So, I have some money coming up, but although I initially wanted to get an M9 with it, my girlfriend has rearranged my priorities, and a good chunk is now going towards a kindergarten (!), so I am now looking at rather more modest, if possibly more important, expenditures.
I have wanted to replace my ancient Manfrotto 055C with something more stable and nicer to work with, and had initially considered a Berlebach, which have very good dampening properties (I am not getting into better and best here ), but careful thought has revealed two problems with this route: maximum height, and bulk. Wood is bulky.
So now I am back to selling kidneys and buying Gitzos. I want to get the last tripod of my life, and I want it to be strong enough for the possible uses I am considering. At the moment, the most strenuous thing I could do to the tripod is using my Contax 645 with 120 Macro and Sinar e54, i.e. 22MP 48x36 back. At near distances, this ought to be a challenge in and of itself, but I am also adding a 210mm lens at some point, and I am considering eventually getting the (hard to find) 350/4 as well, so the tripod would need to handle this. Throw in dreams of Leica S2 or arTec, and this rounds out the needs section. Oh, and it will initially be used with an RRS BH-55, although this might change to a Manfrotto 410, 405, or (dream on) a Cube
Unfortunately, Gitzo has rearranged their webpage, and I cannot even find the maximum height of anything any more, just weight, supported weight, collapsed height, and so on. I am considering Jack's favorite, the GT3541XLS, as well as the truly giant GT5561SGT (over 2,60m tall!), and any other similar model. I prefer a Systematic, since I don't use the center column, but I suppose it might be possible to convert a regular model if there is an interesting one to consider.
Any hints to snap me out of my deadlock?
Secondary question: how does one transport these things? My Manfrotto has a screw-on strap which allows me to throw it over my shoulder. Does the Gitzo come with anything like that? Most of the time, I don't want another bag with me, just a light strap which stays out of the way while I am shooting.