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Manfrotto or Gitzo, or just a new head?


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f5fstop Awarded for his contributions to the Resources Basic Member
Wed 24-Apr-02 10:40 PM

Thanks to BJ, I have been visiting the Robert White photography website quite a bit lately, and I am getting the itch to purchase a new tripod, or a new head for my existing Bogen. Therefore, I thought I would ask the Tripod experts for some advice.
First, I do (when I have the time) hike quite a bit with the tripod either on a tripod strap, or attached to a backpack (most of the time on a strap with my photo gear in a LowePro Off Trail 2 belt pack).
I currently own a six-year-old Bogen 3221 aluminum tripod with a 3047 Pan-Tilt Head.
Equipment used on the tripod can be either an F5 or F100, and most likely the heaviest combination of body plus lens would be the AF-S 80-200 F/2.8 with the TC 20E-II, which weights out at approximately 7 lbs, 6 oz.
Currently, I am looking at the following tripod head or tripod head combinations:

Keep my Bogen 3221 and purchase a 3038 Manfrotto Pan Head. (Reason for the head change is the handles on the 3047 keep banging my head when I have it strapped to a backpack, the 3038 does not have this problem.) Weight with existing head is 10 lbs; weight with 3038 would be 9 lbs, 3 oz.

Tripod/Head Options:
Manfrotto 3443 (441) Carbon Fiber w/Manfrotto Pan Head 3055 (168), weight 5 lbs, 11 oz. (Price: Robert White $431.40 including shipping and duty, B&H $469.00 plus shipping.) The tripod legs will support 13.3 lbs, the 3038 head weighs 3.7 lbs; therefore, there is about a 3 lbs safety factor in this combination with the combination of camera equipment I normally use.
(NOTE: The sales person at Robert White made a point about my original combination I priced; the 3443 with a 3038 head. The point was the head was heavier than the tripod, and this might make it top heavy. Maybe I am missing something, but almost any tripod/head combination will be top heavy since the tripod weight is spread out over many inches, while the head’s weight is spread out over only about 5-6 inches, also, with the camera/lens mounted, it will really be top heavy. Any thoughts on this?

Gitzo 1227 Carbon Fiber w/Gitzo 1276M head, weight 4 lbs, 8 oz. (Price: Robert White $533.38 including shipping and duty, B&H $813.00 plus shipping)
The tripod legs will support 17.5 lbs, the head weighs 1.25 lbs; therefore, there is about a 9 lbs safety factor.
Gitzo 1227 Carbon Fiber w/Gitzo 1376M, weight 5 lbs, 4 oz. (Price: Robert White $557.25 including shipping and duty, B&H $875.00 plus shipping) (Not being that familiar with Gitzo, I’m not sure if this combination will work, I have written Gitzo to clarify if a 1376M head will attach to the 1227 tripod. However, I prefer the larger quick release platform size than that on the 1276M.) Since this head weights 2 lbs, there is about an 8 lb safety factor.

I also have another question for Gitzo owners, and that pertains to the rotational weight of a large camera with a heavy lens when used in the vertical position. When using my 3047 with either of my camera bodies and a large lens such as the 28-70 AF-S Nikkor, in the vertical position, the weight of the lens would force the camera body to swivel on the quick release plate. This causes the lens to start dropping down, towards the front. The problem was the cork on the quick release plate would loose adhesion with the metal, and allow the combination to creep downwards. I was able to stop this by purchasing the Manfrotto QR plates with the angled piece of metal that butted up against the front of the camera body and preventing the body from rotating. Never having used a Gitzo, I was wondering if anyone has ever experienced this, and if so, how would you prevent this on a Gitzo; they do not sell a QR plate similar to the Manfrotto with the angled piece of metal.

Sorry for the long post (I am bored ); however, I am seriously considering one of these tripod/head combinations or a new head. Just not too sure, and wanted some help from my fellow Nikonians.

Thanks in advance; now, everyone put on their thinking caps.

"Take only photographs, leave only footprints"

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