Gitzo for dummies?

Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
Hi all, is there a website "Gitzo for dummies"? There are so many different names, series, models, etc. that it's very hard to figure out what they are. Unfortunately, I don't find their website to be all that stellar for info. I see words like "systematic", series 0, 1, 2, 3, 5. It's really hard to figure out what all this means, even when doing a side to side comparison. I thought picking a tripod would be easy, but it's more confusing than ever. The monopod however seems pretty straightforward, seems the 2541 should do the trick.

Can anybody help this dummy out with some links I apparently can't find? Some of the models appear to have such a little difference between them I can't even figure out why they make them (like one being an inch or two taller than the other with all other specs the same, this makes no sense to me).

Thanks,

John
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
586
Location
Atlanta, GA
Gitzo series numbers tell you the upper leg size.

Series 1 - Upper leg section of 24mm
Series 2 - Upper leg section of 28mm
Series 3 - Upper leg section of 32mm
Series 4 - Upper leg section of 37mm
Series 5 - Upper leg section of 41mm


I'm not sure if I am allowed to link to a thread on another forum, so here I've copied from "nrothschild" on another Nikon forum, as he has explained Mountaineer and Systematic very well:

"A Mountaineer:

1. Comes stock with a center column.

2. The post of the center column can be removed, allowing the tripod to go to ground level. A tripod with a permanently attached center column is very problematic because the minimum height is dictated by the length of the center column. Current GT series Gitzo Mountaineer center columns are detachable.

3. You have an additional option to remove the big top wing nut and some other internal parts, and replace them with a Markins TB-21 (for Series 2) or TB-30 (for Series 3) replacement plate. That replacement plate adds some stability because it replaces the "figure 8" configuration of the wing nut and platform, which is not the most stable possible geometry, and replaces it with a conical design, which is similar to a pyramid- very stable and likely the most stable possible physical geometry. I shoot a TB-20 on my older Series 2 Mountaineer and although I have not found it to outperform the stock center column arrangement in static image tests, I believe it to be more stable if under stress, such as a wind, or with a high center of gravity mount such as a gimbal- things I did not or could not properly test.

In addition, the Markins replacement plates allow the tripod to go to ground level, which is now a redundant feature but a critical practical feature for my older G1228 Mountaineer that does not have a removable center column. I was shooting at ground level when other stock Mountaineer owners were staring at their tripods trying to figure out how to get them below 15" or so

The Markins plate has a further advantage, very obscure and rarely discussed, except by me , because it is very arguably safer than the stock Mountaineer or the stock Systematic. It is probably equally as safe as the NSN safety plate on a Systematic (safety plate). The reason for this, which is important if you like to carry your tripod with camera and especially a heavy lens attached, over your shoulder, is the construction of the center column post. All center column posts have a threaded insert epoxied in place. *IF* that threaded insert were to separate from the tube, your payload will separate from the tripod. I have never heard of a case of this happening with a Gitzo but there are some well known and publicized cases floating about the net concerning some other, less expensive tripods. The benefit of the Markins plate is that these parts are bolted in place, with no adhesives in the mount chain.

Any time you throw a tripod over your shoulder you take a very slight risk and some risk is related to operator error- something is not battened down properly. The Markins plate removes a tiny element of risk but not all risk because you are still in the equation .

4. A Mountaineer weighs more than an equivalent systematic BUT it has a much narrower mount girth. For portability considerations, if you care more about weight, then the Systematic has an edge. If you care more about mount girth (you need to pack it inside a backpack or luggage) then the Mountaineer has a slight advantage- maybe; keep reading .

Systematic:

1. It has an inherently stable and simple top plate. It is arguably not quite as stable as a Mountaineer with a Markins plate because the Mountaineer has more robust bracing under the leg fittings. Does that have any material effect? Jrp suggests the Mountaineer with Markins plate (part of the MAJICA configuration sold in the ProShop) is somewhat more stable and illustrates his assertion here).

2. You can add a Center column as well as a leveler and some other more obscure tops to a Systematic. You can see now that these two models can actually be converted into each other, more or less. It is far easier to swap tops on a Systematic, though, than to install or remove a Markins plate from a Mountaineer.

3. A Systematic adds almost 2" per section of maximum height for the same equivalent folded length. That because more of the folded length is used to telescope the sections, where a Mountaineer has several additional inches occupied by the mount and wing nut that can not be telescoped.

An example is the GT3541L verses GT3541LS....

The GT3541L (4.7lbs) is 23.6" folded and extends to 59.1"

The GT3541LS (3.8lbs) is 21.7" folded and extends to 57.5"

The Systematic is only 1.6" shorter in max height but fully 1.9" shorter in folded length. If the Mountaineer were the same 21.7" in folded length it would only go to about 53" or so in height (with center column retracted).

