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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,
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 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

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.