Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

Started Apr 29, 2009 | Discussions
JayMitch Senior Member • Posts: 1,517
Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

I'm deciding between Gitzo GT2541 and Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 legs. I'm leaning towards the Manfrotto for a few reasons, one of them being I really don't like the twist lock style with the Gitzo. I prefer the Manfrotto clip locks.

Can anyone comment if there is an inherent mechanical or reliability advantage between the Gitzo twist-lock style vs. Manfrotto's clips when it comes to securing the legs? Or is it purely a matter of personal preference?

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sidamin Regular Member • Posts: 485
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

Most pro shooters seem to prefer the twist locks. The opinion seems to be that twist lock has less play than the Clip locks. Also the clip locks can be pretty painful if you get a finger caught in it while opening or closing. I have a clip locak and that has happened to me a few times.

RobByePhoto
RobByePhoto Regular Member • Posts: 276
I prefer flip levers

I've had every imaginable type of lock on the various tripods and monopods I've own. On tripods I prefer flip levers. When you have to lock down 6 or 9 points, the flip levers do it quicker and easier, and that's important to me. FWIW, on monopods I prefer twist locks.
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proudestmonkey
proudestmonkey Regular Member • Posts: 296
Flip Lock-easier to see

I just had to make the same decision. I decided on the Manfrotto because I liked the flip lock better. I like that I can see instantly whether all legs and all locks are locked. I hate to say it, but more than once I've put my camera down on a tripod with a twist lock, and then realized I'd left a lock partly open. Fortunately, I've never done it so badly the camera fell over, but still...
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PhotoGo Senior Member • Posts: 1,688
Twisters

Twisters by far.
It's easy to just tighten them if you have or need to put on heavy equipment.
Not so easy with the clips.
Too much stuff to hassle with when you're out and just want to shoot.
The twisters are also quicker to set up and fold. . . in my opinion.

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PhotoGo

NikonMike Senior Member • Posts: 1,263
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

I have two Bogens, one with the snap locks and one with the twist-knobs

(knobs, not the twisting locks on Gitzos). While I like the ease of the Bogen systems, especially the snap locks, a couple of times the legs have loosened and fallen completely off, which is bad news when you're out in the field with no wrench. I'm not sure if Gitzos have that issue or not. I've tried out the Gitzo type locks in camera shops, and still am not sure which I like better. But one thing I have learned over the years is to get what works best for you, not what others like. And sometimes more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better.
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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,338
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

JayMitch wrote:

Can anyone comment if there is an inherent mechanical or reliability
advantage between the Gitzo twist-lock style vs. Manfrotto's clips
when it comes to securing the legs? Or is it purely a matter of
personal preference?

I think it's really down to personal preference. Having said that, I think a little more than half of the best quality tripods are kitted out with twist locks so manufacturers seem to be slightly biased in that direction. I know not why.

OP JayMitch Senior Member • Posts: 1,517
Re: Twisters

Interesting input, all. Thanks.

PhotoGo's comment about setup and folding seems completely counterintuitive to me, though. With the clips you undo 'em all, slide the legs up, and lock them almost be running your hand around. The Gitzo I tried required several turns of the knob to tighten/loosen, so to do that 9 times for a four section set of legs seems like it would be painful. I guess that comes with experience, though.

But I definitely see the point about more "input" into the twist locks for tightening things up. With the clips it's basically open or closed, whereas you could really torque down the twists to ensure they're rock solid. Hadn't thought of that up until this post.

PhotoGo wrote:

Twisters by far.
It's easy to just tighten them if you have or need to put on heavy
equipment.
Not so easy with the clips.
Too much stuff to hassle with when you're out and just want to shoot.
The twisters are also quicker to set up and fold. . . in my opinion.

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dugzilla Junior Member • Posts: 38
Re: Twisters

I have had both and I prefer the clips by far. I have had problems with the twists not being tight enough and the legs slipping. Clips are way faster to set up and take down, for me at least.

LensEnvy Contributing Member • Posts: 510
Clips - adjustable and one-handed

JayMitch wrote:

But I definitely see the point about more "input" into the twist
locks for tightening things up. With the clips it's basically open
or closed, whereas you could really torque down the twists to ensure
they're rock solid. Hadn't thought of that up until this post.

Bogen/Manfrotto legs come with a nut-driver tool that clips on the leg - it's for adjusting the tension of the nut on the clip. I rarely need to adjust, but the tool's right there if you need it.

For a monopod, I had one with twist style and I swore never again - it takes two hands to lock. I've never had a problem with stability of the flip/clip style locks, and they're faster / easier to use. (I've seen folks have problems with loose clips, but only because they didn't know the nut could be tightened.)

FWIW,
Richard

HE Regular Member • Posts: 308
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

I lost too much skin in the bogen clip, man that hurts. Just got a monopod with twist and hated it for about a 5 uses until I got down the quick 1/4 turn to loosen then back for tighten. Very quick. And no pinch.
--
Mark E

DominicNguyen Contributing Member • Posts: 684
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

Jay,

I had the same question when purchasing my tripod. Went to a store and tried out the different locks and ended up with the twist lock of the Gitzo. The bogen flip really hurts and it's not that fast. To open the twist lock, grab all locks in the palm of your hand for each leg, and twist all at once, release the sections, twist lock each individually, repeat for the other two legs. Did a race once with a friend with the flip locks, I was about 1 or 2 secs slower. Besides, with the flip lock, you need a wrench to tighten once in awhile. Also, it is more bulky and tends to snag with the lever.

But it is a personal preference, my friend still thinks his flip locks are better.

Good luck,
Dominic

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parisphotog Senior Member • Posts: 2,074
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

It's only a tripod. Go to a store and try both things out and see what you prefer.

JayMitch wrote:

I'm deciding between Gitzo GT2541 and Manfrotto 055CXPRO4 legs. I'm
leaning towards the Manfrotto for a few reasons, one of them being I
really don't like the twist lock style with the Gitzo. I prefer the
Manfrotto clip locks.

Can anyone comment if there is an inherent mechanical or reliability
advantage between the Gitzo twist-lock style vs. Manfrotto's clips
when it comes to securing the legs? Or is it purely a matter of
personal preference?

Flickr Page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/25556585@N02/

PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 15,544
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

Had Bogen for 12 year, got to dislike flip locks. I find them a bit slow, sometimes they bound and stick, and yes you can get skin caught. But I've also got skin caught somehow in my Gitzo twist locks, just not as much.

As someone else mentioned, with the Gitzo locks, you can be 3-4 times as fast unlocking compared to twist locks. You simply grab all the locks on one leg at a time and twist - 2 or 3 locks done (depending on 3- or 4-leg sections). With flip locks, I have to do each one separately.

When taking the tripod down, depending on what you are doing, simply don't tighten the locks - leave them unlocked. If you are putting the tripod in a bag or a car, no need to tighten the locks. Saves more time.

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ptr727 New Member • Posts: 19
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

Hi, I am so glad I found this post, I've been comparing the 055CXPRO4 and the GT3541L for days now.

The GT3541L is almost double the price of the 055CXPRO4, and 055CXPRO4 can be extended horizontally, while the GT3541L needs an extra G530 arm to do the same.

Do you think the cost of the GT3541L is justified?

Thanks (and I hope you don't mind me adding a new question to the thread)

Pieter

Chris Walden Senior Member • Posts: 2,394
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(unknown member) Forum Pro • Posts: 14,338
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

ptr727 wrote:

The GT3541L is almost double the price of the 055CXPRO4, and
055CXPRO4 can be extended horizontally, while the GT3541L needs an
extra G530 arm to do the same.

Do you think the cost of the GT3541L is justified?

It's like comparing a Toyota and a Lexus. You're paying a big price premium for a badge and little more quality; they'll both transport you from A to B in reasonable safety and comfort.

Is it worth the price differential? If you can comfortably afford it, probably yes. If you can't, I'd say definitely no.

PHXAZCRAIG
PHXAZCRAIG Forum Pro • Posts: 15,544
Re: Tripod Leg Options: Twist vs. Clip Lock?

To be honest, when I bought the Gitzo, I did so ruling out cost as an object. I've gotten to the age where a) I can afford what I want, if it's under $1000 or so, and b) I don't necessarily have that many good years left.

Photography is a hobby for me, and I like my toys. I made do with a Bogen 3221 tripod for years, and found I wasn't taking it with me just due to weight. I didn't like the 3-way panhead. In short, I wanted a much better tripod, and I wanted to get the one I wanted, not one I settled for. So I never compared the Gitzo to non-Gitzo tripods.

I did compare the 3541 and the 3530, as much as I could without actually seeing one in person. I never wanted 4 leg sections (extra locks to deal with, potentially less stable) and so the only reason I would have had to buy it is if I couldn't fit the 3530 in my suitcase, or if the 3530 was too short.

I can fit the 3530 in a big suitcase, and it is (barely) tall enough for me. (I'm 6'2"). It would be nice to have 2-3 more inches when shooting upward, but it's not a big deal.

Some people buy things that are good enough, and are happy with them partly because they got a good deal. I'm like that in many things, but for my photography hobby I want the best that I can afford, and if it is in my price range, I simply don't think about price anymore. If it is out of my price range, I save up for it or don't buy it. (One reason I haven't got some 500mm lens, since I can't afford an $8000 Nikon and don't want less than that).

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AlexanderVC Regular Member • Posts: 259
cleaning issue

Aside from the convenience/ loss-of-skin factor, another issue to consider is how/where you will use the tripod. I have read the Gitzo's tend to accumulate sand and grit in the locks when immersed in water or used at the beach. If you intend to use the tripod in these kinds of environments, the Gitzo may require more consideration before purchase. (Note: this is only based upon what I have read in other dpreview threads and forums at nikongear.com. I myself have an older Bogen/man 055pro with the flip locks. Nice tripod for most of my uses, but it cannot really bear the weight of heavier lenses. I am now thinking of getting a Gitzo 1340, twist locks and all. And, in my case, I do not shoot with the pod in the water.)

Alex

Michael Firstlight Veteran Member • Posts: 3,712
Quality Matters

I have a Bogen flip lock for many years but I'd gladly go for a twist IF (and ONLY if) the quality of the tripod allows for grabbing all three twists and turning them all at once to lock/unlock without independent leg spin. What I have found is that the better quality units do thet very well while the lower quality units legs spin independently when using that technique.

So you have to factor in quality when making the comparison.

Regards,
Mike

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