Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion.
I'm looking at getting a a ball head (such as Arca-Swiss Z1DP, RSS, Markins) and a Gitzo Mountaineer GT2541 or possibly GT3541 tripod. My normal kit comprises a D300 + 70-200 f2.8, 24-70 f2.8, so not so hugely heavy, although I also have a Mamiya 645AFD kit. I hike mountains a lot and shoot landscapes in all conditions, this will be my first decent tripod setup, so I want to get it right. Obviously, I want it to be light, but don't want want to regret stability issues after buying it.
Anyway, I'm a little confused about fitting a non-Gitzo head to the Gitzo tripod column plate (Power Disc). It seems that most 3rd party ballhead base diameters' are wider than the Gitzo column plate to the tripods, which I believe is only 60mm.
So my question is, does that mean that the ball head is not going to work on these Gitzo's, or is it ok for ballhead base to 'overhang' the column plate disc? (base diameters areZ1/69mm, M20/68mm, BH-55 73mm). Will the effect stability?
Should I only be considering a Gitzo Systematic range like the GT3541LS, which as the whole tripod base to accommodate the Z1?
Finally, I've seen several posts on column vs no column tripods, and I see attraction to the GT3541LS. I'm only 5,10" so worry it could be too high for me when the head is fitted? Does anyone have this pod that could comment - wondered how hight it is with just three legs extended? Its full hight is 146cm and with 10cm for the head, I fear I would be on my tiptoes to see out of the viewfinder!
Any advice would be gratefully received.
#1. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 0Thu 25-Jun-09 11:23 AM | edited Thu 25-Jun-09 03:49 PM by nrothschild
1. Overhang of the ballhead base bothers some people but I doubt that it effects stability.
2. You can never have enough height . If you shoot on uneven ground any extra height is appreciated. Or just to get a higher than normal height (you do carry a step stool in your bag, right? ). A GT3541XLS may work for you with only 3 legs extended but for the others you will just need to retract one section (preferably the lowest section) to suit. Some people mark their legs for eye level on level ground but I never wanted to mark up my legs for that.
3. Since you are considering Systematic verses Mountaineer and also Series 2 verses 3, consider the total package weight...
- An M20 is almost a half pound lighter than a BH-55.
- A systematic is generally about a half pound lighter than a Mountaineer
- Systematics are more bulky than Mountaineers because the mount is about an inch or so larger in diameter. So consider what is important for your portability needs. Everyone is concerned with weight but some are concerned about bulk too.
A Series 2 Mountaineer with a BH-55 probably weighs about the same as a Series 3 Systematic with an M20. I personally think a BH-55 is heavier than ideal or necessary for a Series 2, considering most people's needs. It takes away from the benefit of the Series 2.
A Series 2 is adequate for your lenses; a Series 3 is marginally better. You may notice the difference shooting in a wind, for example.
Take a look at the Magica tripod packages in the ProShop. There is a substantial discount for the package, putting it very close to comparable Systematic, but with titanium spikes and the replacement base plate. The Magicas include the TB-20/21/30 base plates which are contoured to perfectly fit the Markins heads. That gives you a very sturdy tripod with a streamlined mount, but a little extra weight in the Series 3 versions compared to a Systematic.
I think the GT3541LS would make a great landscape tripod, with a short folded length and not much heavier than a Series 2 Mountaineer. I've been thinking about one myself to replace my G1228, which is an older Series 2 that is about mid-way in weight between the current Series 2 and GT3541LS. I would get more stability, the same compact folded length, yet for me only a few ounces more. I'm very comfortable with my Series 2's weight although I do not do very extended hikes.
Lots of good choices
#2. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 1Fri 26-Jun-09 01:04 PM | edited Fri 26-Jun-09 02:33 PM by alishakarchi
Neil, thanks very much for taking the time to advice me. I think the problem is that there is too much choice!
