Ries, a wooden tripod for professionals.
Ries tripods are light, probably lighter than the all-metal Gitzo tripods I have. We feel that Ries tripods deserve to become better known, so this insert in our FLAAR review of large format equipment is a good start. Ries tripods would be useful for nature photographers since their backpacker model can be disassembled and transported in a backpack. For working in archaeology, or any outdoor photography, wood is more comfortable. Black or even aluminum colored metal heats up quickly (and painfully).
If you read the professional magazine View Camera,, then you have seen the ads for Ries tripods. Michael Collette (Better Light) recommended the Ries tripods, and he should know tripods, since Mike invented/developed the 4x5 format Dicomed camera.
Ronald Wisner recommends the Ries tripods as well. Wisner is the owner (and hands-on operator) of a major manufacturer and distributor of large format cameras. Thus I was embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of a Ries tripod. To reveal how corporate advertising programs can miss entire segments of their potential clients, I then found out that few of the photography professors at my collegewere familiar with the Ries tripod either.
But now I have not only heard about them from large format professionals, I have admired them in person, since Ries Industries kindly sent two for FLAAR to review on this Web site.
My first reaction to the Ries tripods was that they were beautifully machined and well put together. The fittings all look rugged. Archaeologists ought to be at home with this class of tripods because they are similar to the wooden ones used by surveyors.
Ries tripods avoid wobble in two ways. First, their parts are precision cut and fitted. This means that everything meshes with no free play. Second, Ries tripods have no center post. This may be a result of their heritage in movie making. A center post is what introduces the potential of a poor fit and thus wobble around the center post.
You can affix your camera directly onto the top of the Ries tripod or you can use your favorite head (as long as it has no protrusions or fixtures that go below the plane of the head). The top of the Ries tripod is almost 6 inches across.
To order: Ries Industries, 7865 NE Day Road, Suite R, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110
tel (206) 842 9558
fax (206) 842 8530
Additional information on Gitzo tripods, Manfrotto tripod heads, Elinchrome strobes, Metz flash equipment, and BogenImaging light stands is readily available from the distributor (BogenImaging) at: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (201) 818-9500.
Updated Feb. 25, 1999.