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Author Topic: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?  (Read 10639 times)

jrista

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Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« on: February 06, 2013, 12:28:16 AM »
I seem to have broken my current tripod. It was a nice, sturdy, and fairly light weight aluminum 'pod, and has served me well for nearly four years. I went to set it up today, and apparently one of the legs no longer lock...it just swings freely. I am not sure when or how I damaged the locking mechanism, but it is well and truly dead (no attempts to fix it have worked).

I already own a Gitzo Traveler Series 0 for long hikes. I love it, the CF design is excellent, it is extremely light weight, very compact, and extremely versatile. I've decided to stick with Gitzo for a replacement to the tripod that broke, and I'm looking at the Systematic Series 3 line. I'm having a hard time deciding between the three-leg and four-leg version of the GT35XXLS. The four leg seems to collapse slightly shorter and is slightly lighter. It also seems to be about an inch shorter.

I need a good, sturdy tripod to handler lenses up to the EF 600mm f/4 L IS II, with a TC, along with either a 7D or 5D III, with battery packs. I currently use a Jobu Pro 2 gimbal head, which might add about 10-12 inches of height on top of the tripod. I need something that will put the camera at eye-level when I am standing (I'm 6' tall). I think the GT35XXLS will do that, the pods seem to be around 58" tall. I need something nice and sturdy, too...which is really where my question comes from. Does the extra (fourth) leg section of the GT3542LS affect stability much?

I'm curious if anyone has used these two tripods with larger lenses, preferably with a gimbal, and a larger camera body. Thanks!
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Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« on: February 06, 2013, 12:28:16 AM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 10:09:36 AM »
Really Right Stuff TVC-34L.  ;)

Personally, I have a TVC-33 that I use with my 1D X + 600 II, and I've got ~6" of extra height for the VF relative to eye level for me (I'm 5'7").  So I'd suggest going taller than a 58" platform height for you, so you can extend a leg longer if on an incline, etc.   The RRS TVC-34L goes to 68.5"

With today's tripod construction, the impact of a 4th leg section is minimal to nonexistent - you're much better off getting the height you'll need.

For use with a gimbal head, I'd also strongly consider getting a leveling base.
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jrista

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 11:23:50 AM »
Really Right Stuff TVC-34L.  ;)

Personally, I have a TVC-33 that I use with my 1D X + 600 II, and I've got ~6" of extra height for the VF relative to eye level for me (I'm 5'7").  So I'd suggest going taller than a 58" platform height for you, so you can extend a leg longer if on an incline, etc.   The RRS TVC-34L goes to 68.5"

With today's tripod construction, the impact of a 4th leg section is minimal to nonexistent - you're much better off getting the height you'll need.

For use with a gimbal head, I'd also strongly consider getting a leveling base.

The TVC-34L looks pretty nice, for sure! It is fairly expensive, though. And it is backordered. At the moment, I can pick up either of the Gitzo 'pods off Amazon for over $300 less, and get it by Friday. :P The extra 10" of height are intriguing, though...
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docholliday

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 11:43:04 AM »
Ignore what you read about the 3 section being more sturdy than the 4...that may have been true in the old day, but not now. I use the GT3541L (non systematic) and I much prefer it over the 3 section 3531. Nice and sturdy. Be sure it's the newest version, as you'll get the ground level set with the non-Systematics and the new style locking basket with the Systematics. I use the GLS permanently on the pod (despite having both the short and long centers) unless I absolutely need the height.

And, don't fall for the whole Markins stabilizer stuff - doesn't make a difference, especially with the GLS installed. I use my 3541 with a Arca-Swiss Z2 converted to Hasselblad quick release plates (my 1Ds and 1D have custom mount plates that go to the slim Hasselblad shoe) and it's beautiful. I prefer the non-systematics, as they are noted to be more stable than the systematic. The Systematics are nice because you can change for a plate, center bar, or video bowl. If you don't need that capability, the non-S versions work better...if you're using a gimbal, go with the Systematic and add a leveling base!

