Last tripod I Ever Intend To Buy!

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by jimvanson, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. Hello all as I'm getting older (I hope) I'm getting smarter.<br>
    Over the years I've probably bought a dozen tripods & heads -- none were quite right so here's where the smarter
    part comes in -- I want buy one last tripod that will last for 10 years or so -- In other words I want to get it
    right this time!<br>
    I'm looking at something like the Manfrotto 055MF3 Mag Fiber or anything else in the $200-$300 price range.<br>
    I'll screw my Linhof ProFile II head on it.<br>
    Maximum load will be a 300 f4L IS or 80-200 f2.8L IS.<br>
    I'm 6 foot 2 inch so tall is nice.<br>
    Ease of use comes first, durability second. Weight is third. Price is forth.<br>
    Any suggestions?<br>
    Thanks in advance!
  2. How about a Gitzo aluminum G-1346 - sturdy (>300mm) and durable. It stands 60" tall without a column and folds to 23" (fits in a suitcase with the head removed). It weighs about 6 pounds, compared to 4.8 pounds for the corresponding CF version (GT-3540). It is a "Systematic" Gitzo, so the center section can be traded for a flat plate (standard), rapid or geared column, leveling platform or video bowl. You can take one home (new) for about $350.

    It is actually easier to carry than smaller tripods since the legs are spaced wide enough to carry it by one leg. I use a shoulder strap to free up my hands. Two things I don't like are the rotating legs and large, eared collars on the top section. You have to hold the leg when tightening the collar to keep it from rotating, and the eared lugs bang your legs when you carry it. Those details were fixed in the GT-3540, which has become my do-all tripod.

    The collars only take 1/4 turn to loose or tighten, and are intrinsically self-adjusting. I don't like snap locks (Manfrotto) any more - they're noisy, pinch my fingers at times, snag on cloths straps and bushes and break easily if you drop the tripod. Gitzo uses hard-rolled and machined tubing, compared to the soft extruded tubing of Manfrotto tripods, and is literally built to last a lifetime.
  3. it


    Gitzo Basalt is slightly above your price range, but it's an awesome set of legs. Super light, sturdy and dead easy to use.
  4. For the `last tripod to buy', a 15xx series is rather flimsy, nor would I go aluminium.

    I just got a Set of Gitzo 2541L carbon legs, and I would heartily recommend them. They might be slightly above the price you indicated, but you won't have to buy another `final' set of legs in 3 years time...
  5. A G-1346 is a series 3 "Systematic" tripod. It costs about half as much as the CF version, and is more than capable of holding a 300mm lens steady.
  6. My mistake. I failed to notice that you were talking about one of the `old' model numbers.
  7. If price is fourth, get a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod. That was MY last tripod. Mine was a 1228. I can carry it in my checked bag with the head removed. I can carry it around without my arm leaving the socket. I can open it up and collapse it reasonably quickly. It's reliable (and doesn't need a socket wrench). It's sturdy. I hate tripods, but this one makes it bearable. I got a small ball head to go with it.

    I can think of any reason NOT to buy a carbon fiber tripod except price -- they're TOO fricking expensive. But it's expensive to keep buying cheap tripods too that don't do the job.
  8. Problem with the $200-300 range is that this is about the cost of a good Arca Compatible Ball Head.

    IMO, the ARCA compatible heads, especially if used with the great (and expensive) Really Right Stuff L-Plate, is the
    best way to go and beat the pants off the 488 Manfrotto heads with their RC-2 quick release systems.
  9. Richard, he already has a good ballhead (Linhof ProFile II), he just wants better legs to go with it.

    I just got a set of 2541L Gitzo carbon legs for a little over 300 euros, probably a pricing mistake on the store's part. Having used them, I would have bought them even if they'd been the full 500+...
  10. In my experience, a series 2 Gitzo is a little light for many applications, including any lens longer than 200mm. This is compounded in the 4-section 2540, in which the small leg section is only about 3/8" in diameter. Furthermore the column is permanently affixed, so the camera sits on top of a 2" high clamp plus the column at all times. Your only alternative is a short column for working close to the ground. Even with the column all the way down I find I have to be very careful using a 3-section G-1227 (= GT-2530) to get best results. A series 3 tripod is heavier and much stiffer. If you buy one good tripod, a series 3 "Systematic" is a better choice.
  11. I know, but I'm not a bird-shooter but a landscape-man, so I'm using it more for <50mm than for >200mm (my longest lens is a 135L anyway). And it has to be carried on several-week long hikes, making the 3-series a tad on the heavy (and big) side. The 2-series with an AS head is already more than the camera equipment I'm carrying.

    The reason I went for the 4-section is that the L-edition (extra long) is only available as a 4-section, and I like the fact I can get it to face-height without needing the center column, which I'll leave at home probably anyway. If I don't extend the last leg-section, It very closely resembles a 3-section 2-series. More leg-length also gives you more options when standing on sloped terrain.

    Like so many things in photography, there's no single best tripod, maybe a single best for each specific job, but even there personal preference is an influencing factor.

    So whatever you plan on buying, try some things out in a store! I didn't test this specific tripod before I got it, but I did test several models from different manufactures, and made up my mind about height, leg-locks, etc.
  12. Agreed! The best tripod is the one you are willing to carry wherever you go.
  13. it


    Exactly, that's why I went for the Basalt.
  14. Jim I've bought my last tripod and I use the same ballhead as you - a Linhof Profi II. My tripod is a used Gitzo G-1228 that cost me $300. I'm 5ft 10in so you may need a G-1325 (all of my model numbers are old as Gitzo has revamped their range since I bought). However I gave the tripod a CLA myself and put new sheaths on the legs ($20 for the set from Gitzo) and the thing works like new, smooth as silk. It's worn looking but it works perfectly and I'll never buy another tripod! :)
  15. Look at Feisol 3442, I am using it with the same head as yours, folds well, great product, just under 300.
  16. What are some options besides Gitzo, stout, but less pricey. Or does that exist? Being a bit over 6-5" tall would be good as well.
  17. Are you reasonably sure you will live only another 10 years? This is how long your forever tripod is designed to last, am I reading you correctly. ? ? ?

    What if you take up 8 by 10 LF cameras in between now and eternity: your forever tripod of today will not be strong enough ...

    I think you ought to become realistic and spec a tripod for your current needs today. And live happily ever after, minding that you might need/use another tripod yet in the near future.

    So what is wrong with your stable of unstable trripods in the attic? Repair those shopping errors by knowing your needs before buying. And realizing that out of: stable, light, and inexpensive for a tripod, you can only pick two, for three of those qualities never can be achieved on earth.

    Good luck.
  18. Frank makes a good point. I use Leica rangefinders. They're small and light. My tripod/ballhead combo is way overkill for that use. But guess what, I bought a Fotoman panoramic earlier this year and my tripod is overkill for that too. When I bought my used Gitzo about three years ago it was with the thought in mind that I might get a MF rig someday...
  19. Does anyone have experience with Feisol 'pods? It is time to dump the weak-sister pod in favor of something with some backbone, but hopefully a little south of the Gitzo price.

    That being said, in addition to whatever photographic skills I use, I am also an art director since heck was a pup. With that exposure, I furnish this information not to foment debate, but merely to pass on some customary trade knowledge. A plethora of reader research, for years, continues to substantiate that all cap text is harder to read than caps and lower case.
  20. If you're getting older, at least you're getting something!

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