On paper the GT2541 seems ideal for what I need and my current kit. As you mentioned, my only hesitation is if it will be stable enough in windy conditions, that I sometimes find my self working in (think Scotland highlands and Alps!), which is the only reason I would consider the GT3541 - it's considerably heavier, and perhaps over the top. Has anyone used theirs in such conditions without problems?
With the GT3541LS, I think adjusting the legs individually to get it to my eye level, will slow me down and frustrate, although I'm sure I could get use to it and if it offers noticeable stability it could be worth it! As you say, it closes small and is light, although I've not seen one for real so thanks for reminding me about it possibly being bulkier.
Could you explain the advantage of the Markins base, as I thought on the new Series 2 the column could be removed and head connected directly, and the Systematic also didn't need one?
On that note, in the UK the Arca-Swiss Z1 will cost almost the same as the Markins M10 or M20, wouldn't that make it a 'better buy'? However, I have seen several warnings online that there have been problems with the ball stem design, where being 2-piece, it could split. Does anyone know if this has been resolved? Having said all this, the RSS heads look beautiful.
Mmm... why can't things be simple. Thanks again
#3. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 2Fri 26-Jun-09 02:23 PM | edited Fri 26-Jun-09 02:26 PM by Smiert Spionam
>With the GT3541LS, I think adjusting the legs individually to
>get it to my eye level, will slow me down and frustrate,
>although I'm sure I could get use to it and if it offers
>noticeable stability it could be worth it! As you say, it
>close small and is light, although I've not seen on for real
>so thanks for reminding me about it possibly being bulkier.
I have the 3541LS that Neil mentioned, and love it. It is a bit bulkier than a series 2, but there's quite a difference in stability, especially in difficult conditions.
I'm 5'9", and have zero frustrations with the height of the 3541LS. If you're inclined to always shoot it at eye level, it would be very easy to put a removable mark with a white grease pencil on the legs at the settings you most often use to help you align it.
I seldom use the tripod at eye level, though, and don't understand the anxiety expressed about that issue. I'm at lower heights far more often -- though I'm not the sort to set up on a cliff watching birds for hours. For me, a bit of extra height on tap is great, since it gives me a few more inches of room to find the right height for the composition I want. And if you are interested in wildlife (especially birds in flight), a bit of extra height can be very helpful when using a long lens, especially with a gimbal.
I use the BH-55 on my 3541LS, and find the extra weight to be worth it -- I prefer its ergonomics and low profile, and find it very smooth when well broken-in. The others are fine choices, too -- and I agree with Neil that the BH-55 is not especially well-suited to series 2 Gitzo. It blows much of the weight advantage, and other heads are a better match.
#4. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 3Fri 26-Jun-09 02:55 PM | edited Fri 26-Jun-09 03:36 PM by alishakarchi
Thanks for your input.
My concern was that I would have difficulty trying to get the GT3541LS as close to level as I could (i.e, not having all three legs at different heights and wonkey), but I guess it's a non issue really, as I'd just adjust the head anyway.
Marking the legs would help, column-less tripods are pretty new to me, so I was just trying to get my head around how I would use it effectively at lower levels. With my previous tripod I just extend all the legs full and bend slightly, as it was just below my eye-level. Ideally, I will have to see if I can find a store that has one on display, a rare thing in these parts.
Incidentally, do you know approximate height of the tripod with just the top three sections extended - do us find yourself using it like that much? The BH-55 looks great by the way.
#6. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 4Sat 27-Jun-09 01:41 PM
>Incidentally, do you know approximate height of the tripod
>with just the top three sections extended - do us find
>yourself using it like that much?
It's about 42" high that way -- which is a stooped over height that I don't typically use much, unless the shot requires it.
#5. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 2Fri 26-Jun-09 09:44 PM
>> I think the problem is that there is too much choice!
