Gitzo 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV
I've been thru virtually all the archives here and read all the product information and came to the conclusion that the Gitzo 3530LSV would be the correct choice for my needs. I'm 5'11", and drive a D300 with my longest gun currently an 80-400 VR. OK the decision to purchase has been made, and so I start looking and sorry, there are no 3530SLV's available on earth or anywhere in the known universe. No one can even give me an estimate on when they'll be in stock. In my travels I come across a 3540XLS that I can purchase for close to the same price as a 3540LSV. In looking at the specs, the advantage to the XLS is even more height if I need it. It is within an inch of the height of the LSV with only 3 lengths extended, and that would most likely get it in the comfort zone. I don't expect any decrease in the stability using it like that. In the negative column are the added length (1.2 inches), and the additional weight (.3 lbs). Is there any problem or extra maintenance associated with the extra section. I spend a lot of time outdoors, and while none of the 3 series is really convenient to carry around, I doubt the 1.2 inches or the 5 ounces would be significant (although it all adds up). If I use the tripod in wet conditions even with the 4th leg not extended, will that be a problem? There were several threads a while back from people who bought the XLS, and I'm wondering what their experience has been.
I'm thinking about jumping on the XLS immediately - any ideas this august body has will be much appreciated.
#1. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 0Wed 26-Mar-08 02:00 PM | edited Wed 26-Mar-08 02:13 PM by nrothschild
The 3530LSV is the roll forward of the old venerated G1325; same geometry. The G1325 is arguably the best overall single tripod solution ever devised (notwithstanding the later models). If ALR is not a big issue with you, you might want to find a used 1325.
I am 5'7" and I shoot a full Wimberly. I like it at or sometimes slightly above eye level, depending on the altitude of what I hope to shoot. I shoot a G1410, which goes to 64", compared to the 58" of the 3530LSV/1325. Just on level ground, I need 53-54" to get to full eye level. I suspect an LSV would just get you to full eye level and I mean full eye level, which is too high for many people in many cases because it is too high to read the top LCD, among other things. But that's fully level ground.
I was recently shooting on the edge of an embankment, which is common at my favorite shooting spot. I was already set up and shooting when a guy comes up with an LSV. I was curious about height issues, and asked him to move his tripod next to mine (it was a friendly situation and we were just waiting for something to happen). He could not quite get his LSV to my height, and I still had some slack left.
Now, that's a random anecdotal example, and I didn't *have* to shoot the edge of the bank. I could have backed up a couple feet. There is no right answer on how much height you need. My latest rule of thumb is the more the better, you can never have enough money, good looks, wine, women, or tripod height . (did I leave anything out?). To argue otherwise is a religious and philosophical matter.
I have been mulling over my tripod lineup for years now. I have more or less come to the conclusion that the 3540XLS has a lot going for it. It has the reserve height I need (or want), it will shoot eye level on level ground on 3 sections, and I have a bug about 4 section tripods. It's downside is the folded length, which is getting perilously close to my G1410's 29.9".
I have also come to the conclusion that there is no magic bullet. The 3540XLS would be perfect for working out of my car, walking to specific shooting locations. I think it's a little big and cumbersome for the situation where I am walking around all day and want something that "isn't there" most of the time. I think the solution to that, in your case, might be something like a Feisol 3342 or Gitzo 2 Series to back it up, depending on your wallet. I use my G1228 to back up my G1410 when I need portability. It isn't ideal for your 400mm lens but then you always have the XLS if you think you need critical support for low shutter speed situations.
If I were you, with what you have, starting from scratch, I would go with the XLS, and see how I liked the portability issues. I would then back it up with something smaller if necessary. That could even be a G3530S, which solves all your problems except for height. You would not get near eye level with a 3530S, but it is not much bulkier, heavier or longer in folded length than a Series 2 class.
As far as working in wet environments... you will find that just about any twist collar is subject to getting grit in the screws and bushings, although some makers are advertising "dust-free" collars. The new G-Lock design eliminates the old fiber bushing, which was subject to swelling when wet, and possible lock up or rough handling.
You could take two approaches:
1) Wrap a plastic bag around the lower legs, affixed with a rubber band or...
2) Use enough extension of the 4th section to get your collars out of the muck. With an 80-400 I suspect you would never see a difference with the 4th leg. The 80-400 is a light lens, relatively speaking. You might see a difference with a 400/2.8, for example. It's easy enough to test, though. I've seen some evidence, via test shots posted here, that even a 200-400 doesn't care if 3 or 4 sections of a 3 Series are extended. In muck, I would protect the collars, just because I don't like cleaning mine out. I also test my gear at home, at the most critical shutter speeds, so that when I am in the field I know how things handle in different configurations.
#2. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 1Wed 26-Mar-08 02:13 PM | edited Wed 26-Mar-08 02:16 PM by nrothschild
P.S, I missed an important point. By my way of thinking, a folded length of 20-22" puts a good lightweight CF tripod in a certain class,where I can throw it over my shoulder with a camera strap attached, and it "goes away". A 26-27" folded length is a different class.
