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Markins TH-500 hub + GT5540LS = Super Gitzo

dm1dave

Lowden, US
13761 posts

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dm1dave Administrator Awarded for high level knowledge and skills in various areas, most notably in Wildlife and Landscape Writer Ribbon awarded for his excellent article contributions to the Nikonians community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Nikonian since 12th Sep 2006
Mon 18-Jun-12 01:25 AM | edited Sat 02-Mar-13 05:29 AM by jrp

Back at the end of March I saw a post from JRP announcing the new Tripod hubs from Markins. The new hubs TH-200, TH-300 and TH-500 replace the standard hubs on CF Gitzo tripods reducing weight and top diameter. The TH-200 fits Gitzo 2 series, the TH-300 fits both the 3 & 4 series and the TH-500 is for the 5 series tripods.

I have been watching both the Photo Pro Shop and Markins America for availability of the TH-500. Both have had the 200 and 300 listed for a while now but no 500. One day on a whim I sent an email to Markins asking about availability of the TH-500. I was surprised that I got an almost immediate response saying that the TH-500 was in stock but they just have not added the product page to the web site yet. They gave me a link so that I could order one I liked, So, I did!

Upon receiving the hub the first thing that jumped out at me was how much smaller the MH-500 is compared to the stock Gitzo 5 series hub. The Markins hub is machined of billet aircraft aluminum and the finish is flawless. Just what I would expect from any Markins product.

Click on image to view larger version

The Markins hub (right) is significantly smaller than the original Gitzo.

Click on image to view larger version

The MH-500 is about a quarter inch taller than the Gitzo hub.

Assembly was quite easy and can be done with the tools provided by Gitzo. Start to finish the new hub was installed in about 15 minutes.

Click on image to view larger version

MH-500 with Q20 mounted.

Now, when the legs are folded together they are almost strait making the whole tripod much more compact.

Click on image to view larger version


One big advantage of this, that I think Neil will like, is that if I put the folded legs over my shoulder both legs sit comfortably together. Before, one leg would be against my neck and the other would be just on the edge of sliding off the shoulder. This will make carrying the tripod over the shoulder easier. With the TH-500 my GT5540 is actually more compact than my than my GT3540 when they are folded saving a significant amount of space for travel and storage.

Click on image to view larger version

Gitzo GT5540LS with TH-500 right & Gitzo GT3540LSV left.

Fully extended the tripod is about 1.2 inches taller than it was with the stock hub. The specifications for the GT5540LS list the max height at 59.4 inches. With the TH-500 installed I measure 60.7 inches from a level floor to the top of the platform. The base on top of the hub is an exact match to the base of the Markins Q20 ballhead.

Markins offers an attachment with a small loop of nylon cord] in place of a hook. It is designed to be used with a carabiner. The loop is an optional accessory ($10) for the TH200 & TH300. My TH500 came with the loop attached. You can see the loop and its attachment point in the 3rd picture above.

I have not been able to get the tripod out into the field yet but all indications are that this one piece, compact hub should offer better overall stability for the entire camera support system.

And it really looks cool!
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Dave Summers
Nikonians Photo Contest Director
My Nikonians Gallery | Current Nikonians Contests

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