Trust me, it was a bigger problem 5 years ago when we had much less choice, but the choices today does lead to analysis paralysis. I would suggest, though, just to relieve the stress, that if you think through your needs and understand the implications of your decision, you will likely be happy with whatever you do. And, no matter how well you think through the choices, you will always have second thoughts in specific situations that work against whatever compromises you make. All single leg solutions are compromises. If you buy a Series 3, there will be occasions when a lighter, slimmer Series 2 would be better. If you buy a Series 2, there will be windy days when you would rather be shooting on a Series 3.
>> my only hesitation is if it will be stable enough in windy conditions
My feeling is that I want as much beef as I'm willing to carry because no matter what you buy there will be occasions when wind may defeat you. But if you leave your Series 3 home or in the car, then it defeats the whole purpose. The portability decision is the most important, to make sure you use it. But, then, given options such as GT3541LS I suspect for most people the extra bit of weight will not make or break the decision to take or not take a tripod on a given hike. People throw an extra pound into an F/2.8 lens without even thinking about these things . (until they haul it around all day, of course)
In the good old days, pre-CF, this was a much tougher decision because a Series 2 class alloy weighed about 5-6LBs and a Series 3 weighed 6-8Lbs (modern versions are a bit lighter in some cases). Carrying a 7-8LB tripod was a big commitment, and even a Series 2 was a commitment for long hikes. You had to be hard core for that. It really is an easier decision with CF.
The Markins bases likely add additional stability for a couple of reasons. First, the Mountaineer mount (without regard for the the wing nut and center column parts) is a bit beefier with some extra support under the leg joints. Second, the base is a conical section, rather than a figure 8 type geometry with the wing nut and head platform, which is a better engineering model.
Now, the question is, does it really make a difference with or without the Markins base, and verses the Systematic. I tested my Series 2 CF Mountaineer (G1228) with the stock column retracted, and with the Markins TB-20. I did NOT get a consistently improved performance with the Markins plate, yet I still always shoot with the TB-20 because I do believe that in the field, in the real windy world, it is a better mount. That is before considering that I have an extra advantage since my older Mountaineer does not otherwise allow me to get to ground level.
In the Series 3, that is a tough choice for me because the Systematic has a number of important attributes for me: lower cost, a couple of inches extra height for a given folded length, less weight, and the flexibility of adding a leveler some day, which is always on my mind.
Why do you think the Z1, at the same price, is a "better buy"? I think the Z1 is an interesting head. I have never seen one in the field although I have handled the older and heavier B1. There were concerns with the B1 lockup issue, and now there are those concerns with the stem; I guess that is why they are scarce in the USA.
My G1228 is somewhere between exactly the right height for me, to an inch or two too short. When I set it up for eye level I just extend everything. Indoors that works great. End of story. Outdoors the ground is rarely level enough to get an effectively level mount. That mitigates the benefit in most cases since I still need to get the mount at least reasonably level and for some things very level. And when I level it, now it's always too short . If you mark the legs a taller tripod is really just as easy to deal with. I have to remember to pick up a grease pencil for my G1410
The level you want to shoot at depends on what *you* shoot...
1. Shooting birds in flight on a gimbal, I always want the legs as high as possible, even slightly above eye level.
2. Shooting static wildlife I often want my vantage as low as possible, brush and other obstructions permitting, and there I tend to sit on the ground if possible, with all legs retracted or nearly so.
3. For landscapes or macro I shoot where the scene says I ought to shoot .
I would never pick a height 12-24" down from eye level by choice because I think it's easy and comfortable to shoot either very high or very low, but in the middle is very tough on my back or knees, depending on how I do it and the exact height. If the picture demands it I do it but I don't seek out those intermediate levels.
#7. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 5Sun 28-Jun-09 11:32 PM
Neil while I agree with most of what you wrote, I wonder why do you bring this up: "There were concerns with the B1 lockup issue, and now there are those concerns with the stem"? The occasional B1 lockup issue was solved with the fourth B1 version and the B1 fifth version is no longer in production being replaced by the better Z1 which is stronger, lighter & less expensive.
