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Dave Saunders
31-Mar-2008, 02:05
I'm thinking of biting the bullet and getting a Gitzo, I want it for backpacking with my Wista field, so would like a carbon model. but I have some questions.

1. Are they really that much better than a Manfrotto? (3 times the cost better?)

2. Is the four leg version less rigid than the 3 leg?

3. does anyone know the weight a 1348 will take? (dealer has one secondhand)

4. why does the Gitzo web site suggest the smallest Carbon tripod I need for a large format camera is the GT3530 capable of supporting 39lbs? my camera only weighs 7lbs?

Thanks in advance

Greg Lockrey
31-Mar-2008, 02:56
I would look at Feisol tripods for a good value and quality. http://www.feisol.com/english/feisolen.htm I would do a search on this forum since there is a a member on this forum that is now importing them now here in the States. They have a great customer service., btw.

Doremus Scudder
31-Mar-2008, 02:57
I have a Wista DX that I use regularly with a 300mm Nikkor M lens (my longest) and a Super Angulon 90mm f8 (my heaviest). I use the Manfrotto 3205 tripod with a 3025 head. Both very small and light for a conventional metal tripod. I rarely have stability problems. When I do (usually in heavy winds) it is the camera itself and not the tripod that is to blame. My setup cost about $45 at a Las Vegas photo shop... Significantly less than the Gitzo carbon fiber job.

I suggest you take your camera with you to a few shops (if you have access to any) and try out a few tripods. If you are going to do a lot of backpacking with your tripod, as you indicate, you want the lightest one that will work for you.

A little "being careful" goes a long way toward adding to tripod stability and allowing one to use a smaller, lighter support. By this I mean things like letting the camera settle down after pulling the darkslide, observing carefully to make sure there is no camera movement etc. Keep in mind, all you need for a sharp picture is for the camera to be perfectly still for the time you open the shutter.


Also, I always hang my film pouch on the center post locking knob to help with stability. Sure, heavier tripods might be more "rock solid," but then you have to carry them to... I am happy with my compromise. Check out my website for a picture of my setup in action.

Hope this helps,

Doremus Scudder

www.DoremusScudder.com

Joanna Carter
31-Mar-2008, 03:39
I'm thinking of biting the bullet and getting a Gitzo, I want it for backpacking with my Wista field, so would like a carbon model. but I have some questions.

1. Are they really that much better than a Manfrotto?
IMO, yes they really are a totally different animal; I have recently changed from a Manfrotto 055ProB to a Gitzo GT2530LVL. the rigidity, even with the centre column extended, is much greater than the Manfrotto.


(3 times the cost better?)
Hehehe, that depends on how big your pocket is :rolleyes:


2. Is the four leg version less rigid than the 3 leg?
IMO, due to the thinness of the lowest section, yes.


3. does anyone know the weight a 1348 will take? (dealer has one secondhand)
Not sure, but the latest GT1530 takes up to 8Kg


4. why does the Gitzo web site suggest the smallest Carbon tripod I need for a large format camera is the GT3530 capable of supporting 39lbs? my camera only weighs 7lbs?
I would think that is accounting for a large monorail studio camera, the 2530 is stated as supporting 12Kg and "feels" about right when put with a 4x5 camera; there is a balance in proportions. I, personally, would not want to use the 1 series, I think the legs are just a bit too thin, but for field work, the 3 series is definitely overkill.

Ted Harris
31-Mar-2008, 07:10
As Greg noted, look at Feisol. Half the price of Gitzo's and jut as good. I use their travel pod 3441 when traveling light and it gives me good support for a Toyo AII. It's very light and folds up to less than 17".

Don Hutton
31-Mar-2008, 07:44
I'm thinking of biting the bullet and getting a Gitzo, I want it for backpacking with my Wista field, so would like a carbon model. but I have some questions.

1. Are they really that much better than a Manfrotto? (3 times the cost better?)

2. Is the four leg version less rigid than the 3 leg?

3. does anyone know the weight a 1348 will take? (dealer has one secondhand)

4. why does the Gitzo web site suggest the smallest Carbon tripod I need for a large format camera is the GT3530 capable of supporting 39lbs? my camera only weighs 7lbs?

