sleeves - 1/4" x 3/8" - they work PERFECTLY, just as you indicated. Thank you so much for your fine parts and help. Now I have two fully-functioning classic Tiltalls! With my carbon fiber Gitzo I'm well equipped. These steel sleeves I got are dimensionally identical to the handle - same outside diameter, slide perfectly over the threads, perfect function. It's a "Hillman HPM#07828". - Steve

Saturday, March 1, 2014

GUNK! Who knew?

Dear Tiltallers-  we may have discovered a new evil - gunk backs up into the hole in the threaded TEP handles effectively shortening the length of the hole - follow this logic - 'cause its literally twisted - that shortened (shortening) hole makes the bolt coming out of the receiving sleeve (on the head - TEP1,2) or the receiving hole (on the column TEP4s and no longer existing TEP3) too long to tighten. We are speaking here of your existing handles (not a new replacement handle, see below).

A further symtom is that your handle is filled with the evil gunk is that the handle just seems to keep turning but the head or column never tightens.  (Do check that the bolt head is not spinning - yet another issue.)

In an earlier post (several actually) I suggested adding short tubes or "bands" as the way to "shorten" up what had become the too long bolts coming out from the sleeves.  You could also have cut off the now too long bolts with a Dremel - BUT NO!  WD40 to the rescue.

If all this sounds familar, clean out that handle hole.  Fill the hole with WD40, maybe overnight, find a long dental tool, long nail or something to "stir" the bottom of the hole in the handle and clean out that goop that over the years has move to the back of the bus and become compacted.  Repeat as needed and be gentle in your testing as that newly loosen "stuff" can again get pushed to the back/top of the threaded hole as you make your tests.

This was discovered thanks to one of our Tiltallers of the Leitz Chapter sending me her puzzling tripod and me pondering over a turning but not tightingen handle - finally realizing - big dah! - that the gunk can also shorten up the depth of the hole - who knew?  Now she kindly asks if she owes me something for this discovery - I dont know that anyone can owe anyone anything that should have been an obvious piece of logic, but. . . to the great three-peds-to-stablility cause - my website does feature a "buy me Joe" link.

That said, the new, currently made TEP handles do not have threads/hole cut deep enough for use with Marchioni, Leitz and the StarD - you will need to pull out the Dremel to cut off the too long bolts or add the extension tubes to effect a shorter bolt.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

What happened to TEP3 and other esoterica.

I will be posting some answers to frequent questions here for a couple of weeks and then will move those comments to my new FAQ page here - see to the right under "Order Parts" etc.
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Bill-  Pass this to your new Ebay buddy.  I dont know if either of you got a chance to wander my blog posts.  If so, you see that there have been between seven to nine "official" changes of ownership of the Tiltall name and design iterations since the Marchioni brothers retired and sold to Leitz.

Re: yes we have no TEP3 - The thinner disk "column" handle, TEP3, stopped being produced in the mid 80s in favor of two TEP4s.  Many Tiltall afficianado eschew the TEP4s in favor of two TEP1 for the column position - they are interchangeable.  You can still find it on Ebay - I see TEP3 handle only about once a year.

[I always suggest, rather than buy anything my site, you purchase by Ebay, two identical Tiltalls - make the one perfect unit and part out the remainder of the crippled one - you will more than recover your original cost - cuz of folks out there in the situation just like you.]

And in the last production in September, the current manfacturer in Taiwan, KingHome, also changed to only two handles - the longer TEP2 head handle and the other three handles, formerly TEP1, TEP3 and TEP4, are just TEP1 - that is, to repeat - no more fat disk "TEP4" nor thinner disk "TEP3".

