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Thread: Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

  1. #1

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    Is there any difference in stability and weight-bearing ability between the Gitz o 1325, which has three leg sections and no center column, and the Gitzo 1348, w hich has four leg sections and no center column? The tripod would support my Wi sner 4x5 traditional and the MF system that I have been contemplating (right now , the Pentax 67-II is in first place, followed by the Contax 645AF and the Mamiy a 7-II - vastly different cameras, I know!). Thanks.

  2. #2

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    max size for the 1325 is 149 cm and for the 1348 is 167 cm, so the 1348 is 18 cm taller (if you ad the center column and don't extand it : + /-5cm) here comes an another question : what's the maximum size of the Gitzo 1348 without using the smaller legs ? I was going to buy the 1329 (1325+column) for stability reason, then i found out that with my size (1.93m), my camera (technikardan S 45), my tripod head (manfroto 410), in need a tripod max size of 1.50m to stand up and focussing without needing any chair... In fact you have to compare apples and apples, if the 1349 (1348+column) without using the smaller legs is the same size as the 1325, i'm shure stability must be similar, and you have a tripod that can be expand for specific use at 2,02m

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2001

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    I have a 1349 with four leg sections. I avoid using the smallest sections unless they're absolutely necessary, but they do come in handy when on uneven ground, or in need of a higher vantage point. I'd get the four section tripod for convenience. Gitzo has combined the 1348 and 1349 and supplies both a top plate and column so you can use the tripod as desired.

  4. #4

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    I went Carbon Fiber a couple of months ago. My first choice was to go with the G1325 because of the 3 legs vs 4 legs issue. Then I realized that the G1325 was a bit shorter than my G340 it was supposed to replace. The G340 height was perfect for me on flat ground (I am 1.80m about 6') but sometimes short when shooting from a slope. I didn't want to use a short column. I finally decided to purchase the G1349 which comes with center column (just for the rare occasion I would need it) and flat plate (that will always be on, making it a G1348). I am very happy with my choice. First, the 4th leg extension is not much of a deal for setup. Sometimes I leave the last leg partially extended so I do not have to extend or close it. Second, the last two legs provide suffisant extension in most cases. Third, the shorter closed lenght of the tripod makes it easier to travel with. Fourth, the additional height is extremely useful. I was shooting in the Eastern Sierra last October and really appreciated the 4th leg extension. When the top two legs are extended the tripod is about 1.25m, with the bottom two legs it is 1.35m about what I need with my 4x5. Stability is any configuration is outstanding. The G340 was great but this one is even better. What makes it outstanding is how vibrations are dampened. A fully extended conventional tripod takes about 5-10s to absord a hit before vibrations are eliminated, a carbon fiber just 2-3s. I did this test with the tripods heavily loaded with an Arca-Swiss B1, Nikon F5, Nikon 400/3.5 w/ TC-301 2x extender and Kirk long plate.

  5. #5

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    The three section 1325 is analogous to a Morris Mini Minor at 100 k/h: it's maxed out at any reasonable height. The 1348 on the other hand has stability to spare. I am 6' tall and typically set up my 1349 with the top two sections extended all but 6" and the smallest section extended only 6". Stability decreases significantly if any section (of any tripod) is extended all the way because nesting one section inside the one above it creates more friction and decreases lateral play. Extended all the way the sections are closer to merely being butted end to end; it is more like the sections are balancing on top of each other rather than tightly grabbing each other.
    John Hennessy

  6. #6

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    I would avoid a four-section legset on principle, since it offers too much potential for instability. Though I am cautious about centre columns they do come in handy sometimes, and if not extended more than a very few inches don't affect stability adversely. Half the time I use a 1410 (no column) with Mamiya RZ and Cambo kit, and the rest of the time I'm using an old Cremaillere 3 (precursor of the 1300 series) with 3-section legs and centre column (plus Arca B1) to support Nikons. The old Gitzo performs fine, a great field tripod, though I wouldn't feel so happy to use it with MF/LF - and frankly if you're contemplating a Pentax 67, go for something heftier, like a steel girder sunk into the ground down to bedrock level. This might damp down the dreaded P67 shutter vibrations, but only if you use sandbags on top of the camera as well. Perhaps I exaggerate - but I do advise a 1400 series Gitzo for the Pentax. Cannot advise on carbon fibre.

