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Thread: Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2001

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Hi All,

    I'm considering getting either one of the Manfrotto (Bogen) or Gitzo carbon tripods to use with an Ebony 45 S (2.1kg without lens).

    I have looked at the archives and while I was initially going for the Manfrotto, I've used the metal versions for years and I'm very happy with them, I noticed a post from Kerry Thalmann in which he states;

    " Many people (most who have never used one) dismiss the Gitzos due to the leg lock collars. However, I think this is probably one of their biggest advantages over the competition (in both carbon fiber and metal tripods). Personally, I think it is the "solidness" of these joints, much more so than the materials used, that is the limiting factor in tripod rigidity. . . ."

    Kerry, I am one of those "who have never used one" and I've always liked the Manfrotto leg locks, but your comments make sense and I am now seriously considering the Gitzo. Could any users of either or both makes please comment on Kerry's theory?

    Are the Gitzo's perhaps better because of the leg lock rigidity and lighter weight than the Manfrottos?

    Also would anyone like to comment on what would be a good lightweight head for a CF tripod with the Ebony? I prefer 3-way heads but I'm open to suggestions - anyone have any experience with the magnesium heads?

    Price is not a consideration and I'd be using this setup for field work (far fro m the vehicle) almost 90 per cent of the time.

    Thanks for any help.

    Kind regards

    Peter Brown

  2. #2

    Join Date
    May 2001

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Just another question.

    What are the differences between the magnesium centre ball heads and the off-set ball heads?


    Peter Brown

  3. #3

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    I have used several Bogen and Gitzo tripods (both standard and carbon fiber). I agree with Kerry's comments. I was happy with my Bogen tripods until I tried Gitzo. I like the leg locks of the Gitzo better. They lock easily and are solid. The Gitzos also give you a better weight to rigidity ratio. The Gitzos hold more weight, while weighing less themselves. My favorite are the carbon fiber Gitzos, but I like their standard models too.

    I think the G1325 or G1348 would be a great choice for you Ebony. I use the G1325 for my Wisner 8x10, and it holds it with no problems, but this tripod is only 4 1/2 lbs. I also use a G1570M head. I suggest the G1370M low-profile head for your Ebony,

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Mar 1998

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Try the archives and the static pages.

  5. #5

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    <Are the Gitzo's perhaps better because of the leg lock rigidity and lighter weight than the Manfrottos?>

    Yes, after having tried Gitzo, I don't even consider the Bogens. I don't think they are in the same league.

  6. #6

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Heads first: I had the off center ball and sold it. It seems counter

    to the laws of physics to use a cantilever arrangement if you don't

    have to. More importantly, the center ball can be had with a Arca Swiss type slide-on plate rather than the cavity & plate arrangement. Safer and with some cameras it is easier to achieve front-to-back balance as you extend the bellows. (See the Really Right Stuff site and catolog.) But you might just as soon get a Arca Swiss B1 head anyhow.

    Also used to have a Bogan tripod and the leg locks were always giving me grief. Either the bolts would work loose and the legs fail to tighten or I would over tighten the bolts and I couldn't loosen the legs. The Gitzo (which I admit is about one year old now as opposed to the Bogan which about 20 years old when I sold it) is easy to use and I believe as it wears I'll just have to tighten a little more. (Some have warned against over tightening a new Gitzo, by the way.)

    You mention price is not important, but you can buy at Robert White and donate your $300-400 savings to the Home for Retired Photographers.
    John Hennessy

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 1997
    Baraboo, Wisconsin

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    I have one Gitzo (not carbon fiber) and two Bogens. The Gitzo sits in the closet most of the time. Can't stand the collars, don't think any possible gain in rigidity in high winds due to the collars as opposed to the Bogen clamps is worth the pain in the neck of using the collars, especially when the tripod has to be adjusted after first putting the camera on it. And in winds high enough to bring any possible extra rigidity of the collars into play, the bellows of the camera is likely to be flopping around so much that the tripod doesn't matter anyhow. Just my opinion of course.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  8. #8

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Brian, the Gitzo collars tend to get stiff and hard to untighten with the time a nd it is necessary to sometimes undo them, clean the inner parts and put fresh grease on the threads. When well taken care of, they are a charm. I too found that the Gitzo legs absorb vibratio ns better than Bogen's.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 1999

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Peter, I took delivery of a Gitzo 1349 and 1370 low profile head (with the 1385 QR plate). This is the MK2 version and from what I gather the problems with stiff leg locks has been sorted. This is a breeze to use. My only regret is that I didn't get one years ago - I cant believe i struggled with the monster that I previously had!! I chose the 1349 because of its centre column allowing more height, but to be honest I use the flat plate that comes with the tripod as the legset is plenty big enough. When fitted with the head and QR it looks as if its going to weigh a ton, but the lack of weight is amazing. The head is the magnesium version. Superbly engineered too, I have always thought manfrotto/bogen to be well put together, but they are rough when compared to the Gitzo. I had a quick look at the manfrotto carbon tripods but they are too flimsy looking, probably work ok but I would be wary about putting ny LF on it (I know a regular contributor to this forum uses one with the Ebony SW, but I'm not that brave). I use an Ebony SW45 and this tripod/head combination is superb! Go for it! (BTW, Robert White offers fantastic deals)

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Nov 1999

    Carbon fibre tripods - comments please?

    Peter, Forgot to mention that in the "instruction sheet" it states that to lock/loosen the collars you only need to use a 1/4 turn. This prevents the collars becoming slopp

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