From this Nikonian B1 article: "Arca Swiss was the first company to offer an adjustable tension control on ballheads for minimum friction. The success of this design has stimulated competition and emulation" including the Markins M20 which I bought before knowing that it was strongly "inspired" by the B1 (first photo from that article):
You wrote yourself in this post #7: "There was a problem discovered with some older Z1 ball stems that appears to have been taken care of in current production" and Wimberly which brought this up now says that it's solved and even sells & recommends the Z1 with a Wimberley C-10AS clamp: "Now available with reinforced stem".
I also agree with everything Smiert wrote except for the BH-55 recommendation, that thing is heavy with a low max load compared to the M20 & Z1. I did not see any test showing a vibration dampening advantage for the BH-55 & the height (profile) of all three heads is very similar: 4" plus or minus 1/4":
BH-55 Pro---------$415---50 lbs (23kg)---1.86 lbs (843g)
Markins M20-------$400--100 lbs (45 kg)--1.25 lbs (568 g)
Arca-Swiss Z1 sp--$400--130 lbs (59 kg)--1.4 lbs (635 g)
BH-55 is the heaviest with the lowest max load. BH-55 & Arca-Swiss Z1 both have a 5 years warranty while it's only 3 years for the Markins. All three can be bought without clamp so one can install his preferred clamp model.
Maybe of some interests: this 20 ballhead tests on a German website ranked the Q3 above the Z1 because of the weight factor but ranked the Z1 the dampening winner (dampfung) by quite a margin, Z1 vs. BH-55 review, Z1 vs. M10 & BH-40 blog and M10 vs. Z1 post. There are several positive Z1 testimonials by Nikonians on this board and cdplatt sums it up quite well here (post #2): "I doubt if you will find many, if any, unhappy Z1 owners. Near as I can tell, you aren't going to find many, if any, unhappy Markins owners either".
I chose the Systematic GT3541LS for a 200-400mm VR because the center of gravity is closer to the tripod's apex besides costs & weight considerations compared to a Series 3 Mountaineer and figured that if I missed the column, I could always buy a column kit but never did.
I used Chris Campbell's setup for this side-by-side of my Systematic Series 3 + M20 vs. his Mountaineer Series 3 + TB-30 + M20 photo below. He wrote in post #6 here: "LOL -- well, the ability to use or remove the column was one of the decision factors in getting this model -- but so far I've never used it!".
I am 5'10" and after 16 months of using the GT3541LS + M20 for lenses up to 400mm + TC, I'm quite happy but with hindsight I would get the GT3541XLS for the extra height useful on uneven terrain & when pointing up to avoid stooping & pain in the neck and a Z1 because of the aspherical ball which gets progressively tighter when pointing up or down contrary to the M20 which needs tension adjustment to offset the higher gravitational effect.
I also need a lighter tripod/ballhead combo for long hikes when I am willing to trade-off stability & sharpness because weight becomes the overriding criteria.
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#8. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 7Mon 29-Jun-09 10:07 AM
Jacques, my statement was solely in the context of the fact that I see very few Z1 owners come through here and I have never seen one in the field. It had nothing to do with what I might think about the Z1.
#9. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 7billg71 Nikonian since 14th Aug 2006Mon 29-Jun-09 01:28 PM
Hey, I'm a happy Z1 owner and have been since shortly after they were released. I like the elliptical ball and the original lever clamp.
It seems from the B&H photos that Arca has changed the QR clamp, I've read a couple of comments somewhere that the newer clamp is a little harder to get used to, and if you rely on stop screws to keep the plates from sliding out, they won't work with this clamp because it's so deep.
Personally, it didn't take long to get used to the two-stage lever clamp, but if you use lens plates or feet with a single dovetail you'll have to adjust it all the way tight and you won't get the benefit of being able to flip it half-way and slide the camera in or out of the clamp. If I bought one today, I'd probably get it without the clamp and put a Kirk QRC-2.5 on it.