4. The Systematic has a critical potential single point of failure, which is the single bolt retaining the top plate on the mount yoke. If that yoke loosens your payload can drop and there have been a couple of reports of this actually happening. The cause is not clearly understood. You should check the tightness of that bolt right out of the box before you even mount your lens (a tool is provided) and you should check it periodically, especially when new. One of our members thinks he improved things by cleaning some lube off the mount and plate and roughing up the smooth machining a bit with emery cloth. There is also an aftermarket plate (designed for the flat top only, not the center column attachment) that secures from the underside of the mount and makes it impossible to separate under any conceivable conditions short of the 3/8" mount stud snapping in half (unlikely)."
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
David, this is awesome, thank you!!!! I'm going to read it several times and keep reviewing the two on the Gitzo website. It's confusing, but reading it a few times and having a better understanding from your post should really help me out. I pretty much know what my requirements are so that should help me some. I have a 300 2.8, but that will probably only ever go on the monopod for my kids' soccer. Whatever tripod I end up with will hold at the heaviest a D3/70-200 2.8. I'd like light for landscape use, and I have a D700. I don't think I'd be using my 300 with TC's for animals at all. My current ballhead is a Kirk BH-3 which is 19 ounces and I like it, it has served me well. Reading about the RRS latch only working with RRS or wimberly stuff is keeping me from getting a new ballhead. I know they have the Pro which is the screw and will work with my kirk feet, but at that point there isn't a lot of weight savings and just more money spent.

Options, options, options! Thanks so much for your informative post, I really appreciate it!
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
586
Location
Atlanta, GA
If you are only going to use the 70-200mm 2.8, you can get away with a Series 2, but I would suggest that you spring the extra for a Series 3, if you can afford the step up.

I went a different route completely, as my needs were to have a small, light travel tripod and a heavier, more robust one.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
I can afford the 2 or 3 series, but I wanted to stay more on the lighter side. My current and only tripod I've ever owned is a Manfrotto 3021BPro which weighs 5.3lbs. The sucker is heavy. The 3 series is over 4lbs and supports like 40lbs. I don't think that I need that much. I'm going to keep reading, I don't have to decide right now. The 1541's weight is very appealing. Heck, my current tripod says it handles a load of 13.3lbs. Really? Thing weighs a ton and feels indestructible. The 2541 jumps to 3lbs.

So do you have like a 1 and 3 series?
 
Joined
Jan 28, 2011
Messages
1,277
Location
canada
Don't skimp out on the ballhead either. Get the best one that matches your needs.
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
586
Location
Atlanta, GA
I can afford the 2 or 3 series, but I wanted to stay more on the lighter side. My current and only tripod I've ever owned is a Manfrotto 3021BPro which weighs 5.3lbs. The sucker is heavy. The 3 series is over 4lbs and supports like 40lbs. I don't think that I need that much. I'm going to keep reading, I don't have to decide right now. The 1541's weight is very appealing. Heck, my current tripod says it handles a load of 13.3lbs. Really? Thing weighs a ton and feels indestructible. The 2541 jumps to 3lbs.

So do you have like a 1 and 3 series?

Load isn't the most important issue - focus on vibration. A 1 series is not enough for your 70-200 unless you are really careful to setup each shot and get the vibration down. Series 2 is minimum for that lens. Series 3 works better with it and is needed if you are using teleconvertors. The 300mm needs a series 3.

I use a Dolica CF tripod that has 25mm upper legs for my traveller. It is slightly better than a Gitzo to me, and is much cheaper.

For a heavier one, I suggest looking at Feisol if you want CF and get something like an RRS ballhead for it. I use a Feisol monopod, and its easily the best monopod for the money in my opinion. I put a radial A/S clamp on it, and it will hold anything.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
Load isn't the most important issue - focus on vibration. A 1 series is not enough for your 70-200 unless you are really careful to setup each shot and get the vibration down. Series 2 is minimum for that lens. Series 3 works better with it and is needed if you are using teleconvertors. The 300mm needs a series 3.

I use a Dolica CF tripod that has 25mm upper legs for my traveller. It is slightly better than a Gitzo to me, and is much cheaper.

For a heavier one, I suggest looking at Feisol if you want CF and get something like an RRS ballhead for it. I use a Feisol monopod, and its easily the best monopod for the money in my opinion. I put a radial A/S clamp on it, and it will hold anything.

