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Old Dec 23, 2008, 12:00 PM   #1
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I have decided to purchase a new tripod for use with my Nikon D80. After a few weeks of searching various forums I have picked either a Manfrotto 055 xprob or a Giottos MTL 3361B. Originally I was going to purchase a pan and tilt head but have decided to change this to a ball and socket as it is favoured more for its versatility.

Mostly I take landscapes and would like to take urban and industrial shots in low light. I have tried both tripods in local stores and there is very little to separate them. I am leaning towards the Giottos as it gives me a little more flexibility with its multi position centre column. I am also led to believe that the lower legs of the Giottos are sealed which would stop the ingress of water.

I have contacted a local dealer who has assured me both tripods are excellent and should give many years of trouble free use. It is down to personal choice.

I would be grateful if anyone has any experience of either tripods to pass on there thoughts.

May I also take this opportunity to wish all forum users a very Merry Christmas and a Happy 2009.

the tadge
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Old Dec 23, 2008, 12:53 PM   #2
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I like the Giottos, BUT I figuredthe swivel mechanism to bethe weak point in the center column design. The Manfrotto's mechanism is a fixed point and while is seems a bit flaky when transistioning the center column, the fixed point of the Manfrottodoes hold the center column better than the Giottos design.

This strength of the Manfrotto may be needed in the long term. A standard dSLR (such as yours) can weigh 600 grams with battery. Add a lens (another 300 to 800 grams), add the QR plate (100-150 grams) and Head (500 to 2000 grams) and suddenly you have 1500 to 3500 grams (3.3 to 8 lbs) of gear hanging from the end of the arm. That is a lot of weight flexing against the weakest point in anytripod design.

ThusI ended up with the 055 XPROB. For extraflexibility I have learned to shorten a leg or two on the Manfrotto which causes the lateral arm to shift from perfect horizontal.

As far as heads go, I am pan and tilt fan and ended up with a geared pan and tilt. I shoot mostly product for catalog and needed a head that I could make micro adjustments as well as coarse adjustments. The gear head works wonders. Especially for repeatability. On a personal note the gear head does work OK for field work, landscapes,architecture and semi-stationary targets. I have tried too many ball heads, while great feeling and easy to use, the ball head also lacks the ability to repeatedly find the same positions with ease, BUT a ball head can bemuch easier to use on moving targets.

Would I buy the Giotto? Sure. I think Giotto has some definite benefits. But I bought the Manfrotto.
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Old Dec 26, 2008, 9:49 AM   #3
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Many thanks for your input Stevie.

I fully understand what you mean about the head plate on the Giottos. It is going to be the weakest link and over time and with a few Kg hanging on to it, who know's how it will react.

Overall i did prefer the finish and quality of the 055 and once the holidays are over i will take the plunge. I will post the details and some pics once i have had a chance to try it out.

Warmest wishes

the tadge
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