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Olympus E-400 E-400 specific discussion.

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Old 2nd June 2008
Ellie Ellie is offline
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Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

I've got an ongoing problem with my tripod head, when using the 70-300 lens with my E400.

I'll try to explain without pictures, hope it makes sense. The plate looks like this

The head is a Gitzo G1276M, off centre ball head, which is a fantastic piece of kit and will support up to 5kg. It does exactly what it says on the box - until I'm using the 70-300 lens and want to lock the camera in place pointing at an angle downwards.

When I try that, the polymer mat carries on gripping the base of the camera slips on its adhesive even though the locking screw is tightly fastened and the mat retains its grip on the camera. It does it very, very, slowly, can't see it moving with the naked eye, but it's enough to lose where the camera's meant to be focussing.

I took the camera/lens/tripod/head into LCE so they could see for themselves what was happening. They replaced the base/locking plate, but the new one is doing exactly the same.

I've spoken to Gitzo's representatives who say the lens might be too heavy in relation to it's position on the tripod head, and is making the whole thing twist on the plate when the camera is beyond a certain critical downwards angle - shifted centre of gravity = torsion.

They say the locking pin that goes into the hole forward of the tripod screw should be enough to stop it happening, and hold it in place. Trouble is that only the very end of this locking pin seats in the hole in the camera body and the spring clip that's meant to hold it in place doesn't. Gitzo recommended using a collar on the lens, when combined with my lightweight E400, I think I agree with them.

I've spoken to Olympus technical support. They say the base of their cameras is standard, which is true. They don't do a tripod collar for the 70-300, because it doesn't need one, because it isn't very heavy, which is also true but I'm beginning to wonder if it's too heavy for the E400 in certain circumstances.

I thought, for a fleeting moment, about trying to drill out the locking pin hole in the base of the camera, so it's a bit wider, but I haven't got the confidence to do it.

I've tried a friend's heavier camera/lens combination on the tripod/head without any problem, the locking pin won't seat into the little forward hole on their camera either so clearly (to me at least) it isn't the cause of the problem and is a bit of a red herring.

It seems I might have found the one weak point of having a light camera and a lens that's relatively heavier. If anybody's got any hints I'd be very grateful.
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

Ellie, I really wouldn't take a Black and Decker to the camera just yet.

I don't have an E-4xx camera so I can't measure anything myself. Is the problem that the Gitzo plate has a pin which is;
1- in the wrong place
2- is too large a diameter for the hole in the camera
3- too short to poke far enough into the camera,
or some combination of the three.
If it's any of the above then I'm sure anyone with a small lathe will be able to turn you up a new locking pin in no time. Have a look on the internet and see if there's a local model engineering society. If they are having an open day it might double as a photo opportunity.

Do you have a photo of the underneath of the plate?

If it comes to it and you can't find someone local and you have a vernier calliper, or a friend with one, and can supply the correct meaurements I'll knock you one up and post it. If you're anywhere near Sheffield just let me know and call round sometime.
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

If it's like my E3, the problem may be that as you tighten the screw onto the camera, the rubber on the tripod base compresses. This causes the camera to tilt and the location pin to come out of engagement with the location hole in the camera body.

I cured this problem by fitting a fibre seating on the tripod plate, replacing the rubber one. The fibre gives protection with little compression.

Jim
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

I think I know what Ellie is referring to and will try to explain it with a diagram and text.

Take a look at this image of an E-510 and a tripod mount;


The screw on the tripod mount marked 1 and coloured light blue is aligned correctly, and in this position would screw into the camera base perfectly. However, when this is the case you can see that the pin marked 2 and coloured light green (that pushes into the recess on the camera base) is not aligned correctly with that recess. The arrow in red indicates the difference in the distance from the point at which the pin on the tripod mount is away from the recess on the base of the camera.

Ellie - is this what your issue is...?
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

John, Good thought, but in Ellie's post she links to a photo showing the 1/4 Whitworth tripod mounting screw is in a slot to allow for that, though perhaps the slot isn't long enough.
Maybe someone could supply a measurement for the E-400 E-420 etc.

I'm not sure there is any consistancy even within Olympus;

My E-500 does not have a locating hole,
The E-1 does @ about 18mm centre distance from the tripod mount, but the HLD-2 grip for it doesn't have one.
I can't measure the E-3 as it's away for repair of a sticky eyepiece blind, but there's no location hole on its matching HLD-4.

Whatever happened to standardisation within a "System"?

I had a similar problem to Jim above with one of my Manfrotto plates, though for a different reason. In this case I replaced the cork shim which had become polished and slippery with one made out of automotive gasket paper. It's not really paper, but a mix of cork and rubber granules formed into a sheet about 0.5mm thick. Superglued on, it did the job a treat.

