Gitzo Legende Tripod GK1545T-RTI Review -Indiegogo


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I received my Gitzo GK1545T-RTI Legende Tripod earlier today and wanted to post a quick review, both on the tripod and the crowdfunding experience. I hope this will help others in making future decisions involving Gitzo and/or Indiegogo....

Like many others, when I first heard about this project, I was skeptical. After all, why would Gitzo, a long-standing and reputable company, resort to crowdfunding in order to fund their project... Despite my doubts, I decided to go participate...

Photo related to this review can be found here.

Why I chose to take part in the campaign...

I loved my GT1541T for years before upgrading to my current GT1545T tripod, which I have grown to love even more. I shoot mostly landscapes, so having a reliable, lightweight and compact tripod which I could practically fit into (or alongside) most backpacks was very important to me. Having the GT1545T allowed this and set quite a high standard for my future tripod decisions. For reference, I currently have an R5 (previous a 5DIV) and the GT1545T easily holds 60+ second exposure shots with either body with my 70-200 2.8 II mounted...without any stability concerns.

FYI: I have tried RRS Tripods and the new Peak Design Carbon Fiber Tripods but have preferred the Gitzo designs/usability/price over both brands.

My issue...was that I never loved a compact ballhead. I loved the Markins Q3i but wanted something a bit smaller. I then moved onto the RRS BH-30 which was compact, but the elongated design on the main knob which commonly hits the botton of the plate, was very frustrating. (A silly design which could have been easily remedied by using a basic round knob instead of the elongated one.) The current Gitzo head (GH1382QD) , which is designed for their Series 1 Traveler Tripods, is solid choice but the price on its own ($200 used, $350 new) is not worth it in my opinion, especially when you can get the combo (which includes the GT1545T Tripod) for about $600 new or $500 used. I understood that the Legende Tripod was essentially a special edition of the 1545T but I was intrigued by the new design of the ballhead and decided to go for it.

The price of the "perk" via Indiegogo was $519 for the Tripod which included the ballhead and is almost $100 less than the current GT1545T Combo. Gitzo's resale value also holds pretty well, so I can easily resell my current set up for more (or at least) than the $519 I spent on the perk. (I ended up getting the combo which included the Legende Tripod and Mini Tripod for $619 - For reference, the Mini Tripod retails for $200)

Tripod Review...

The tripod, when compared to my current GT1545T legs, seems very solid. Below are some differences that were immediately noticeable:
  • The tripod legs seem to be the same with a few asthetic differences, such as the silver leg joints replacing the 1545T's rubber joints. (i actually prefer the rubber joints, but usage over time may change my opinion)
  • Both tripods are the same length folded (even with the legs reversed) but the Legende extends about 1-2" higher than the GT1545 when fully extended.
  • The Legende's leg position switches are similar to the older GT1541T switches. (I don't have a preference between the two styles...)
  • The metal used in the Main Hub (which connects the three legs) are different: The Legende's hub is sleeker black metal which the GT1545T's is textured and appears thicker
  • The GT1545T's Main Hub, has an accessory hole which is very useful. (I use a carabiner hook on there and attach it in various ways to my backpacks). The Legende does NOT have this hole.
  • The Legende Tripod includes a numbered planning plate
  • The Legende Tripod comes with an updated screw-in hook included with the tripod.
The new ballhead also seems very promising. Below are my initial observations:
  • Solid construction.
  • Allows for the Legende's legs to be reverse-folded around it, reducing overall bulk of the combo
  • The arca swiss design clamp (when locking screw removed) holds all of my plates, including my peak design capture clip plate
  • The main knob is large and contains a friction knob in the middle
  • All knobs move fluidly
  • Concern: There doesn't seem to be locking mechanisms for the panning and friction knobs, so turning too far the opposite way, will cause that knob to come off?! This should have been as easy design fix, especially for this calibre of tripod
  • Concern: Friction knob could be a bit smaller... it is large and can easily be inadvertently moved when operating the main knob
Overall I am happy I decided to be a part of the campaign. I never needed service on either of my previous Gitzo tripods and I hope for the same with the Legende. One of the Legende's big selling points is its lifetime warranty...which hopefully I will never need to use...but if I do, I hope the process is as easy as advertised. Only time will tell.

Now as far as the campaign itself...

As mentioned above, Gitzo's announcement of this campaign was met with concerns from many. Those concerns were later supported as Gitzo's communication throughout the initial portion of campaign was sub-par. Gitzo's updates on the Indiegogo Site were far and few. Many backers submitted questions only to receive a generic response which did not address their concerns. Backers were frustrated at Gitzo's non-responsiveness, understandably since many had already contributed $500-$700.

Skepticism peaked when some early recipients reported that their tripods had arrived scuffed and scratched as if they were second-hand items. Comments and photos confirming these reports fueled the fire. It wasn't until then that Gitzo, in my opinion, stepped up. To many contributors' disappointment, Gitzo announced that it found that the cause of the damaged tripods was inadequate packaging, and sought to redesign the delivery packaging. This task...would delay delivery of the tripod by a few months! So...the tripod, which was originally scheduled to be delivered in May and June, would now be delivered by the end of August. As expected, many backers were disappointed with the delay.

Gitzo followed up with informative videos, showing contributors the packaging error, and how they planned to remedy it. They continued with more videos and photos, updating backers regularly for the remainder of campaign. I, personally, appreciated Gitzo's transparency and that they owned up to a mistake and corrected it, before it potentially became a bigger problem. As with any business, mistakes/errors will happen and that is understandable...but it is how the business responds will probably be how consumers will remember their experience.

My tripods (Legende and Mini) arrived packed extremely well, first in a larger 26" box, which contained a 24" box which contained the 21" Legende tripod box and the 10" Mini Tripod box. . The Legende was then packed very well within its own box. There was lots of packing materials throughout the package. I would think it would be extremely unlikely that damage could occur within all of these layers of protection.

Both tripod were in excellent condition with absolutely NO signs of use. NO scratches, NO scuffs, NO dents.

Again, overall I am very happy that I chose to take part and remain in the campaign. Some lessons learned, but in the end, I have a great tripod, that will hopefully last for a long time.
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Many thanks for sharing. I was tempted by the product, though was one of those somewhat skeptical that Vitec plc (who own Gitzo) needed to crowd-fund., and so had some doubts about it.

By the time I'd decided to go with it anyway, the offers in the UK that were of interest to me were taken up, so I decided if there was no "offer", I may as well wait to see what it looked like once available.

As an aside - and I haven't followed the process and the videos you mentioned about packaging - I'm a little suprised that the earlier packaging caused wear/scuff issues - it doesn't bode well for longevity in the field . My kit goes through some fairly tough work-outs (deserts, jungles, ocean spray, arctic conditions) and other than some TLC around joints and cleaning, has all fared well.

I'll be interested to see any follow-ups you have after a few month's use.

Cheers. Stoical.
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