Thanks in advanceDave

I'm not "up" on the latest CF tripods Gitzo have to offer, but I do have a 1348 - it is spec'd to support 26lbs. I've used it for a 12x20 and it worked fine. Although I also have a lighter 1228, the 1348 is the tripod I like using most - it's extremely rigid and the perfect height without the last leg section extended on a flat surface (I'm 6 1'). I use mine without the center column - you can get a flat plate (look on Ebay). Certainly 110% fine for 4x5 and 8x10 use.

Brian Ellis
31-Mar-2008, 08:04
I own a Gitzo 1325. It cost about $600. I also own a Feisol CT 3301. It cost about $200. The Feisol goes with me 90% of the time while the Gitzo rests comfortably in its very own corner of my garage. The only times I prefer the Gitzo are in a strong wind and for architecture and the preference for it with architecture has nothing to do with the tripod, it's because I have a Bogen 410 geared head on the Gitzo.

With respect to your fourth question, I also own a Gitzo aluminum tripod, it's in a closet upstairs and I don't remember the model number. But I bought it for my 6x7 system because it was rated for nothing heavier than medium format by Gitzo. Years later, when I started with 8x10, I used it with that system for a while and it was solid as a rock. I have no idea how Gitzo comes up with its capacity numbers but I'd ignore them if I bought another Gitzo, which I won't.

I don't own either of the tripods Joanna refers to so I have no personal knowledge but I do own a Bogen 3221 and the Gitzo mentioned above. I haven't used the Bogen in a long time either but it seemed to me to work just fine with my 4x5 systems on the rare occasions when I used it for 4x5. I certainly wouldn't say the particular models of the Gitzo and Bogen tripods that I own are "totally different animals," they both worked fine for me.

Ron Marshall
31-Mar-2008, 08:34
Go for the Feisol. I have a Gitzo because Feisol were not available when I bought mine. The one my friend bought is every bit as good as the Gitzo. I would buy a Feisol now if I needed a replacement.

As you speculated, you don't need such a heavy tripod for a 7 lb camera. Get one that has a weight limit about twice the weight of camera + head + lens. That will be sturdy enough. The three section models are a bit more stable. My Gitzo is a 2 series, and it is capable of holding my Sinar.

Eric Biggerstaff
31-Mar-2008, 09:00
Check out the Giottos CF or Lava series pods. Very rigid, well made, many more standard features than the Gitzo or Manfrotto and priced very well. My favorite is the "classic" series lava pods, they are rigid and dampen vibration better than my Gitzo 1227 CF (IMO). Giottos don't get as much press as other tripods but they should be checked out if you are looking for a new pod By the way, I have no business relationship with the company, I wrote a review of the pods and found them very good, the tripod I own is a Gitzo 1227 CF and it is a very nice pod as well. Mine was made before the anti-rotation collars so it can be a bit of a pain at times, but I still really enjoy the pod and I use if for a heavy Zone VI 4X5 and my Conely 5X7 with no problems at all.

Dave Saunders
31-Mar-2008, 10:18
Thanks all for your advice. I've taken the plunge and ordered a Feisol 3371 with CB50 ball head and centre column. Much cheaper than Gitzo and hopefully similar quality.
If I start posting loads of blurry photos, you'll know I got it wrong!

Joanna Carter
31-Mar-2008, 10:55
I've taken the plunge and ordered a Feisol 3371 with CB50 ball head and centre column.
Hmmm, I must say that, regardless of the tripod, a ball head may not be the best idea. Although I know of people who use them happily, I know of more who threw them out and got something like the Manfrotto 410 three-way head. You might like to also consider whether you will need to do low-level shots and thus whether the centre column is removable.

mrladewig
31-Mar-2008, 11:26
Hmmm, I must say that, regardless of the tripod, a ball head may not be the best idea. Although I know of people who use them happily, I know of more who threw them out and got something like the Manfrotto 410 three-way head. You might like to also consider whether you will need to do low-level shots and thus whether the centre column is removable.

