Need advice for a sturdy tripod and head

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
I have been using the Manfrotto 190XPROB tripod and MHXPRO-BHQ2 head for a few years, and I have found the combo work well with my Canon 5D3 and 16-35 F4L IS, 24-70 F2.8L II and 70-200 F4L lenses.

I have found that the Manfrotto tripod & head setup isn't up to the job with the 5d3/ESO R and Canon 70-200 F2.8L IS II or 100-400 F4.5-5.6L IS II for long exposure and in windy condition.

I also have the Vanguard VEO 265CB carbon tripod for travelling.

I am considering the Gitzo GT3542L to replace the Manfrotto. The Gitzo GH3382QD or RRS BH-40 head.

Will they be overkill for my gears? I will mainly use them for landscape and long exposure. I am 167cm tall.
 

neuroanatomist

I post too Much on Here!!
Jul 21, 2010
24,319
1,673
Gitzo 3-series or RRS 2-series legs, long enough to put the platform at about eye level (sowith the ballhead and camera the eyepiece can be above eye level in case you need to point the lens up).

I have heard bad things about Gitzo heads, but you won’t go wrong with an RRS BH-40 LR. Acratech heads are also worth a look.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,562
641
119
If you like your 190 why not look at the 055? I have the carbon three section model and it is easily able to work with all your gear, I use the 300 f2.8 on mine.

I agree Manfrotto are not as refined as Gitzo or RRS but they are great value and work very well.

As for heads, I wouldn’t skimp on those, I have Acratech and Arca Swiss heads, as well as a modest gimbal head that works well for my uses and some compact cheap ball heads for flashes, GoPros etc. the thing that ties it all together is a good plate system, I highly recommend dedicated camera and lens plates from one of the top brands like Kirk or RRS (all my plates are RRS).
 

johnf3f

Canon 1Dx
Oct 25, 2012
930
19
Wales
I moved from the Manfrotto 190 to the 055 XB Pro and thought it was the "Dog's Dangly Bits". Fortunately I then tried out a Gitzo - well that was the end of that, I have never looked back.

Just my 2p. In my opinion + experience the 055 is barely comparable to a 1 series Gitzo Mountaineer. The 3542L, that you suggest, is certainly close to overkill - but there is nothing wrong with that.

Have you looked at the "Systematic" models? I rather like them as they offer even better rigidity, go lower without faffing about with the centre column (they don't have one) and are (normally) a little lighter. Unless you are using the longest/heaviest lenses (600 F4 +) I would suggest searching out a decent (used) Gitzo GT3530LS. It is barely any heavier than your 190 and will not be fazed by an 800 F5.6 L IS - though this lens is getting close to it's limit.

For the lenses that you currently have any 2 or 3 series Gitzo Mountaineer or Systematic would be fine - with my preference going to the Systematics as I find them better, however some of the older models are just as good, cheaper used, and often lighter too. Gitzo Tripods can be pricey but they last a LONG time so don't ignore the used market.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Ah-Keong

johnf3f

Canon 1Dx
Oct 25, 2012
930
19
Wales
Forgot to mention heads. Whilst I am a Gitzo "Fanboy" as far as tripods are concerned I have been underwhelmed by their heads.

If you like ball heads then I like the Sirui K x range, a Sirui K30x should fit your needs nicely. My K40x is great but a bit heavier - swings and roundabouts.
 

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
Gitzo 3-series or RRS 2-series legs, long enough to put the platform at about eye level (sowith the ballhead and camera the eyepiece can be above eye level in case you need to point the lens up).

I have heard bad things about Gitzo heads, but you won’t go wrong with an RRS BH-40 LR. Acratech heads are also worth a look.
Thanks Neuro!

The reason I pick Gitzo tripod over RRS is I can get the Gitzo from the local retailers and I woud like to support the bricks and mortar. Not to Mentioned the savings in tax and shipping costs.

As above, I gathered the RRS BH-40 LR can only be sourced from USA?
 
