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Tripods Good & Not So Good

Discussion in 'Tripods, Ball Heads, and Gimbals' started by Gary Mayo, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. Gary Mayo

    Gary Mayo Guest

    In the past few weeks I have had to rethink my tripods, mainly because of some monster telephoto lenses I have been purchasing.

    I started out with a Gitzo GT3540XLS to work with my new Wmberley Mark II head. I was told by many here and elsewhere Gitzo was the way to go. Looking around all the models, I settled on a 3540, one of not the largest Gitzo's.

    After a couple of weeks, I grew dissatisfied with my new tripod. It was so light and bendable it just seemed to be able to sway in the wind.

    To test my theory, I placed my 3540 with a 500mm f/4 lens and my D3 in LCD preview mode in a direct line with my window air unit in my office. Sure enough, you could see the air coming off the window air unit moving the image on the LCD.

    So I purchased what I was used to using, a Manfrotto tripod, this time a model 3258. This thing is built like a Tank, and is rated at 44 pounds of gear on top. It reaches over 9' tall! It is about a foot taller than the GT3540XLS Gitzo (if it needs to be.)

    This tripod shows 100% everything I want in a tripod. It is stout, strong, as immovable as a brick wall!

    Well, I redid the test, and now I have ZERO movement! NONE!

    I place a link here not so anyone will purchase one, but so you could see what I am talking about.

    My New Favorite Tripod For Big Lenses!

    ( I gotta redo that signature picture! )
     
  2. I am still a fan of the Gitzo. I have had the 1348 for several years and no one can convince me there is a better tripod for the money.
    Manfrotto is good stuff and as long as you are ok with a ball and chain scenario there is n doubt about it's stability.
     
  3. Weight: 17.5 lbs. :eek: 

    Was never sure why you didn't buy the Gitzo 5540 LS if you wanted brute strength and the best out there, but you've certainly got more gear than most so I guess you know what you're doing.
     

  4. I'm glad you found a tripod you're happy with but it's not exactly a fair comparison, right? Two very different tripods for different circumstances. The Manfrotto looks designed to be set up and stay. The Gitzo 3 series is designed for portability.
     
  5. jfrancis

    jfrancis

    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    I have a Gitzo 1325 and Markins head and it is rock steady. My bird-shooting buddy has the same tripod with a Nikon 600 mm on a Wimberley and wouldn't shoot anything else.

    Did you actually compare any images?
     
  6. nags

    nags

    774
    Jan 30, 2008
    S. Florida
    Looks beefy.

    I really need to get a new tripod soon. I only have some cheap one that I'd never trust with my D300
     
  7. Gary Mayo

    Gary Mayo Guest

    I am going to flex my mussels and use this as my out and about tripod when I use big lenses. I seldom hike off the road, so it will be of little bother.

    It may not be a fair comparison as one is C. F. and one is aluminum, but I am not reaching to compare apples to apples, I am looking for a rock solid tripod so I an produce images so sharp I can shave with.

    A tripod that blows about in the wind of a fan blade is not what I was looking for in an $800 tripod.

    Now if I were hiking up Pikes Peak, the tripod I chose for my projects would not work. When gas hits 20 dollars a gallon I will need a lighter tripod! lol

     
  8. Gary Mayo

    Gary Mayo Guest

    For my test, I used only the LCD so I could watch as the lens shook.

    What made me question my set up was a night out shooting the moon. The images were not as crisp as I wanted, so I started looking at my new set-up in a critical light. What I found was a tripod that was not as stable as I wanted.

    I cannot comment on the 1325 as I have never seen one. I can tell you, the GT3540XLS is not something I would reach for again. I could grab the head mounting plate and feel it move in relationship to my feet planted on the floor when I placed pressure on it.

    The one I have now feels like it is fastened to a brick wall. It is that solid.

    Is it possible I do not need a platform that solid to take great pictures? Brother, I need all the help I can get! lol

    This is one of the images I wanted to be just a bit more stable. It is so PP'ed, it may not be possible to tell what I mean, but I know.

    Your friend and I completely agree on the Wmberley, that is a great head!

    I do not just make do with equipment I can make work. I collect equipment that I feel is perfect for whatever job I am doing.

    I once needed a little extra reach to shoot down on a model. Did I get a taller ladder? Nope, I purchased a 30' tall 8' x 3' platform scissor lift. It is 4wd and pretty much goes anywhere. Do I use it often? No, but when I need that tool, it is in my studio.

    DSC_0656webaaa.

     
  9. Wow - that's a brute for an out-and-about tripod. Enjoy it in good health!
     
  10. Gary,

    I went through a similar experience...
    I have for years depended on the Bogen 3021 tripod legs I have had one since 1990! I have gone through 6 or 7 heads with it. But... I always wanted a little more umph for my big glass and my wimberly sidekick.

    I recently found a used gitzo 1505 aluminum monster of a tripod, at 9 + pounds it to heavy to go to far but it is also rock solid!!! I still depend on my 3021 (new model is the 055X ) but when I'm shooting close to the car that 1505 is great!

    Congrats on your find.
     
  11. general

    general

    Apr 30, 2005
    Nebraska
    Gitzo is great

    if you buy the correct one. I have used the Nikkor 200-400 on the Gitzo 1348 and the Sigma 300-800 on the Gitzo 1548 and would not change.
     
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