Advice needed : great Tripod for Travel

Started Mar 1, 2011 | Discussions thread
Julian Vrieslander Senior Member • Posts: 1,033
Gitzo GT1542T vs GT1541T, and comments on Acratech GP-s

I recently bought a Gitzo GT1542T and Acratech GP-s for an upcoming vacation trip. Some people here might be interested in the differences between the popular GT1541T and the GT1542T which replaces it. The newer model also has G-Lock on all leg sections. The older one does not have it on the lowest sections. The newer model has a slightly different design for the metal castings, with a bit more reinforcement at the stress points of the hub.

The GT1452T reaches a bit higher, primarily because the center column is longer. There is a downside to that. If you mount a narrow ball head on the GT1541T, you can fold the legs backwards, with the head tucked inside the legs. This is no longer possible with the GT1542T, since the column is as long as the collapsed legs. See the following two pictures:

This tripod is still small enough to fit inside a carry-on or a backpack. But I am not very tall and I will probably never use the last 60mm of that column. Is it possible to "hack" the Gitzo columns (that is: with a hacksaw)?

I chose the Acratech GP-s ball head because it is light (0.4 kg with clamp) and has a couple of possibly useful features: it can be quickly reconfigured as a panorama head or gimbal mount, without additional hardware. For panos, you might want to add a nodal slide and/or an L-bracket.

I also considered the new Arca-Swiss p0 ball heads. This is a clever design, compact, light weight, with ball on the bottom, and a pano swivel right below the camera mount. The geometry is similar to the Acratech in its inverted configuration. But the Arca is designed to work this way all the time.

Arca, Acra. It gets confusing...

This Gitzo/Acratech combo is certainly not as stable or rigid as the larger tripods and heads that I've used. But those beasts are just way too heavy to carry around all day. I plan to use the travel rig with a D700, 24-70 and 14-24. It will probably perform OK, if I shoot with a remote release or delayed shutter. I tried mounting the D700 plus 80-400VR in the gimbal configuration. No shots to report on yet, but I'm less confident that this setup will get much use. There's just not enough mass - one small accidental bump could send everything tipping over.

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