Gitzo Tripod

WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
edited November 2013 in Gear Reviews
Hello Guys, I am thinking of buying the Gitzo GK2550XQR 3-Section Explorer Carbon Fiber Tripod Kit with Ballhead. B&H has it for $960.00.

I also intend to buy the 200mm F4.0 Micro lens, which is why I want this tripod. It seems to be the most flexible for Macro work and not too heavy. I intend to use it for other uses as well, but I only need "good enough for now" for those uses.

Would anybody recommend a better tripod? Price, within reason, is not an issue.
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Comments

  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,495Member
    edited November 2013
    I love my Gitzo tripod. I bought the Markins M20L ball head and like it. I believe that a newer Markins has been introduced. If I had to do it all over, still would buy the same Gitzo tripod but would spend the extra money for a RRS ball head.

    I got the Gitzo GT3541, 4 sections, so it would collapse far enough to fit into a tall suitcase. Be sure you do your home work on the height. The height of the tripod + the height of the ball head + the height from the bottom of your camera to the center of the eyepiece. You don't want a short tripod.

    Finally be sure to check Gitzo, I know this summer they had a rebate on their tripods.
    Post edited by Photobug on
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    edited November 2013
    I too love my Gitzo, but if I could do it again would have bought a RRS ballhead instead of the Markins I bought.

    I have the GT3541LS, which is the best tripod money can buy IMO (though the RRS one looks pretty much the same).

    It has a couple of advantages over the one you mention;

    It folds down a lot smaller, it holds a lot more, and is a lot more stable. You will need a ballhead though.

    The main advantages of the GK2550XQR are it is taller because of the arm, and the arm might give you more reach.

    I would be concerned about vibration with that arm, especially for macro.

    TBH, I think that ballhead looks like rubbish. I SERIOUSLY recommend looking into plates such as RRS and a compatible ballhead.
    Post edited by Gareth on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    OK, we are getting somewhere. You guys got me researching Markins and RSS.
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,933Member
    edited November 2013
    Gitzo is well worth the cost. I've been using the, now discontinued, GT3531s for several years now. I also have the current generation Markins Q10 ballhead, which performs well. The gear I use is not even close to maxing out the tripod or the ballhead, but it works well together. My only regret is not getting a slightly taller set of legs, for me the 3541s would have been a better fit.
    Post edited by PB_PM on
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    Yip, I am pretty short, but very glad I got the longer legs (woops, I said wrong model tripod. I have upadted it).
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    edited November 2013
    Here is a photo of my setup.

    image
    Post edited by Gareth on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    For a thousand dollars I would research RRS very carefully. Then look at Induro as well. My experience with Gitzo, borrowing one, is it is just not my cup of tea. Very well constructed, but not what I prefer.

    In purchasing any tripod/head, I am an advocate of the ARCA Swiss connectors and use an "L" plate on the body. This allows such versatility one cannot go wrong. For the close up work, I have always used the tripod with the center column inverted…seems more stable to me. Additionally, I like my tripods to be good for about 39 pounds….following the adage, the smaller the camera the larger the tripod.
    Msmoto, mod
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Gareth, if you point that at me, I will surrender. Immediately and unconditionally.
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    edited November 2013
    As msmoto said, trying is good. Is there a shop around you with a good selection of legs? Benro/Induro are good as well as a few other brands, see if you can give them a look.

    The cheap ballheads are no good, and you will be stuck with their crappy plate. RRS make the best plates IMO (I switched from Markins as the RRS 70-200 foot is soooo much better), but you will need one for each camera, some lenses.

    To give you an idea I have;

    BD700 - $55
    BMBD10-LB - $183
    LCF-10 - $100
    LCF-14 - $95

    That's $433 just in plates!

    I also have the B87-QR flash bracket (seen in photo) which I highly recommend, but it's another $260.

    I don't shoot macro and actually sold my B150-B macro focussing rail to buy the B87-QR, but that rail is a must have for macro.

