I do not often speak about material I use, or my brand of camera’s being better than the other one, … you know what I mean, mainly because I don’t think gear matters all that much.
It is a pleasant thing to know your gear will be working whenever you need it, so I do appreciate reliability and so, but I don’t think that you’ll absolutely need the latest gear to make good images.
This said, I would like to write this little post about the makers of the tripod I have been using for about 6 years now. It has been facing salty sea water, clamping down on my motorbike, rain and ice, mud and dirt, and all nice things in between. The brand is Berlebach. They are nice ash-wood tripods, comparable to the type of tripods land surveyors use for their theodolites. Not excessively expensive, very sturdy, very stable (wood has the natural ability to absorb vibrations), very well finished and beautiful to look at. They don’t get your fingers freezing in cold temperatures, all good things. The downsides: they are heavy, mine does have long leg segments, which makes them(it) a bit cumbersome on long hikes. Mine is from the Report series, and it features a very handy ball-joint built into the tripod itself. This makes levelling the tripod a piece of cake, no matter what surface you are working on. The head is a three way head, all metal, beautifully finished and with a very tight grip.
Now, after six years of good service, one of the handles broke. It happened on the way back from the institute where I teach photography classes. My tripod was tightly secured on my motor when suddenly I took a road bump (they happen to be quite present here in Belgium) and I heard some clattering under the bike. Stopped, saw the handle in the middle of the street. It just broke off of the tripod head. No idea why or if it had been damaged before or …
So I sent an email to customer service to ask if they still could provide a replacement for this handle. The answer was short and very clear “Dear Ludwig, we will send you a new handle”. I thanked them and asked if this would be a payable replacement, that I would understand that since my tripod was at least 5 years old (didn’t bother looking how old it was exactly) …
Again a quick reply: “No, it will be sent free of charge, we only need your post address.”
😀 😀 😀
It dropped into my mailbox a couple of days later, not the same design, but even more handy, since a little smaller. Now here is my thought about this all: Where do you find companies these days that, after 6 years of buying their goods, will replace a part for free, send it for free, all with a smile? Thank you Berlebach!! www.berlebach.de