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What tripod
by J. Ramón Palacios (jrp)

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What is a MAGICA?

It is the best in the market integrated camera support system for serious amateurs and professionals.
Here is a brief story.

Embarked into the serious quest for the impossible ideal tripod: Light, Sturdy and Inexpensive, it took me three, four, maybe five years and quite a few dollars to understand that such triple combination is not possible at all. You may choose two variables to optimize, never the three, sturdiness being the most critical. Once we created it was refreshing to find out that the experience was shared by a great number of Nikonians.

This is the summary of what I painfully learned by myself and from the collective accumulated experience of Nikonians advanced amateurs and pros:

Light The lightest are made of Carbon Fiber, introduced by Gitzo in 1994
Sturdy The sturdiest are either Carbon Fiber or darn heavy, even if made of wood
Inexpensive The inexpensive ones are never sturdy enough, period!
Mr. Mah with Nikonians at Photokina

Mr. BI Mah, founder and President of Markins, was with Nikonians when presenting the MAGICA concept to the photo industry at Photokina, in Cologne, Germany

Carbon fiber won on two of the three variables: carrying weight and sturdiness.
Having the opportunity to use several brands in the field and even buy quite a few of them, the semifinalist’s list of possible choices was headed by the Gitzo Mountaineer.

There are simply no equivalents, only copies, made less expensive by cutting corners and creating compromises. And that is no commandment. It is a fact.

My next enlightenment was to really understand that one must think in terms of an integrated camera support system: tripod, head, plates, and spikes. If any of these elements fails, you have no workable system. In other words, the weakest link in the chain determines the performance of the complete system.

Once the logic finally hit home the rest was relatively easy. Put together the best tripod system with the best ball head, plates and spikes.

That is how what we first called the "SuperGitzo" came to be, now refined into the MAGICA. The system consists of:

  • Gitzo Carbon Fiber Mountaineer
  • Markins anti-vibration plate
  • Markins ball head
  • Markins Titanium spikes
  • Nikonians leg wraps

The result is the sturdiest and more efficient complete integrated camera support system.

This was possible with the cooperation and support from an extraordinary renaissance man from the Republic of Korea, designer and manufacturer of Markins, producing what is arguably today the best ball head and camera support system components there are, more so when considering the competitive price.

Follow this link to see current MAGICA models offered.

   MA   Markins   Click to see models
 GI   Gitzo  
 CA   6X


His quest was to bring to his co-nationals the best possible photographic gear at the lowest possible prices. Ours, to do the same for the Nikonians community members, so our partnership was a perfect match. And here we are now, since 2004, doing collaboration projects like the MAGICA, the Q3 and Q3T ball heads and the new lever action clamps.

You may want to check the summary of a detailed study on vibration and sturdiness.

Three years of further studies and tests brought us a remarkable refinement of the MAGICA concept with the introduction of the TH-200 and TH-300 tripod hub replacements. These substitute the original manufacturer hub and the TB anti-vibration plate.

Added good news is that they can be used on both Mountaineer and Systematic G and GT carbon fiber tripods.

These items now make up the new MAGICA:

  • Gitzo Carbon Fiber Mountaineer or Systematic
  • Markins TH replacement hub
  • Markins ball head
  • Markins Titanium spikes
  • Nikonians leg wraps
see also
Tripods, Heads & Camera Support forum