Rogeti RG-1 geared tripod head review
Review: Rogeti RG-1 geared tripod head
Compact camera mount system supports 10kg
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Rogeti have produced an entirely new geared tripod head which Keith has been trying out over the last couple of weeks.
The head supports up to 10kg and only weighs some 680g
Keith has used Rogeti’s TSE frame with his Canon TS-E (tilt/shift) lenses for some time and has been looking at the head to see if it displays the same quality of design and construction.
The geared head
I’ve used Rogeti’s TSE frame with my TS-E17mm F4L and TS-E24mm F3.5L tilt/shift lenses for a while now [most recent review notes] and right from the first version I tested have been impressed by how it was obviously designed by people who actually did photography. I’ve used the TSE frame and more recently the Rogeti L Bracket mount for my Canon 5Ds with a Benro Geared head [GD3WH – review].
Recently, Rogeti told me about a new geared head they were developing, aiming for something compact and robust that fitted the needs of a range of photographers who needed precise camera support. As a working architectural and commercial photographer, would I like to try it out?
The design consists of a basic geared head and a number of accessories for different applications.
[Click to enlarge most images]
There are an extra two top plates.
One allows for quick ±90º positioning and has an additional circular level on top, whilst the other gives a full 360º rotation for panoramic use.
There is also a square camera plate that can fit the main head, or the top plates.
Also seen above is the extension bar/handle which fits into the top of the head or, with the thinner bar, into the side of the top plate of the head.
It makes a very effective handle and also partly acts as a counterweight to longer lenses.
Initially I wondered just why I’d want to use it as an extender on top of the head?
Then I noticed the example to the right, using a GoPro and Rogeti’s GoPro Pano Mount where it means the tripod takes up less space in the full shot (picture from Rogeti). I’ve not had a chance to test this aspect of its use.
The head is very compact for its capacity, and if you tip over the top by 90º, it takes up even less space in your bag.
The black baseplate of the head also rotates a full 360º
You can see it in this photo, with the small grey locking clamp to the left.
The full range of movement is shown in this graphic from Rogeti.
The full range of fittings, including the small locating pins that optionally ensure precise alignment of the parts
The pins are not obvious, but in practice work very well when changing/moving parts
The movement of the head is very smooth, with a clutch available on one axis for quick setting. This is the light grey part in the photo above.
This axis (±105º) has two control knobs for ease of use. All the knobs are metal with a thin red rubber sleeve giving a good grip to the controls.
The lower axis has a large gear track and like the top axis gives no feel of backlash or stiffness.
The two photos below show the amount of movement you get from one full turn of each adjustment knob.
Clearly visible in the photos above are the well positioned levels. In using the head on two different interior shoots, with rather mixed lighting, I never had any difficulty in seeing the levels, and from the photos taken I’m minded to believe they are giving me more accurate levelling than I got with the GD3WH. Here are the two side by side.
Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been happy with the GD3WH for a while, but the RG-1 just feels a step up in precision (it’s also currently $679 vs $210 [B&H] and rated at 6kg rather than 10kg).
The head worked very well with the Rogeti L bracket (available for Canon 5D3/4/S and Sony A7R3/A7R4/A7R2/A9/A9II)
Here’s the configuration I used on a couple of jobs with my 5Ds and TS-E17.
I’ve also been testing a new Fotodiox M645->EOS RF tilt/shift lens adapter for my old Mamiya M465 lenses. This gives ±15mm of shift and ±10º of tilt. [Fotodiox]
First with a 210mm f/4 lens
Then with a Mamiya 35mm f/3.5 and around 12mm of upwards shift to correct verticals.
The view on the screen shows how useful focus peaking is with manual focus lenses
Note that I’m using the X-Y plate in this shot. I could have taken it off and used just the square camera baseplate. This probably happened because I’d been using the 5Ds + L bracket earlier that day.
The photo as taken with the EOS RP
The largest lens I used was my old Russian MTO1000A 1080mm f/10 mirror lens -the head worked fine, but I quickly realised the underlying tripod could do with improving…
After a period trying out the head, my first thoughts are that it has both improved the accuracy of my setting up for shots and made the process faster.
‘Faster’ may be a term rarely associated with tripod use, but I’m often working in busy places where I have limited time to set up and photograph a scene. I need the accuracy to minimise post production (especially for very wide angle shifted/stitched pairs of images, and the speed because someone might come along wanting to move furniture or carry on working.
For slower work, it just feels a more comfortable process – helped along by my need for strong glasses for close-up work, and the levelling vials being clear to read even without my glasses.
It’s also very compact for putting into a camera bag. If you tip the top plate over by 90º it takes up less space than many of my lenses.
Any minor gripes?
I’d like an optional larger rubber grip for the control knobs – just for comfort mainly, especially when cold and wearing gloves. I can see they are the size they are for clearance when the head is fully tilted over, but I tended to use it level (using the L bracket to rotate the camera).
I’ve not tested, as yet, the panoramic attachment, which should work well with the TSE frame. The TSE frame has a base plate with nodal positions marked for the TS-E17/24ii/50 lenses, enabling very high quality panoramic stitching (with up/down shift as well).
So, overall it’s just a really nice bit of kit to use that feels like it was really designed with the needs of some photographers in mind. This isn’t the sort of thing you’d want for nature photography with a big long lens, but that’s not what earns me my living…
I was using the mount about a year after the review was written and one of the red knobs unscrewed.
I screwed it back, but it was not quite tight. Taking off the red cover reveals two allen head grub screws.
Tighten these and all is well. Mentioned just in case it happens and you didn’t think of taking off the red cover (like I didn’t).
Keith has no business connection with Rogeti, and was asked to look at the tripod as a new product relevant to his architectural photography work. Northlight Images has an affiliate link for purchasing the head from Rogeti, which like all such links here helps support the site. If you’ve any questions about the head please use the comments below, or if you’d prefer drop Keith an email
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