Ellie, I'm not trying to hijack your post here, but a couple of comments may help others out too.
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

I'm sorry to tell you guys but that locking pin on tripods is actually only a camcorder locating pin that is standardized for camcorders and was never meant for cameras and if it matches up to your camera then that is just a coincidence. Ellie if the rubber mat on the tripod is moving then that is the tripod manufactures fault and it is not up to the job.

PS Just to prove the point the distance between the two holes on the E-1's base plate is 7/10in on the E-510 and 420 it is 8/10in and on Canon cameras it is none existant.
I think someone at Gitzos is feeding you horse manure.
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul_S View Post
I'm sorry to tell you guys but that locking pin on tripods is actually only a camcorder locating pin that is standardized for camcorders and was never meant for cameras and if it matches up to your camera then that is just a coincidence.
In my case I measured the dimensions of my E3 mounting and fitted a pin to my Uniloc QR plate. The hole in the camera base is very shallow (IIRC about 1mm), so any yielding of rubber between the camera and plate can result in the pin disengaging. That's why I replaced the rubber on the QR plate with fibre.

Jim
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Old 2nd June 2008
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

Quote:
When I try that, the polymer mat carries on gripping the base of the camera slips on its adhesive even though the locking screw is tightly fastened and the mat retains its grip on the camera
I'm not sure what that means.

You know I may be reading this entirely wrong (and I must be or its the dumbest thing on the internet tonight), but because nothing has been said to give the alternative impression (and an illustration of the plate has been posted presumably how it is trying to be used) I get the message the pin is still an integral part of the plate in all this? In other words the plate is trying to be put into the camera with the pin in position. Remove the pin completly, or at least back it out and then retighten it so it digs into the bottom of the camera.

Steve
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Old 3rd June 2008
Jim Ford Jim Ford is offline
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

Quote:
Originally Posted by 250swb View Post
. Remove the pin completly
Yes - and reposition it.

Quote:
or at least back it out and then retighten it so it digs into the bottom of the camera.
Aaaargh - no, no, no, no, NO! We _don't_ dig things into the bottoms of our cameras!

Jim
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Old 3rd June 2008
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HughofBardfield HughofBardfield is offline
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

It sounds as though there's almost enough friction to stop slip, but not quite.

It might be worth trying a thin fibre washer between the plate and the camera to increase the friction. I'm sure I've seen such things in the pumbing section of DIY stores. Something with a rough surface might just increase the friction enough to stop the slip.
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Old 14th June 2008
Ellie Ellie is offline
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Re: Tripod head problem with E400 and 70-300 lens

Sorry, I haven't been around to respond to all your ideas. Thanks.

I'll try to get some pictures to show you what I mean, a bit difficult when it's the only camera in the house.

I'm disappointed to have heard nothing from Gitzo apart from an acknowledgement of the email. I tried speaking to Olympus tech support, the lady suggested I send the camera to be serviced. But as there's nothing wrong with the camera, I shan't bother.

I have taken the head back into the shop again, but wasn't able to get the same movement while I was there, which didn't help much. It's when the camera is pointing downwards and at an angle - which the head is designed to be able to do. The lens though, is heavier than the E400 camera body so I think it's pulling it off centre.

John (MM), thanks for that picture. It shows the right bits, but the screw on the plate I've got can be positioned so the locating pin could slot into the forward hole in the base of the camera if it was the right size. The plate -> camera screw is easy to tighten because it's got both a ring and a slot so a coin can be used if necessary, and is one of the reasons for choosing this head. Apart from this issue, which I honestly think is only due to the E400/70-300mm lens combination being slightly unbalanced, the head is a delight to use.

I know the straight pin is meant for video cameras, not a still camera. But, having said that, if there is a hole in the right position on the base of a camera you'd think it would be the right size to take the pin, but it isn't. Why isn't there an industry standard size?

The locking plate has a polymer mat glued to it, where some might have a cork mat. This mat is meant to be a special polymer with increased grip, to stop any movement. It's meant to be better than cork mats and it is, the mat grips the camera beautifully, but the glue attaching the mat to the metal plate isn't doing its' job under certain conditions.

It happens if I fully extend the lens to 300mm and have the camera pointing at an angle sideways and downwards, during the 2 second shutter delay it can move enough to lose the point of focus.

The movement really is barely noticeable at the tripod end, but when the distance between camera and subject is more than a metre that tiny little movement is magnified. One degree (I can't do the mathematical symbol) at the centre of a circle is much less than a degree a metre or more away and means that the completely wrong bit of a flower can end up in focus. It wouldn't matter so much with f18 or f22, but at f5.6 it's enough to ruin a picture.
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