I am also curious as to the performance of the 4. Hopefully someone will chime in soon.
The difference between the cost, weight and folded length of the series 4 and series 5 are negligible so I think most just go directly to the 5. Going to the 5 gives you the best support available for large heavy glass and it future proofs your support needs. Since you are planning to acquire a 400/2.8 in the future the best solution would be the 5.
One major difference, and not obvious in the specs, is that the new Series 4 Systematics use the same size mount as a Series 3, making it more easily shouldered, transported, and etc., as we have discussed here previously.
The older Series 4's like my alloy G1410 use the same size mount as a Series 5. I know with experience that the Series 4 size mount is more difficult to shoulder. I have never handled a Series 4 alloy so I have no clear idea of the performance.
While I too would probably opt for a Series 5 just to nail down the most performance possible, the smaller mount is an interesting feature and worth mentioning. So I did
Still undecided since nobody has any hands-on experience with the 4-series but leaning towards either the 5532LS or 5542LS with the TH-500 spider. About a pound or so more weight all things considered(should have made a spreadsheet) but talked to my best fishing/photo buddy tonight and he's going to loan me his 200-400 with his GT 5541LS/WH200 for an upcoming trip. The main photo opp will be shooting rafters/kayakers on the Gauley and New rivers in West Virginia, long strenuous hiking down to the river, lots of fast action to try to keep up with. Will also be taking the GT 3541XLS with the same head, should make for a nice comparison IQ-wise.
Decided to forego the 200-400 since my buddy has one, ordered the 400/2.8 from Norman Camera instead. Backpack will be well and truly loaded with the 70-200, 200-400 and the 400 plus two tripods. It looks like a long hike on steep terrain, if I survive I'll post an update and maybe have made a decision on the legs Maybe....
I'm not giving up on the 4-series just yet, the weight difference looks attractive especially if you consider using the Markins hubs. BTW, I'd especially like to extend my thanks to Dave for his great post on the Markins TH-500.
Will post more when I have something definitive to report. Thanks again for the info.
Wed 04-Sep-13 05:00 AM | edited Wed 04-Sep-13 11:51 PM by jrp
I will buy a MAGICA-S 4.4 Tall within the next two weeks, for ANPAT 13 to Northern Arizona. Expect to make a full illustrated report in the second half of October. The advantages pointed out by Neil (on weight, size, portability) made me select the Series 4 over the Series 5.
Wed 04-Sep-13 11:57 PM | edited Thu 05-Sep-13 03:08 AM by jrp
You are most welcome, Bill
On the timing ... I am a bit embarrassed with Gitzo, because its Series 4 are the direct response to our pleas. They seem to be happy with sales, though. I am working on securing at least the 400 and a 500 lenses for practical field tests.
Sun 08-Sep-13 12:06 AM | edited Sun 08-Sep-13 12:08 AM by Gene Duprey
I have no experience with the 4 series, but it has the same load rating as the 3 series, which will not work with the 400 if you are not meticulous with your technique. I do own a 400/2.8, and I bought the 5 Series, GT5542LS, which is Rock Solid with the 400. My keeper rate has gone way up with the 5 series, and good technique. I did alot of research before buying the 5 series, and found the 5 to be the one to get. It's down side is the large top plate, some cannot seem to use it in their shoulder, but I find it large, but manageable. You just have to place it right on your shoulder, and you will be just fine. Or you can get a tripod sling and carry it that way just fine.
I will bring my 200-400, 500, and 600 to ANPAT which you are welcome to use for testing the Series 4 Gitzo. I will also bring my Wimberley gimbal as well as my RRS long lens stablizer. I will also have my Series 5 Gitzo.
Just to throw another fly in the ointment, I downloaded the RRS Mid-2013 catalog and on the first page of the Video Gear section they're listing new 4-series Versa tripods in 3,4, and 5-section versions, heights of 63"/1.6m, 75"/1.9m and 85"/2.16m, all with a load capacity of 85 lb./38.55Kg. Weight between 6.1-7.1 lb/ 2.76-3.22 Kg.
So does anybody have any experience with the RRS legs? I seem to remember someone classing their 3-series around what you'd expect from a 4-series Gitzo CF when they first came out but haven't seen any discussion in quite a while.
Thanks Bill, Dave, & JRP for the info on the Markins top plate. i will have to look into it. The only down side is changing from a Gimbal head to a Ball head is a bit more fussy. I have a second Gitzo top plate insert for my ball head and switching between the two is very simple and fast with the Gitzo head. Maybe not a big deal I you only use one in the field, but I like the option of changing them depending on the situation.
I already have 3 tripods Bill. But being able to use different plates and heads was another factor in my purchase of the Gitzo 5 series. Personaly, I do not find the size of the Gitzo hub that much of a problem, but I know others cannot handle it, and so see why they change the hub to the Markins hub. all that really matters is the final result , great images.
I'm stepping back to an intellectual interest in the 4-series Gitzo and the RRS, I purchased a 5541LS from a fellow member who had it listed in the I Want to Sell forum. The new ones have gotten insanely expensive and since I'm replacing the hub with the TH-500 I just couldn't justify the cost difference.
Which brings me up to three myself. ,each with a dedicated head.