Get the 4-section, it's much more worth it! BTW, it does make it easier to open with the new locks - spin all the locks a quarter turn, and pull the smallest out, all in one swift motion. It'll pull the next, etc. Then, lock off each section as you go quickly with 1/4 turn again. The 3 section legs are longer, so it's harder to pull the short one all the way out with one motion...
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 11:49:02 AM by docholliday »

florian

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 12:05:03 PM »
I got the same issue. I had two Feisol and were not happy with them when I had the 5D III and 600 II on it.
For all the other lenses they were OK, small and just a little over 1,1 Kg nice for traveling.
I sold them and got the GT3542LS. I don´t regret it. It´s a very good build quality with some nice features.
And it`s a solid build. I got my self additional the 75 mm half bowl. So I have never to level my legs again.
Both of them are very good, and I took the "4" because it´s get´s smaller in my travel bag with no lost stability. And with the quick locking mechanism the setup does cost you only a few seconds more.
Sadly they are not very cheap, but it´s the same with lenses, you buy them only once every 10 years.
Only downside is if you need spare parts or send it in for repair it could take a while with Gitzo.

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 12:19:28 PM »
If I had bought the Gitzo 3541XLS first off, I would have saved myself the price of all the cheap tripods I had bought before plus the other three Gitzo models where I too thought three was better.  It is true that I use a three most of the time for testing because on level ground I put out all three sections all the way.  But with the XLS model I know I can handle unlevel ground and still I put out just three of the four sections most often so I have the best of both worlds.  I too suggest a RRS leveler for speed of setup.  I chose Wimberly for my gimbal of choice, although I use the RRS largest model of ballhead most of the time.  Good luck with your decision.

jrista

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 12:21:25 PM »
Thanks docholliday and florian. I do have a current gen Series 0 Gitzo tripod, with the new type of locking legs. That is one of the things I love about them...the ability to twist, pull, lock. Makes setting up the tripod a very quick process.

I am curious about the leveling head. That is one of the reasons I was considering the Systematic, for its versatility and the option of adding a leveling head. I've wondered whether the leveling head might affect stability at all, though. Any thoughts on that?
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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 12:21:25 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 12:58:06 PM »
Yeah, the RRS tripods are almost always backordered.  Be aware that they're also conservative on their delivery estimates - they usually say 2-3 weeks, often takes 1 week or less to ship.  The bigger 'problem' is that while you can try Gitzo in a local shop, RRS only sells direct so unless you live near San Luis Obispo, it's buy-then-try. 

If I were 6' tall, I'd definitely want taller than a 58" platform...even with the added height of the gimbal, your VF would still be a few inches below eye level at full extension - not as comfortable during use.  For that reason, I'd consider the 3542XLS instead of the 3452LS (although that's really a tall set of legs!).  XLS too tall, LS too short, TVC-34L would be just right.    ;)

I have the RRS leveling base, I don't find that it hampers stability at all (in fact, I have the clamping version of the base, with dovetails on the bottoms of my gimbal head and ballhead so I can swap them easily).  For a ballhead, the leveling base is not really useful (except for shooting panos with the ballhead), but for the gimbal it makes setup a lot faster and easier - most noticeable when I've set up in a spot, then need to move a few feet away, no need to muck about with the legs, just unlock the leveling base (with the lens mounted), re-level, and lock it back down.

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tphillips63

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 01:17:18 PM »
I'm 6'5" and after a few back and forth emails with RRS, I bought the TVC-34L.
For varying terrain it has all the height options covered.
 
You can email or call the guys at RSS, they will usually reply the same day to emails, for more information or even comparisons between a TVC and a Gitzo.


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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 02:48:38 PM »
Hi,  I am 5'11'' and have a Canon 800mm and 600mm II.  I chose the GT4542LS (4 series).  It weighs slightly more than a 3 series and a whole pound or more less than a 5 series.  I use is with a Wimberley W200 II full gimbal head on top of a RRS universal leveling base.  Note that the RRS universal base is rated for 35lbs while the base made to go into their RRS TVC-34 / 33 is only rated for 25lbs.  Big difference.  The best thing is the GT4542LS does not cost that much more than the GT3542LS; the GT4542LS is also taller. 

