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Thread started 16 Dec 2009 (Wednesday) 07:41
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Choosing between three Gitzos

 
Jonta
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Dec 16, 2009 07:41 |  #1

I have considered/postponed/p​rocrastinated the purchase of a tripod for about two years now (posted a thread here over a year ago), and I think I am nearing the end (luckily it hasn't been two years of endless, constant research).

The brand I decided on is Gitzo.
One can only have two out of three things in a tripod, ditching the third; light, stable, cheap. So I dropped the latter.

After looking at the tripodchart (external link) at Gitzo's, I am down to three to five (having eliminated non-CFs (CF = Carbon Fibre), those with more than 20 cm. as minimum height, four-sectioned ones, and ones where maximum height didn't seem to be high enough, and ones without centrecoloumn):

Leveling:
GT2531LVL (external link)

Explorer:
GT2531EX (external link)

Mountaineer:
GT1531 (external link)
GT2531 (external link)
GT3531 (external link)

Mountaineer first: There is only a nine cm. difference between the 1531's maximum height of 155 cm, and the 3531's of 164 cm. But the weight-difference is of almost one kilogram. Granted; the 3531 can take 10 kilograms more load (18 vs 8), but maximum load is not a problem for me (maximum would be a very/unnecessarily large head, 400D w/BG-E3 and 100 mm f/2.8 macro. Combined weight: Low. Lower than 8 kilograms... right?).

Do those nine centimetres make a lot of difference? I measured my eyeheight, and it seems to be at around 163-163 centimetres, but when out and about I'll be wearing boots and stuff, and I still have plans of growing a bit, so...

Maybe I should just go for the 2531; 161 centimetres (3 less than 3531) and 1,37 kilograms (270 grams more than 1531).

Then the other two: The leveling seems very nice; being able to fine-tune the levelling without fiddling with the legs (which, admittedly, is supposed to be so much less of a hassle with the G-lock.).

The Explorer is commended for being very flexible and fast to set up (pretty big plus), but people complain that, due to being very flexible in how you set the legs steplessly, it is difficult to get it to a standard setting, which one could need very often (don't know about me tho..).

One very cool thing about it is this:

IMAGE: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/images-13/Camera-down-full-view-NF.jpg

found here (external link) though.

OK, but what does he take pictures of? Birds? Citylife? Landscapes? Nasal hair?

Well, a lot of different stuff. Not really a big fan of landscapes, but that might be because I haven't really had the option of doing pans (yes, you can do them handheld, but right now for example, I'm spending a year in the north of Norway. That's above the polar circle. Yep; haven't seen the sun for a couple of weeks. Pretty important light for landscapes, or so I've heard ;))

I shoot macro, so a tripod is going to be good.

Some long-shutter of water in motion is probably going to be on my list.

But no long lenses (like I said; longest focal-length 100 mm, at least now. And bird-photography isn't something that interests me a lot. At least not for the moment).

So; which one why?



  
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callous
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Dec 16, 2009 08:07 |  #2

I don't know enough about the Levelling and Traveller ones to be able to give you an unbiased answer. I have the GT2541EX with the GH2750QR off centre ballhead and I can tell you that the versatility is simply amazing.

With regards opening it quickly, there are little notches on the main part of the body and little arrows at the top of each leg - it takes a split second to glance at the top of each leg when you are setting the angle to check that they're all the same. And if you use these notches/arrows it gives you a pretty standard tripod "shape" (I don't know what the angle is but I would guess 20-30 degrees off-vertical). You can see this quite clearly in step 2 of the manual (external link).

Hope this helps. :)




  
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Jonta
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Dec 16, 2009 09:44 |  #3

Ooh, thanks. Yes it helps. Theory and practice are not the same, and if it does work for people in practice, then I won't write it off just yet.




  
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callous
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Dec 16, 2009 10:03 |  #4

I should say I haven't used the tripod in many situations where I've been massively concerned about it's levelness. It has a bubble level at the top anyway so adjustments can be made if necessary. I find it's actually quite difficult to get the off-centre ballhead to a completely level position anyway so it doesn't really matter what the tripod's doing - I use a hotshoe bubble level if I'm bothered.

The LL reviewer says "when you want to spread the legs to a normal standing position (which in my case is all I need most of the time)", if that's the case then maybe the EX isn't the one for you. I bought the Explorer specifically because this isn't what I need most of the time. :)




  
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Jonta
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Dec 16, 2009 11:06 |  #5

callous wrote in post #9208700 (external link)
I should say I haven't used the tripod in many situations where I've been massively concerned about it's levelness. It has a bubble level at the top anyway so adjustments can be made if necessary. I find it's actually quite difficult to get the off-centre ballhead to a completely level position anyway so it doesn't really matter what the tripod's doing - I use a hotshoe bubble level if I'm bothered.

The LL reviewer says "when you want to spread the legs to a normal standing position (which in my case is all I need most of the time)", if that's the case then maybe the EX isn't the one for you. I bought the Explorer specifically because this isn't what I need most of the time. :)

Hmm, incidently; when would one need it to be completely level except for video and panning? And if doing that, one can take the time for it. Right? Other examples?




  
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stickshift
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Dec 16, 2009 11:50 as a reply to  @ Jonta's post |  #6

I had a similar dilemma on which Gitzo to decide on. I am going with the 2-series because the longest lens I will get is the 70-200. 1-series seemed too unsturdy, IMO when I saw it in the store. Of course, a 3-series wouldn't hurt, but it seemed too bulky to carry around on hiking and travelling.


7D, 5D mark II
17-40, 24-70 II, 70-200 f/4 IS, Zeiss 35/2, 85/1.8, 135/2, 400/5.6

  
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callous
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Dec 16, 2009 11:53 |  #7

Yeah precisely. I mean, the EX does have the bubble level set into the magnesium main part so it's very possible to get it level. It's really not a big deal to get the EX tripods level, the centre column has detents (I think that's what they're called) so it will lock into a number of positions (I think there are about 20). This means you don't need to fuss around to get it set to vertical.

You might want it perfectly level for landscapes, or for use with tilt-shift or wide-angle lenses.




  
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pigtailpat
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Dec 16, 2009 17:25 as a reply to  @ callous's post |  #8

I just went through this, and I STRONGLY suggest you go to a store if there's one by you just to see in person and handle the tripods in person.

I needed to do some copy work and my legs hadda handle everything. Alot of folks here suggested the explorer 2541EX because of that flexibility. But when I looked at the stability between that and the mountaineer 3531, the mountaineer did it for me. However, I also have one bigger lens (a 120-300) that needed to be supported. If you don't have a big lens, you might like the flexibility that the 2541EX does. I purchased an extra lateral arm with the 3531 to get my copy work done.

But of course by the time I got my legs and various weekends already having been booked up by family obligations, it's now too cold to venture to the zoo (at least on the east coast here), which was one of the reasons why I wanted the legs. :rolleyes: So now I have to wait until the warmer spring weather to really do what I wanted. But I plan to spend some of the harsh weather doing a little macro experimentation (indoors of course) until then......

Hope this helps.....


1D-IIN, 30D, sigma 120-300, 24-105 IS f4 L, 70-200 IS f2.8 L, 50 1.4, 580 EX, Bogen 680B/3229

  
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b.d.bop
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Dec 16, 2009 23:36 |  #9

Jonta wrote in post #9208036 (external link)
I have considered/postponed/p​rocrastinated the purchase of a tripod for about two years now (posted a thread here over a year ago), and I think I am nearing the end (luckily it hasn't been two years of endless, constant research).

The brand I decided on is Gitzo.
One can only have two out of three things in a tripod, ditching the third; light, stable, cheap. So I dropped the latter.

