My support group

Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,482
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
Well, I think I've rounded out my support gear over the years and thought I'd share some pics of the family.

1. Gitzo 3541LS, spider replaced with the Markins TH-300, paired with the Photoclam PC-48NS ballhead. This is the oldest member of the family and has been with me since my early days of amateur photography. I love this leg set, especially with the Markins hub, as it decreased the weight and diameter significantly, and is at least as rigid as the original Gitzo spider. The ballhead isn't the smoothest or fanciest, essentially a high quality South Korean knock-off of the Markins ballheads, but it's gotten the job done. This set-up hasn't seen as much use since I migrated to Sony mirrorless, as the dampening characteristics and capacity aren't needed, especially with no mirror and an electronic first curtain shutter.

2. Feisol 3441-T paired with the Acratech GP-S ballhead. I only recently swapped out the ballhead, previously using a Photoclam Pro Gold II. That was a really nice head, smoother in operation than the PC48-NS, with a panning clamp. But the Acratech is a bit lighter, has a knob layout that I prefer, and allows you to switch it from a panning base to a panning clamp with a pseudo-gimbal functionality. The 3441-T has been my go-to travel leg set as it's very light and pretty compact, so friendly for airline travel and hikes.

3. Gitzo 1555T paired with an RRS BH-25. The tripod is a recent addition to the collection, but I've had the head for several years as an alternative for either a compact camera-lens combo, or for a small table-top tripod. While it's much more finicky to set just right than the Acratech, It is significantly lighter and more compact, and locks down just as tight. It's really the ultimate compact support set-up for me, short of using an RRS travel clamp if there are convenient places to attach it. Somewhat lighter than the Feisol, much more compact, to the point that I can attach it to a backpack or even my small Peak Design Sling.

From a stability standpoint, the 3541LS is a rock, the 3441-T is pretty good except in a stiff wind, and the 1555T requires some care in adverse conditions. The Gitzo locks are smoother and much easier to service. The Gitzos without center columns go lower, though I have to say it's a nice touch that the the 1555T comes with a regular and short column in the box. From a usage standpoint, the 3541LS and 3441-T both leave a camera at eye-level for me at 5'11" while the 1555T is much shorter without the center column extended, to the point I need to stoop to see through the viewfinder. Not a big deal for me as I usually use this for landscape shooting, and the tilt-LCD is easy to compose from and focus with.

Some pictures, and note the differences in lower segment leg thickness!

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DSC05907.jpg by uscmatt99, on Flickr

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DSC05908.jpg by uscmatt99, on Flickr

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DSC05910.jpg by uscmatt99, on Flickr

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DSC05911.jpg by uscmatt99, on Flickr
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2007
Messages
2,482
Location
Kalamazoo, MI
The 3541 is a little beast
Mine swims in salt water and keeps on swimming
I finally sold its big brother the 5541, it was a big beast
Yes a fantastic tripod, more than I need at the moment, but I can't bear to let it go just yet. Maybe I'll treat it to a set of RRS rubber feet for its birthday.
 
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
4,533
Location
Redwood City, CA
Congrats! It's wonderful to have tripods that work for you. I've assembled my "set" over that last few years and having the right one at the right time is the best way to improve most shots. I love my Gitzo 1 series with the BH-25 - I think Jim is also a fan of the best light-weight combo available.
 
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