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Thread: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

  1. #1
    Thalmees's Avatar
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    Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    Hello all,
    Thanks for reading all the text, but if you do not wish, you may jump to the last paragraph(SUMMARY).
    .
    Had the chance to test two(2) new samples of GT5533LS.
    One was an exchange for the returned first one.
    Both was suffering from loose Leg Angle Joints, on arrival, no previous use. Will write details about both at the same time, because both have the same exact problem.
    Among six(6) joints, one was really hanging to the spider with no tension at all.
    Another joint, has just a good amount of tension that the tripod can be carried by that leg without skidding.
    The other four(4) joints, had a minimal tension that was enough only for the legs to be stopped at any angle when splayed on vertical upright position only. The tension was not enough to hold the tripod weight(only or with head) on horizontal position, you can not carry the tripod as usual(folded and un-splayed) by those four legs and walk for a short distance, without skidding of the same leg or other legs.
    BTW, to avoid any potential subjective results, the appropriate tension amount was referenced to(compared with) a two(2) years old Gitzo GT4542LS and with a one(1) year old RRS TVC-23 tripods, that did not need any tightening so far. Both came with enough tension in leg angle joints, did not need any further tightening so far. Both used well, but not every day.
    Ok, why the leg angle joints has not been tightened in the first place?
    Thats the frustrating issue/experience!
    While the joints structures had no displacement(slippage) from their position(in the joints) at their minimal tension(good looking, but not good functioning), they do not accept tightening any further. It's nothing more than the tension already brought by the FACTORY, or the joint may lose some tension. Actually, one bolt started to lose its grip from repeating tightening the joint. The magnitude of tightening the joints, is not direct proportionally related to the tension on the legs, as it supposed to be. Every possible way of tightening on every position of the tripod legs/joints, has been performed, but nothing tension, or some thing near nothing tension, has been gained.
    The joints axis along the bolt/nut location, looks fixed, deadly fixed, though the joints are not jammed(actually loose). Trying to minimally swing the joints laterally(perpendicular to its normal angle), resulted in apparent distortion of the spider(flex).
    Wondering if that is a:
    1. Quality control issue with the early batches of that tripod model!; or is it,
    2. Usual with Magnesium cast?; or, is it,
    3. The tolerance that inevitably skewed due to the paint over the cast(or something else),that may produce a marvelous tripod beside another horrible one(un-tighten-able) in the same batch?; or,
    4. What??? Anyway, It's a long journey between the exit door of the factory and the hands of the customer!
    The subject may be repeated, sorry if it is repeated. Trying to accumulate the possible reasons for a defective Leg Angle Joint in any tripod of any make or generation, in this thread. Hope that attracts interest in this thread. Carbon Fiber tripods, are so pricy and well adopted by photographers of all generations.
    To be fair, I should say: Gitzo has undeniable reputation and long history in tripod making, though still wondering what's behind those two tripods(may be the whole batch) of the same model and generation. But, at the same level of fairness, Gitzo customer service(unfortunately) is another dark planet beyond our solar system.
    Thanks too much for your input and for reading. Sorry being long.
    .
    SUMMARY:
    A frustrating experience about two(2) samples of Gitzo GT5533LS. Loose leg angle joints, variable degrees of looseness. No matter how much you tighten the joints, It's nothing tension you may gain more than the tension already brought by the FACTORY, or the joint may lose some tension.
    Wondering if it's a quality control issue with the early batches of that tripod! Or what?
    Thanks.

    The generosity of spirit in this forum is great, its warmly appreciated.
    ------------------------------

  2. #2

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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    The design of the Gitzo leg attachment is pretty simple. A U-shaped casting attached to the leg which fits around the attachment point on the spider. It looks like there are washers between the U-shaped fittings and the part of the spider they clamp around.

    If the washers were missing, the U-shaped fitting probably couldn't be clamped tight enough. If a super slippery lubricant were applied it might be hard to get the desired amount of friction.

    I've only bought 3 Gitzo tripods new. None of them had any problems. I have several others, some quite old, none of them had any problems.

  3. #3
    tgtaylor's Avatar
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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    IIRC Gitzo was purchased by Manfrotto and they are now manufactured in Italy. The "lifetime warranty" ended with the purchase.

    Thomas

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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    My Gitzo III series Systematic was purchased several years ago and has been a mainstay member of my kit. It remains as tight and solid as it was the day I purchased it.

    Sorry to hear that you have been experiencing problems.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  5. #5
    Thalmees's Avatar
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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    Thanks Jeff for your post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Keller View Post
    If the washers were missing, the U-shaped fitting probably couldn't be clamped tight enough.
    Checked every part, it's all there.
    Two spacers for two bolts and one nut, for each joint. One bolt is fixed to the nut.
    .
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Keller View Post
    If a super slippery lubricant were applied it might be hard to get the desired amount of friction.
    It could be the reason if the tripod underwent a maintenance or cleaning session, but both tripods were new, and the lubricant they had was in Gitzo factory, I assume.
    BTW, there was just enough, but no excess of lubricant.
    Thanks so much Jeff.

    The generosity of spirit in this forum is great, its warmly appreciated.
    ------------------------------

  6. #6
    Thalmees's Avatar
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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by tgtaylor View Post
    IIRC Gitzo was purchased by Manfrotto and they are now manufactured in Italy. The "lifetime warranty" ended with the purchase.
    Thomas
    Thanks Thomas for the info.
    I think they have now 5 years warranty.
    But, unfortunately, through a nightmare customer services.
    Had to look for IIRC in Google: If I Recall Correctly.
    Thanks.

    The generosity of spirit in this forum is great, its warmly appreciated.
    ------------------------------

  7. #7
    Thalmees's Avatar
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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post
    My Gitzo III series Systematic was purchased several years ago and has been a mainstay member of my kit. It remains as tight and solid as it was the day I purchased it.
    Sorry to hear that you have been experiencing problems.
    Thanks AuditorOne.
    One of the references for comparison of leg angle joint of the GT5533LS tripods, is a GT4542LS. Two years of service, never needed to be retightened.
    Hopefully, both GT5533LS tripods came with clear manufacturer defects, during return period. If defects developed later, I know it's going to be horrible with Gitzo customer service.
    I think it's either first batch or could be the whole new version.
    Will not be surprised if samples of the new version Gitzo tripods appeared in the used market as early as as possible.
    Thanks again AuditorOne.

    The generosity of spirit in this forum is great, its warmly appreciated.
    ------------------------------

  8. #8

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    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Keller View Post

    I've only bought 3 Gitzo tripods new. None of them had any problems. I have several others, some quite old, none of them had any problems.
    I have two, had two others in the past with ZERO issues. Did you take them apart so you could tinker with them and see how they work etc.?
    Signature deleted as to not offend certain people

  9. #9

    Re: Gitzo Systematic Version/Mark 3, Quality Control Issue?

    I have the problem with my new 1 series, not worth for money I paid.

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