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Tripod and Photo Editing for Portraits with the S 006


Mustana
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As of last week I am now the proud owner of a Leica S 006. I have it paired with the Contax 645 Zeiss 120 F4 Lens and plan to use it for Portraits and Still Life Photography.

I would love to have some opinions from fellow forumites about their favorite tripods and heads.

I was looking at Capture One as the photo editing software for portraits with this camera. Is this the best choice or are there any other which you would recommend.

Many thanks !

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Sounds exciting!  Glad you entered the S world.

I agree with @John McMaster a good carbon fiber is light.  In my opinion, the S is heavier, especially if you ever decide to get some Leica S glass for it.  So, my recommendation is a series 3 (gitzo) or higher (series 4 or 5).  I would get equivalent if you get another brand.  Same for the tripod head -heavy duty. My tripod is rated (from memory) around 80 pounds and my head about 60 pounds, so 60 pounds is the limiting factor.  I have shot mine in 35mph winds on the cost (holding on very tightly) and gotten 1-2 second exposures to come out great.  What you want is zero vibration.  My comparison is a ladder - would you want to climb one that was made for a max weight of about your weight, or 2 to 3 times your weight?  Clearly the first would twist and flex as you climb.

I used adobe lightroom from version 2 all the way to December 2021.  I took the plunge for Capture One 22 in January and have not looked back.  Lightroom has better cataloging functions and is a little more intuitive, but Capture One is a much better RAW editor albeit a longer learning curve.  Large changes in sliders are small changes on screen and the color balancing and color editing are eons better than Lightroom (in part because Adobe just added the option in the last year or so).

If you don’t have much experience with digital editing software, you will find Adobe Lightroom easier to learn.

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On 4/3/2022 at 2:51 AM, John McMaster said:

No hint of pricing 😉  Good carbon fibre tripod (Gitzo/RRS depending on where you live), Arca Swiss Cube head and Adobe Lightroom is the other option...

john

Thanks for the quick response John!

Price is not really a concern and I live in Seattle.

Any opinions on a wooden tripod like Ries versus a carbon fiber one like Gitzo? I do not plan to travel much with the tripod so weight is not a major concern.

As my editing is going to be primarily of portraits - does Lightroom provide more functionality than Capture One ?

Many thanks again !

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I find my big wooden tripod (with Wimberley head) is better for longer (+300mm lenses), most of the time I use a carbon fibre Gitzo with a Cube - since you are in the USA RRS may make more sense.

Lightroom is what I have used since v1, it also works as a cataloguer, I have never (needed to) spend the time to find my way around CaptureOne 😉

john

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Posted (edited)

I would look at Novoflex Triobalance. Then you have (a or can use your ) monopod and have walking sticks. I used it last year, was not bad. One saves on luggage too.

I use Lightroom and Photoshop. But perhaps Lightroom alone suffices, it is very powerful already.

Edited by jankap
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On 4/4/2022 at 10:31 PM, Mustana said:

Thanks for the quick response John!

Price is not really a concern and I live in Seattle.

Any opinions on a wooden tripod like Ries versus a carbon fiber one like Gitzo? I do not plan to travel much with the tripod so weight is not a major concern.

As my editing is going to be primarily of portraits - does Lightroom provide more functionality than Capture One ?

Many thanks again !

A Ries will definitely be more stable, but it is also kind of overkill in most situations. The head is also geared more towards large format cameras than smaller formats. I have a Ries and head for my 8x10 and I use it on 4x5 too, but I only really use it with smaller cameras if I am doing something like copy work or macro, where the vibrations are critical and magnified by the enlargement factor.

I agree with the general consensus that a carbon fiber tripod with a good head is probably the best way to go. I have used a Really Right Stuff TVC33 and BH55 with my smaller cameras for about 15 years or so, and it provides what I would consider the best balance of stability and practicality. One thing you will find with tripods, like cameras, it is hard to find one that does everything well. It is not a bad idea to have a more heavy duty one and a light one, and you can use the heaviest that is practical at any given time. I can assure you that you are not going to want to walk anywhere with a Ries...not just because of the weight, but also because they are bulky, the knobs are sharp and stick out in ways that make it hard to fit into a backpack and the setup is a bit slow (the head is also very slow if you are working with people who move around). They are really designed for maximum stability. A CF tripod will be much faster in use and more ergonomically pleasing in most cases.

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Like Stuart, I only used my Ries (and Zone VI) wooden tripods with large format view cameras.  I own two RRS tripods, the larger being the TVC24L.  I still have my BH55 head, but prefer the Arca Swiss P0. 
 