  • Like
Reactions: johnf3f

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
If you like your 190 why not look at the 055? I have the carbon three section model and it is easily able to work with all your gear, I use the 300 f2.8 on mine.

I agree Manfrotto are not as refined as Gitzo or RRS but they are great value and work very well.

As for heads, I wouldn’t skimp on those, I have Acratech and Arca Swiss heads, as well as a modest gimbal head that works well for my uses and some compact cheap ball heads for flashes, GoPros etc. the thing that ties it all together is a good plate system, I highly recommend dedicated camera and lens plates from one of the top brands like Kirk or RRS (all my plates are RRS).
Thanks for the suggestion! The local store that I had a play with the Gitzo also sell Manfrotto. I will test both and see how they stack up.

I have no experience with the Arcratech or Arca Swiss heads. Will need to check if our local store stock them.

I will also look into the Kirk and RRS plates...
 

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
I moved from the Manfrotto 190 to the 055 XB Pro and thought it was the "Dog's Dangly Bits". Fortunately I then tried out a Gitzo - well that was the end of that, I have never looked back.

Just my 2p. In my opinion + experience the 055 is barely comparable to a 1 series Gitzo Mountaineer. The 3542L, that you suggest, is certainly close to overkill - but there is nothing wrong with that.

Have you looked at the "Systematic" models? I rather like them as they offer even better rigidity, go lower without faffing about with the centre column (they don't have one) and are (normally) a little lighter. Unless you are using the longest/heaviest lenses (600 F4 +) I would suggest searching out a decent (used) Gitzo GT3530LS. It is barely any heavier than your 190 and will not be fazed by an 800 F5.6 L IS - though this lens is getting close to it's limit.

For the lenses that you currently have any 2 or 3 series Gitzo Mountaineer or Systematic would be fine - with my preference going to the Systematics as I find them better, however some of the older models are just as good, cheaper used, and often lighter too. Gitzo Tripods can be pricey but they last a LONG time so don't ignore the used market.
Thanks John.

The reason I didn't consider the Manfrotto 055 as your experienced, incremental improvement over the 190.

I am also considering the Gitzo 2 series. But picked the 3 series as it marginally heavier but cheaper (yes, the local has a special discount for the GT3543L).

Another reason I picked the GT3542LS is size and weigh, as I will take it for hiking (up to 3 km), and overseas. I am planning to visit Iceland in the near future.

The second hand market is very small in Australia. I did search Ebay and Gumtree and could hardly find any used Gitzo tripods.
 
  • Like
Reactions: johnf3f

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
Forgot to mention heads. Whilst I am a Gitzo "Fanboy" as far as tripods are concerned I have been underwhelmed by their heads.

If you like ball heads then I like the Sirui K x range, a Sirui K30x should fit your needs nicely. My K40x is great but a bit heavier - swings and roundabouts.
Eil check out the Sirui ball heads.
 

privatebydesign

Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
7,562
641
119
Thanks for the suggestion! The local store that I had a play with the Gitzo also sell Manfrotto. I will test both and see how they stack up.

I have no experience with the Arcratech or Arca Swiss heads. Will need to check if our local store stock them.

I will also look into the Kirk and RRS plates...
Gitzo is owned by Manfrotto, or rather Gitzo is another brand name in the Manfrotto family so most retailers that sell one sell the other.

For me it is always a cost/function equation, where I need to I will get the most expensive (hence two 1DX MkII’s), when there is little to no functional difference between things I normally struggle to justify spending extra, that isn’t the equation most people here work to. I have a minimum of three tripods as there isn’t one made that can do all the things I want well enough, so if I spend $1,000-2,000 per set on legs I am looking at close to $5,000 just on legs, as it is I have less than $1,000 invested in leg sets, a Giotto mini tripod, the Manfrotto 055 carbon for general use and travel, and the Manfrotto 058b for studio and serious outside outings, this leaves me $4,000 to spend on lenses! If I only had one leg set and used it every day i’d get the RRS or Gitzo because the small differences in functionality would make the extra investment worthwhile.