Mine is mounted on a GT-2530 with a Kirk FP-200 which is similar to the Markins TB-20.
If I had it to do over, I'd have put the Z1 on a 3-series Systematic. There's not that much weight or cost difference in the two, especially when you end up adding something like the TB-20 or FP-200. I don't have any vibration issues, even with the column, but my longest lens is the 70-300VR and I usually use the 70-200 with a 1.4 converter anyway. Most of my tripod use is for landscapes and macro work and the column is a big limiter when you're trying to get low. I wish I'd spent the money up front just to have the capability to use longer, heavier glass(if I can ever afford it).
Anyway, that's my contribution. YMMV...
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#10. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 7Mon 29-Jun-09 02:59 PM
The BH-55 is undeniably heavier than the other premium options in this range, but the weight rating comparison is irrelevant. It's about as useful as weight ratings for tripods -- a rough guideline for comparisons within a brand, but not a particularly useful point of comparison across brands.
These are all premium products, and will perform admirably. Each has strengths and weaknesses.
I'd like to try a Z1 sometime.
#11. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 10Mon 29-Jun-09 05:18 PM | edited Mon 29-Jun-09 06:03 PM by alishakarchi
Thanks for the advice everyone.
I was lucky enough to find a store that had a GT2541 and GT3541LS side by side! I was hoping I'd like the GT2541 more, and was impressed by how light and compact it was, amazing! I've had a series 2 Basalt before (G1298), but never really found it that stable, particularly in less than ideal conditions - sounds silly but i never 'trusted' it.
As amazing as the GT2541 was, the GT3541LS is outstanding and the stability difference is more than noticeable. I think the extra bulk is something i just have to accept. I think for landscape photography it will simply be a safer bet, as IQ is everything. One annoying thing is that I have to fit a more heavier head to it (would have picked a BH-40 for the series 2).
It's been interesting to hear your views on the various heads out there, the BH-55 is beautiful, but it is bit of a beast.... I do plan to get RRS plates and pano kit for sure.
The Arca-Swiss Z1 is interesting and I'd love to hear from anyone with the DP version. I wonder how that would compare with the RSS pano kit, and it it would be as stable as the non DP (SP) one.
#12. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 11Mon 29-Jun-09 05:51 PM
Glad you got a hands-on comparison -- that's invaluable.
In this case, I agree that the BH-40 isn't as good a match -- the low profile might make it awkward to use at some angles with the large systematic base.
If you're concerned about weight, you might consider the Markins M-10 -- it's a bit lighter and smaller than the M-20, but will still work fine on the 3541LS.
#13. "RE: Z1, M20, BH-55, Systematic & Mountaineer" | In response to Reply # 11Mon 29-Jun-09 06:31 PM
I'm glad to see that you agree with what I've said about Series 2 vs 3 many times now. The difference is something you have to feel, it is difficult to debate in terms of focal length recommendations and test chart results. And there is nothing wrong with the Series 2- it is a triumph in compact engineering. It's just physics and since the various series are built to the same standards, physics will always prevail because a great extent all else is truly equal (equal quality if not identical mount engineering).
As Michael said, an M10 (or M20, which is ideal) is perfect for a Series 3 without going to a 1.86Lb head. I've never handled the Z1, although I would like to do so some day.
#14. "RE: Z1, Panning, M20 & Sweet Spot Creep" | In response to Reply # 13Mon 29-Jun-09 08:50 PM | edited Mon 29-Jun-09 09:32 PM by monteverde_org
Ali, did you take a photo of the folded GT2541 and GT3541LS side by side? On Nikonians, you need a Silver membership & up to be able to post a photo but if you email it to me, I would be happy to post-it on your behalf.
