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Thread: CF travel tripod questions

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    CF travel tripod questions

    I am considering a new travel tripod. I have done some searching here and elsewhere and found different tidbits. What I am considering is the Gitzo GT1541. I would use it primarily with my RRS BH-55. I have a cube but usually use that with my non-travel pod. The question I have is the sturdy factor with the Medium Format gear that most on this forum are quite familiar with.

    The obvious other factors is the folded length, weight, and for me minimal height for getting those nice wildflowers. Since i am not that tall, full extension height is not too much of an issue for me.

    Are there some less expensive alternatives. I have read bits about the "off" or less popular brands but have little experience on their reliability etc.

    THanks for any input. Mark

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Mark,
    I took a look at the Gitzo GT1541 and it is well built, but a lot on the pricey side. I took a look at lower cost alternatives with the following criteria, build quality, weight and portability (had to fit in a rollaboard suitcase). I found an off brand, Vanguard Alta 254CT, that fits my bill. It features carbon fiber "G-Lock" style legs with the smallest diameter leg at 1/2". Legs can be laid flat, with click stops 30, 45 and 90 degrees. Center column is reversible with a short column for ground level work and a hook for ballast bags. It folds to 19" w/o head attached (so it fits inside a rollaboard bag) and comes with a carry strap. Weight is about 1.5 pounds.

    Now it is not as sturdy as my Gitzo Pro Studex but does not weigh 10 pounds either. I put it side by side with the GT1541 and found it sturdier due to the size of the final leg diameter (less flex). But it does do well with my Hasselblad 501 and CFV back and costs 1/3 the price of the Gitzo GT1541 at $220. At that price I could bash the heck out of it and buy another if needed, which I don't think will happen. So far I have taken it on one trip and it held up well.

    Regards,
    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Mark:

    I use the Gitzo 1541 with the GH 1780 Gitzo head. The head holds my MF rig and weighs like 8 ounces. I got the regular head and added an RRS screw clamp since the Gitzo QR head doesn't really work well with Arca style plates (has a funky adapter insert).
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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    I have the Gitzo GT1541 as well as a "3" and "5" series Gitzos. I use the GT1541 primarily with my M8 and for this a small Leica ball head and a RRS screw release clamp work great. The "3" series is my go to for DSLR and I use a BH-40 head. The "5" series is for my gimbel head and telephotos or the Bh-55 head.

    The Bh-55 seems way too big for the Gt1541 from my experience. You will need more than my Leica ball head for MF .

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Thanks for the responses. Seems like the Gitzo 1541 is the more popular choice. I am not a big fan of the Gitzo ballheads. Perhaps the modification makes it more functional. I guess a Kirk BH3 or the smaller RRS head would be a good choice.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    I have the 1550T. It folds down smaller (about 2" less) but isn't rated for as much weight probably because it has one extra section so I believe it actually extends taller. Under normal (non gale force wind) I've had no problem with it. I switched out the ball head for the new Gitzo series of heads (the 1780 that Jack mentioned). The new Gitzo heads are much nicer than their older series and hold a ton of weight given their size and weight. I believe the 1541T is newer than the 1550T. The good news on the 1541T is that you can buy it without a head and use your own. Before you run out and buy the RRS head or something else, you really want to see how the tripod is going to fold down around the head. On the traveler series the legs reverse backward over the center column to make the folded length shorter. It is hard to explain but the 1780 does work well with the tripod. I just attached an RRS pano clamp on the Gitzo head.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Thanks for the comments. When i travel with my current tripod, (Manfrotto 440), I just unscrew the ballhead and pack in my suitcase.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I have the 1550T. It folds down smaller (about 2" less) but isn't rated for as much weight probably because it has one extra section so I believe it actually extends taller. Under normal (non gale force wind) I've had no problem with it. I switched out the ball head for the new Gitzo series of heads (the 1780 that Jack mentioned). The new Gitzo heads are much nicer than their older series and hold a ton of weight given their size and weight. I believe the 1541T is newer than the 1550T. The good news on the 1541T is that you can buy it without a head and use your own. Before you run out and buy the RRS head or something else, you really want to see how the tripod is going to fold down around the head. On the traveler series the legs reverse backward over the center column to make the folded length shorter. It is hard to explain but the 1780 does work well with the tripod. I just attached an RRS pano clamp on the Gitzo head.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    I don't have a real travel pod anymore. Honestly if I am going to use one than I take the Gitzo 3541XLS and the Gitzo 3780 head. I can almost sit on it, sucker is strong as can be. Never a issue with it. I take the head off it when packing and it fits in my duffle
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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Guy--- So do you take that tripod as a carryon?

