Gitzo GT3540L Questions

Started May 5, 2008 | Discussions
whoster69 Regular Member • Posts: 149
Gitzo GT3540L Questions

I've been looking at tripods and trying to figure out which one will work for me. I'm 6 feet tall. I've got a D300 and an 18 - 200mm lens that I'll be primarily using until I can get more lenses (probably some in the 300mm+ range). Most of the work I'll be doing with this tripod is landscape/nature work. I've got a few questions...

Is the Gitzo GT3540L tripod a good fit for my height?

Is there any good reason to buy leg protectors or is this just more unnecessary weight?

I'm probably going to get a Markins M20 ball head to go with it. Do I need to specify my tripod or camera body when buying a ball head?

I haven't decided on which L bracket. If anyone has some suggestions, please let me know. I'm leaning toward RSS. Again, do I need to specify my type of tripod, ball head, or camera body when buying?

Is there anything else I need for this tripod that I haven't listed?

Any suggestions on where to buy? It seems Amazon has the best price currently at $735.

Thank you all for helping educate me and taking the time to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I've really enjoyed reading all the stuff people have posted in other threads and the FAQs, tips, suggestions, etc.

mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

1. Yes, this tripod will fit your height. It goes up to 150 cm without a head; add a head and camera and the viewfinder will be even higher than your eyes.
2. This is a carbon tripod, so leg protectors are not necessary.

3. Any ball head should match the tripod in the first place. Obviously, you should consider the camera weight when you decide on a tripod + head. The M20 head will work nice on this tripod.
Hope somone else will answer the remaining questions.

malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,273
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

whoster69 wrote:

I've been looking at tripods and trying to figure out which one will
work for me. I'm 6 feet tall. I've got a D300 and an 18 - 200mm
lens that I'll be primarily using until I can get more lenses
(probably some in the 300mm+ range). Most of the work I'll be doing
with this tripod is landscape/nature work. I've got a few
questions...

You might want to think about whether you really want/need a center column. It adds cost and weight but reduces stability. If you don't need it, you might want to save the money and weight.

I'm probably going to get a Markins M20 ball head to go with it. Do
I need to specify my tripod or camera body when buying a ball head?

I haven't decided on which L bracket. If anyone has some
suggestions, please let me know. I'm leaning toward RSS.

I like the RRS L Bracket. You need to specify the camera type and whether or not you have grip.

The ballhead needs an Arca Swiss compatible clamp to connect to the RRS L Bracket.

Tripods and ballheads are connected via a 1/4 or 3/8 screw. In the case of these larger products it will be the 3/8 inch. You want the tripod and ballhead to be compatible with that standard. The Markins and Gitzo will be but check anyway!

mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

Actually, the Gitzo screw is reversible with both 1/4 and 3/8 diameter. Obviously, you usually need the 3/8 screw to connect a head; the 1/4 end is just in case for those madmen who want to use their cameras directly attached to the tripod.

OP whoster69 Regular Member • Posts: 149
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

malch wrote:

You might want to think about whether you really want/need a center
column. It adds cost and weight but reduces stability. If you don't
need it, you might want to save the money and weight.

I will consider that. Thank you. What reasons would someone have for wanting one then? Why would it be important?

malch Forum Pro • Posts: 14,273
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

whoster69 wrote:

I will consider that. Thank you. What reasons would someone have
for wanting one then? Why would it be important?

It does help you quickly adjust the height of the camera. Classic case would be taking passport photos -- quickly set the camera height to match the subjects nose

They can also be used in macro work but there's a whole range of other equipment/options there too. A big topic in its own right.

With some tripod models, you do have the option of adding a center column later. I don't know the Gitzo range well enough to know all of the compatibility rules. But that might be something to look into if you want to keep your options open...

Guy Scharf Contributing Member • Posts: 895
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

whoster69 wrote:

Is there any good reason to buy leg protectors or is this just more
unnecessary weight?

Leg protectors serve two purposes: 1) Protect your hands from an aluminum leg in freezing cold weather and 2) cushion the tripod on your shoulder if you carry it over your shoulder.

The first doesn't apply to a carbon fiber tripod.

I use leg wraps on my Gitzo 1325. I often carry the tripod over my shoulder with camera attached. The wraps make carrying the tripod more comfortable.

Guy

 Guy Scharf's gear list:Guy Scharf's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 Nikon D300
mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

The Gitzo GT3540L comes with the central column as a standard. You can easily disassemble the column and use the tripod with no column. If you want to buy a Gitzo tripod with no column you should take a look at their Systematic series tripods. The column is not very useful, it adds weight (not much, though) and instability when extended.

