Advantages: potentially more stable (definitely more stable than a Mountaineer with the column extended), definitely lighter weight, easier to use low to the ground, cheaper, more compact for the same maximum height, flexibility with different configurations (added center column, video bowl, leveling platform).
Disadvantages: no center column (if you like such things), and you should periodically double-check that the platform is tight so it doesn't slip out on you in the field.
Tue 08-Sep-09 12:47 PM | edited Tue 08-Sep-09 05:12 PM by Mark V
Systematic's have a larger diameter then the same size center column ones due to the bigger spider. In return the legs spread wider.
The plate slippage issue: Gitzo has polished and lubricated the joining surfaces of some??? systematic's mounting plate and spider. (Looks pretty, slips easily.) Simply clean the lube off and rough up the polish with some emery cloth (sand paper).
Recognized profesionals have admonished that to get serious about photography, especially when doing macro, you need "ät least a Series 3", without having to resort to a Series 5, unless you are playing with the truly big guns (400mm f/2.8, 600mm f/4). That means that a Series 4 would be ideal but it doesn't exist. So a way to modify a Series 3 to have the sturdniness of a Series 4 is the MAGICA. You may want to check on it.
I followed your link to the Magica web page, on the second page it makes the following statement:
"Vibration studies revealed the Mountaineer G1327 more sturdy than the Systematic G1325 This was explained by the "bridge" under the top plate shown above Differences were more noticeable when under the slightest wind Differences were further amplified when the Mountaineer had its center column replaced with a Markins TB-30 vibration dampening plate.
This still holds true for new 6X Mountaineer GT3531 vs. the 6X Systematic GT3531S and their respective variations."
I'm familiar with the linked white paper but read it over again and I still can't find any reference to a comparison between the Mountaineer and Systematic tripods. Since this paper is more than four years old, where are the numbers relating to the newer 6X Gitzos? Am I missing something? Since I recently purchased a 3-series Systematic I'd like to know if I could have done better.
Bill, my personal opinion is that once you're at the series 3 level, this is chasing ghosts. If you really ought to be shooting a series 5 (with a big supertele), the Markins rig on a series 3 Mountaineer isn't an adequate substitute. And if not, then it just looks like more stuff to buy, and more weight to carry.
Just my opinion, of course -- though I'd be interested to read some well-documented tests.