The main benefit to getting the 4 Series is the reduction in vibration.  Vibrations attenuate quicker with the beefier legs.  Very important for those longer focal lengths. 

Kind regards,
Jason
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 03:04:38 PM by jasonsim »
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neuroanatomist

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 02:55:20 PM »
Note that the RRS universal base is rated for 35lbs while the base made to go into their RRS TVC-34 / 33 is only rated for 25lbs.  Big difference.

But...keep in mind that RRS' support ratings can be just a little bit conservative.  For example, their TQC-14 travel tripod is rated to hold 25 lbs, just like the leveling base on my TVC-33.  Here's RRS' owner showing us what 'just a little bit conservative' means:



I've done this with my own TQC-14, by the way.  :)  Anyone want to try that with Gitzo 254x legs?
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 02:58:23 PM by neuroanatomist »
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jasonsim

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 03:30:16 PM »
That's impressive, but Joe is svelte and, well, it was in a controlled environment.  Here is a Gitzo in the wild:



Another capture of a Gitzo in rare form:



:-)

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jrista

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 03:43:49 PM »
Now you guys are just toying with me....and making this decision even more difficult!  ::) :P

Pretty amazing though, that those tripods can handle that much weight...I mean, we have to be talking greater than 100 pounds there, in both cases for both brands.
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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 03:43:49 PM »

neuroanatomist

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 04:10:11 PM »
Pretty amazing though, that those tripods can handle that much weight...I mean, we have to be talking greater than 100 pounds there, in both cases for both brands.

Well, yeah - but either the guy hanging from the Gitzo is extremely short, or judging by it's height that Gitzo is at least a 3-series and rated to hold at least double what the RRS travel legs are rated for...   :P

Seriously, you can't go wrong with either brand. 
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jrista

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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 11:12:53 PM »
Thanks for all the help so far, everyone! Much appreciated.

I have to say, the RRS pods look pretty awesome. The lighter weight/stronger design is definitely a big draw, and I figure at some point I'll probably pick one up. My big purchase for this year will be the EF 600mm f/4 L IS II lens, which is why I am looking for a good tripod in the first place. I would love to get the TVS-34L, but it is quite a bit more expensive than what I was looking to spend.

I have a rather large chunk of Amazon Prime points saved up, which will give me a pretty hefty discount. The Gitzo tripods there are all between $720 and $800, so I'll end up spending no more than $650 (and possibly around $550, which is just what I was hoping to spend) buying a tripod there. If Amazon sold RRS tripods, I'd probably pick one up, but seeing as they do not, I think I am going to go with one of the Gitzo tripods.

I've looked into the GT3542XLS, and that actually seems like a pretty nice tripod. It reaches a maximum height of over 78", which is more than good enough for my 73" height. Actually, I think my eye level is more like 68", but someone mentioned the nice ability of being able to level the tripod on uneven ground. I think I could definitely use that capability for my landscape photography. The other Gitzo 'pods, the GT3535LS and GT3542LS, are around 58" high, 20" shorter than the XLS. They would probably work fine for my eye level, without the extra leveling versatility that the XSL offers.

I'd also read some reviews of the XLS, and it sounds like a solid tripod. When it comes to stability, many reviews recommend not fully extending the last leg section for improved stability. Seeing as I would either not extend the fourth section all the way, or maybe only partially extend it, I think stability should be fine. It seems the majority of professional photographers I follow, most of whom use the 600mm and 800mm lenses most of the time, use the GT3532LS, which is only rated for 400mm lenses. I think from a weight handling standpoint the XLS will still be fine.

I guess the only drawback I see with the XLS vs. the LS is its collapsed height. It is over 28" long collapsed, where as the LS is a little over 22" long. If I wanted to travel with the tripod, a 22" one would fit in a carry-on, where as a 28" one would not. At the moment that is the last thing I guess I need to decide on.
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Re: Which Gitzo: GT3532LS or GT3542LS?
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 11:12:53 PM »