    If you want the ultimate macro setup I suggest:

    BMBD12-L (for D800 with grip) - $190
    MPR-73 (for 200 f4) - $55
    FR-87-QR (flash bracket with 1 attachment) - $288
    B150-B pkg (rail with 200 f4 connect) - $475

    Total $1008 without a tripod or ballhead!

    You could drop the L plate if you only use the 200 f4 plate and save $190.
    You could drop the "pkg" and the 200 plate and just get a normal rail if you don't get the 200 f4 and save $185.
    You would most likely want at least 1 more B87-QRFM attachment for another flash, so add another $170 plus adapter.

    You get the idea.

    Click the image at the bottom of this page if you really want to drool

    http://reallyrightstuff.com/WebsiteInfo.aspx?fc=104
    Post edited by Gareth on
  • ChasCSChasCS Posts: 309Member
    edited November 2013
    It's pretty hard to beat the Fall Promo deals that the folks over at Vanguard Tripods have going on until the middle of December...
    And their awesome ball heads all come with two Arca Swiss plates...

    I am very happy with my Alta Pro 263AB (ball head bundle) and LOVE this GH-300T pistol grip with the trigger enabling shutter release right from the grip...

    Spending nearly a grand on a tripod? Please think again...
    Post edited by ChasCS on
    D800, AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR, B+W Clear MRC 77mm, AF-S NIKKOR 24-120mm f/4G ED VR, Sigma DG UV 77mm,
    SB-910~WG-AS3, SB-50, ME-1, Lexar Professional 600x 64GB SDXC UHS-I 90MB/s* x2, 400x 32GB SDHC UHS-I 60MB/s* x1
    Vanguard ALTA PRO 263AT, GH-300T, SBH-250, SBH-100, PH-22 Panhead
    Lowepro S&F Deluxe Technical Belt and Harness ~ Pouch 60 AW 50 AW & 10, S&F Toploader 70 AW, Lens Case 11 x 26cm
    FE, NIKKOR 2-20mm f/1.8, OPTEX UV 52mm, Vivitar Zoom 285, Kodacolor VR 1000 CF 135-24 EXP DX 35mm, rePlay XD1080

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Having used many of the Really Right Stuff product line, I have to say their tripods, L-Plates, and ball heads, in addition to their macro gear, is the best way to go, now and for your future needs. There gear will be the last one you ever get. Do not let let a few buck here and their steer you away. Give them a call and you will see what real customer service is about as well.

    I would be happy to make a list of what you should get but if you spend a little time on their website, you will get a majority of your questions answered. They have a lot good videos as well explaining their gear and how it is best used.

    Cheers....
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,495Member
    Failed to mention the RRS plates, I see several have jumped on that oversight. I started with one RRS and one Kirk, now all my plates are RRS and I have also added the RRS macro unit. They are heavy duty with excellent quality. The RSS foot replacement for the 70-200 F/2.8 is a must enhancement over the Nikon foot.

    Gareth and Golf are spot on with their comment not to buy cheap plates. The first time around I got a straight plate for my D300 and after six months realized there was a better option. When I bought one for my new camera I got the L-plate. Its much easier to flip from horizontal to vertical with the L-plate.

    The Nikonian web site is where I got the Markin ball head. They also have a couple of PDF files on how to pick a ball head. Be sure to allow a good safety factor for how much weight that ball head will support. Some of those ball heads won't support by 10 to 15 pounds. Normally the bigger the ball the more weight it will support.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2013
    Some of those ball heads won't support by 10 to 15 pounds. Normally the bigger the ball the more weight it will support.
    With respect to RRS gear, I have personally mounted my D4 to msmoto's 400 2.8 using RRS BH-40 (mid-level bullhead) on to my RRS TVC-23 tripod.