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    Guy--- So do you take that tripod as a carryon?
    That tripod is a beast!

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    I have Gitzo GT1540T and it was my first CF travel tripod, then i bought GT2541 as my second CF travel tripod and it is better than my GT1540T, but because i was looking for more sturdy and more load i went with Gitzo GT3541LS just couple of weeks and i didn't try it yet, but it seems it will be my best ultimate travel tripod ever, and all those tripods i use my RRS BH-55 or Markins Q3T with it.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    I have the Gitzo 1550T and use it with the ballhead that came with it along with a RRS quick release clamp. I recently looked at the new Gitzo ball heads and they are very good. I am tempted to get the GH1780 (and use my RRS clamp) as Jack has recommended. The advantage is that it has panning capability and spirit level which works in horizontal or vertical orientation whereas the head that came with the tripod has neither.

    I also have a Gitzo 1325 (predecessor to the 3541 I think) with a RSS BH-55 as my heavy duty tripod. I wouldn't consider putting the BH-55 on the smaller 1 series tripod as it rather bulky and heavy.

    I have carried my 1550T on many trips and love its portability. However, on a recent trip I chose to carry my heady duty tripod in checked baggage instead of the 1550 simply because I wanted the panning feature of the BH-55 and knew I would be in areas of high wind. The tripod worked great, but in retrospect I should have just bought the GH 1780 ballhead and took the 1550T. It is not as stable as the 1325, but it does get pretty solid if you hang your camera bag on the center post hook.

    Mark

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    Guy--- So do you take that tripod as a carryon?
    No I take it apart from the head and get it into a rolling duffle bag.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Gowin View Post
    I have the Gitzo 1550T and use it with the ballhead that came with it along with a RRS quick release clamp. I recently looked at the new Gitzo ball heads and they are very good. I am tempted to get the GH1780 (and use my RRS clamp) as Jack has recommended. The advantage is that it has panning capability and spirit level which works in horizontal or vertical orientation whereas the head that came with the tripod has neither.

    I also have a Gitzo 1325 (predecessor to the 3541 I think) with a RSS BH-55 as my heavy duty tripod. I wouldn't consider putting the BH-55 on the smaller 1 series tripod as it rather bulky and heavy.

    I have carried my 1550T on many trips and love its portability. However, on a recent trip I chose to carry my heady duty tripod in checked baggage instead of the 1550 simply because I wanted the panning feature of the BH-55 and knew I would be in areas of high wind. The tripod worked great, but in retrospect I should have just bought the GH 1780 ballhead and took the 1550T. It is not as stable as the 1325, but it does get pretty solid if you hang your camera bag on the center post hook.

    Mark
    Ditto on the 1550T w/ 1780 and RRS panning clamp. Great combo. Go for it! The Gitzo heads are very reasonably priced. The 1780 is $199 and B&H shows it has a $40 rebate.

    What is funny is when I went to sell my BH40 and a Gitzo 2780, the 2780 didn't sell and the RRS had about 5 buyers lined up.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    I guess the reason is people still think Gitzo makes crappy heads which frankly they did until this new series came out. I know i sure thought so until I tried one and frankly i like them so much better than the RRS heads which i owned all of them. I am a big RRS fan to boot but these Gitzo heads in my mind are much better. Folks really need to visit a retail shop and try them out

    BTW I use the RRS panning clamp also on the 3780 head.
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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Mark I took my 1500 series Gitzo to alaska and antarctica with my RRS 40 head. For medium format it's a bit lightweight but works OK with no wind. It did fall over in Alaska (end of the trip fortunately) with my H2 ad 45+ back. H2 was useless afterward tho the 45+ was undamaged. I usually use my 2540 with the RRS 40 head (also have the RRS 55) and that works a bit better. the 2540 and RRS 40 are lightweight and work well, better than my 1500 series gitzo with my RRS 55 head.

    BTW, did you get your H3 back in time for you Iceland trip?? Eleanor

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    I am considering a new travel tripod. I have done some searching here and elsewhere and found different tidbits. What I am considering is the Gitzo GT1541. I would use it primarily with my RRS BH-55. I have a cube but usually use that with my non-travel pod. The question I have is the sturdy factor with the Medium Format gear that most on this forum are quite familiar with.