I do agree with you that I greatly prefer a three-way head (and have a Bogen 3030). But for backpacking the almost 2 pound weight savings of my Acratech is absolutely worth the frustration of using a ballhead. And since I've switched to arca-swiss plates, its now inconvenient to just switch back and forth.

My 3030 head on 3021 legs is almost 8 pounds.
My Acratech on Velbon 630 legs is roughly 4 pounds.

This is a big difference, even for day hiking.

Ron Marshall
31-Mar-2008, 11:41
I have a pan-tilt head for use near the car, and a 1 lb ball-head for backpacking/hiking. It is not quite as easy to keep level etc. as a pan-tilt, but for hiking that is much outweighed by the weight savings, for me.

Dave Saunders
31-Mar-2008, 12:25
Interesting points. My decision was based on the fact I've used ball heads for the last 20 years with medium format, and prefer them. But I do appreciate large format maybe a little different. I'll give it a go and see how I get on. (it wasn't too expensive)
Yes Joanne, the the centre column comes out, in fact it's an extra.

Ted Harris
31-Mar-2008, 12:37
Dve, I think youve made an excellent choice. I'm also firmly in the ball head camp and use two of them.

Greg Lockrey
31-Mar-2008, 13:29
Thanks all for your advice. I've taken the plunge and ordered a Feisol 3371 with CB50 ball head and centre column. Much cheaper than Gitzo and hopefully similar quality.
If I start posting loads of blurry photos, you'll know I got it wrong!

I have the 3471 but the 3371 is the same thing but with 3 leg extension. It is just a little taller when you carry it in the field. I find with mine that I need only to pull 3 sections partialy out. With the fourth it is taller than me. Let us know how you like the CB50. I personnaly have a RRS head at 4 times the cost. Not many of us to date have bought the Feisol heads. I would be curious as to how strong they are a year or so after some good use.

Jan Pedersen
31-Mar-2008, 13:45
Thanks all for your advice. I've taken the plunge and ordered a Feisol 3371 with CB50 ball head and centre column. Much cheaper than Gitzo and hopefully similar quality.


Dave, i was looking at that model to, is that in stock?
Should ad that it is the 3371/3471 and not so much the ball head.

Thanks.

Dave Saunders
31-Mar-2008, 14:19
Dave, i was looking at that model to, is that in stock?
Should ad that it is the 3371/3471 and not so much the ball head.

Thanks.

There site said they were in stock, but I won't hear for certain until tomorrow, or if I stay up very late tonight! (I'm on GMT, I think they're 5 hours ahead)

anchored
31-Mar-2008, 14:32
A comment, no... make that more of a question about the Acratech ballhead mentioned by several:

I had read quite a few reports a couple of years ago about this ballhead having one problem... albeit a relatively small one for most usages. And that problem was, when firmly tightening up the ballhead, the position will drift off whilst being tightened. I therefore bought Arca-Swiss B1 and B2 ballheads, which doesn't have this drift.

As I recall from research done at the time I decided to go with Arca-Swiss heads, this drift from preset is common with most other brands (I had this same drifting when trying out Manfrotto ballheads... but don't have it using their panheads).

Rory_5244
31-Mar-2008, 14:49
Nice to see some variety in the CF tripod camp now. Gitzo was the only CF tripod maker when I bought their G1228 Mk II in 2000. This tripod now supports an 8x10 system, and I'm still waiting for an unsharp picture due to tripod vibration. I sometimes think I may replace it for a bigger tripod when the 'Gear Acquisition Syndrome' hits, but I would have no real grounds for doing so. This tripod was money well spent (for once!)

mrladewig
31-Mar-2008, 15:36
A comment, no... make that more of a question about the Acratech ballhead mentioned by several:

I had read quite a few reports a couple of years ago about this ballhead having one problem... albeit a relatively small one for most usages. And that problem was, when firmly tightening up the ballhead, the position will drift off whilst being tightened. I therefore bought Arca-Swiss B1 and B2 ballheads, which doesn't have this drift.

