I'm 5 feet 7 inches and want to buy a series 3 systematic gitzo tripod. Wasn't sure which one will suit my height while using a Markins Q20 and a Nikon D300. 3 sections is more stable than the 4 sections?? Should I go for the LS or S version. Many Thanks
#1. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 03-May-12 07:06 AM | edited Thu 03-May-12 07:06 AM by nrothschild
I'm the same height and use a GT3541LS. It is tall enough except in certain situations, such as shooting up high from a slop,e where the only good solution is the XLS model. And with the XLS comes a much longer and less convenient folded length, plus some extra weight.
On level ground I have about 5" of excess height. In the real world, the ground is rarely flat and level.
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#2. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 1Thu 03-May-12 08:08 AM
3541LS is 150 cm. Ballhead is 10 cm and camera is 15 cm, eye level should be -5 cm. So if we work backwards 170cm-15cm-10cm-5cm, we end up with 140 cm which gitzo doesn't make (they only do 150 or 130 cm). Wouldn't the 3541LS be too tall for you? (by about 10 cm)
#3. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 2Thu 03-May-12 10:13 AM | edited Thu 03-May-12 10:16 AM by nrothschild
>> Wouldn't the 3541LS be too tall for you? (by about 10 cm)
There is no such thing as a tripod that is too tall . There are tripods that have an inconveniently long folded length, and that is where the decision lies. But the GT3541LS is only about 21" folded length so it is not "too long when folded". That is why I like that tripod.
If by "too tall" you mean that the tripod, in your living room, fully extended, is above eye level, then you *may* have the wrong idea about real world use...
1. Other than indoors, putting greens, and asphalt, the ground is usually either not level or uneven and that can easily cost 10cm.
2. A collared lens, aimed high, even on level ground, will put the camera well under eye level when the lens is leveled.
3. There are other less obvious reasons for wanting more than standard eye level.
4. A tripod, fully extended, is not as stable as a tripod with one or, ideally, all sections retracted at least a couple inches each.
I know, for example, that if I extend one section only 4-5 inches, with all other sections fully extended, then I am at eye level on level ground. Some people mark one section but I do fine just eye-balling it. I don't consider it a burden to have to set up at less than max height and in fact it bothers me when I have to because I know that the stability is slightly compromised.
Your 10cm is about right, if that is the height you calculate for the GT3541LS (or GT3542LS now) above my eye level on level ground. That is about the minimum I would ideally want in a tripod, and if I had an XLS I could take advantage of that extra height from time to time.
I shot, for years, a G1228 (similar to the GT2541), which is 52". Still own it. I will NEVER buy such a short tripod again for general use. it is fine in my living room, testing it out. It was rarely tall enough in the real world.
I recently spent over 20 hours observing and shooting a Great Horned Owl nest (with young) on a fairly steep slope, with the next about 75 feet high in a tree. My 500/4 with a TC is about 28" long so when it is aimed steeply up the camera drops 8-10 inches or so (I guess, never measured it).
I had to bring a Walkstool and sit because it was too uncomfortable to watch the action for more than a minute or two at a time without neck and back strain. I would have killed for an XLS for that extended shoot and that is just one example. The problem is carrying such a long folded length tripod for those fairly infrequent events.
(actually, in retrospect, it was better to sit for that shoot but it was unusual in the amount of time I spent staring through the camera viewfinder at a stationary target. It is not unusual, though, for me to spend an hour or so doing more or less the same thing. Even 5 minutes, hunched over, is more than I want to do- I want to be fully comfortable and relaxed when shooting)
This is all just to say that I think it is a mistake to consider a tripod that goes over eye level in ideal conditions "too tall". But this is in the yes of the beholder and if you want to do that then look for a tripod around 52" tall.
In real life you may not want the viewfinder exactly at eye level, but more like lower lip level so that you can see the top of the camera and that LCD. If you have old eyes with poor close focus then you may need even more room to view the camera top. And in reality this is something you need to fine tune and are not likely to calculate precisely ahead of time, even for strictly flat and level ground shooting.
In other words, you are unlikely, for many reasons, to find a tripod that is always or even usually "perfect eye level" when fully exteneded. Better too tall than too short.
my Nikonians gallery.
#4. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 2Thu 03-May-12 10:22 AM
Regarding 3 section vs 4 section, the stability does not really change, even with a very long lens like my 500/4 working 700 or 850mm.
You haven't filled out your profile nor have you discussed the gear you will mount on the tripod or your subject matter and environment. That makes it difficult to be more specific about these issues.
My ideal birding tripod would be different than a tripod I planned to walk around with all day, for more general shooting. My GT3541LS reflects a compromise of those ideals (it is almost ideal as a general walk-around but an XLS would be better for my birding).
my Nikonians gallery.
#5. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 4ericbowles Nikonian since 25th Nov 2005Thu 03-May-12 06:27 PM
Neil is exactly right on this. The 4 section 3 series Gitzo is the best compromise.
4 sections means the tripod collapses to a size that easily fits into a suitcase - even a carry on. The 3 section and the XLS are too long to fit in my normal suitcase. I would love to have a tripod that is a little taller than the LS even though I am 5'9". I have an older 3 series alloy tripod that gets some use - especially when I am using a spotting scope and a camera on two separate tripods.
The bottom leg section on the 4 series get pretty small. It's better to only extend them as far as needed.
Carbon fiber can be a little expensive, but it makes a big difference in the weight. The difference in weight between a 2 series and 3 series is small. The 3 series is worth the added cost in terms of stability and value.
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#6. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 04-May-12 01:18 AM
Many Thanks for all the valuable advice. In terms of stability for series 3 gitzo, there should be no difference between a 4 section vs a 3 section. Therefore 4 section is better because its more compact when folded? Just to clarify.
#7. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 6jacsr Registered since 08th Apr 2006Fri 04-May-12 02:19 PM | edited Fri 04-May-12 02:20 PM by jacsr
>Therefore 4 section is better because its more compact when folded? Just to clarify.
I'm 6' and the 3541/42LS is tall enough on level terrain but I do find it a bit short when on uneven terrain, trying to shoot BIF or birds high in trees. Fortunately for me the area I live in is mainly flat and populated with shore birds so the height is not a major disadvantge for most of what I do. The folded length works well and I usually place the tripod in checked luggage when traveling. The three series handles well when carrying it around and it is light enough not to become a major burden while walking around for many hours in the field.
#8. "RE: Which Gitzo Tripod for me?" | In response to Reply # 6Sat 05-May-12 06:16 AM
>> Therefore 4 section is better because its more compact when folded?
I would not say "better". I would say... more optimized for travel and general ease of toting about.
A 3 section only has 6 leg collars to manage, a 4 section has 9. Modern Gitzo collars are quick to set up and take down but it is still 3 extra collars.
That is the main trade-off, aside from very minor differences in stability that I don't worry about myself.
my Nikonians gallery.