  7. #7

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    John, that is a very interesting comment on not extending the leg sections all of the way. Thanks.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    I doubt there's any significant difference in either stability or capacity between the 3 and 4 section Gitzo's. The main differences I found between 3 and 4 sections are the added height you can get out of the 4 section (about 7 inches more), the reduced folded length of a 4 section leg (only about 2 inches), and the reduced weight of the 3 section tripod (a little less than half a pound).

    I finally chose the 1325 and have been very satisfied. I'm 6ft tall and I mount my Canham DLC on an ArcaSwiss B1. I also use a Mamiya 7II on the same ArcaSwiss head and I find the tripod to have plenty of height for these setups (in fact, I've marked my legs because, on level ground, the setup is too high if I fully extend the legs).

    I usually carry my equipment in a backpack, so the weight savings was nice (though not really critical, since I could find a lighter head if it was that important). I probably would have gone with the 4 leg sections if the folded height difference between the two was more substantial (maybe in the neighborhood of 5 inches would have swayed me towards the 1348).

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 2001

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    I'd have to disagree with the statements about stability being greatly enhanced by under-extending leg sections.

    On cheap tripods with small clasps that hold the leg sections, leaving some of the leg section nested inside the other probably adds stability. On higher quality tripods though, you're dealing with much larger gripping surfaces that are holding large diamter rigid tubing. If these mechanisms aren't holding the section tight, then you'd feel some wobble in the leg section if you wiggled it. This doesn't happen at all with the hefty Gitzo tripods I've used, and I've never heard any complaints about the 1325 being "maxed out" even fully extended.

    Also, keep in mind that a 4 section tripod is going to use smaller diameter tubing in the bottom section than a 3 section tripod. Any added stability from leaving sections nested would probably be outweighed by the smaller diameter of the lowest leg sections (that's why, if you're going to leave a section unextended, you always do it at the bottom).

    Both tripods are rated for exactly the same weight, so I wouldn't worry too much about stability differences.

  10. #10

    Gitzo 3 leg sections vs. 4 leg sections

    You're going to get a lot of different answers from a lot of different folks. W e all have our own unique needs and preferences. Someone who's 6'4" will have d ifferent requirements for height than someone who's 5'4". Someone who backpacks will have different preferences than someone who shoots near the car, or in a s tudio.

    You didn't specifically mention why you wanted the weight savings of carbon fibe r - or if the weight savings is your main motivation. It was for me. I hike an d backpack a lot with my 4x5 gear (so I definitely like to keep the weight to so mething more reasonable than 160 lb.). To me, the main motivation to justify th e expense of a carbon fiber tripod was the weight savings. When the 1349 first came out, I was disappointed to find out it was only 1/2 lb. (5.5 lb. vs. 6.0 lb .) lighter than the metal 340 model. Granted, the 1349 also has a center column and four leg sections instead of three, but neither were features I wanted anyw ay (I wanted a lighter weight version of the 340 - three leg sections and no cen ter column).

    The 1325, at 4.4 lb. is another 1.1 lb. lighter than the 1349. That swung my de cision in favor of the 1325. For my needs it is perfect. I've used it with a n umber of cameras - the heaviest a Linhof Technikardan TK45S at about 8 lb. So f ar, it has handled everything I've tried to put on it. I am a bit puzzled by th e comments about the height of the 1325. I'm 6'4" and it's plenty tall for me. In fact, it's the tallest tripod I've ever owned. With the legs fully extended and my Linhof (or my Toho FC-45X) mounted atop an Arca Swiss B1 head, the cente r of the ground glass is right at my eye level. In fact, if I want to check the top corners for vignetting (by looking through the cut corners), I need to stan d on my toes. For me, it's the perfect height - I wouldn't want it any taller. Of course, this is on level ground. On a slope, I occasionally have to bend a little, but that's why I have a waist.

    One other consideration, the 1325 is also a fair amount less expensive than the 1349. It doesn't fold up as small as the four leg section models, but that is n ot a concern for me. I have flown with it a couple times and it easily fits in an airline overhead (I haven't tried to fly with it since Sept. 11. so you might want to check to see if it still meets carry-on regs).

    These are just my opinions based on my needs and preferences. I don't doubt for a second that others are equally as happy with their 1349/1348 Gitzos. They re ally are great tripods that combine outstanding rigidity and very light weight. They are expensive, but built very well. The 1325 is by far the best tripod I' ve ever owned and I can't even imagine anything better for my needs.


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