OP whoster69 Regular Member • Posts: 149
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

Guy Scharf wrote:

Leg protectors serve two purposes: 1) Protect your hands from an
aluminum leg in freezing cold weather and 2) cushion the tripod on
your shoulder if you carry it over your shoulder.

The first doesn't apply to a carbon fiber tripod.

I use leg wraps on my Gitzo 1325. I often carry the tripod over my
shoulder with camera attached. The wraps make carrying the tripod
more comfortable.

Thanks. That clears it up!

ColorBandit Forum Member • Posts: 84
Satisfied w/Benro

At 6'-2", I had the same problem. After doing lots of research, I gambled on a Benro C357N6 from B&H. After about three months of use, I'm very happy with the choice. The Benro is well made.

I looked at Gitzo, but couldn't find any three-section carbon-fiber product that was tall enough for less than $800. With the legs fully extended and the center section down, the Benro is too tall! What a concept. Sure, I don't have the Gitzo label. But I still have that extra $400 in my pocket.

Of all the requirements I had for the tripod, the only one I had to forego was the lever-action leg locks in favor of twist-style.

I have a RRS BH55 head and RRS L-bracket for my D200. I'm happy with all components.

This combo leaves me room to grow from DX w/18-200 to FX and big glass.

Paul
http://www.ColorBandit.com

amfoto Regular Member • Posts: 215
Re: Satisfied w/Benro

I think if u have actually used the Gitzo, you would come to understand that it's much more than just a 'label' you are paying for..

roebedo Forum Member • Posts: 91
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

malch wrote:

whoster69 wrote:

I will consider that. Thank you. What reasons would someone have
for wanting one then? Why would it be important?

It does help you quickly adjust the height of the camera. Classic
case would be taking passport photos -- quickly set the camera height
to match the subjects nose

They can also be used in macro work but there's a whole range of
other equipment/options there too. A big topic in its own right.

With some tripod models, you do have the option of adding a center
column later. I don't know the Gitzo range well enough to know all of
the compatibility rules. But that might be something to look into if
you want to keep your options open...

I just looked at this same tripod a couple of weeks ago. You can get it without the center column and add one later if you wish. Great tripod, and adjusting for height isn't so bad with the Gitzo G-Lock system.

OP whoster69 Regular Member • Posts: 149
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

So it sounds like I can use it without a center column if I don't need it and with one if I do.

One other question. For my height of 6 feet, if the center column is closed and the tripod has it's legs fully extended, and I'm using a Markins M20 with my D300 (with MB-D10 attached) this tripod will be at least as tall as my eye level correct?

Thank you all again for your help!

htspecialist Regular Member • Posts: 157
Re: Gitzo

Consider the gitzo leveling plate if you are doing panoramas. It works great with the Markins M20 and makes the head easier to come off the tripod as well. Leg wraps; I went to Home Depot and just cut some pipe insulation for leg wraps and used electrical tap to hold it on. If you get the right deimension insualtion it works great. Cost was about $1.88 with left overs.

mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

whoster69 wrote:

So it sounds like I can use it without a center column if I don't
need it and with one if I do.

One other question. For my height of 6 feet, if the center column is
closed and the tripod has it's legs fully extended, and I'm using a
Markins M20 with my D300 (with MB-D10 attached) this tripod will be
at least as tall as my eye level correct?

Thank you all again for your help!

This set-up will go to ca 174-175 cm (6ft - ca 3.5 in.)

OP whoster69 Regular Member • Posts: 149
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

htspecialist wrote:

Consider the gitzo leveling plate if you are doing panoramas. It
works great with the Markins M20 and makes the head easier to come
off the tripod as well.

Will this work with the GT3540L?

mbernard Senior Member • Posts: 1,092
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

The Gitzo leveling base works only with the Systematic series tripods. But I think that you can adapt the Manfrotto leveling base to any Moutaineer tripod http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/146230-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto_3416_3416_Leveling_Base.html .

OP whoster69 Regular Member • Posts: 149
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

mbernard wrote:

The Gitzo leveling base works only with the Systematic series
tripods. But I think that you can adapt the Manfrotto leveling base
to any Moutaineer tripod

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/146230-REG/Bogen_Manfrotto_3416_3416_Leveling_Base.html .

Thanks for the info. Why do I need this again?

KBAM New Member • Posts: 6
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

whoster69,

Registered here to offer you some advice:

First, don't be in a hurry to make a tripod/head/L-bracket decision--it's a big investment; perform some due diligence and get yourself up to speed. You want to master this subject through research. Start with these tutorials:

http://www.bythom.com/support.htm

http://www.nikonians.org/tripods/tripods_1.html

Second, unless you know why you're spec'ing a 4-section 'pod (there are few good reasons), stick with a 3-section model; it will be stronger and more stable. Good advice above to forgo a center column (meaning don't factor it in for height), unless needed for quickie, non-critical work.