Leveling:
GT2531LVL (external link)

Explorer:
GT2531EX (external link)

Mountaineer:
GT1531 (external link)
GT2531 (external link)
GT3531 (external link)

But no long lenses (like I said; longest focal-length 100 mm, at least now. And bird-photography isn't something that interests me a lot. At least not for the moment).

So; which one why?

First, going with Gitzo is a decision you can never regret. Amazing quality and dependability.

I have the GT3530LSV (which I use mostly for supertelephoto - 500mm f/4L - work) and it's as sturdy as can be, but for 90% of what I do I reach for the GT2531EX. I LOVE the Explorer. Be sure to buy an 8mm nutdriver to tighten the nuts beneath the legs (with the locks off) should you note any slippage when the legs are splayed - sometimes that requires a minor adjustment as the leg splaying does not come stepped.
I never need a "standard" for leg spreading - I gauge it by eye or when necessary I use the built in level.
The Explorer is light, sturdy, infinitely adjustable and a pleasure to use. Great on uneven terrain due to its speed of adjustment.

Just my 2 cents. If you don't need support for big lenses, go with the Explorer.


Dr. Mark Polis 1DsIII | 7D
the Gear Arsenal | flickr (external link) | PBase galleries (external link)

  
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Jonta
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Dec 17, 2009 10:50 |  #10

stickshift wrote in post #9209327 (external link)
I had a similar dilemma on which Gitzo to decide on. I am going with the 2-series because the longest lens I will get is the 70-200. 1-series seemed too unsturdy, IMO when I saw it in the store. Of course, a 3-series wouldn't hurt, but it seemed too bulky to carry around on hiking and travelling.

Hmm, seems I'm going to go for the EX though. But thanks for the input. I don't think anyone sells them in shops in Norway, so I'm trying to make this research thorough.

callous wrote in post #9209358 (external link)
Yeah precisely. I mean, the EX does have the bubble level set into the magnesium main part so it's very possible to get it level. It's really not a big deal to get the EX tripods level, the centre column has detents (I think that's what they're called) so it will lock into a number of positions (I think there are about 20). This means you don't need to fuss around to get it set to vertical.

Ah, good to know.

pigtailpat wrote in post #9211587 (external link)
I just went through this, and I STRONGLY suggest you go to a store if there's one by you just to see in person and handle the tripods in person.

Mm, would, if I had the option of doing so. Sadly, I do not.

I needed to do some copy work and my legs hadda handle everything. Alot of folks here suggested the explorer 2541EX because of that flexibility. But when I looked at the stability between that and the mountaineer 3531, the mountaineer did it for me. However, I also have one bigger lens (a 120-300) that needed to be supported. If you don't have a big lens, you might like the flexibility that the 2541EX does.

Me going for the 2531EX should give me a bit more stability. And I don't have a longer lens.

Hope this helps.....

Oh it does, practical experiences are really something I need to hear before making this kind of decision.

b.d.bop wrote in post #9213605 (external link)
First, going with Gitzo is a decision you can never regret. Amazing quality and dependability.

Great! I'm looking forward to having one tripod, of my own, instead of borrowing from others or school, which all are different. Useful for roughly finding what I want of course, but after two years, and numerous times when I've thought: If I'd had a tripod now... Looking forward to great quality.

Be sure to buy an 8mm nutdriver to tighten the nuts beneath the legs (with the locks off) should you note any slippage when the legs are splayed - sometimes that requires a minor adjustment as the leg splaying does not come stepped.

Thanks a lot for the heads up!

I never need a "standard" for leg spreading - I gauge it by eye or when necessary I use the built in level.

Great that this works for people. I presume I won't be much different.

The Explorer is light, sturdy, infinitely adjustable and a pleasure to use. Great on uneven terrain due to its speed of adjustment.

In my case, that could be shortened to: "The Explorer is just the one".