Long and short of it (fat and thin, really) is now the bullet shaped TEP1.  A long time favorite "illegal" handle for the column positions since the Marchioni brothers first introduced Tiltall in 1946

That said, your next question will be how to use a Tiltall with a ballhead - why am I mentioning this? - because if this has even crossed your mind, doing so frees up the two top handles (you'll have a spare) for use down at the column/leg apex where your have a TEP3 missing - and my headless column is $45 (+$10/post) vs your TEP1 handles at $15 - take a look below.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ballhead 201 - Separating the head from the column

I will be posting some answers to frequent questions here for a couple of weeks and then will move those comments to my new FAQ page - link at the column to the right under "Order Parts" etc.
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Dear Oliver - I have an original "Leitz" Tiltall tripod purchased in the 70's or early 80's. It has sat with little use but now I am doing more shoots from tripods and would like to swap out the pan/tilt head for a RRS ball head (3/8 inch mounting screw). I already have lots of RRS camera brackets and lens plates.I tried to take the pan/tilt head off but quickly got stymied. Can you advise how I might remove the existing head and add a new ball head to this tripod? Thank you, Jim Connors

Jim - I know of those who like the ballhead idea so much they were happy to attach it to the camera platform above the three (four) points of control on the Tiltall's tilting head.

Then there are a small group of probably French anarchists (five, so far, including myself) that whacked off the tilting head with a chop saw to separate head from its column.  At this point, there is bump in the learning curve - I lost my head and my column in my first attempt.   (Leitz btw did have a model with a removable head - there is a post here somewhere.)

How to lose your head: Put away that guillotine - remove the one obvious screw and, the occult info - heat the head base with a torch until you break the hold of the epoxy glue between the column and the head assembly.

Now you have a column free of the head, but  nothing to attach your ballhead to. So next find that machinist with a lathe and make a platform/insert piece to place at the top of your headless column - then drill and tap a thread up the center and insert a 3/8"-16 allen bolt to which you will attach your ballhead. If you make the platform/insert removable, you can re-attache the original Tiltall head at a later date.

However, I think Oliver has in mind a solution that does not quite match your request.You asked how to remove the head from the column (answered above). I offer a $45 column without a head (add $10 for priority post.) You set your original column/Tiltall head aside - no destruction or blow torch necessary Information about this column follows.  If not, the link is here. -Gary

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NEW Telescoping Headless Column

Our NEW, but long delayed, headless telescoping columns (details below) have arrived (by air - ouch! not sea) to my studio in Colorado. All standing orders are shipped. Sorry the delay and great thanks for your patience. Column instructions below.
*****
Following on our first 200 pieces of our silver headless monocolumn - here is the next iteration - a telescoping monocolumn for folks wanting to add a monoball or a video head to their classic Tiltall tripod but who did not want to destroy their Tiltall head and column assembly in the process.

Color: No option! Everyone seems to prefer black - so with Henry Ford's 1909 suggestion, "You can have any color as long as it's black."

Telescoping Monocolumn concept:  Shown left and below.  The clever Marchioni brothers used the same diameter tube stock in their original Tiltall head and column assembly as they used in the upper, and largest, leg section.  An 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 using the existing "leg" tubes? 

Now a CAVEAT! (look it up), I am the leading proponent to shoot ONLY from that top apex (meeting point) of the three legs and never, ever, never use an extension of a column - period - much less a telescoping column - OMG!  Some column users have questioned the need of a telescoping column - but unextended, such a column is also a double walled column aka a heavier column and it 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, extend use the telescoping feature you just happen to be carrying aboard your Tiltall.  Price: $55 includes USPS Priority service. Note: The 3/8"-16 "top" thread stud (shown left) can be reversed to a 1/4"-20 thread.

2) Yes, we have NO Monoball Heads - None, Nada, Zip - Again, we do not plan to market any monoballs or video heads.  We believe this a very, very personal decision.  And as fast as China's Monoball designs are gaining on USA and EU, they ain't there yet. Take a look at our earlier blog on this subject for suggestions.