Editing software is a different can of worms, and there are many discussions on the topic, primarily in the Digital Post Processing forum section.  People tend to like the one that that they take time to learn and get comfortable with. 
 

Jeff

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Posted (edited)

I've had very good luck with Benro carbon fiber tripods. My large one is rated to 60 pounds and will extend (with center also extended) to over 7 feet tall.  Because of this I virtually never have to extend the center pole.  I used to own Gitzo tripods but they were too precious (to me at least) to beat up, stand in salt water, etc.  The Benro is 95% as good for 25% of the price.  I believe Glazer's has them in stock to inspect.

I use both Capture One 22 and Lightroom and echo above statements. C22 is wonderful for color but Lightroom is easier to use for filing and storage.

P.S. I'm a long time S (006) shooter and live in Seattle, PM me if you'd like to meet up sometime.

Edited by Sailronin
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As a response to @Sailronin, I have the gitzo 3 and I also purchased the 3 inch metal spikes that I keep on mine.  I use it on the coast in the salt water and the spikes help hold it steady.  I did get a grease kit and every 18 months or so I take it apart and clean it, lube it and put it back together.  It was expensive, but it is sturdy, easy to fix and has never failed me in any elements.  

I don't know much about the Benro, but if you do want a tripod that you use outside a lot, look at the self-maintenance to understand it, and look at the options for the feet and heads to make sure they are flexible enough for your use.  If the Benro will take the elements, go for it! 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Wooden tripods look awesome and are ideal for large format (heavy cameras, such as the Sinar S2) but maybe overkill for medium format cameras. The Riess heads are very good and stable. 

My preference in your case would be for a RRS or ProMedia Gear tripod, the larger the better. 

Pan and Tilt head, such as Induro PHD3 where unlike the ball head, when you release a little you get forward-backwards tilt, release a bit more and sideways tilt is allowed. I found this most useful for making small adjustments in landscape photography. Acratech pan tilt head is also very good but I prefer the Induro. The Arca-Swiss P0 may be better (larger and easier to control with a heavy system on top) for you than the P1 but both are sufficient for the weight of your system. 

Did you consider a monopod in the studio to take the weight of the camera when you are not making long time shots but using a flash? Faster and more mobile for shooting models. 

My own system is Berlebach with the Riess head for Sinar S2 in the studio. The Chamonix is on the PHD3 head. 

PMG434L (extends to 2m) with a levelling base on top of which I mount the ArcaSwiss P0 or the PHD3. 

I have the Gitzo 3 series which I use when flying or when on a beach, as well as a Gitzo 2 series when I am flying and need to be low weight. 

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Posted (edited)

If you don't mind a heavy tripod, then Manfrotto 058B is great in that it allows very quick leg adjustments, without having to release/tighten each leg separately. Makes a lot of difference to me, especially with location portraits where I have to adjust my height/angle all the time, sometimes switching between a digital camera and a Linhof Technika. Paired with an Arca Swiss Z1 head - simple and solid (of course, for landscapes or architecture, something like a Cube or D4 would work better, but I usually don't need very fine geared adjustments for portraits and the speed afforded by a ball head is preferable...the P0 and P1 also work very well, in my experience). I have several other tripods, ranging from a 5 series Gitzo to a very fine and light-weight FLM, but find the 058B far quicker to use than any of those. But of course, I will not take the 058B hiking or pack it with me on a holiday.

As for raw processing, Capture One is the one I use now (with an S3 and all my other cameras) but I used Lightroom when I had the S2 / M9 (same generation CCD sensors as the S006) years ago and it also worked very well. In the end, I can process any image in either program but since I started shooting in the format of "photo shoots" some five years ago, I find the "Sessions" concept in Capture One very useful and intuitive. Prior to that, when I was a typical "unfocused amateur", shooting a few shots here and a few there, the Lightroom catalog made more sense to me (and continues to do so, still...even to the extent that I process my "shoots" in Capture One but when I download my SD cards from family holidays, celebrations etc., usually all together after some months, I will typically process them and keep them organised in LR).

https://www.martindrazsky.com

Edited by albireo_double
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Posted (edited)

I'm quite happy with the Gitzo 5533LS. Not too heavy and stupidly solid. I use an Acratech pan head and the Gitzo leveling base. Holds the S3 and a 400mm Pentax 67 lens absolutely still. With a long lens support, I can mount a Zeiss 350 and 2x teleconverter, which is still superbly sharp. This sounds like overkill, but at least I don't have to worry about it. 