    @jshickele: I want to make one thing clear. Gitzo does make great carbon fiber tripods, by all means do not think that I'm saying they do not. I do however, find it is hard to know which one to get...they have way to many models. Should you go with one of their tripods, you will find it to be quite useful.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,933Member
    Some of those ball heads won't support by 10 to 15 pounds. Normally the bigger the ball the more weight it will support.
    Depends on what you mean by bigger. A head like the Q10i isn't overly large, but can hold 100 pounds.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,495Member
    Clarification...what I meant to say was there is a wide variation of how much weight ball heads will support. The better heads support a lot of weight up to 100 pounds. I have also seen some that only support 10 to 15 pounds. So when buying tripods and ball heads, check to see how much weight they will support.

    I am impressed by some of the small ball heads by RRS but would recommend one that can support at least 25 pounds. They really have improved how much weight they can support.
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • GitzoGitzo Posts: 174Member
    edited November 2013
    I never have been able to resist chiming in on a "tripod / ball head" debate; I agree with who ever said that Gitzo probably makes too many models. CF really is the way to go, when it comes to tripods; it hardly conducts heat at all, thus doesn't freeze your hands like aluminum does; it's also somewhat less prone to vibration than aluminum is; but it's VERY expensive; and in spite of it's shortcomings, as compared to CF, aluminum still does make a very good tripod. I have one; a Gitzo 340, three section; the thing is probably 30 yrs old by now; if you looked at it, you'd think I bought it last week; the magnificent powder-coat finish has nary a chip nor a scratch.
    Best of all, it cost me all of about $150 on eBay, maybe 12 yrs ago. I have never seen another product this old, work (and look) as flawlessly as the Gitzo does.

    IMHO, the tripod is by far, the easier of the two items to choose; just about any really good tripod is capable of doing it's intended job; with ball heads, it's different; MUCH different. People above were discussing "how many pounds" such and such BH will "support"; "support" isn't really the key issue here; much more important is......how much "load" (camera body) and "off center load" ( big long lens "sticking out"), can the "fixing mechanism" hold, absolutely solid without "slippage", AND with just the slightest of "movement" of the fixing knob.
    When I first bought my Arca-Swiss B-1 ball head, they were constantly on back-order at B&H; (even though they retailed for $495 USD. ) I finally found mine on eBay, (in the U.K. ), and bought it for 180 P.S. (please don't ask me how that relates to "USD"! (I forget ) The B-1 is rated to hold 45 lbs. While I don't have any camera-lens combo that's quite that heavy, it's always nice to put something as heavy as my old F5 film body with a 300mm/2.8 lens on it, barely move the fixing knob, and everything "stays put"! Like it's bolted to a rock!
    another thing about ball heads; they all use a spherical ball; with a load sitting on the head, free to move, remove your hand, and camera and lens "flop" over to the side, possibly banging into whatever; not so with the B-1; the ball is "aspherical" a few thousandths less at the "equator", that it is , top to bottom; the result is.....no camera "flop"; with the camera level, let go of it, it slowly starts moving to the side, but as the ball becomes progressively tighter as it moves, it stops completely before banging against the side.

    Arca-style QR plates; nothing else compares to them; are Kirk "better" than "RRS" ? IMHO, they are NO different; same metal, same exact dimentions, etc. I have both, my L plate is a RRS. (as are most, but not all, of my lens foot plates. they ALL "work"; the most important plate is the one that's machined specifically to "mate" with a particular camera body, allowing no twisting. If you are using anything other than arca-style QR plates, and you are "happy".......so am I ! (and if you never TRY arca-style plates, you'll probably never know that what you're using, is not as "convenient" as is something else. )

    I'm aware of the fact that Arca Swiss was bought by "whoever", that their newer offerings bear no resembalance to the one I have, etc etc etc etc. But who cares? I've had mine almost 15 yrs now, it works and looks exactly like it did when I got it, and unless someone robs me, I'll never need another one. (my only problem is, who do I give the thing to after I'm dead ?)
    Post edited by Gitzo on
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Amazing stuff guys. The Really Right Stuff website is particularly interesting. I will probably end up with the Gitzo CF tripod, but will spend my research time on the best ball heads and QRs.
  • GarethGareth Posts: 159Member
    If you get a ballhead with a quick release instead of a screw make sure you buy all your plates from the same manufacturer. Then you will only have to adjust the QR lever the first time.