As I recall from research done at the time I decided to go with Arca-Swiss heads, this drift from preset is common with most other brands (I had this same drifting when trying out Manfrotto ballheads... but don't have it using their panheads).

I have not experienced any drift with my Acratech. I have heard of drift on all the major brands though including RRS, manfrotto, Markins, Kirk. It seems to be another of the drawbacks of ballheads versus panning heads.

The Acratech applies tension in a different way than most ballheads. With the Acratech its is like a vise tightening all around the ball. Most of the traditional shaped ballheads use a cup affected by the tension screw that presses the ballhead against a wall or socket to lock.

One real disadvantage to the Acratech design is that the weird 45 degree configuration sometimes gets in the way when you are panning down. If this is a concern, the Acratech V2 or the Markins Q3 are traditional ballheads of similar strength, weight and price.

David A. Goldfarb
31-Mar-2008, 15:43
I recently picked up an Acratech, because it seems to have the most strength for its weight, and I've been pleased with it. I prefer my B2, but when traveling light is more important, I can deal with the single-ball head.

Really Big Cameras
31-Mar-2008, 17:00
Thanks all for your advice. I've taken the plunge and ordered a Feisol 3371 with CB50 ball head and centre column. Much cheaper than Gitzo and hopefully similar quality.
If I start posting loads of blurry photos, you'll know I got it wrong!

Dave,

Congrats on your purchase. I'm an authorized Feisol dealer. If I can answer any specific questions about their products, just let me know. I assume you ordered directly from the manufacturer. They are good people to work with and will treat you right. I hope you enjoy your new Feisol tripod and ball head.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Really Big Cameras
31-Mar-2008, 17:03
Dave, i was looking at that model to, is that in stock?
Should ad that it is the 3371/3471 and not so much the ball head.

Thanks.

Jan,

The CT-3371 and CT-3471 were temporarily out of stock at the manufacturer as they were focusing their production efforts on meeting demand for their new, improved CT-3301, CT-3401 and CT-3402 Standard Class models. As of today, the CT-3371 and CT-3471 are now again in stock at the factory.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Bob Salomon - HP Marketing
31-Mar-2008, 17:06
The Acratech applies tension in a different way than most ballheads. With the Acratech its is like a vise tightening all around the ball.

Not really. All Novoflex ballheads tighten the ball and apply tension by moving the entire housing down over the ball.

This is true for all models in the series from their very tiny Neiger series through the new Ball 30 and 40 series to the Magic Ball series and their top of the line Classicball series.

By applying the lock and the tension this way there is no shift of the camera position as the lock or the tension is applied.

Anupam
31-Mar-2008, 17:30
Does anyone know if the Feisol tripod legs can be locked independently at any angle or only at 3 or 4 prefixed angles. I am looking to buy one that I'll use for 4x5 but also for 35mm macro photography of insects and accurate adjustability at lower heights is important, especially since I am not planning on the center column. They say lowest height is about 7 inches, but can it be easily adjusted uniformly from there upwards, or only in steps?

Also does anyone know the practical differences between the standard 3301 and the "tournament class" 3342 (hate the name, though). Is it worth the $100 difference.

Another unrelated gripe, why doesn't anyone make 3-way heads that can take arca style plates?

Thanks,
-Anupam

Greg Lockrey
31-Mar-2008, 17:37
Does anyone know if the Feisol tripod legs can be locked independently at any angle or only at 3 or 4 prefixed angles. I am looking to buy one that I'll use for 4x5 but also for 35mm macro photography of insects and accurate adjustability at lower heights is important, especially since I am not planning on the center column. They say lowest height is about 7 inches, but can it be easily adjusted uniformly from there upwards, or only in steps?

Also does anyone know the practical differences between the standard 3301 and the "tournament class" 3342 (hate the name, though). Is it worth the $100 difference.

Another unrelated gripe, why doesn't anyone make 3-way heads that can take arca style plates?

Thanks,
-Anupam

Independent and at any angle. I have the 3471 but I will say that you will get what you pay for in difference in price.

Anupam
31-Mar-2008, 17:43
Independent and at any angle.