Now on to find a place to purchase. Seems amazon.co.uk. Seems I can save around 2000 NOK (~ £200/$400), even with adding 25% VTA.

If anyone still has any information I, or others discovering this thread might want/need, feel more than free to post. Thanks for the contributions this far.




  
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Mashimaro
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Dec 19, 2009 04:38 as a reply to  @ Jonta's post |  #11

i know you're comparing only the 3-section Gitzo's, but i thought i'd give you my experience that i had recently before buying mine.

i received the GT2541EX first and played around with for a bit. my local camera shop ordered the EX by mistake instead of my GT2541 Mountaineer. I personally didn't like that you would have to tighten something so new in order to prevent slipping (from reviews i've read on it). also, i found that those plastic flaps were a bit on the 'cheap' side of feeling though i'm sure they'd last a lifetime.

the thing that killed the EX for me was that it's 1kg heavier than the GT2541 Mountaineer.

I ended up exchanging for the Mountaineer as i don't think i would be using the versatility of the offset column and pivot as much over saving as much weight as possible considering the cost of the CF Gitzo's. :)


Canon 5D4 / Sony A7R2 / Leica M240

  
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TheGaffer
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Dec 19, 2009 14:03 |  #12

Jonta wrote in post #9208036 (external link)
I measured my eyeheight, and it seems to be at around 163-163 centimetres, but when out and about I'll be wearing boots and stuff, and I still have plans of growing a bit, so...

I have a very tall gitzo. a GT3541XLS. It is surprising how often the extra height is useful:

- Standing on something to see over things
- Working on a steep slope or steps, where you want two of the legs to be extra long.
- Pointing a big lens up the way (where the eyepiece ends up a foot below the head and you want to be looking *up* at it)

Don't dismiss the difference it can make...

Andrew


http://www.tug.com/ (external link)

  
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b.d.bop
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Dec 19, 2009 18:43 |  #13

TheGaffer wrote in post #9228768 (external link)
I have a very tall gitzo. a GT3541XLS. It is surprising how often the extra height is useful:

- Standing on something to see over things
- Working on a steep slope or steps, where you want two of the legs to be extra long.
- Pointing a big lens up the way (where the eyepiece ends up a foot below the head and you want to be looking *up* at it)

Don't dismiss the difference it can make...

Andrew

Great points here. I've had many instances where I wished I'd had the extra height.


Dr. Mark Polis 1DsIII | 7D
the Gear Arsenal | flickr (external link) | PBase galleries (external link)

  
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Mike ­ K
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Dec 19, 2009 19:30 |  #14

Jonta wrote in post #9208036 (external link)
The Explorer is commended for being very flexible and fast to set up (pretty big plus), but people complain that, due to being very flexible in how you set the legs steplessly, it is difficult to get it to a standard setting, which one could need very often (don't know about me tho..).

One very cool thing about it is this:

QUOTED IMAGE

OK, but what does he take pictures of? Birds? Citylife? Landscapes? Nasal hair?

I shoot macro, so a tripod is going to be good.

I have an aluminum version of the explorer, but the actuation is the same. I do NOT find it quicker to set up. See the levers on the top of each leg? Those allow independent leg set angles for each leg of 0-90degrees. However, there are no default or preset leg angles, the levers have to be opened, the legs set at the desired position and the levers closed. Its an extra set of adjustments that take some time, as its hard to set up the tripod with the legs flopping at any angle. Its a feature that provides wonderful flexibility at the cost of set up effort.

the articulating center column is great for macros as with the legs far apart the camera can be set very close to the ground. This image is from a lens test I wrote several years ago, where the camera is held in portrait orientation close to the ground using an L bracket.

http://www.fototime.co​m/C3C0C6105A36973/stan​dard.jpg (external link)
Mike K


Canon 6D, 1DmkII, IR modified 5DII with lots of Canon L, TSE and Zeiss ZE lenses

  
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