Of course, an adventure in price. Has anyone deviated from the path laid out for us so well in these forums (Gitzo 3 series and M20)? I know they are the best. They are also the most expensive, and have no real second-hand or discounted models. So, if you have broken the commandments with success, do tell!
I would love to hear of an equivalent set of legs to the Gitzo three series at a slightly lower price (15-20%)?? Not really planning to buy right now, just speculating. Thanks for any insight!
I've got a Markins M10 and a set of Manfrotto 055XB legs. $339 for the head, $160 for the legs. The legs are aluminum and the whole setup weighs 6 lbs. I don't need carbon fiber because weight isn't an issue and I have a small camera body and light lenses.
There is a wealth of commentary in the archives here. Do searches on the major competitors... Feisol, Induro/Benro, Velbon, Hakuba, Bogen/Manfrotto. I may have missed a few, but if I did, your search will lead you to just about everything.
The biggest complaint about any legs are broken parts. Make sure that whatever you choose, there are replacement parts readily available.
Yeah, I have done the searches before. Wondering if there have been any recent entries into the CF field that people were really diggin! Of course, I have the Bogen 3021 that I have had since day one . . . I would assume that until I get that 500 f/4, it will be a long time until my next set of legs.
Tue 05-Feb-08 07:46 PM | edited Tue 05-Feb-08 08:03 PM by Mark V
Unfortually Gitzo has no real competition when it comes to CF.
Bogan: Same parent company as Gitzo so there not going to be putting the pressure on. Feisol: The newest models look very promising but you have to order it from Tawain. No marketing. Velbron/Hankbura: Not even close. Velbon El Carmagne: I had one. No where near Gitzo quality. Giottos: Too heavy for CF. (They do have their act together with alloy.) Induro: Great marketing. Quality??? Too close to Gitzo in pricing. From the ones I see I wouldn't buy one. (They are all over the place in Calif.)
Well - I've had a Velbon Neo Carmagne 740 for about five years and its one of the best tripods I own. The build quality is excellent, it comes with built in spikes, foam padding on the legs, and a leg lock system that prevents twisting, something Gitzo is just now getting around to.
I also have a Gitzo 1325, and its a little stiffer, but mostly because its a three section model, versus the 740's four section set up.
The pro line Velbons are quite good and much used in Asia. They also come with a lifetime warranty, which says something about the build quality.
>Unfortually Gitzo has no real competition when it comes to CF.
Au contraire my friend, at least in my opinion.
I have a Manfrotto tripod, specifically the 055MF3 Magfiber Pro Carbon Fiber, of which I am extremely happy. I've dragged this tripod with me all over the world in the last several years, and it's done the job well.
Manfrotto makes some excellent carbon fiber tripods, and often they are less expensive than Gitzo. Are they the same? No. Are they excellent? In my opinion, yep. In fact, in some ways, some of the Manfrottos have features I like better than some of the Gitzos.
Ned ----------------------------- All photos are accurate. None of them is the truth. Richard Avedon (1923 - 2004)
Wed 06-Feb-08 02:12 PM | edited Wed 06-Feb-08 02:23 PM by Mark V
A Manofotto is not a Gitzo and never will be.
Manofotto/Bogan and Gitzo are owned by the same parent company. There is no way that Manofotto is going to put the same pressure on Gitzo that Canon does on Nikon. That's what we the consumer need, a true competetor to Gitzo.
Right now in the USA, Indros/Benro is the only one with the marketing power to be displayed with the Gitzos and Bogans. Unfortually, Indros quality is not on par and the prices too close. (Broken Benros show up at the camera shows, used CF Gitzos don't show up at all.)
I have seen a total of two used CF Gitzos for sale locally and one was probably stolen. The resale on a CF Gitzo will more then make up for the initial savings buying something else.
I've used many tripods. The first ones were flimsy, unstable, semi- manageable only when not extended at all.
Then I discovered Manfrotto in Italy, distributed by Bogen in the US. Darn good tripods for the price. I was happily "stationed" with them for several years, using small cameras with small lenses.
Larger pro bodies and longer lenses in my bag soon demanded something more sturdy. Images were simply not as sharp as they could be. After all, I was shooting with the same cameras and lenses than the masters. (Let's put aside talent for the moment )
And so the quest began in search for the ideal tripod: Light, Sturdy and Inexpensive.
