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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.
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