Here is an older Series 2 G1228G vs. GT3541LS photo by Nonprophet from his Gitzo 3541LS Mini-review:
The Arca-Swiss Z1 DP is basically a ballhead with a panning base & a clamp on top for a weight of 1.6 lb (725 g) & cost of $540. The downside is that they don't offer it without a clamp so you get either the screw clamp or their quick release.
You could get a Z1 without clamp (1.2 lb - 544 g, $365) & mount directly on it a RRS PCL-1 Panning Clamp (.65 lb - 296g, $235) for a total of 1.85 lb - 840g & cost of $600. The cost & weight difference is not that big compared to the Z1 DP.
In both cases, the downside is a weak vertical max load capacity if you use the drop notch & a Sidekick for example. RRS says 15 lbs - 6,7kg for the PCL-1 while it's not specified for the Z1 DP.
A workaround for the PCL-1 is to add a mounting dovetail under it to make it removable but then you need to add the cost & weight of a clamp on the ballhead + a PCL-DVTL plate for example. The cheapest, lightest & slowest solution is to use the bubble on the tripod to level-it & use the ballhead w clamp to pan but the Gitzo G-Locks are very efficient & quick to operate with a 1/4 of a turn or less & you get the swing of it after a short while. That setup ease feature should be considered by people looking at cheaper tripods.
Smiert I agree that cross-brand max load ratings should be use with caution because of the different rating methods especially with shady knock-offs manufacturers, but we are comparing three serious and credible manufacturers here and a max load difference of 2 to 1 & up. Anyway the extra weight alone was the deal breaker for me. They should put the BH-55 on a diet & send-it to the gym, just like I should.
Bill, no wonder you can't afford a super tele, looking at your profile, your collection of primes, fast zooms & flashes made me drool.
Maybe you could run a test with your auto-tightening sweet spot aspherical ball Z1 so we could compare score cards as I see that you also have a D300 & 70-300mm VR?
If I set this up with the D300 body plate centered in the clamp with the lens zoomed @ 70mm & the M20 pre-tension set as tight as I can (just before the point where if I move the camera than the whole tripod moves) and I point the camera down, the sweet spot limit is -20 degrees vs the horizontal plane. Meaning that if pointed down more than 20 degrees, it starts to creep unless I re-tighten the tension or lock the head.
Adios Sweet Spot!
I'm not saying that the M20 is not a good head with a great sweet spot, the point is to compare with the Z1 & the same nose heavy lens & body.
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#18. "RE: Z1, Panning, M20 & Sweet Spot Creep" | In response to Reply # 14billg71 Nikonian since 14th Aug 2006Tue 30-Jun-09 11:09 PM | edited Tue 30-Jun-09 11:12 PM by billg71
I thought I'd try your test method so I got out the D300 and the 70-300 and mounted it on the head. Tightened it until I could barely move the camera without moving the tripod, set the rig at an equal height and distance(about 36") from my stereo unit and started pointing it down to see where it would start creeping. I had the drop notch positioned in front so I could point the camera straight down if needed. The result was that I couldn't get the combination to creep at any angle, so I tried another method...
When I got the head, I set the pre-tension(the small adjustment) at the point I could mount the 17-35(my shortest, lightest zoom) and point it anywhere without creep. At that setting, I have to tighten it a little for the 70-200, a little more for the 28-70. The Arca head has a movable ring around the inside of the knob with graduations marked from 0-12. The idea is when you get the head set where you want it, you slide the ring around until the 0 lines up with the index, so my 0 setting corresponds with my 17-35 zoom.
For reference, I can really crank on the knob and get it to 12, but I'm applying so much force I'm afraid of breaking something. I can give it a quick twist to between 6-7 without too much effort, at that setting I can sling the whole rig with the 28-70 or 70-200 over my shoulder and go hiking off. Your setting, where I can barely move the camera without moving the tripod, comes out between 3 and 4 on the dial.