I'm not sure that there is much difference between 26.4" and 27.6" to the extent that neither will "go away" the way I want my tripod to go away when I do a lot of walking. I think the main issue at that point is cost ($100 for that 4th section). You just can't get reserve height and small folded length in the same package.
I think Gitzo should make a Series 2 systematic, but they don't. A flat top is more efficient in terms of packing more height into a given folded length, and that is where I think the Feisol tripods have an edge because they are the only other tripods designed with systematic type flat plates, and the only flat top in a Series 2 geometry. A flat plate provides about 2 more inches in which to telescope the tubes, so that 2" is leveraged by the number of inner sections. That alone may make it worthwhile to consider a Feisol flat top as a backup, just in terms of your height, your gear, and your desire for a "go away" tripod for certain applications, which I fully understand. I love my G1228/TB-20 as a carry around; I just wish it were more stable at 280mm and beyond, and with my 300/2.8. That's why I have two leg sets.
#3. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 2Wed 26-Mar-08 10:06 PM
Thanks so much for your answer. The magic bullet doesn't exist - there's no 21 inch, 3 lb tripod that extends to 60 inches. And clearly the 22, or even 27 inch tripod isn't really that when you add 4" for the ballhead. Oh yeah, I suppose you could take it off and put it back on when you want to shoot, but in the real world that isn't going to happen. I like your idea of going with the XLS, and then if I think I need something more portable, get a series 2 or a Feisol. While I want this to be my only tripod, I don't think that whether it's a 3530LSV or a 3540XLS it will ever be something I love backpacking with.
By the way, as I went through the archives here, I was blown away by your discussions of the pros and cons of the various tripods and heads. Those discussions should be put into a pinned FAQ, or at least linked. They were extremely valuable and covered exactly many of the questions I had.
#5. "TomRE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 3William Symonds Registered since 22nd Jan 2007Wed 26-Mar-08 11:56 PM | edited Thu 27-Mar-08 12:00 AM by William Symonds
What an idea. A collation of some of Neil's postings would be a fantastic starting point and may save Neil some typing time...
Series 1,2,3 or 4?
3 or 4 sections
What height and use of centre columns
Alternatives to ballheads
Which AS Plates/feet
Gimbals and such
Use of MLU and liveview
How to test your set-up
Just a thought...
W i l l
Nikonian in Bogor, West Java
#6. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 0
Not sure if you are considering a slightly used 3530LSV... I noticed this one on the FS forum: https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=137&topic_id=43869&mesg_id=43869&page=2
"You don't take a photograph, you make it." - Ansel Adams (1902-1984)
#7. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 6Fri 28-Mar-08 03:33 PM
In the context of my above discussion, note the sellers reason for selling:
"Just a month old, I'm selling this simply because it isn't tall enough in some of the hilly terrian that I'm shooting."
He's probably replacing it with an XLS
Will- someday I'll get smart and write the novel that I have written 20 times here over the years . I have a word doc on my desktop that is supposed to get some of these posts, but I never seem to have the time or think of it when I should.
#8. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 0
I've got the 3540XLS and love it, the height versatility is useful expecially on uneven ground. On flat ground I don't need to fully extend the third section to keep the viewfinder at eye level. The only downside is that it's fairly bulky if wanting to take it on hikes where working from a car is not possible. I'm now thinking of getting a smaller tripod to use on extended hikes.
#9. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 8Thu 03-Apr-08 01:58 PM | edited Thu 03-Apr-08 04:54 PM by AKFlyr
Thanks Gordy -
My 3540XLS should arrive on the big brown truck either today or tomorrow - yahooooooo!!! I've really appreciated all the information and dialogue on this forum. This is a difficult choice to make. I had originally chosen the 3530LSV, and got the bug for the XLS when there were no LSVs to be found. The LSV would put the viewfinder at near eye level only on level ground (I'm 5'11"). The fact that I found an XLS for the same price as the LSV did enter into the equation. Of course when I went to pull the trigger on the XLS the dealer fell all over himself apologizing for misquoting the price. Then a very lightly used LSV came available at an excellent price (it's still available, and referenced in this thread). Of course the owner was selling it because although it was tall enough on level ground, it didn't work for him in uneven terrain. I spend March through November in Alaska in some of the most incredible scenery on earth where the terrain is usually anything but flat.
Just add money.
#11. "RE: Gitzu 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 9Gordy Registered since 24th Apr 2006Thu 03-Apr-08 08:06 PM
You won't be disappointed then, the 3540XLS will serve you well in Alaska. I originally was also going to get the 3530LSV but due to availability decided to go with the XLS and haven't looked back. It's a very solid tripod even with all leg sections extended although you need to be a giant to use it fully extended. Enjoy your purchase.
#12. "RE: Gitzo 3540XLS instead of 3530LSV" | In response to Reply # 0