    The obvious other factors is the folded length, weight, and for me minimal height for getting those nice wildflowers. Since i am not that tall, full extension height is not too much of an issue for me.

    Are there some less expensive alternatives. I have read bits about the "off" or less popular brands but have little experience on their reliability etc.

    THanks for any input. Mark

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I got the regular head and added an RRS screw clamp since the Gitzo QR head doesn't really work well with Arca style plates (has a funky adapter insert).
    True the adapter has no safe lock; you have to be carefull that the clamp is always tightened. Beside that it works very well. Kirk plates doesn't fit as they are a bit bolder on the bottom but the "thinner" Arca style plates fit. Upside of the Gitzo QR head is that is has 2 tubular levels instead of just one bubble level you can't see when the camera is mounted.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Hi Eleanor

    I got the camera back in time and took it. I should learn that on a family vacation to take some lighter canon gear. It was difficult because i wanted to get out with my tripod and shoot. However, with family had less time. In fact, probably got more interesting shots with my LX-3. I went Glacier hiking and a backpack with all the gear and a tripod would have been difficult.

    Icelandic air has a policy of 6 Kg carry on limit. It is only enforced from some locations. So in Seattle it was. Come on that is nuts. I was fortunate that when i left my backpack on -- they never even saw that. They were giving me grief about my carryon laptop and case because it was 7Kg. Geez. They measured the weight of the packed luggage too. My suitcase was over a bit so by taking out my ballhead and putting it one of my kids suitcases it was fine. Of course with the Gitzo 1780 probably would have been ok. I was worried about the travel back but on the ICeland end they did not check any weight for carryon or packed luggage. They have to be more consistent and truthfully a 6 kg limit for carryon luggage is nuts.

    I think i am going with the Gitzo 1541 and the 1780 head for travel. I will sell my BH-55 and keep the Cube. I have a Gitzo 1548 for regular use around here or auto travel.



    Quote Originally Posted by eleanorbrown View Post
    Mark I took my 1500 series Gitzo to alaska and antarctica with my RRS 40 head. For medium format it's a bit lightweight but works OK with no wind. It did fall over in Alaska (end of the trip fortunately) with my H2 ad 45+ back. H2 was useless afterward tho the 45+ was undamaged. I usually use my 2540 with the RRS 40 head (also have the RRS 55) and that works a bit better. the 2540 and RRS 40 are lightweight and work well, better than my 1500 series gitzo with my RRS 55 head.

    BTW, did you get your H3 back in time for you Iceland trip?? Eleanor

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Mark,
    I was WAAAYYY over in carry on weight with a Kiboko bag pretty full of stuff that I didn't want to check. I didn't really let them see it when I was checking in and when I picked it up I was sure to make it seem like a light little bag. They did weigh my checked luggage in each direction but I was pretty careful to keep it under the 50lb limit. I was toast if they didn't let me on with my gear. On the return they could care less about my carryon.

    How was the Seattle flight? It didn't work for my dates.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Mark did you find out what had happened to your H3D. Was it something that the weather did to it on Loveland pass? eleanor

    [QUOTE=mark1958;124565]Hi Eleanor

    I got the camera back in time and took it.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Yes Eleanor.. Their was some moisture that fried a circuit board

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    The lady who was in charge in Seattle was a total (well do not want to get in trouble for 4 letter words). In fact, I am considering filling a complaint. She told us all these rules that no one else knew of. For example, one family member cannot sit in an exit row unless all are in the exit row. On the way back-- I was in an exit row... THe flight attendants were average. On the way back they were much much better. I used to live in Seattle. I am a 100K flier on United and never treated so badly--- on the way out.. Anyway, the fun of flying.. I guess i get treated better on United airlines because of my frequent flying.

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    Mark,
    I was WAAAYYY over in carry on weight with a Kiboko bag pretty full of stuff that I didn't want to check. I didn't really let them see it when I was checking in and when I picked it up I was sure to make it seem like a light little bag. They did weigh my checked luggage in each direction but I was pretty careful to keep it under the 50lb limit. I was toast if they didn't let me on with my gear. On the return they could care less about my carryon.

    How was the Seattle flight? It didn't work for my dates.

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Well I got my gitzo 1541 and Gitzo 1780. Great COMBO.. Love it.. thanks for all the advice and comments

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    Re: CF travel tripod questions

    Are there any alternatives to the RSS pano clamp? It seems difficult to find RSS stuff in Tokyo. If anyone knows where I might find it, please let me know. They don't seem to have many plates for Oly cameras which is what I shoot.
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