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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


    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


    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.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

  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


    Apr 30, 2005
    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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