                                                                    ***************
First, get the orders out.  Now to write the instructions.
      Step 1) Remove bottom column stop - Remove ring (Marchioni, Leitz) or solid metal stop (Leitz, Unifot) or TEP6 1/4"-20 camera placement (Unifot, StarD, KingHome) from the bottom of your existing column.  Loosen column handles, then raise and remove your existing column.
      Step 2) INSTALL NEW COLUMN. Remove the TEP6 1/4"-20 camera placement from the "bottom" of your new headless monocolumn and reverse the installation as above.  This is a hand job, no pliers.
      Step 3) INNER BUSHING. Your existing inner bushing strip - may or may not work with the new column.  Leitz in particular is thicker.  Dont mislay the existing inner bushing as it is your template for the new one.  [Also, dont lose track of it, so you can again use the original column/head.]
     Step 4) FIND New Bushing. Now in less than 15 minutes you are going to find that new bushing - make a slow wander of your studio/workshop and/or home - think: plastic milk carton; slice of a plastic 35mm film can or the film itself - 35mm, better 4x5; a plastic 8.5 x11 inch term report / presentation cover. You are looking for nylon-ish, flexible, a little "tooth" perhaps - a stiff plastic bag - a candy wrapper or other wrapping material.  Cut to match dimensions and install in groove - you may need to make a couple or three tries.  I could send you the strip bushing, presently made, but it would be too thin or too thick.  Let me know what you ended up using and I will add to the blog. 
     Step 5) TOP PLATE - "top" 3/8"-16 stud (used with most ballheads/videoheads) can be flipped over to switch to a 1/4"-20 stud (used with a few heads and quickreleases).  Note two small allen studs, one is a registration pin - the other, the stop to allow the stud switch over. Unscrew top allen, flip stud, screw down and secure with allen stud.

Let me know where I am not clear - this instruction business is never easy.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Mark Marchioni, Pulp Artist

Who knew? Certainly not I nor any other photographer.  But our own Mark Marchioni of Tiltall fame was first a well trained and well known "Pulp Artist" who began commercial illlustration from the mid 1930s on into the 1940s. (Click to enlarge examples)

Here is what Mark's nephew, Jim Kellen, recalls when I asked him about Mark's "secret" life:

"Mark was an illustrator in the 30’s. Then, when the war came, he and Caesar worked machining war goods. Bendix, as example, was one of the companies they machined goods for. Caesar liked photography, and that is one of the reasons that Mark came up with the design of the Tiltall Head and Tripod. Once the war was over, they started making the tripod which became one of the most famous and best in the world. I still run into people every once and a while that have a Marchioni original and they love it. When Mark began working on the Tiltall, he stopped illustrating and really never talked about his early career. I never knew about it until I was in college and only by accident, when I saw some of his drawings in the attic at 51 Chestnut Street, the family home. So it is not surprising that Leitz or others did not write about it."

Jim sent me a link to a well researched history about Mark Marchioni together with examples of his illustrations written and preserved by "pulp art" historian, David Saunders, son of the illustrator, Norman Saunders - read on:

"Marco Enrico Marchioni was born October 23, 1901 in Manhattan, New York City. His father, Franco Marchioni, was born 1868 in Vodo di Cadore, Italy. His mother, Angela Marchioni, was born 1978 in the same village. His parents married and immigrated to America in 1898 and settled in Brooklyn. They had eight children, of which he was the second born: Caesar (b.1900), Marco (b.1901), Ricardo (b.1904), Fiorenza (b.1908), Giovanni (b.1910), Elena (b.1911), Dora (b.1914), and Madeline (b.1917). They lived at 98 Vernon Avenue in Brooklyn.

"His parent's hometown, Vodo di Cadore, is a mountainous municipality in the province of Belluno in the Veneto region of Northern Italy, which is north of Venice and south of the Austrian border. Vodo di Cadore is famous for ice cream. His father and his uncle, Bartolo Marchioni, opened an ice cream factory at 21 Ann Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In 1903 they invented and patented the world's first mechanical device for manufacturing ice cream cones. In 1912 the Marchioni family returned to Italy and spent one year in Vodo di Cadore, where his parents hoped their children would learn the traditional lifestyle of their ancestral village.

"At that time in Italy a radical new art movement called Futurism was causing a sensation in the Italian press. The Futurists rejected the Old World lifestyle and embraced a revolutionary vision of a mechanized society that was brutally fast-paced and unsentimental. It is interesting to consider the impact of these radical ideas on an impressionable young artist, whose own work curiously reflects the Futurist's visionary fascination with awesome mechanical complexities. In 1914 the Marchioni family returned to Brooklyn, where the prosperous ice cream business permitted them to leave the unhealthy squalor of NYC and buy a home in Rutherford, New Jersey at 51 Chestnut Street. He attended public school in Rutherford.

