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Thread started 14 Jun 2009 (Sunday) 16:44
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Tripod Suggestions - Manfrotto 055 vs. Gitzo 2531

 
Roxie2401
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Jun 14, 2009 16:44 |  #1

Hi, I am finally going to buy that "one" tripod (hoping I will make the right choice the first time.....) and any help would be appreciated.

Assumptions:
Camera equipment: Canon 40D (someday 5D MK II) and maximum lens 70-200 F2.8.
Subject types: Night shots, skylines, etc.; Macro, too.
I have decided on getting the Markins M10 ball head (probably could have used the Q3 but recommendations on a slightly bigger "sweet spot" convinced me that the additional cost would be worth in the the long run).

The tripods I have been considering are the Manfrotto 055CXPRO3 and the Gitzo GT2531. I seem to think the three section versions would be better that the four (the fourth leg gets pretty small on both of these).

So, comments please?

Differences in locking (twist vs. flip lever)?
Quality of components/manufacture​, i.e, how is the top platform attached to the center column (pressed fit, set-screw, etc)?
Should I even consider the Manfrotto 190 series or the Gitzo Series 1 (I think the 055 & Series 2 correct for the lens length/total weight, etc.)

If I'm pushing the $400 area for the Manfrotto, is the extra cash for the Gitzo worth it in the long run (my one and only tripod)?

Does the center column on the GT2531 remove and allow the head to be attached directly to the leg platform (I think Gitzo calls this "ground level set") or do I need to buy additional "accessories?"

Should I consider the aluminum versions of these? Stability, vibration considerations....and what about that three section vs. four section leg issue?


This is my first post on this forum and I would sure appreciate knowing what other users have experienced. And, if I forgot to ask something, please chime in freely. Thanks very much.




  
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ben_r_
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Jun 14, 2009 18:14 |  #2

If you do some searching on here youll find that these questions have been thoroughly beating to death. Long story short, the Gitzo is the way to go without a doubt AND it wont matter whether you get the 4 or 3 section legs.


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argyle
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Jun 14, 2009 20:47 as a reply to  @ ben_r_'s post |  #3

Markins designs their heads with the Gitzo line in mind. The Markins M10 is the ideal ballhead for the Gitzo 2-series (I have the M10 on my Gitzo 2540). Gitzo also ties their tripods to a maximum focal length (longer lenses are more prone to torque from breezes, etc). The tripod must be able to resist these rotational forces, as well as support the load, if you are to be rewarded with a sharp image. If you don't want to use the center column, you can remove it and the locking nut and replace it with the Markins TB20 tripod base. Here's a shot of what the M10 looks like on the TB20 tripod base:

IMAGE: http://northlake.smugmug.com/photos/271631525_QCHdo-XL.jpg

That being said, IIRC the 2-series is rated up to 300mm focal length, which is probably conservative. I say "conservative" because I recently shot my 100-400L with a 1.4 teleconverter for an equivalent focal length of 560mm on my Gitzo 2540 without any ill effects whatsoever (just be sure that you have a proper long lens technique). Here's the image link:

https://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthre​ad.php?t=706765

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sml
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Jun 14, 2009 20:59 |  #4

I have the Gitzo 2531 and the RRS BH-40.
Couldn't be happier!
Took me a while to decide between the three and four section models, but I feel as though I made the right decision. In practice, I don't feel the size difference (between the three and four) turned out to be as dramatic as I had thought.
And I definitely prefer the twist to the flip.
I also feel the carbon definitely saves "weight" versus the aluminum.
(I never have removed the center post...though I thought I would when I was researching the purchase.)
The ballhead choice (RRS) turned out perfectly, too.
It really took me a long time to decide, but I really never had any buyer's remorse despite the cost!


Steve L
5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 24mm f1.4L II, 50mm f1.2L, 85mm f1.2L II, 100mm 2.8 Macro, 17-35mm f2.8 L, 24-105mm f4 L, 70-200mm f2.8 IS II L, 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS. Canon 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT. Gitzo 2531, RRS BH-40 Ballhead.
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ChrisMc73
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Jun 15, 2009 09:31 |  #5

I'm about to pull the trigger on a Gitzo 3541LS and Markins M20 along with the RSS clamp and L plate. I've been researching and reading and getting advice (on here) for about a month now, I don't think you can get any better than a Gitzo, its an investment that should last and be your "one and only" tripod. I say go with Gitzo.