Thanks for the info, you've definitely given me some other brands to take a look at :smile:
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2012
Messages
1,272
Location
Switzerland
Wow, I also have to say thanks, David. I'm a Gitzo owner, but I went the way of "try it at the store". Your info clears up a lot of mystery!
 
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
586
Location
Atlanta, GA
Wow, I also have to say thanks, David. I'm a Gitzo owner, but I went the way of "try it at the store". Your info clears up a lot of mystery!

I'm on another Nikon forum that has a whole section dedicated to tripod discussion by people that really do put forth extreme effort. They are the ones that I learn from.

Two things that I have noticed over the years that no one seems to post anywhere:

1) If you shoot 35mm, and you need a heavier duty tripod, check out what the MF and LF guys shoot - they usually will already have your problem solved, as their equipment is much heavier.

2) Determine "where" you shoot from. I tend to shoot most of my shots with a wide angle, and from a low perspective. That completely changes my tripod needs. I can get by on a Series 1 and it be extremely stable, as the legs are not fully extended. When I am shooting like that, I carry my lightweight Dolica, and keep weight and bulk to a minimum.
If you are shooting with the legs full extended for the majority of your shots, you need to buy a more robust tripod than someone who shoots low and with the legs compacted.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Messages
6,408
Location
NYC
I was going to keep my Kirk BH-3, it's been a fantastic ballhead. I'll probably pick up their monopod ballhead as well.

I got it and think it was worth every penny, coming from the Manfrotto 234RC. It's nice and smooth and supports my 300 with no problem.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2007
Messages
1,994
Location
nyc
Gitzo series numbers tell you the upper leg size.

Series 1 - Upper leg section of 24mm
Series 2 - Upper leg section of 28mm
Series 3 - Upper leg section of 32mm
Series 4 - Upper leg section of 37mm
Series 5 - Upper leg section of 41mm


I'm not sure if I am allowed to link to a thread on another forum, so here I've copied from "nrothschild" on another Nikon forum, as he has explained Mountaineer and Systematic very well:

"A Mountaineer:

1. Comes stock with a center column.

2. The post of the center column can be removed, allowing the tripod to go to ground level. A tripod with a permanently attached center column is very problematic because the minimum height is dictated by the length of the center column. Current GT series Gitzo Mountaineer center columns are detachable.

3. You have an additional option to remove the big top wing nut and some other internal parts, and replace them with a Markins TB-21 (for Series 2) or TB-30 (for Series 3) replacement plate. That replacement plate adds some stability because it replaces the "figure 8" configuration of the wing nut and platform, which is not the most stable possible geometry, and replaces it with a conical design, which is similar to a pyramid- very stable and likely the most stable possible physical geometry. I shoot a TB-20 on my older Series 2 Mountaineer and although I have not found it to outperform the stock center column arrangement in static image tests, I believe it to be more stable if under stress, such as a wind, or with a high center of gravity mount such as a gimbal- things I did not or could not properly test.

In addition, the Markins replacement plates allow the tripod to go to ground level, which is now a redundant feature but a critical practical feature for my older G1228 Mountaineer that does not have a removable center column. I was shooting at ground level when other stock Mountaineer owners were staring at their tripods trying to figure out how to get them below 15" or so

The Markins plate has a further advantage, very obscure and rarely discussed, except by me , because it is very arguably safer than the stock Mountaineer or the stock Systematic. It is probably equally as safe as the NSN safety plate on a Systematic (safety plate). The reason for this, which is important if you like to carry your tripod with camera and especially a heavy lens attached, over your shoulder, is the construction of the center column post. All center column posts have a threaded insert epoxied in place. *IF* that threaded insert were to separate from the tube, your payload will separate from the tripod. I have never heard of a case of this happening with a Gitzo but there are some well known and publicized cases floating about the net concerning some other, less expensive tripods. The benefit of the Markins plate is that these parts are bolted in place, with no adhesives in the mount chain.

Any time you throw a tripod over your shoulder you take a very slight risk and some risk is related to operator error- something is not battened down properly. The Markins plate removes a tiny element of risk but not all risk because you are still in the equation .

4. A Mountaineer weighs more than an equivalent systematic BUT it has a much narrower mount girth. For portability considerations, if you care more about weight, then the Systematic has an edge. If you care more about mount girth (you need to pack it inside a backpack or luggage) then the Mountaineer has a slight advantage- maybe; keep reading .

Systematic:

1. It has an inherently stable and simple top plate. It is arguably not quite as stable as a Mountaineer with a Markins plate because the Mountaineer has more robust bracing under the leg fittings. Does that have any material effect? Jrp suggests the Mountaineer with Markins plate (part of the MAJICA configuration sold in the ProShop) is somewhat more stable and illustrates his assertion here).