"During the Great War he was too young for military service. In June 1920 he graduated from high school in Rutherford. During the 1920s he continued to live at home, but he began to commute to NYC to study at the Art Students League of New York, where George Bridgman (1865-1943) and Frank Dumond (1865-1951) were his most influential teachers. In 1928 he studied at the Grand Central School of Art, where his drawing teacher was Arshille Gorky (1902-1948), the founder of the modernist art movement, Anamorphic Abstraction. One of Gorky's other art students was Willem DeKooning (1904-1997), who became America's foremost Abstract Expressionist, and always acknowledged his debt to Gorky.

"Marco "Mark" Marchioni's fascination with complex machinery found a grateful audience in the innovative field of science fiction. He sold his first illustration to Hugo Gernsback's Air Wonder Stories in 1929. He went on to draw black and white story illustrations for most pulp magazines in the science fiction genre, including Astonishing Stories, Astounding, Startling Stories, and Thrilling Wonder. He illustrated a regular three-page feature in Thrilling Wonder, called SCIENTIFACTS, which presented a variety of "incredible but true" science facts. Besides illustrating science fiction pulp magazines he also worked for a variety of art agencies that produced newspaper and magazine advertisements.

"During WWII he was over forty and not selected for military service. His lifelong interest in machinery lead him to invent a coin-sorting machine, for which he and his older brother Caesar won a patent in 1944. In 1946 he and Caesar invented and patented a sturdy but maneuverable aluminum camera tripod, which they called the Tiltall. Rather than sell the design to a manufacturer, they started a small factory in the family garage and placed ads for the Tiltall in photo magazines. As its reputation for superior performance grew orders flooded in, and the brothers hired five full time employees.

"According to Caesar Marchioni, 'Always we hoped to catch up so we could get the time to expand, to plan a factory and so forth, but always the orders kept coming in.' The hired five full time employees and managed to produce five thousand units a year. Finally in 1973 they sold Tiltall to Leica, the famous German camera company. In 1975 he retired and moved to 18035 Citron Avenue in Fontana, California.

" According to the editors of Thrilling Wonder, "Mark Marchioni is a serious, dark-eyed chap, who likes good books and music. His favorite hobby consists of fooling around with mechanical gadgets. His favorite authors are Eando Binder, Dr. Keller and Edward Elmer Smith, Phd." Mark Marchioni died at the age of eighty-five in a hospital in San Bernardino, CA, on October 15, 1987."

Curiously, I am writing this post in San Bernardino CA.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

FEET. . .the final frontier


Bear with me as the three photos here will make no sense without a lot of explanation.  Many of you write me regarding foot replacement, but this is a knotty conundrum (see earlier post).  I will try my best here to answer the requests and make an inexpensive suggestion below.

To wit: the original Marchioni had a foot design with a fixed rubber tip and a descending spike which the Leica folks continued (middle photo, upper left) until near the end of the Leica Tiltall (my conjecture) when they changed to a simple no-spike rubber foot (middle photo, bottom center).

(ASIDE: The cheaper and wiser no-spike foot version appears to have happened at the same time Leitz discontinued the metal tag in favor of the cheapo paper sticker. The sticker idea continued with Fred Albu's Unifot and Star-D on through various iterations to this day - though KingHome now has a paper sticker on one of the legs - to be changed shortly to a "laser" etching.)

Following Leitz, Fred Albu of Camera Barn (another earlier post) made several slight redesigns to his Unifot version of Tiltall and in his Star-D (see original Star-D before Mr. Albu).  Fred reversed the foot design to a fixed spike with a descending rubber foot that continued from his Unifot/Star-D to the Omicron and to the current Tiltall by King Home Taiwan.

We're not done.  Oliver Yang, KingHome, has discontinued the Fred Albu design (TEP-5) and has recently redesigned the King Home Tiltall foot, making a very beautiful iteration of the earlier Marchioni/Leitz design - the fixed rubber with descending spike (bottom photo, left).

Here's the rub.  The threading on the Marchioni foot is different than the Leitz is different than the Unifot which is the same its brother, Star-D, which is the same as the Omicron and the same as the KingHome BUT it has been discontinued.  Enlarge the bottom photo with a click and note that Oliver has correctly made his new version without threads - good thinking!  Lots of glue should resolve this historic mess.  But expected sell price will be $15 per foot inclusive of shipping. This foot iteration should fit all Tiltall iterations.  However a matching set of the new feet will cost as much as an entire Ebay'd Tiltall - and from the Ebay deal you would also get an entire set of replacement parts - aka the entire tripod - with your three replacement feet.