Tripod heads on the other hand are completely different, I have found the differences between lower priced models and the higher end to have functional differences that, to me, render the lower cost alternatives unusable. Things like sag after setting, gear backlash, plate/clamp incompatibility, practical load limits etc have meant I just don’t see savings on heads worthwhile. But I would say get the right head for whatever it is that you intend to do and take a look at some of the newer variations that do add functional improvements to the all to common ball in a cup. Things like the Arca-Swiss p0 series, the Uniqueball (which seems to have been adopted/renamed as Flexshooter) and the Acratech GP (my main general head since they came out) all deserve a well informed look at, support your local store by all means but know there is a much better and feature rich choice of high quality alternative heads that might suit your case use better.

Similar thing with plates, few things are more frustrating than being at the top of a mountain for a dawn long exposure shot to then strip the thread of your camera baseplate because the damn body plate doesn’t have a good contoured fit so it sags during the exposure and you tightened it too much! ‘Universal’ means it doesn’t work well enough with anything!
 

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
Gitzo is owned by Manfrotto, or rather Gitzo is another brand name in the Manfrotto family so most retailers that sell one sell the other.

For me it is always a cost/function equation, where I need to I will get the most expensive (hence two 1DX MkII’s), when there is little to no functional difference between things I normally struggle to justify spending extra, that isn’t the equation most people here work to. I have a minimum of three tripods as there isn’t one made that can do all the things I want well enough, so if I spend $1,000-2,000 per set on legs I am looking at close to $5,000 just on legs, as it is I have less than $1,000 invested in leg sets, a Giotto mini tripod, the Manfrotto 055 carbon for general use and travel, and the Manfrotto 058b for studio and serious outside outings, this leaves me $4,000 to spend on lenses! If I only had one leg set and used it every day i’d get the RRS or Gitzo because the small differences in functionality would make the extra investment worthwhile.

Tripod heads on the other hand are completely different, I have found the differences between lower priced models and the higher end to have functional differences that, to me, render the lower cost alternatives unusable. Things like sag after setting, gear backlash, plate/clamp incompatibility, practical load limits etc have meant I just don’t see savings on heads worthwhile. But I would say get the right head for whatever it is that you intend to do and take a look at some of the newer variations that do add functional improvements to the all to common ball in a cup. Things like the Arca-Swiss p0 series, the Uniqueball (which seems to have been adopted/renamed as Flexshooter) and the Acratech GP (my main general head since they came out) all deserve a well informed look at, support your local store by all means but know there is a much better and feature rich choice of high quality alternative heads that might suit your case use better.

Similar thing with plates, few things are more frustrating than being at the top of a mountain for a dawn long exposure shot to then strip the thread of your camera baseplate because the damn body plate doesn’t have a good contoured fit so it sags during the exposure and you tightened it too much! ‘Universal’ means it doesn’t work well enough with anything!
I always assessed cost/function. My cameras and lenses continue to grow since my passion in photography increased a few years ago. I am looking for a future proof general tripod that will last for years. A tripod that will hold my gears in all conditions, but not too big and heavy that I can bring it with me for light trek and travelling overseas.

Yeah, a good quality ball head and plates are as essential as a sturdy tripod.

I don't shoot sports and Wildlife, it is very unlikely that I will need lenses longer than 400m. Considering my height 167cm and my longest lens (100-400mm). Therefore I have shortlisted to the Gitzo GT3542L tripod. There is a 30% discount on this model so it is cheaper than the GT2532L.

It appears the consensus for good quality ball heads are sirui, Arca-Swiss P0, Arcratech GP and RRS BH-40 LR. Kirk and RRS plates.
 

cayenne

EOR R
Mar 28, 2012
1,870
89
I bought into the Really Right Stuff tripod, L bracket and ball head system, and have
Cbeen quite happy with it so far....a little $$ but quality seems high and I believe it is all still made in the USA?