It took me three, maybe four, years and quite a few dollars to understand that such triple combination is not possible at all. You may choose two variables to optimize, never the three.
I have somewhere my detailed notes but this is what I learned: Light - the lightest are Carbon Fiber, introduced by Gitzo in 1994 Sturdy - The sturdiest are either carbon Fiber or darn heavy, even if made of wood. Inexpensive - The inexpensive ones are never sturdy, period.
So carbon fiber won on two of the variables. My semifinalists list choices at the time were Velbon and Gitzo. Then I had the opportunity to use (and buy) two of them: a Velbon Charmagne and a Gitzo Mountaineer. The latter made a significant difference in use and feel and more importantly, in the final image. The new 6X ALR models are simply a dream from my perspective, having used several from the early years and on.
There are simply no equivalents, only copies. And that is no commandment. It is a fact.
If you want to follow my very same path of trial and error, I can come back with my long list of brands and models. In the end you will spend more than if you wait to save and make the right choice.
My next enlightenment was to learn that one must think in terms of an integrated camera support system: tripod, plates, head.
That is how what we call the SuperGitzo came to be, taking as base the best tripod there is in the market and the support from an extraordinary renaissance man from South Korea, designer and manufacturer of Markins, hand producing at small scale what is arguably today the best camera support system there is, at the comparatively lowest price.
His quest was to bring to his con-nationals the best possible photographic gear at the lowest possible prices. Ours, to do the same for the Nikonians community members, so it was a perfect match. And here we are now, doing joint projects like that of the Q3.
I would rather be making a sales pitch for some company that decided to truly give Gitzo some competition.
Giottos has done this with their Alloy tripods. Gitzo quality at a Bogan/Manofotto price. But, Gitzo stands alone in CF and I can never get close to buying that $650 tripod I want because some more important expense keeps popping up. I'm also afraid that once I free up $650 it's going to jump to $800.
Thank you Greg, but it is not a sales pitch. I simply narrated my personal travel in the quest for the best camera support system for sharper images.
This is by no means unique; many advanced amateur and professional Nikonians have traveled the same or similar paths.
What we find most gratifying is that the most demanding amongst them all are satisfied and most happy, sharing our findings in a combined set of products, colloquially referred to as the "SuperGitzo" (we still have to find a good name for it).
Proof of the above is that at the most recent Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip (7th ANPAT), 8 out of every 9 attendees preferred the combination of Gitzo tripods and Markins ball head as you can see in the image below.
<I have a Gitzo (a 1348), although I'm not sure I'd have ended up with it had I known about Feisol when I bought.>
Brian, this is very good to know! Most Gitzo CF owners are not users of the other brands, and most people who buy the others have never used a Gitzo.
I have both Alloy Giottos and Alloy Gitzos and can say that the Giottos GB's are the way to go in this department. But, my experience with CF is between a recently purchased Gitzo Series 2 CF and a Velbron El and there's no comparrison!
Mark, I'd be curious to know exactly what you find better with the Alloy Giottos than the Gitzos. I've seen and compared both in the field at the same time but didn't have the chance to really play with the Giottos. I also own a G1410, of course, which I like very much. It is built like a tank, and weighs about the same as an Abrams
Fri 08-Feb-08 11:02 PM | edited Fri 08-Feb-08 11:07 PM by Mark V
Half the price, solid construction, a better finish that doesn't chip or flake, the legs lock firmly, they pass the torque/twist test, all alloy construction with no plastic or pot metal critical parts, and once again half the price.
I'll play it safe by saying the Gitzos are better made, but not twice the price better made. I have used/owned 20 year old Gitzo's that never knew a tender moment. It's hard to call them #2 and I will not do it.
Twist test: Fully extend tripod, grab it one foot beneith the spyder and twist - it shouldn't. Next test: Press a leg into the wall with all your weight - the locks shouldn't slip.
The one area that's needs improving is the rubber grips on the legs locks, I have had to put some "Goop" silicone glue under them to keep the rubber from slipping.
This is the GB series. The M's are not as well made and the savings is minimal over the GB's. If Giottos made their CF's the same as the GB's they might be an alternative to Gitzo.
I sold 2 Gitzos because a GB 5200 did the job of both. (5'10" with legs about the same diameter as a Series 4 and 8 lbs.) I still hold onto my Series 5 (11' 15 lbs?) because I may need to lift a car motor with it some day.