    While I agree all plates are essentially the same, the lens feet are not. RRS machines them to a VERY high standard and the non round screw on the 70-200 foot is essential. The markins one gets stuck, and I even had the spring jam out the side.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    I agree with Gareth, regarding the purchase of all the plates from the same manufacturer. However, if one has several different plates, including an "L" plate, it seems to work best with the ARCA Swiss style clamp if the tensioning system is a screw and not a quick release clamp, as this there does seem to be some difference in the tolerances among the various manufacturers of the plates.

    A general word again on the tripod heads….higher weight capacity is better in most cases.
    Msmoto, mod
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    I have several high end ball heads (rrs bh-40,bh-30, Markins m20) and gitzo 3, 2, and 1 series tripods.

    some observations from my own usage.

    The three section tripods are stiffer than the 4 section, since the bottom section is thicker, the downside is that they do not fold as short.

    Msmoto is right, screw clamps are more versatile than lever. I use bases and clamps from RRS, Wimberly, and Markins and have not had any misfits, but they are certainly possible.

    I simply do not use my ballheads. I do not like manipulating in three planes at once.

    For general use I use an acratech long lens head which is a pan tilt for still cameras (most are for video), on top of a leveling base (mine is acratech but there are others).

    For very long lenses a gimbal head is handier. (I use RRS).

    The RRS gimbal head also serves for panos.

    I hope this is useful.
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Here is where I am at. RSS looks really good and life will seem a lot simpler if I just get everything from them.

    My likeliest heaviest load will be my D800 with battery pack, SB-910 flash and a 200mm F4 macro lens which I will buy in the spring (this will mean that I will likely buy more RSS items at that time). A 70-200 2.8 lens with TC-2.0 is also a possibility sometime in the future. When I go on an African safari, I will buy a special lens and support system just for that trip.

    -TVC-24 Tripod. I am aware that it is the slightly smaller model and has four sections and that compromises stability but would like the smaller size for travel. Does anybody think that stability will be overly compromised?
    -BH-55 ballhead with LR. I like the idea of a lever with the level. It might be overkill, but I am taking MSMOTO's advice to heart. I might even by a screw clamp in the future. They are not that much money and it will be an interesting comparision.
    -The L-Plate for MB-D12 on D800.
    -TA-2-QC Quick Column.
    -An extra rubber ball foot, four rock claw feet and four foot spikes (I like having an extra).
    -Do you guys think I need the MTX - Multi-Tool with 22 bits and 1 hex key.
    -And a plate for my Coolpix A. An L-Plate seems like overkill for that.

    I am up to $2,000, but I will likely include it in my will for the kids in 50 years. This stuff looks really good.

    Does anybody have any comments? Advice.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited December 2013
    @jshickele: Ooooh ooooh...now you know I have much to say about all this. However, I think it would be best to have this take place in the RRS tread that the Gitzo one. So lets move it over there.

    Experience w. RRS tripods?
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    Sounds good Golf007sd. Out with Gitzo. In with RRS.

    An RRS thread, now I have even more to read.......
  • ThomasHortonThomasHorton Posts: 323Member
    Please consider getting a macro focusing rail and a geared head. It was those two pieces of equipment that had the greatest improvement in my macro shots.
    Gear: Camera obscura with an optical device which transmits and refracts light.
  • dissentdissent Posts: 1,261Member
    Yeah, I love my Manfrotto 410 geared head, modified to Arca-Swiss via Hejnar kit.
    - Ian . . . [D7000, D7100; Nikon glass: 35 f1.8, 85 f1.8, 70-300 VR, 105 f2.8 VR, 12-24 f4; 16-85 VR, 300 f4D, 14E-II TC, SB-400, SB-700 . . . and still plenty of ignorance]
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