Thanks. Do you find that a hindrance for 4x5 use or are there prefixed angle stops for "normal" usage. My Gitzo explorer didn't have stops and I found it slowed down things just a bit.

What's the maximum angle that the legs go out to - they seem to turn right back over the head - i.e. 180 degrees. If so, I can't understand why it doesn't go lower than 7 inches - shouldn't it go flat on the ground with the legs at 90 degrees?

-Anupam

Really Big Cameras
31-Mar-2008, 17:48
Hmmm, I must say that, regardless of the tripod, a ball head may not be the best idea. Although I know of people who use them happily, I know of more who threw them out and got something like the Manfrotto 410 three-way head. You might like to also consider whether you will need to do low-level shots and thus whether the centre column is removable.

Ballhead vs. three-axis head vs. geared head is an endless debate of near religious proportions. Some people swear by ballheads, others swear at them. There is no one "right" answer for all users or all applications.

I personally used a three-axis head exclusively for the first ten years I shot large format. As I hike and backpack, I eventually grew tired (and old) of the weight, and especially the bulk of the big Bogen pan/tilt head I was lugging around everywhere. I live in the Pacific Northwest, and I often hike through dense vegetation. In addition to the weight, the Bogen head had three big levers/handles that seemed to constantly get hung up on every bush and tree branch I passed.

So, about 11 years ago I switched to a ballhead - and ARCA-SWISS B1. I admit, after using nothing but a three-axis head, there was a significant learning curve to using a ballhead with a large format camera. It honestly took me a year of very heavy use to get comfortable using a ballhead. But, I'm glad I did. The weight savings was very significant and no more tree branches getting caught on my tripod head while I hiked.

I have since tried several other heads, including other ballheads, the Bogen/Manfrotto 410 mini geared head, a couple Gitzo three-axis heads and and ARCA-SWISS B2. I admit I LOVE the ease of use of the Bogen 410 mini geared head. It is an absolute joy to use. However, it's about twice as heavy and less sturdy than a good medium size ballhead. So, not ideal for hiking/backing.

I have continued to use my ARCA-SWISS B1 as my main head for formats from 4x5 - 7x17. When I first moved up to 7x17, I thought for sure a big old heavy three-axis head would be the only way to go. So, I bought a big 3.5 lb. Gitzo 1570 three-axis head . It's the biggest one they make and often recommended for ULF usage. After trying it out, I was surprised to find the ARCA-SWISS B1 was smoother, sturdier AND easier to use. I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but my 7x17 cameras is based on an ARCA-SWISS monorail chassis. So, the big top platform of the Gitzo 1570, which may be a good match for other ULF cameras of flatbed design, it just added unnecessary weight and bulk for my needs. I also found that with the tension preset on the B1 maxed out, it is a perfect match for my 7x17 camera - loose enough to position the camera where I want it, but tight enough to hold it in place when I let go. My camera back has to big metal support bars running up the sides. While it wasn't the intent of the design, these ended up making great handles to grab and simply point the camera where I want it. I can then let go, check focus, composition, etc. and once I'm satisfied, I can lock it in place with a quick turn of the B1 locking knob. I found this faster and easier than loosening and tightening anywhere from one to three levers every time I want to tweak my composition. And the B1 is two pounds lighter and WAY more compact that the 1570 (which has one handle that's almost 11" long).

Just to clarify, I'm not bashing the Gitzo head, just explaining why I like the B1 better for my needs. My 7x17 camera is a unique design (details here (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?t=17878) - with photos of camera and ARCA-SWISS B1 on page 4 (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showpost.php?p=164190&postcount=37)). So, while the B1 is an ideal match for my 7x17 camera, I can certainly see why those shooting with more conventional flatbed ULF cameras would prefer the big Gitzo head.

Alas, even the B1 is not perfect for all my needs. For backpacking with 4x5 and 4x10 I use an even lighter ballhead. I've just moved up to 14x17 and am using an ARCA-SWISS B2 for than format. The B2 (which I believe has been discontinued) looks like a big ballhead, but it's actually a three-axis head with independent locking knobs for each axis - sort of a three-axis head in ballhead clothing. It weighs as much as the big Gitzo 1570, but is much more compact (no big handles sticking out all over the place), smoother and more rigid (but also more expensive and hard to find these days).

