Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Started 2 months ago | Questions thread
3dwag
3dwag Veteran Member • Posts: 4,466
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?
1

Colin Creevey wrote:

Thanks for the detailed response.

You are quite welcome.

3dwag wrote:
If you are OK with slightly longer folded length, the Gitzo GT1545T (4 sections instead of 5 sections)

Had not considered this tripod but given the Gitzo bag I would buy would also fit this tripod I would consider it.

Which Gitzo bag are you considering? I'm asking because it would give me a better idea as to your maximum transport envelop for your tripod. There are some possibly larger (but heavier) tripods which may still fit in that bag but give better support for the 3-way type of head you prefer.

Also, besides my earlier concern that the large 3-way head might be a bit top heavy on the GT1545T Traveler tripod, the head mounting plate on the Traveler tripod is much smaller diameter than that 3-way head, and you would have to check the underside of that head to see if there would be a large enough flat area on the underside of that head to mate properly with the small diameter tripod head plate. Sometimes heads have factory assembly and setup access plates under there which may not give you enough flat area to make good tight contact with the tripod plate.

I understand that you are transporting this with you on your wheelchair, correct? But you may have in mind something that will fit in that tripod bag and then can be secured for transport on your chair, if I understand you correctly?

Now I have another concern for your intended usage... Do note that the folded length of the Gitzo GT1545T tripod is with the legs reverse-folded, otherwise you must add a few inches to it. However, also note that the head must be compact enough in order to reverse -fold the legs, otherwise you will have to remove the head in order to reverse-fold the legs -- and that Gitzo 3-Way is definitely way too big for the tripod legs to reverse-fold over.

On the other hand, if you intend to keep the head mounted to the tripod when you put it in the tripod bag for transport, then that must be a larger bag and perhaps you could go with a larger, heavier tripod like this Gitzo GT4553S Systematic: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1328238-REG/gitzo_gt4553sus_systematic_tripod_ser_4_5s.html/overview

It is a bit unusual, in that it is a larger diameter leg sections Series 4 tripod so it's girth will be quite a bit larger than the Series 1 Travelers, but it is a 5-section tripod so the leg sections are short and the retracted length is still somewhat short, in this case less than 19 inches (of course, it does not reverse-fold like a Traveler). Also, the apex plate on which you mount the head has those set screws like you were asking about to lock the head onto the apex plate, and the apex plate has a safety lock when it is installed on the tripod, and the head bottom diameter nicely about matches this larger tripod.

The GT4553S tripod is 2x as heavy as the GT1545T, but with all sections collapsed it's just under 19 inches tall, which is still 5 inches shorter than your large Manfrotto. It is also 2x as expensive as the Traveler. Total weight including that Gitzo 3-Way head is about 7 pounds, but still way lighter and more compact for transport than my old Manfrotto tripod and 3-way head I used for many many years, which might be similar to your present rig which you are trying to replace...mine weighed in at about 11 pounds, it was a beast but with my back problems I eventually had to replace it with a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod + Acratech ball head.

and a Gitzo 3-Way Fluid Head

That seems like a poorly matched head for a travel tripod. It weighs nearly as much as the tripod itself, making your rig very top heavy, and will be bulky for packing.

What kind of shooting do you plan to do this this travel rig?

Long exposure/timelapse/landscape. Currently own the Manfrotto 327RC2 Ball Head and the Manfrotto XPRO 3-Way (pretty sure it is this one) so was basing my preference off what I currently liked to use. I did see the pan/tilt head was a heavier option.

The Gitzo 3-way fluid head you linked to above is certainly a nice head, and I can understand if you have a preference for the 3-way style of head...the Arca-Swiss plate style and fluid capsules are very fine upgrades to your Manfrotto XPRO 3-Way for sure.

But as I mentioned above, there are some concerns I would have about if that head could be securely mounted to the much smaller diameter Traveler tripod plate, and earlier as I said that head might be top-heavy, plus in order to get the Traveler tripod folded up short you will have to remove that head (whereas the two ball heads I mentioned can stay permanently attached to the smaller tripod, even when reverse-folding the legs).

I could be wrong about a lot of this, these are just my concerns which personally I would want to investigate, but you may have already been considering these things and of course know your exact situation a lot better than I do from here.

The Center Column is an excellent resource who do empirical stiffness and damping tests;

Resource looks good, thanks.

I personally don't use these hooks much, finding the tripod "hammocks" do a better job of stiffening up and improving the vibration damping of your rig: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1038289-REG/oben_stb_10_stone_bag_for_tripods.html

Had not considered a hammock like this but it may be better suited to use to hold my bag.

I first used those little hammocks years ago to place my a/v interface boxes and power bricks off the ground when shooting video. Very convenient for lots of things.

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Austin, Texas
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