  
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Roxie2401
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Jun 15, 2009 14:06 as a reply to  @ argyle's post |  #6

Argyle/Steve:

Thanks for the replies (and others). It sure looks like Gitzo is the popular opinion.

Argyle: Do you see any issues with the 4 section legs? Steve: I know you said you thought long and hard about that.

If I read the specs right, both the GT2531 and GT2541 carry the same ratings relative to weight. But do more joints mean more issues?

I really don't want to have to extend the center column (I'm told its a better technique - less potential for top wobble (maybe that was a Manfrotto thing?) - so I'm still unsure about those tiny four section legs.




  
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Wilt
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Jun 15, 2009 14:21 |  #7

I had a Bogen 3221 for over a decade. Loved the lever locks and hated the twist lock on the contemporary Gitzos back then! Fast forward 15 years and Gitzo adds ALR and G-lock design. Via POTN, myself and someone else engage in a 'shoot out' in set up and break down times for my Bogen vs his new Gitzo. Time is a virtual draw. Saving 3 pounds is becoming a need, not a luxury, for my body as it continues thru 'middle age' and progressing toward eventual senior citizen status. The 'investment' in the Gitzo is well worth it, and I am reminded of that whenever I pick it up! I prefer 3 segments, because travel length is not an issue for me, and I hate the extra time to fidget with 3 more sections to extend, then later to collapse. The metal Bogen sections extend out simply with gravity, due to their mass; I wish the Gitzo CF had sufficient mass and little friction to permit sections to extend out on their own, but the setup time is like my old Bogen 3221 time in spite of that manual intervention needed.


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ChrisMc73
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Jun 15, 2009 14:54 |  #8

Roxie2401 wrote in post #8114386 (external link)
Argyle/Steve:

Thanks for the replies (and others). It sure looks like Gitzo is the popular opinion.

Argyle: Do you see any issues with the 4 section legs? Steve: I know you said you thought long and hard about that.

If I read the specs right, both the GT2531 and GT2541 carry the same ratings relative to weight. But do more joints mean more issues?

I really don't want to have to extend the center column (I'm told its a better technique - less potential for top wobble (maybe that was a Manfrotto thing?) - so I'm still unsure about those tiny four section legs.

I had this same question, and was told from some of the experts on here that even though 3 sections usually in the past has meant "more stable" its not the case with these high end Gitzo tripods. The 4 section model (3541 for me) was suggested over the 3 section (3531) for its more compact size when folded up. I was told that stability was not an issue with these 4 section models.

Really, the Series 3 is pretty much the gold standard. You basically give up functionality from the Series 3 as a compromise towards weight, size and/or for traveling.

What is impressive about the 3541LS is that it comes in at 5.0lbs with an M20. A 2541 with an M10 is about 4.09 lbs. So for a 25% increase in weight you get a 100% increase in vibration damping capability. If weight or size is very important to you then go to the 1541 or the 2541 depending on how important they are (degrees). The 3541 is a bigger bundle because of the top plate/spider and it is heavier. IMO, any tripod rig over 5lbs drops in utility exponentially if you have to carry it.

I would also say that for Gitzo, you should get a 4 section leg for sure just for portability purposes. I don't think there is any additional stability gained that is measurable by going to a 3 section leg.




  
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Burnaby
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Jun 15, 2009 16:15 as a reply to  @ ChrisMc73's post |  #9

I have the Manfrotto 055PROMF3 carbon fiber tripod. I did consider going the Gitzo route, and while price is no object, I felt the extra cost just did not satisfy the logical part of my brain. I use it mostly indoors, rarely outdoors where my 694 mono gets the most use. I did not go for the 4-section legs as I thought they would be too flimsy. I'm happy with my decision and have not looked back.



  
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argyle
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Jun 15, 2009 17:03 |  #10

Roxie2401 wrote in post #8114386 (external link)
Argyle/Steve:

Thanks for the replies (and others). It sure looks like Gitzo is the popular opinion.