2. You can add a Center column as well as a leveler and some other more obscure tops to a Systematic. You can see now that these two models can actually be converted into each other, more or less. It is far easier to swap tops on a Systematic, though, than to install or remove a Markins plate from a Mountaineer.

3. A Systematic adds almost 2" per section of maximum height for the same equivalent folded length. That because more of the folded length is used to telescope the sections, where a Mountaineer has several additional inches occupied by the mount and wing nut that can not be telescoped.

An example is the GT3541L verses GT3541LS....

The GT3541L (4.7lbs) is 23.6" folded and extends to 59.1"

The GT3541LS (3.8lbs) is 21.7" folded and extends to 57.5"

The Systematic is only 1.6" shorter in max height but fully 1.9" shorter in folded length. If the Mountaineer were the same 21.7" in folded length it would only go to about 53" or so in height (with center column retracted).

4. The Systematic has a critical potential single point of failure, which is the single bolt retaining the top plate on the mount yoke. If that yoke loosens your payload can drop and there have been a couple of reports of this actually happening. The cause is not clearly understood. You should check the tightness of that bolt right out of the box before you even mount your lens (a tool is provided) and you should check it periodically, especially when new. One of our members thinks he improved things by cleaning some lube off the mount and plate and roughing up the smooth machining a bit with emery cloth. There is also an aftermarket plate (designed for the flat top only, not the center column attachment) that secures from the underside of the mount and makes it impossible to separate under any conceivable conditions short of the 3/8" mount stud snapping in half (unlikely)."

Thanks so much,i was hoping to stumble upon something like this explanation.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
Thanks all, especially David. I ended up getting a full system, gitzo 3541L with a Markins Q20. Guess ill be selling the BH-3. Holding off on the monopod and its head until soccer season.
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,002
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
Thanks all, especially David. I ended up getting a full system, gitzo 3541L with a Markins Q20. Guess ill be selling the BH-3. Holding off on the monopod and its head until soccer season.

The gitzo mono and the rrs mh01 head make a superb pair

I think my mono is the 3541
There may also be an Rrs mh02 now
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
The gitzo mono and the rrs mh01 head make a superb pair

I think my mono is the 3541
There may also be an Rrs mh02 now

Thanks Randy. Considering my feet are all Kirk, they won't work with the RRS quick release system, I'd have to use a screw type plate. I've read that RRS quick release only works with their plates and wimberley's.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2007
Messages
6,408
Location
NYC
Thanks Randy. Considering my feet are all Kirk, they won't work with the RRS quick release system, I'd have to use a screw type plate. I've read that RRS quick release only works with their plates and wimberley's.

I'm in the same boat as you John with Kirk plates and accessories. I think you'll like the Kirk Monopod head. I can't compare it to the RRS, but I like it much more than the Manfrotto. It moves smooth and I've not had any problems with it and I'm glad I switched to it.
 
Joined
May 11, 2006
Messages
1,002
Location
CHARLOTTE
Real Name
Randy
Thanks Randy. Considering my feet are all Kirk, they won't work with the RRS quick release system, I'd have to use a screw type plate. I've read that RRS quick release only works with their plates and wimberley's.

I don't think that is correct....they need to be arca swiss compatible or not and I would think Kirk is.....

I mix and max Gitzo, RRS and Wimberly with no problems
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2007
Messages
1,520
Location
Edgartown, MA
I don't think that is correct....they need to be arca swiss compatible or not and I would think Kirk is.....

I mix and max Gitzo, RRS and Wimberly with no problems

It's arca-swiss. I went back to find what I had read. Basically, the tolerances were so tight on the lever clamp that it only fit RRS or Wimberly plates (That's what RRS would guarantee). However, I did more digging into the RRS website and found this highlighted in red:

NOTE: Starting in 2012, the Really Right Stuff B2 AS II clamp automatically adjusts to accept all Arca-Swiss style plates except Arca-Swiss P0 Slidefix plates and plates made by Novoflex. Choose a screw-knob clamp if you have Novoflex plates.

I found on other forums that people said they had issues with Kirk plates on some of the RRS lever clamps (they must have had older ones). The twist knob was fine. I gotta find out when that one that is for sale on the forums was manufactured :biggrin:
 

Latest threads

Links on this page may be to our affiliates. Sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
Nikon Cafe is a fan site and not associated with Nikon Corporation.
Forum post reactions by Twemoji: https://github.com/twitter/twemoji
Forum GIFs powered by GIPHY: https://giphy.com/
Copyright © Amin Forums, LLC
Top Bottom