Joe, I have the G1228 and love it. I only use it for travel (unless I take big glass with me), as my other tripods are too big. I am a big Gitzo fan, I use them for 15+ years without any single problem.
So I suppose the score is 1 - 0 for Gitzo. Let's see what other Nikonians will tell you.
Same here. Little tip. A lightweight carbon fibre tripod can be wobbly on instable ground. To increase stability, attach a rock or a branch to the centre column. The Gitzo has a small hook for this purpose. Don't forget to take along a piece of rope.
WILDEYES / ARTERRA Before You Attempt To Beat The Odds. Be Sure You Could Survive The Odds Beating You.
I owed a Manfrotto CF tripod and now have the bigger, heavier Gitzo 1348 CF model.
I prefer the Manfrotto lever locks for much quicker speed of setup. The most significant disadvantage of the Manfrotto is the relatively narrow leg stance in the standard leg angle position. The 1228 has a broader stance. The Gitzo build is "tighter" but the Manfrotto has more flexibility and it proved to be quite durable. To go really light you can leave the Manfrotto's center column behind.
I've heard mixed reports of the Acratech ballhead, so you may want to look at the comments from Nikonians who have used them. One person tried one and returned it.
Thanks for the input. What does "more flexibility" with the Mantrotto mean? Both tripods have adjustable leg angles, but I hadn't thought about the difference.
I only like to buy things once, but don't think that a 1.7 pound $400 ball-head is the "answer" for my travel tripod. The RRS salesman, Joe, recommended the Acratech piece as an alternative. There are few, if any, threads which address this ballhead on the Nikonians website, so my searches haven't been all that valuable.
I have the Manfrotto Carbon One 440 (Bogen 3444) and love it at 3.6 lbs. Field tested at the 1st Nikonians Photo Adventure with a heavy (1.7 lbs) Manfrotto ballhead, the 468RC ProBalll (Bogen 3435QR). A delight. However, if I were to do it all over again, I would still keep the tripod, but on the ballhead I'd go for the Markins. Lighter, smaller and also very well made. Both BJNichols and Doug Dever now own one and are very happy with them. That's enough for me. The recommended 3D magnesium head (460Mg) looks sexy but it weights 1.1 lbs and does not seem enough to hold my typical set-up without slipping, as it can hold just a 6.6 lbs load.
Quick note on the G1228, Acratech ballhead, and RRS plate:
Everything came all at once today, and I have to write that I am almost disturbed at the quality of this equipment. I can't find anything to complain about so far, other than the Gitzo rotating leg tighteners. The tripod feels light and VERY rigid, and I find I don't even have to raise the center column (I wish I could just remove it!). I am 6'-0" and was afraid that this would be too short, but it really isn't. Man, those leg tighteners really are difficult to use (I will really have to think about whether the hassle will be worth the "lifetime warranty.") The Manfrotto carbon I tried last weekend was SO much easier to set up. Also, the Gitzo tripod carry strap is not coming across as all that "confident" in carrying the gear. Anyone with tips on this (no instructions) would be greatly appreciated.
Well, today I got a chance to use the tripod for some end of the day portraits of the extended family in the setting sunlight. I have never used a ballhead except for the very inexpensive single knob version on my Slik Minipro tabletop tripod.
The acratech is beautifully finished, lightweight, and very easy to manipulate to get the perfect composition very quickly. It is easy to back off on the tension by about a half turn and then reposition the camera without any "flop." This, with my 105mm AI lens. The metal knob on mine is very nicely finished, and I don't see the point in a rubber version.
BTW, with some time for practicing, I am learning to really appreciate this G1228 tripod. It is a two handed operation to loosen the tightening rings, but it works so well once you get the rhythm.
I'm not a fan of the Gitzo barrel leg locks, but they do contribute to the rigidity of the extended legs. You can get reasonably efficient with barrel locks, but they will always be much slower than the lever locks. My biggest annoyance with barrel locks is the tendency for a different barrel to loosen than the one you're twisting. Two-handed leg ajustment works, but it means a more awkward hold on the tripod as you hang onto it by one leg section at a time.
Oh well, there's no denying the high quality of my Gitzo. But I do miss the super-quick setup of the Manfrotto 441. My comment about the flexibility refers to the versatile Manfrotto center column. It can be mounted horizontally (nice for macro and table top still life work) or you can leave it behind to save weight and mount the head on the "widget" that stores at the bottom end of the column. You can accessorize the top Gitzo models to do similar tricks, but not without buying and carrying extra pieces - the Gitzo horizontal column adapter doesn't switch to vertical.
Enough of my fussing over details...congratulations on you new tripod! You've chosen a setup with great quality and performance.