Yes, the lens makes the S and the tripod look tiny. They are not.🤣

 

Edited by mgrayson3
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On 5/4/2022 at 11:49 PM, Sandokan said:

Wooden tripods look awesome and are ideal for large format (heavy cameras, such as the Sinar S2) but maybe overkill for medium format cameras. The Riess heads are very good and stable. 

 

On 5/4/2022 at 11:49 PM, Sandokan said:

My own system is Berlebach with the Riess head for Sinar S2 in the studio. The Chamonix is on the PHD3 head. 

Berlebach is my top choice as well. They offer a wide range of tripods, not just for large format (or astrophotography, which seems to be their specialty). I've had one of their tripods for over 20 years, and it's been awesome. My favourite is their mini tripod, which packs-down to less than 30cm and can hold 8kg. It's perfect when shooting from ground level.

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On 4/3/2022 at 4:04 AM, davidmknoble said:

Sounds exciting!  Glad you entered the S world.

I agree with @John McMaster a good carbon fiber is light.  In my opinion, the S is heavier, especially if you ever decide to get some Leica S glass for it.  So, my recommendation is a series 3 (gitzo) or higher (series 4 or 5).  I would get equivalent if you get another brand.  Same for the tripod head -heavy duty. My tripod is rated (from memory) around 80 pounds and my head about 60 pounds, so 60 pounds is the limiting factor.  I have shot mine in 35mph winds on the cost (holding on very tightly) and gotten 1-2 second exposures to come out great.  What you want is zero vibration.  My comparison is a ladder - would you want to climb one that was made for a max weight of about your weight, or 2 to 3 times your weight?  Clearly the first would twist and flex as you climb.

I used adobe lightroom from version 2 all the way to December 2021.  I took the plunge for Capture One 22 in January and have not looked back.  Lightroom has better cataloging functions and is a little more intuitive, but Capture One is a much better RAW editor albeit a longer learning curve.  Large changes in sliders are small changes on screen and the color balancing and color editing are eons better than Lightroom (in part because Adobe just added the option in the last year or so).

If you don’t have much experience with digital editing software, you will find Adobe Lightroom easier to learn.

Thank you David for your kind response. 

So if I am reading you correctly you are recommending a tripod and head that are rated at least 60 pounds. Would love to know your top recommendation for a head for mostly portrait photography. It seems most forumites seem to agree with you that Capture One is the way to go.

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On 4/6/2022 at 1:44 AM, Stuart Richardson said:

A Ries will definitely be more stable, but it is also kind of overkill in most situations. The head is also geared more towards large format cameras than smaller formats. I have a Ries and head for my 8x10 and I use it on 4x5 too, but I only really use it with smaller cameras if I am doing something like copy work or macro, where the vibrations are critical and magnified by the enlargement factor.

I agree with the general consensus that a carbon fiber tripod with a good head is probably the best way to go. I have used a Really Right Stuff TVC33 and BH55 with my smaller cameras for about 15 years or so, and it provides what I would consider the best balance of stability and practicality. One thing you will find with tripods, like cameras, it is hard to find one that does everything well. It is not a bad idea to have a more heavy duty one and a light one, and you can use the heaviest that is practical at any given time. I can assure you that you are not going to want to walk anywhere with a Ries...not just because of the weight, but also because they are bulky, the knobs are sharp and stick out in ways that make it hard to fit into a backpack and the setup is a bit slow (the head is also very slow if you are working with people who move around). They are really designed for maximum stability. A CF tripod will be much faster in use and more ergonomically pleasing in most cases.

Thank you Stuart for your knowledgable reply. I have always found your comments on this forum very educational and having dabbled in the Rollei world for a bit; you were one of the inspirations to move to Leica.

Do you find not having a central column on the RRS TVC33 an issue when you are doing portrait work? I am aware that central columns do reduce stability but seem awfully convenient for quick vertical adjustments.

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On 4/6/2022 at 10:29 AM, Sailronin said:

I've had very good luck with Benro carbon fiber tripods. My large one is rated to 60 pounds and will extend (with center also extended) to over 7 feet tall.  Because of this I virtually never have to extend the center pole.  I used to own Gitzo tripods but they were too precious (to me at least) to beat up, stand in salt water, etc.  The Benro is 95% as good for 25% of the price.  I believe Glazer's has them in stock to inspect.

I use both Capture One 22 and Lightroom and echo above statements. C22 is wonderful for color but Lightroom is easier to use for filing and storage.

P.S. I'm a long time S (006) shooter and live in Seattle, PM me if you'd like to meet up sometime.

Thank you David for your response. I will definitely look in to the Benro tripod. Do you have a recommendation for an ideal head for portraits.

I enjoyed your website a lot - beautiful work! Will try to connect and meet up.

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