Promediagear TR344L: initial thoughts

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Bing Chow Senior Member • Posts: 1,799
Promediagear TR344L: initial thoughts

Companies like ProMediaGear, FLM, Novoflex, and Berlebach are in a huge shadow cast by by Manfrotto (and Gitzo) and RRS. I want to share some initial findings of this excellent tripod to maybe help alleviate some hesitation for potential shoppers. There is very little user reviews out there in the internets, partly because PMG only started making legs couple years ago. PMG, a family business out of Chicago, started out making flash brackets. I discovered them when I was curious about gimbals, and the wild cosmetics of their Katana caught my eye. I slowly warmed up to their cheesy name, spent a fair bit of time on their website, and waited for the right time to pull the trigger. As some of you know, I already have a competent Gitzo Sys 3. Since this is mostly a lateral move, I needed some justification to drop $1000 for another set of legs.

I stand 5'11" and I've sometimes found myself wishing my Gitzo was taller to accommodate the terrain. While I won't often shoot at the 71" max height of the PMG, the capacity is there, and I could spend the majority of time with the last leg mostly retracted. This 4 section PMG weighs nearly as much as my GT3532LS at 4.5lbs. But reaches 71" instead of 58." Folded length is 24.25"

The legs diameters in mm for both tripods are as follows, in decreasing order:

PMG: 34, 30, 26, 22.             Gitzo: 32, 28, 24

Things I like:

Build: The construction is awesome. The CNC milling very nice, nice to the touch, and feels exacting. The legs have close tolerances. When you unlock the leg collars, the released section cannot fall out with gravity. During retraction, you have to guide it back in. While slower in use, hopefully the less play in the legs will result in less sand and dirt getting inside.

Fit, Finish, Assembly: My Gitzo's cast apex has some distortion it in. The legs are not pointing to the exact corners of an equilateral triangle. No issue in use, but not befitting a $1000 tripod. This PMG is perfect to the eye in terms of symmetry. An issue brought up a couple months ago by another Gitzo Systematic owner was the bubble level wasn't level when legs were extended on a flat floor. My Gitzo is the same. He exchanged for another unit and it was fine for him. I guess the QC at Gitzo is a little lax. PMG's bubble level is indeed level for every leg segment. Nice.

One-piece leg shims: Inside each leg is a plastic shim. I take my legs apart after shooting on a coast to rid of the sand. My last gen Gitzo has 2 pc shims for each leg. It can be annoying to hold them together for re-assembly. The 1 pc should make life a little easier.

O-rings in leg collar: above each collar is a thin O-ring to minimize ingress sand into the threads. Nice touch.

Legs don't crossover underneath the apex: Tripods without a center column can allow the leg to cross under. My Gitzo does this. Mild annoyance. PMG apex has stops built in.

1/4" thread on each side of apex for accessories and reversible leg spikes included

Things I don't like as much but not dealbreakers:

-aluminum leg collars. I'm probably alone on this, but I like rubberized collars. They are well-machined and all, but Gitzo's rubber collars are easier on the hands

-primary leg angle 22.5 deg. This is steeper than Gitzo's 25 deg. The latter thus has a wider stance at the cost of a inch or two of height. I'm sure all modern tripods are designed via CAD, so perhaps there is an engineering reason for leg angles. I hope it's more than just PMG playing the numbers so it looks more favourable on a spec sheet. Folded length, max height, and weight are more impressive than leg angles. Gitzo's wider primary stance just looks more stable, without taking up too much more of a footprint. Or likely I'm just used to it.

-there is a ring underneath the apex to attach a carabiner for hanging weights. It's finicky to access it.

69mm diameter top plate, held with 6 hex screws, can be swapped for bowl/levelling base.

1/4" attachment point, one on each side

these collars are loosened to show the o-ring, to the right of each collar.

solid apex. A split ring can be found on their 42mm series.

underside of apex.

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