View Full Version : Alternative to Gitzo CF separating centercolumn?

Daniel Geiger
11-Feb-2008, 11:29
I have a Gitzo 1327 CF and have had problems with two short center columns where the platform has separated from the tube. Particularly an issue when inverting the column, and dangling the camera from a slipping platform, and let's not speak of stability issues. Superglueing does not work in the least.

So, I'm fed up with CF short columns. Now it seems that Gitzo is no longer making metal ones, as even the center columns for metal legs are now CF. Any suggestions? Was there a known problem with "old" CF columns, that has been solved within the last year? Are the lava columns better and compatible with older Gitzos? Or am I in the market for a new tripod?

Thanks for sharing experiences and thoughts.


Jeff Conrad
11-Feb-2008, 13:40
The normal-length column on my 2000-vintage 1349 developed the problem you describe; Bogen replaced it free of charge. Several other people that I know had the same problem. The fix consisted of changing the aluminum insert at the top of the column so that it extended about 9 mm down the CF tube, enclosing and clamping it so that the CF was less likely to develop cracks. I don't know if this change was ever incorporated in the short columns (my series-2 short column doesn't have it); you probably could find out by calling Bogen service.

Daniel Geiger
11-Feb-2008, 13:50
Dear Conrad,

Thanks for the info. I'll have to check on the specifics of the two broken ones, re insert. I purchased the main tripod in 2003/4 and the new center column just a year ago (may have been old dealer stock, who knows). I send an web inquiry to Gitzo, but that did not result in anything last time I tried. Maybe calling Bogen is the better option.

Thanks again.


David A. Goldfarb
11-Feb-2008, 13:52
I've found that Bogen takes a long time to reply to e-mail, if they even reply, but they seem to be good on the phone. I'd call.

11-Feb-2008, 14:02
If you can live without the center column, you might try a Markins base plate or a leveling base.

My CF velbon has an aluminum center column 3/4" to 1" in diameter. Its a two piece unit split 70/30.

Daniel Geiger
11-Feb-2008, 22:20
Dear Mrladewig,

the reason I use a center column is to invert the column for very low level work, as the image below will illustrate (AS 4x5 with 90XL). I also attach the resultant image of Abronia villosa taken last weekend at Per Volquarz' Workshop in Joshua Tree. So not even a bare plate on the ground will be low enough, as the ballhead plus rail assembly will be too high.

11-Feb-2008, 23:57
Hi Daniel,
great how to photos as part of your query.

You say you've tried superglue, what exactly have you tried? My suggestion is to key both parts well, CF part probably just gently with garnet paper, metal and or plastic parts cut with a file nice and deep. Then use a good epoxy (24hr) and use a chopped/ground glass fill; just enough to make a paste. The glass will harden the epoxy a lot.

Apologies if you've already tried something like this.

Daniel Geiger
12-Feb-2008, 10:39
Dear Mattg,

Thanks for the details. I just tried with the Cyano-based very thin-liquid superglue. There are lots of 2 component epoxys (Araldite, Spur, Epon, ...), so I am not sure which one would be appropriate. I would think one with some limited elasticity (as opposed to brittle rock type) would be suitable. I'll have to check with the local hard-ware store. As I have two of the darn columns to experiment with, and as I can't make it worse, really, there's no downside. -- Thanks again for the pointer.

16-Feb-2008, 03:16
Hi Daniel, sorry I missed your post.

The glass fill will tend to make to epoxy very hard although there will still be a tiny bit of give in there. For this sort of joint you don't really want much give in the adhesive. The fill of chopped glass really is the key to the epoxy's strength as an adhesive. Use just enough to make the epoxy thick without appearing dry.

You can try with hardware store epoxies although the very best ones are probably specialist supplies. I have used West Systems and SP Systems in the past and know they're both great. Most better quality epoxies will need a long cure time (12-36hrs).

Try to find someone at the hardware store who understands the range they sell and tell them that you want to use it as an adhesive and the materials the you'll be joining, if there is one that already has a glass fill and longish cure time you should be on your way.

Only use enough for the joint, you can clear off any spill before it's cured with methylated spirits (I think it's called denatured alcohol over there).

Good luck, please let us know how you go.

Daniel Geiger
16-Feb-2008, 08:28
Dear Mattg,

thanks for the details. Much appreciated