C
 

johnf3f

Canon 1Dx
Oct 25, 2012
930
19
Wales
Thanks John.

The reason I didn't consider the Manfrotto 055 as your experienced, incremental improvement over the 190.

I am also considering the Gitzo 2 series. But picked the 3 series as it marginally heavier but cheaper (yes, the local has a special discount for the GT3543L).

Another reason I picked the GT3542LS is size and weigh, as I will take it for hiking (up to 3 km), and overseas. I am planning to visit Iceland in the near future.

The second hand market is very small in Australia. I did search Ebay and Gumtree and could hardly find any used Gitzo tripods.
I didn't realise you were in Australia. Here, in the UK, Gitzo tripods are as expensive as anywhere else but we (or at least I) seem to be able to find Gitzo tripods at sensible prices. Currently my most expensive is my GT4542LS (4 series Systematic) which was about 682 in your money - that was brand new direct from Gitzo. Naturally, with our higher population and smaller area, the used market is better.

The 3 series that you are fancying is certainly a fine piece of kit and you WILL NOT be disappointed! For your gear I would use my GT2531, but for a little more weight and a little less cash the GT3542L looks very attractive. Also if you ever stray into SuperTeles (don't try one - I did!) it will still do a good job.

If you decide to go for it then I am certain that you will be happy - I would!

All the best.
 

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
I bought into the Really Right Stuff tripod, L bracket and ball head system, and have
Cbeen quite happy with it so far....a little $$ but quality seems high and I believe it is all still made in the USA?

C
The RRS would be on the top of my list if I live in USA. But I am in Australia and the taxes and shipping costs make the RRS way over my budget.

I like tripods with a centre column. I know most of you prefer one without for extra stability. But I like the flexibility of the centre column when I need that little extra height.
 

Chz

EOS M50
Nov 19, 2014
43
5
I didn't realise you were in Australia. Here, in the UK, Gitzo tripods are as expensive as anywhere else but we (or at least I) seem to be able to find Gitzo tripods at sensible prices. Currently my most expensive is my GT4542LS (4 series Systematic) which was about 682 in your money - that was brand new direct from Gitzo. Naturally, with our higher population and smaller area, the used market is better.

The 3 series that you are fancying is certainly a fine piece of kit and you WILL NOT be disappointed! For your gear I would use my GT2531, but for a little more weight and a little less cash the GT3542L looks very attractive. Also if you ever stray into SuperTeles (don't try one - I did!) it will still do a good job.

If you decide to go for it then I am certain that you will be happy - I would!

All the best.
Wow! AUD$682 for a brand new GT4542L? The T4543LS is AUD$1430 with 25% discount.

I did have a play with a few superteles. Love them but they are over $10,000 a piece. I am not a pro and I don’t shoot sports or wildlife, so don’t have a use case and certainly cannot justify one :).

The question now is which ball head and plates I should get.
 

JPAZ

If only I knew what I was doing.....
Sep 8, 2012
911
25
For what it is worth, I've had really good results with RRS and Kirk plates. As far as heads are concerned, a lot of friends swear by RRS ball-heads and I've gotten good results and durability from my Markins heads.
 

Valvebounce

EOS 5D SR
Apr 3, 2013
4,169
144
52
Isle of Wight
Hi Chz.
Have you considered Sirui, I have a Sirui carbon fibre monopod which I find excellent, I also just bought a Sirui tilt head to replace the Manfrotto POS that I bought first. If their ball heads are as well built as the tilt head I can’t see you being disappointed.
Anyone have any knowledge about the Sirui ball heads?
I would think the Sirui legs would be a good solution too.

I have lots of Manfrotto gear and the tilt head is the only bit that I could describe as a POS as it is sloppy and cannot be tightened to stop a lens crushing a finger. The rest of the Manfrotto that I have is good to excellent although I have swapped out all the RC2 clamp plates for Arca Swiss style generic items for compatibility reasons, :unsure: hard to put an RC2 clamp on a gimbal! ;)

Cheers, Graham.