Third, if you're a likely Gitzo buyer, the ideal unit for your height is probably the 3-section Systematic (3-series) GT3530LSV. Oddly, this model (about $650) is positioned for video and comes with a bowl-adapter for fluid-heads, but it's perfect for six-footers shooting stills. Look it up and, if possible, see it in person at, say, B+H (alas, only in the video dept).

Fourth, the leveling base (#GS5120LVL, ~$170) suggested above is nice, but optional and not inexpensive. Principally, it adds precision-, quick-level convenience. It can be added to the system at any time. Suggest you look it up.

Fifth, note that Bogen Imaging/Gitzo is currently in a model-change cycle; a number of GTxxx0 models, including the GT3530LSV, have been discontinued and replaced with GTxxx1 units that aren't yet shipping. The differences are somewhat murky, but will be quite minor--mostly configuration/packaging/pricing; more will be known in a couple of weeks. (Certain current models have already sold out at many shops.)

Sixth, be aware that Gitzo has a rebate-promo underway for virtually all current and new models. In most cases, the rebate is $40 for the 'pod alone. As some of the new models may be priced higher (weak-dollar vs euro issues) than their predecessors, the rebate will mostly offset this effect.

Seventh, many forum members are high on RRS gear (nice folks, too), especially its L-plates and heads. Search the threads for commentary. Kirk, Markins, and others also have loyal users here.

Eighth, you can thank me later for the heads up. For now, happy shooting!

-- hide signature --

BAM

PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 13,970
Re: Gitzo GT3540L Questions

whoster69 wrote:

I've been looking at tripods and trying to figure out which one will
work for me. I'm 6 feet tall. I've got a D300 and an 18 - 200mm
lens that I'll be primarily using until I can get more lenses
(probably some in the 300mm+ range). Most of the work I'll be doing
with this tripod is landscape/nature work. I've got a few
questions...

Is the Gitzo GT3540L tripod a good fit for my height?

It will certainly be tall enough.

I was making the same decision about a month ago. Came down to the 3540 or the 3530lsv. I am 6'2", and I have a RRS BH-55, and both an L and non-L bracket.

The only advantage I saw with the 3540 is a smaller packing size. That would be useful occasionally. The disadvantage would come with having to deal with 3 more leg clamps - that would bother me almost every time I wanted to set up the tripod.

I ended up getting the 3530lsv, and I'm quite happy with it. I removed the bowl mount that came on it and put on the standard mount and attached the BH-55 to it. I have not really missed having a center column, and I can add it later. The 3530 fits inside a suitcase, so it's small enough for me to pack. (Just got back from Hawaii where I used it a lot).

Is there any good reason to buy leg protectors or is this just more
unnecessary weight?

For padding, maybe. Should not be particularly heavy.

I'm probably going to get a Markins M20 ball head to go with it. Do
I need to specify my tripod or camera body when buying a ball head?

Ball heads are generally sized to the weight you are going to attach, which basically gets down to 'are you going to put some really big heavy lens on there?"

Shouldn't really matter about the tripod brand, or camera, for the most part.

I haven't decided on which L bracket. If anyone has some
suggestions, please let me know. I'm leaning toward RSS. Again, do
I need to specify my type of tripod, ball head, or camera body when
buying?

I recommend the L-plate. I bought the regular plate with the BH-55 from RRS, and immediately came to regret it. I then ordered an L-plate, and I am very happy with it. Works great, and is quick and easy to use. My only 'complaints' are the price and that it is so specific to the camera (mine is for a D300 with grip - fits nothing else). The other plate is now mounted to an 80-200 lens, for which I had to buy a Kirk tripod mount. (I have the old push-pull single ring no tripod mount Nikon 80-200F2.8). Gives that lens a whole new life.

Is there anything else I need for this tripod that I haven't listed?

I'm looking for some easy way to carry mine. I've never found a comfortable way to carry a tripod over my shoulder, with or without camera attached. My old Bogen has a strap that works well - I can sling it over the shoulder, head down, and it carries easily. I'm looking for a similar strap to fit the Gitzo.

Any suggestions on where to buy? It seems Amazon has the best price
currently at $735.

I got mine at B&H. Didn't seem to be a lot of deals on Gitzo, but they did throw in a Bogen zippered bag with it for free.

 PHXAZCRAIG's gear list:PHXAZCRAIG's gear list
Nikon D80 Nikon D200 Nikon D300 Nikon D700 Nikon 1 V1 +37 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads