3 section vs 4 section tripod

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by dinesh.godavarty, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. Hey guys, I am in the market for a new tripod, and am thinking of buying used on ebay. I see a lot of Gitzo tripods, and a mix of 3 sections and 4 sections.

    How do 4 section tripods handle night photography with really long exposures? I just feel I should buy a 3 section, but there could be a perfectly fine 4 section tripod I could be missing out on.

    Thank you.
  2. Depends more on leg diameter. I use (among others) Gitzo tripods of their heaviest series (i forget, is it series 5?) in long and short (1 extra section) versions, and there is no difference in stability, even though the short leg version's last section is of smaller diameter. That smaller diameter still is large enough to have a good, rigid tube.
    The other thing that could have an effect is the locking/clamping system. Quick locking systems can be quite good. The often inconvenient Gitzo screw collar is excellent. Often too good.
  3. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    Decades ago, I was on the verge of buying a Gitzo. I tried the screw collar on one of the legs, and it just wouldn't release - the leg was frozen in the extended position. Needless to say, I never bought a Gitzo tripod!
  4. 3 v 4 sections means little in a Gitzo tripod. There is a bushing at the top of each section which slides with a clearance of about 0.005". Combined with the split bushing in the collor, there is little or no wobble. I prefer 4 sections, because they are taller when open and fold more compactly.

    I never had a Gitzo bushing jam, but it would be easy enough to clear by removing the collor. Oddly, jams of that sort are usually because of lubrication. Gitzo joints should be dry, with a little silicone grease on the threads at most. More problematic is that the sections would rotate. Newer Gitzo tripod legs are keyed inside so they don't rotate. Bushings in the new G-Loc collars are tapered to deliberately jam, but they're attached to the collar. Loosening the collar pulls the bushing out of engagement. The original bushings are straight, not tapered. Only the inside of the removeable collar is tapered to tighten the joint.
  5. absolutely.

    I also recommend locks rather than screw collars, but tastes differ.
  6. With a GOOD tripod, 3 vs. 4 sections should not be a stability issue.
    It however could be a logistical issue. If packing size is a consideration, for a given height tripod, the 4 section tripods pack smaller than the 3 section tripods. My small Bogen/Manfrotto 3-section tripod will not fit into my suitcase. It it were a 4 section tripod, it would fit. So for travel, I have to use yet another tripod.
  7. I have a 4 section Gitzo tripod that I bought almost 40 years ago for $186.00. The Gitzo head was an additonal $92.00 Fully extended the height is 58" which allows me to stand upright to use it. It is very sturdy and I still use it frequently.
  8. Dinesh, I would not worry about three versus four leg sections with Gitzo tripods. I use an old three section G1325mkII carbon fiber tripod with a very heavy camera (a full frame camera with battery grip and a 600mm f/4 lens on a Wimberley head). A four section tripod would do the job just as well. The leg locks did take some time getting used to. I do prefer them to the Bogen/Manfrotto twist locks I was used to as the Gitzo locks are much sturdier.

    If you are buying used, I would suggest that you look for a carbon fiber tripod.

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