Here's the better idea. DUMP THE SPIKE, GET A RUBBER.  For me, the only time the spikes in my Tiltall feet seem to become deployed is at the very moment I set the TILTALL down on my client's newly polished maple floor.  Forget the spike, and solve the replacement foot question inexpensively and harmlessly just as Leitz did in their final iteration.

Where to find a RUBBER: visit your closest home medical equipment supplier for a 3/4" rounded cane tips. The "rounded" specification is important vs the "flat" cane tips. But the rounded tips seem to be harder to find, often at $15 each.  I best I have found (shown in the middle photo, left) are from Canes Canada 2632 Garland St. Calgary AB T3E 4E3 Canada, tel: 1403-217-8091  Cost of minimum purchase - 6 pieces 'cause you need 3 packets of 2 each - with shipping was $22 Canadian or about $3usd each.  If you cannot find a cane tip, then search for "rubber leg tips 3/4 inch" (photo, below) from Amazon - at about $6 each plus shipping.  Finally, back up to the bottom picture above, Home Depot does offer white rubber tips - four pieces for $2 or $.50 each - white is OK - but the black spray paint will cost you $10.  Or, best, search Ebay with "black 3/4" rubber chair leg furniture tip" and find the deal for 24 Shepherd tips at $0.66 each and make friends with all the Tiltall owners of the world.

Hmmm? OK, maybe such a good idea, I will do it - but they would not be less than $10 per set of three with postage.  UPDATE:  I followed my suggestion and have added one or three BLACK Shepherd rubber "tips" to my replacement part offerings.

Rubber Leg Tips Black, 3/4" from Amazon at $6 each with shipping

Friday, August 9, 2013

KingHome Handles (now) with Marchioni Threads (then)

Not only the original Marchioni.  The next two iterations, Leitz and StarD, also have the long threads.  When ordering the top handles (TEP-1, 2) for the camera platform, note that the Marchioni original (right) has two very long threaded bolts compared with the current KingHome Tiltall (left).   This means that you will need some kind of tubular spacer placed onto the bolt to effectively shortening the threads inorder for the present handles to work with the original Marchioni.  Steve Krauss (below) reports that the part "Hillman HPM#07828" from Lowes works well. Again, this is because the current handles are not as deeply threaded as earlier.  Change seems to be at the Unifoto iteration.
As example, this correspondence from Tom Conway - Hi Gary, I just now noticed that the new TEP-2 handle won’t lock the elevated position when screwed in all the way like the old one did. The short handle does lock it. I can see that this replacement TEP-2 wasn’t machined completely. The thread goes all the way to the end. On the short one, the thread is recessed back in about 1/4 “. Also I see that this replacement TEP-2 is aluminum while the original appears to be stainless steel. Can you please help me? I need the new TEP-2 part you sent me replaced. It is defective. It won’t lock the mechanism. Is there any chance I can get an original part? If not, do you have one that is properly made to replace this one? Thanks,Tom Tom- With TEP 1 and 2 and the original Marchioni, I have learned that the length of the receiving screw is part of the mix and can be solved with a spacer. - Gary
Gary- A ¼” piece of 3/8” copper tubing worked perfectly! The original short handle has the same thread depth, but is bored out to 5/16” diameter for the first ¼”. I would have done that if I had a floor stand drill press. My bench top drill press couldn’t accommodate the TEP 2 length. - Tom
Tom - So if I follow the 5/16" depth reasoning, that extra bore size IS a sort of spacer when the original TEP1 reached the bottom and begin to tighten. I wonder what the thinking was vs today's Tiltall? May I add this info to that blog post? - Gary Gary- I think I’d call it a sleeve that has to slide between outer cylinder and the threaded shaft. Feel free to put the info on your blog. If I get a chance, I’ll make a drawing showing how I think the mechanism works. -Tom

Another update from Steve Krauss (Feb 2014) - I finally had time to run by Lowes and get some steel sleeves - 1/4" x 3/8" - they work PERFECTLY, just as you indicated. These steel sleeves I got are dimensionally identical to the handle - same outside diameter, slide perfectly over the threads, perfect function. It's a "Hillman HPM#07828". Thank you so much for your fine parts and help. Now I have two fully-functioning classic Tiltalls! With my carbon fiber Gitzo I'm well equipped.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Leitz Tiltall with Removable "Tilt All"

If there has been a single plaint these years regarding the Marchioni brothers' design, it is the non-removable Tiltall head. And for about that same length of time there has been a rumour that Leitz had played with a short lived version with a removable head. I had never yet seen one.

Thanks to a TEP Handle inquiry from Alan Abramowitz (http://abramowitzstudio.com) and his photographic proof above, we have our evidence (click to enlarge).  What history we have come by seems to suggest that the brothers begin Tiltall as a head-only design, but once attached to its body, both the Marchioni and the iterations that followed - with the Leitz exception above - Unifoto and its brother, Star-D; Omicron and presently, KingHome - all have stayed with a fixed head design.  Thank you again, Allan for your photos.  If others have discovered some Tiltall variants in their travels, please drop us a jpeg to post.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ball Column Zen

Message: Would like to mount a ballhead to my Tiltall...is the telescoping column the only available solution? Thanks, James

James - "Only available solution?" I had better play it with an extra safe answer, "Probably, no" - as all cat skinners know, there is always another solution.

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 stop/platform for the bottom of the column with a tripod thread (1/4-20).

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. [Note: one need not cut the head off the column.  The trick is to remove the small screw from the side of the head/column nexus and heat (gas torch) the head/column until the grip of the glue releases - ofcourse you dont learn this until after you have cut off the head.]

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.  [Read on -  we've been down these cat tracks already.] -Gary

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tiltall and the amazing Anson Nordby

Dear Mr. Regester, Thank you for your response to my inquiry about obtaining a new leg for my Tiltall tripod. I am sending the entire tripod assembly to you for correct parts. In addition to the leg assembly, it will require a number of additional parts to restore the tripod to be complete as it was when new. Let me tell you briefly what I am up to. I have so far collected three of the great older model Tiltalls. I place them with time lapse cameras in the Death Valley area of California (well camouflaged) for one to three days to catch the moving shadows and clouds in a time lapse movie.  My goal is to have five complete tripod/camera systems. This tripod will be number four. Thank you for your help. If in addition to the parts for this tripod, you have another complete tripod for sale (one of the good ones with the brass jam fittings on the legs) I would love to buy it. PS: I was out in the Owens Valley and the Alabama Hills the first part of this past week. I have attached some tripod photos for your blog. Best Regards, Anson Nordby

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hybrid Tiltall Thoughts



Thank you Ellen for your questions regarding Tiltall for birding.  Several ideas with notes:

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.

CHeadless 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

Tiltall Explodes

See parts page (link at upper right) for order information.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Marchioni Bros. History in Leitz Brochures

Leitz Tiltall brochure below, c.1974. Courtesy: Richard Haeseler, New Port Richey FL USA Leitz Tiltall brochure below, c. 1981. Courtesy: Pacific Rim Camera, Salem, OR 97302


Monday, April 23, 2012

Current Leg Bushing Modified to fit Leitz


Hi Gary,
IT WORKED!!!!
I have attached pictures of the before and after process.
My friend Gary (Hmmmm  Something going on with that...)
cut the flat non beveled part and then whittled it down to the right thickness
He put the piece over a wooden dowel and duct taped over washer
then he used a small saw (hacksaw) with a fine tooth blade and cut it by hand
I guess you could use a dremel, but this seemed the better choice.
I am holding on to the other washer as is and if over time the current resized washer
works, then I will go ahead and make another...  If not, then I will not cut off the non
beveled section and then whittle it all down...  that leaves the washer a little
wider, then I can (hopefully) slide that elongated thin part under the larger/upper leg...
if that makes sense to you
Anyhow, I don't claim to know the parts of the tripod so...  if you would like to share these pictures ...  I will leave the description up to you.
We used a dremel with a sanding barrel tip to widdle it down
Thanks Gary,
Beth Pauze


Sunday, April 1, 2012

StarD. . .Mystery Resolved?

On Sun, Apr 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 cj@photoscala.de

Dear Christoph,

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

Ballhead for headless Monocolumn?

Several have asked for my recommends for Monoball heads - during the last 10 or 15 years, the world has filled with small easy-to-travel (no long handles) monoball heads of all ilk - take a look at any of the websites of the usual suspects - in the USA: B+H, Adorama, Calumet, etc.

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 Chinese Knock-off, Not!

 Photo left - Your blogster, Gary Regester at the CES Las Vegas today with Oliver Yang, present owner of the TILTALL brand and manufacturer of the KINGHOME Tiltall iteration.  Thanks to Bob Solomon, HP Marketing , I can now link the apostalic succession from the Brothers Marchioni to Oliver Yang, Taiwan. This story is not yet perfect - please join in.

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

Bush in the Hand is Worth Two. . .

Some notes on the Tiltall leg "bushings":   Hi Gary,  I have a question about the TEP-10 and TEP-11 bushings. At $8 a set, do you mean for all three legs, or just one?

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

New foot / Old foot

Gary- I teach photography at the local junior college here and one of my students has a silver Tiltall tripod. One of the rubber feet/spike assemblies came off some time ago and he bought a replacement. The new foot doesn't screw in completely for some reason. Might you have any ideas as to how to solve the problem for him? Thank you, Ed Kreiser, The Levan Institute, Photography Division.

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

Wobbly Center Column on Marchioni.

Gary- I have a Tiltall Professional #4602 and using your exploded parts diagram, here is my problem: When I raise the head, the center column flops back and forth slightly. This makes it hard to get any motion shots in a steady manner. There is a bushing (#024 at the top of #025) so I can easily tighten the bracket to prevent the head from "decompressing" or dropping. I do not tighten the bottom of #025 (heck the handle is long gone) but that is ok, as I want to "spin/swivel/track" the motion shot. #023 slides into #033, but it is loose at the bottom because #23 is smaller in diameter than #033. I see a couple of parts ( #034 and #035 ) that if slipped into the bottom of #033 would possibly take out the wobble, but I believe they would just slide up and down (therefore OUT of) #033 when I adjust the height. I hope you can help me resurrect this classic..it is sturdy and HIGH but this "rocking" ruins my shots..can you suggest anything? THANKS Fred

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

Friday, June 3, 2011

"World's 1st Fashion Tripod" - $99

Two greybeards, Harold Sweet of Samy's Camera Beatrice Street Rental, Los Angeles who holds the in-store TILTALL point-of-purchase (aka POP!) display (left) shown with your bloggist, Gary Regester.

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

Yet more StarD Tiltall puzzle




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.
Thanks.
Jim

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

Additional information regarding Star D tiltall variations


From: Clair Kunkel
Subject: New/Additional information regarding Star D tiltall variations
Gary:

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
appreciated!

Clair Kunkel

Bend, OR


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.
Gary

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Monopod questions

On Sat, Mar 5, 2011 at 7:54 AM, Mukul Dube wrote:
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.

As example, I believe the Leitz column stop has a center hole as does the Marchioni. Threads of the current TEP6 are not compatible to Leitz and Marchioni, but can be rethreaded.  And a number of photographers have made a marriage between the existing Leitz or Marchioni stop and the present TEP6 in the private chambers of their favorite machinist. -GR



Saturday, January 1, 2011

Secret Life of Tiltalls

Remember to click photo to enlarge. First, a quick review of the order of iterations: Original Marchioni. Leitz buys Marchioni. Import/export group, Unifot (aka Fred Albu) buys Tiltall from Leitz and spins off the less expensive, "Star-D".  Omnicrom boys buy name and design from Unifot. KingHome Taiwan produces Tiltall from the end of Unifot to present. (This is the best current surmise - help us out.)

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.

Field Guide to Tiltall

Left to right - but not in chronological order:

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

Marchionis, Tapered and Shouldered Blocks

I recently purchased two Machioni Tiltalls on EBay and noted that there was a design change at the "apex" block from a tapered "cone" section (left) to the permanent design that follows today - a much easier to machine squared shoulder.

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.