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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.