So, as I said, there's no perfect, one-size-fits-all head for all users or all uses. Heck, I own multiple heads just to meet my own needs. So, while I might make recommendations based on my personal experience, I wouldn't pretend to tell anyone else what head they should get - too many variables and probably the most important one is personal preference.

Concerning the CT-3371 and the center column. The center column is an optional accessory on that model. It is very easy to install or remove the center column. With the center column removed, the minimum height is 17cm (6.7") that should be plenty low for most large format applications.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Jan Pedersen
31-Mar-2008, 18:29
Kerry,
Thanks. Will contact you when ready to buy.

jan

Greg Lockrey
31-Mar-2008, 18:51
Thanks. Do you find that a hindrance for 4x5 use or are there prefixed angle stops for "normal" usage. My Gitzo explorer didn't have stops and I found it slowed down things just a bit.

What's the maximum angle that the legs go out to - they seem to turn right back over the head - i.e. 180 degrees. If so, I can't understand why it doesn't go lower than 7 inches - shouldn't it go flat on the ground with the legs at 90 degrees?

-Anupam

There are prefixed stops ... 3 if I recall, but the friction is enough to hold at any angle. 7" is allowing for head and base. I'm not near my pod at the moment, but I don't think it will go 180 degrees. I could be wrong. You could use a center column and hang off the bottom too.

Really Big Cameras
2-Apr-2008, 12:43
Also does anyone know the practical differences between the standard 3301 and the "tournament class" 3342 (hate the name, though). Is it worth the $100 difference.

Originally, the Tournament Class tripods used much better materials and construction techniques than the Standard Class models. However, the Standard Class were recently upgraded and are now very comparable to the Tournament class in terms of overall quality of materials and construction.

The Tournament class still offer a few features not available on the Standard Class, and a slightly better weight to strength ratio. The additional features of the Tournament Class include the ability of the legs to fold upward by 180 degrees. This results in a more compact folded length for travel (especially with a CB-50D ballhead installed - which can fit totally within the upward folded legs of the CT-3342) and the ability to accept a leveling base (LB-7567).

The new, improved Standard Class are a great value for the money. The Tournament Class are Feisol's no-compromise, highest performance, most highly-featured models. Which is best really depends on your individual needs.

Hope that helps. If I can answer any more questions, just let me know.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Really Big Cameras
2-Apr-2008, 12:51
What's the maximum angle that the legs go out to - they seem to turn right back over the head - i.e. 180 degrees. If so, I can't understand why it doesn't go lower than 7 inches - shouldn't it go flat on the ground with the legs at 90 degrees?

It depends on the model. The legs of the Traveler Class and Tournament Class models fold upward 180 degrees for the most compact travel size. So, yes, they can go completely flat. The Standard Class cannot.

The minimum height specs for all Feisol models are given with the legs collapsed and locked in the final notch position.

Kerry Thalmann
Really Big Cameras
http://reallybigcameras.com

Dave Saunders
7-Apr-2008, 09:35
My Feisol tripod arrived today complete with Ball head, only 6 days from Taiwan to UK!

fantastic service!

I'll let you all know how I get on with it, especially the ball head at almost half the weight of my Manfrotto Pro ball head both with similar pay loads (Feisol 19Kg, Manfrotto 16Kg).

Watch this space

Greg Lockrey
7-Apr-2008, 12:32
My Feisol tripod arrived today complete with Ball head, only 6 days from Taiwan to UK!

fantastic service!

I'll let you all know how I get on with it, especially the ball head at almost half the weight of my Manfrotto Pro ball head both with similar pay loads (Feisol 19Kg, Manfrotto 16Kg).

Watch this space

I'm particularly interested in the durability of the ball head say about a year from now with a good deal of use. Being a Gitzo owner already I had to see a Feisol before I bought one but I am most satisfied especially for the price.