Optimal traveler tripod for Nikon D3/s/x

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by tropdude, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. To rock-solidly support, in any position (vertical, horizontal, upward/downward), a Nikon D3/s/x body with a 70-200/2.8 lens and an SB-910 - would the setup below be the most appropriate choice for a traveler? if not, then what else you would use? The Arca-Swiss bottom seems to be a must as others will let the camera to pivot/twist.
    Kirk BL-D3 Compact L-Bracket for Nikon D3 Series Camera Body
    Mfr# BL-D3
    Acratech GV2 Ballhead/Gimbal Head
    Mfr# 1152
    Gitzo GT0531 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs - Supports 11 lbs (5kg)
    Mfr# GT0531
  2. ... the most appropriate choice for a traveler?
    This is certainly a reasonable choice, and you are in the right price range for good solid equipment (unlike many who expect to get a good tripod & ball head for $200). Whether this is the "most appropriate" cannot easily be answered by others.
    If you are serious, you want the biggest, most solid tripod that you can carry to the locations that you will shoot. But how far is this? Long distances over rough terrain or short distances in a city? If you are taller than the tripod, is squatting or bending over a problem for you? (you should avoid extending the column, it is less solid) How strong and fit are you? If you are young and strong, and won't be carrying it long distances in rough terrain, you might want something bigger.
  3. The head has a good reputation. L plates are generally useful, though more with shorter lenses. I wonder about their use with a 70-200, which has a perfectly serviceable collar, but a big camera and a flash may move the weight back enough that supporting it via the camera is an option. That's a big cantilever, though; Nikon did do an 80-200 without a tripod collar, but it was 300g lighter than the current 70-200, and a body grip isn't going to help the leverage. I'd at least consider a lens plate as well.

    I worry a little about the tripod. It's very light compared with what you're trying to put on it, and doesn't have that much extra weight capacity if you want to compensate by hanging weights under it. Plus it's a bit on the short side, given that - with quite an asymmetric load - you really want to avoid the centre column unless you really can't avoid it. I'm only going off specs (I've never used one of these), and Gitzo have a good reputation, but you're asking a lot of the geometry.

    As Matthew says, for a camera of that weight, I'd only go with a tripod that size if I were severely constrained by travel. (I have a - small and relatively cheap - Velbon REXi L; it'll hold my D800 and most lenses, but I'd start to get nervous with a D3 series and a flash. It doesn't need the centre column up to get to an acceptable height, though.) If you can manage a bigger tripod, it feels like it would be worth it. I'd have no qualms putting that weight on my 055CXPro3, for example, which is cheaper but appreciably heavier than what you're considering here.

    Aside: Do you need the flash to be camera-mounted? The SB-910 is a big beast and will be putting quite a bit of leverage on the base of a tall camera. Plus you're stuck with that flash composition. If you could cable it and support it separately, it might be less demanding on the structure holding the camera.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
  4. Responses appreciated, thank you.
    More specs:
    The setup need to be as light-weight as reasonable possible but still usable for what is intended for.
    The folded tripod with head attached must fit into a Pelican 1600 case diagonally.
    SB can be off-camera, of course, I was quoting the "heaviest' possible scenario, not the typical; however, I need the solution for heaviest possible scenario.
    Deos anyone know if the Acratech GV2 Ballhead/Gimbal Head seamlessly will attach to the Gitzo GT0531 Mountaineer 6X Carbon Fiber Tripod Legs (ie, the base palte diamter is an exact/close match, the screw is an exact match, etc.)?
  5. The AcraTech GV2 has adapters for both mounting screw threads. No problem mounting it on the tripod. As to the diameter of the ball head base, that shouldn't be an issue either, unless the tripod you get has a smaller than normal base. I can measure my Acratech head to see how wide it is, if you need that info. The GPs and GP-ss are heads that have a smaller base for those smaller " Travel " tripods where the legs need to fold over the ball head. Contact Acratech to find out what those sizes are.
  6. z t the legs you are looking at are not sturdy enough to do what you are asking. I have handled the Gitzo GT0531 legs. They are not
    designed for heavy duty. I own a D3s and 70-200vr II and suggest you consider a 4 section series 3 CF Gitzo. It should fit the diagonal of
    your Pelican case. I have the sames box. You will need to buy an arca style plate for the foot of your 70-200 though the L plate is a very
    good idea for lenses without tripod collars. Some of the folks here use very good and less expensive alternatives to the Gitzo pods like
    Induro or Feisol that you might want to consider if cost is a factor. Judging from your kit you have a investment that deserves stability and
    protection that a compact but more robust and unfortunately more expensive tripod would afford. My current setups include a Kirk L
    brackets, Arca Swiss B1 and B2 or Large Kirk brand of ball heads and 3 section Gitzo Series 3 carbon fiber or aluminum "systematic"
    pods with a base plate rather than a rapid column. I also own Gitzo series 2 and 5 CF pods but the series 3 is the best overall choice in
    Gitzo for weight and stability. The alternative brands are very very good. Some folks say even better, such as Really Right Stuff. Good
  7. I've a D800 and Gitzo 0530 and I NEVER use the D800 with that Gitzo; the tripod is just not substantial enough. The 0530 I use for M43; for the D800 I use (with huge happiness) a Gitzo 2530 with Acratech GV2. Yes, it's a lot heavier - but unfortunately it needs to be.

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