The minimum setting with my pre-tension where I can point the 70-300 anywhere between 0 and 90 degrees without creep is somewhere between .5 and .75 on the dial. There are no markings between the numbers on the dial so this is subjective, but it's very easy to move the camera/lens in a normal shooting range, getting progressively a little tighter as you get past 45 degrees on up to 90. The head movement remains very smooth throughout the entire range, no skips, grabs or jerks.
All in all, I'd have to say Arca-Swiss is onto a good thing with this elliptical-ball thing.....
I really appreciate you suggesting this impromptu test, I've had the ballhead a couple of years now and never done anything like this with it. The only ballhead I had used before the A-S was a friend's AcraTech and one outing was enough to convince me I didn't want one of those! I bought the Z1 sight unseen, mounted it and have been happy with it but never tried any real testing until now.
So if you or Neil ever get anywhere around Atlanta, get in touch! We'll go out and shoot some, swap tripods around and I'll buy the beer afterwards!
P.S. Ali, something no one pointed out about the Z1 DP(or equivalent panning clamps) is that the real pano geeks want a rig that allows positioning the optical center(nodal point?) of the lens over the axis of rotation. For this you need something like the RRS setup, where you can place the camera body behind the center of rotation. This allows you to eliminate parallax distortion as you rotate the camera-lens combo through the shot.
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#19. "RE: Z1, Panning, M20 & Sweet Spot Creep" | In response to Reply # 18Wed 01-Jul-09 01:24 AM
Thank you Bill for running the test & taking the time for this thoughtful post. It's almost like a Z1 & M20 side-by-side since you had the same camera & lens.
I too had positioned the M20's drop notch in front & the lens crept faster & faster all the way in it, once past the 20 degrees (measured with a protractor) inclination point:
It's a minor annoyance to have to re-tension the head when pointing down when shooting hands-off using a remote in the field. And you have to loosen it to bring it back to horizontal level.
There is no numbers on the tension knob of the M20 (see photos post #7) so you have to find the point by feel every time you change lens but they copied the rest of the tension adjustment concept so it operates the same way as the Arca-Swiss except for the aspherical ball.
Considering that Arca-Swiss invented the concept and that the Z1 is now the same price as the M20, almost the same weight: 1.4 lbs (635 g) vs. 1.25 lbs (568 g) but with a bigger max load: 130 lbs (59 kg) vs. 100 lbs (45 kg), larger ball diameter: 54mm vs. 48mm and 5 years warranty vs. 3 years, I may sell the M20 to a friend & replace-it with an Arca-Swiss Z1.
You are right about the optical center (aka no-parallax point, entrance pupil or nodal point), it's especially important for stitching panoramas. There is some tutorials here and RRS here for example.
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#26. "RE: Z1, M20, Photoclam & Sweet Spot Creep" | In response to Reply # 19Mon 20-Jul-09 08:05 PM
Joe did the same sweet spot limit test with his Photoclam PC48-NS here (post #27) and it is similar to the Markins M20 which is pretty good considering the lower price of the Photoclam.
From his post:
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#20. "images of Gitzo GT2541 next to GT3541LS" | In response to Reply # 14Wed 01-Jul-09 06:47 PM
Took these with my iPhone in the store, so sorry the quality is not great, but they are on the link below for those interested. If you can post them direct, please feel free to do so. Jacques i couldn't find out how to email you them.
The weight and bulk of the GT3541 is noticeable for sure, when they are side by side, plus the fact you would probably get a heavier head. However, it is more stable. I'm deciding tomorrow!
Here is the link
#21. "RE: images of Gitzo GT2541 next to GT3541LS" | In response to Reply # 20Wed 01-Jul-09 07:33 PM
Posting three of Ali's photos with his permission, cropped & re-sized reduced to fit the 150kb max size on Nikonians. He was worried about the quality but considering they were taken with a phone, they are pretty good besides being helpful!
