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Old Jan 4, 2013, 1:53 PM   #1
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Default Will a Gizoto be better than cheaper tripod of similar weight?

I have a canon 5D MkII, 24-70 F2.8 USM, and occasionally i have a 70-200 F4 on there.

Currently i have a 3LeggedThing carbon fibre tripod (Model: Brian) and their own ballhead.

Ive had a few quality issues with the tripod and particularly the head, but 3LeggedThing have awesome customer service so i cant complain.

I paid roughly 450 quid for the legs and head.

The great thing about it is its pretty stable, only weights 1.3kg and folds to 42cm, great for travelling

Im wondering if i get a gizoto of similar dimensions/weight, with a highly recommended ballhead will it be more stable, and overall better tripod considering its almost 3 times the price?
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 2:43 PM   #2
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If the thing you are not happy with is the head, just get a better head if the legs works well for you.
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Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.

Last edited by shoturtle; Jan 4, 2013 at 3:10 PM.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 2:50 PM   #3
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Some will say that a Gitzo wouldn't be worth 3 times the cost. And perhaps it might not be. However, I've had a series 2 Gitzo for something like 5 years, drag it around hiking and with me to and from work and other places. Its gotten a bit scratched up due to be being a clutz and careless, but I've never had any issue with it at all. I also bought a Gitzo head with it, because they were offering a $100 rebate if you bought the head with the tripod. It wasn't my first choice in heads, but the savings were too much to pass up (it was also a cheaper head to begin with). I haven't had any trouble with camera droop or the like. In fact it's not given me any reason to upgrade to the head I originally wanted, so I continue to be a happy camper.

Now that I've had a tripod I really like for a while, I've come to some conclusions. First, if you are going to skimp anywhere, skimp on the legs and get the best head you can. You can always hang a weight (i.e., your camera bag) from the center pole of a tripod for a bit more stability but if your head won't hold your camera where you want it after you tighten it down, you might as well not bother with a tripod.

Second, make sure you can live with whatever leg-locks you get. I wanted the flip locks when I first started looking at tripods, couldn't imagine having to twist things. Then I went hiking with an inexpensive Velbon video tripod I happened to have (for a video camcorder that's long gone). The locks kept getting tangled up in the plants when I was shooting wildflowers. I checked out the Manfrotto legs, who's locks are pretty flush, a much better design. I found them very stiff and I kept pinching my thumb. I then looked at a Gitzo knock-off with twist locks. Loved the quick twist of the wrist to open all sections at once. Only problem with them is that the section didn't stop coming down. I accidentally found myself unbalanced with the tripod in one hand and almost dropping the section that was in my other hand. I had visions of the section sailing off some cliff or rolling down some mountainside. At that point I gave up and bought the Gitzo.

There are as many people who prefer flip locks as those who prefer twist locks, so just because I happen to be happy with them doesn't mean that you will be.

Finally, consider how you are going to put your camera on the tripod head. I've had quick release systems where the camera plate couldn't be tightened enough to stop the camera from twisting on the plate, if it wasn't almost perfectly level. I ended up getting a separate quick release system from a different company that has basic plates with a lip on them or else an L-bracket designed for my camera. That also made a huge difference as far as stability and frustration. If you are not going to use some type of quick release system then this doesn't matter.

All of my stuff cost quite a bit, much more than most people would probably spend on a tripod system. But I haven't had to fix anything or modify anything to get it all stable and easy to operate under a variety of conditions (including going with a lens/TC combination for 550mm). Is that worth 3 or more likely 4 times what you paid? Some would say no. But I say definitely yes, I love the hassle-free ease and reliability.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 3:10 PM   #4
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Thanks guys.

I have some success with this tripod but due to early issues with the head, I just dont enough to hold my camera safely so always use it with the camera strap around my neck. I know its strong enough, i just cant bring myself to trust it though.

I have a good camera & lens now though so thinking that a good head & set of legs are in order, ones that I wont want to get rid of, or question purchasing. If they happen to cost more than most are willing to pay, so be it, il just have to save up a bit more.

Il see what gitzo have to offer in that folds up less than 50cm & doesnt way much more than 2kg (needs to be light enough to hike with.).

Thanks for the advice guys.
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