Argyle: Do you see any issues with the 4 section legs? Steve: I know you said you thought long and hard about that.

If I read the specs right, both the GT2531 and GT2541 carry the same ratings relative to weight. But do more joints mean more issues?

I really don't want to have to extend the center column (I'm told its a better technique - less potential for top wobble (maybe that was a Manfrotto thing?) - so I'm still unsure about those tiny four section legs.

None whatsoever. I do a lot of hiking, so I needed a tripod that folds up a bit more compact. On "cheap" tripods, the 3-leg versus 4-leg argument will usually hold water since the last leg section is usually pencil-thin on the cheapie (case in point is a POS Amvona that I have laying around...the bottom leg looks like a #2 pencil). Not so with the Gitzo or, for that matter, my 4-section Velbon...the bottom leg is still pretty stout. And with the new G-locks on the Gitzo, I can set my tripod up from folded to standing in about 10-seconds...no joke.


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sml
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Jun 15, 2009 17:17 |  #11

I agree...the three and four section Gitzo's are both very stable...at least they seemed that way when I was shopping.
I went for the "three" because I thought it would be easier/quicker to setup. And I wasn't concerned about losing the small size advantage for the four section version.
I have not noticed any stability issues with regard to the center post. I use it "down" most of the time, but it gives me extra flexibility for certain situations.


Steve L
5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 24mm f1.4L II, 50mm f1.2L, 85mm f1.2L II, 100mm 2.8 Macro, 17-35mm f2.8 L, 24-105mm f4 L, 70-200mm f2.8 IS II L, 75-300mm f4-5.6 IS. Canon 600EX-RT, ST-E3-RT. Gitzo 2531, RRS BH-40 Ballhead.
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ed ­ rader
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Jun 15, 2009 18:21 |  #12

Roxie2401 wrote in post #8114386 (external link)
Argyle/Steve:

Thanks for the replies (and others). It sure looks like Gitzo is the popular opinion.

Argyle: Do you see any issues with the 4 section legs? Steve: I know you said you thought long and hard about that.

If I read the specs right, both the GT2531 and GT2541 carry the same ratings relative to weight. But do more joints mean more issues?

I really don't want to have to extend the center column (I'm told its a better technique - less potential for top wobble (maybe that was a Manfrotto thing?) - so I'm still unsure about those tiny four section legs.

i would get the 4-section legs. i can't see any reason to buy the 3-section except to save money.

ed rader


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Roxie2401
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Jun 15, 2009 18:32 |  #13

argyle wrote in post #8115420 (external link)
None whatsoever. I do a lot of hiking, so I needed a tripod that folds up a bit more compact.

Argyle, Just curious, what is the difference between the GT2540 that you have and the GT2541? The Gitzo catalog says the last digit is the "release" but I don't see the GT2540 in the current listing. Is it no longer made?

The specs. seem exactly the same as the 2541; except maybe the 2541 has three steps for leg settings.

And, are we talking 2" difference (shorter) between the GT2531 and GT2541?




  
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tomd
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Jun 15, 2009 19:05 |  #14

a little off topic: everyone is crazy about Gitzo tripod legs, but I rarely hear about Gitzo heads. Are they simply not engineered to the specs and demands as the more commonly discussed heads? (Markins for example)


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argyle
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Jun 15, 2009 19:18 |  #15

Roxie2401 wrote in post #8115918 (external link)
Argyle, Just curious, what is the difference between the GT2540 that you have and the GT2541? The Gitzo catalog says the last digit is the "release" but I don't see the GT2540 in the current listing. Is it no longer made?

The specs. seem exactly the same as the 2541; except maybe the 2541 has three steps for leg settings.

And, are we talking 2" difference (shorter) between the GT2531 and GT2541?

Can't help you there...The 2540 is no longer made and has been replaced by the 2541. What the differences are, I really can't say. The 2540 has the new G-locks, as well as the ALR system, so what they could have done to improve it with the 2541, if anything, I wouldn't have a clue. Either way, the 2-series (2540 or 2541) would be a good bet.


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