P.S. Ali, you can send emails to members by clicking on this icon top right of the posts:
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#23. "RE: images of Gitzo GT2541 next to GT3541LS" | In response to Reply # 22
#15. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 0
I have bought a 3541XLS plus a Z1 a few months ago. A month ago I added the Wimberly Sidekick. See also this thread about it: https://www.nikonians.org/forums/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=159&topic_id=30016
About the tripod. I first thought about a mountaineer because I was used to a centrecolumn with my Manfrotto tripods. But a centrecolumn actually adds a monopod to your tripod. So thanks to the great help of some fellow Nikonians, I have bought a much better solution in my opinion. And for the same price. The 3541XLS goes above my head but I love that extra length in cases of uneven locations. Two weeks ago, I went to an airshow with some other dutch Nikonians (we had a great time ). I have shot with above my normal height the whole day. It worked great.
About the Z1 head. I too have doubted between the 'normal' Z1 and the Z1 DP. I have decided to go for the normal one and eventually add a RRS panninghead + dovetail later on. My decision was based on two reasons:
- strength: this is more a feeling then scientific based knowledge. I think that a panning head adds an extra connectionpoint in the tripod-head combination. And usually such a point makes the total strength a bit weaker. Especially with a sidekick and a 200-400.
- flexibility: in 95% of the time of my photography, I don't need a panning head. Therefore I decided to buy a separate panning tool. It's the same as a separate sidekick because I don't allways use a long lens.
- budget. I just had bought a 200-400 and the price difference between the normal Z1 and the Z1 DP just saved me some euro's at the time.
>I've never handled the Z1, although I would like to do so some day.
Neil, if you are in the Netherlands sometime, I would be happy to let you try it
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#16. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 15Tue 30-Jun-09 08:00 AM
Did you get the Flip lock or Standard Quickset, how do you find it? I'm I right in thinking that the RSS plates will work well on the Flip because its adjustable?
I think your comments on strength are logical, and I too will not be shooting panos full time, so the RSS kit is a good option.
#17. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 16Tue 30-Jun-09 08:23 AM
I did get the standard quickset because that allways fits. I wasn't so sure if the flip lock will allways work. See thread:
Here JRP states: "The Z1 one with flip-lock clamp has been reported as finicky with several plates."
For now, I'm only using Wimberly plates. But I think some RRS or Kirk will be added in the future.
I'm not very experienced with ballheads like these but I like it very much. It even works fine with the 200-400. But with a sidekick for fast handling it's more comfortable to use of course.
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#24. "RE: Ballhead diameter & Gitzo column plate confusion." | In response to Reply # 17Nielsen Registered since 11th Jun 2007Fri 03-Jul-09 07:42 PM | edited Fri 03-Jul-09 07:48 PM by Nielsen
Interesting thread, and yes, looking at the Gitzo netsite almost paralyzes you, its almost impossible to make a choice.
I have had the old Gitzo G340 (1340) Inter Pro Studex, and an Arca Swiss B1 for 16 years. With the exception of a small dent in one leg that makes it a little difficult to pull out the leg everything works perfect.
The B1 never locked up, and its performing like brand new. Think I paid 500 dollars for it back then, everybody thought I was crazy.
I have dragged the combo all over, along with a small suitcase with equipment. Dont think I would do it again, we all get older...
#25. "RE: Gitzo G340 & Arca-Swiss B1 Time Tested" | In response to Reply # 24Fri 03-Jul-09 09:06 PM
Nielsen, that's quite a tribute to the durability of these two brands. It's surprising how much re-sale value they hold after all these years, I found a Gitzo G340 without column for $249 on B&H & a Arca-Swiss B1 for $225 on keh.com. They are probably worth more in Europe, where you live.
While the Arca-Swiss Z1 is only .3 lb (135g) lighter than the B1, you would save quite some weight with a GT3541LS (3.8 lbs - 1.7kg) vs. the G340: 6 lbs - 2.7kg. Not that I'm suggesting that you should change your 'old-faithful' tripod...
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