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Old May 21st, 2014, 09:37 PM   #1
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The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Like most people looking for an affordable video tripod to get going with, all roads seem to end with the Sachtler Ace M. But the tripod that everyone should really be getting is the Gitzo GT2531LVL.

I'm surprised no one is talking about this tripod, so I wrote a kind of long blog post about it. Your Tripod Search Ends Here | Alaska Video Shooter
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Old May 28th, 2014, 10:19 PM   #2
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

The part where you call the Sachtler Ace garbage because it's the wrong tool for the job you want to do, is where you lose all your credibility.
...especially when you mention the Amazon tripod in the same paragraph.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 01:51 AM   #3
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

In your article you say: "Worst of all, its load capacity is only 8.8 pounds – in the real world it can handle more, but essentially it’s not built to even hold a DSLR rig on top of a slider."

You don't need to buy that tripod to find that out about the load capacity, the payload is in the specs, if you want a heaver payload you buy another model. And I have been using a slider with dslr on it with no issues, but it's a cheap and very light slider and I shoot with m4/3 camera's, you otoh are probably using a expensive much heavier slider combined with a much heavier camera, so the issue is not the tripod but it's because your slider is garbage considering it works fine on mine

You probably will find that last statement ridiculous but actually you are saying the same thing about the tripod, just because it's not suited for your use doesn't mean it's "garbage". If the payload says max 4kg and you put 5kg+ on it and it doesn't work, it would be a bit silly to say the tripod is no good, no?

Also your statement that a Miller tripod is only for interviews and occasional static shots? Have you ever used a Miller tripod? I did and I could do a fluid pan with a heavy shouldercamera fully zoomed in, try to do that with the Gitzo, I know the Gitzo is not made for that purpose but does that matter when comparing tripods? :)
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Old May 29th, 2014, 04:54 AM   #4
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Nice review, but you seem to miss all the kinds of testing people normally do on a tripod. How much do the legs flex when you engage the locks? How much wind up is there, how easy are the tube locks, how strong are they. You seem fixated with what it looks like and how cool it is? I don't care about being cool - I care about strong stable legs vs flimsy wobbly ones. I also find it difficult to take seriously a review that likes Manfrotto budget heads. It's not like this is a cheap bit of kit. I'd not take a risk on it based on your quite nice to read but very subjective review. What is it you like? It's lightweight and cool? Personally, I'd rather have a heavier and more regis set of legs. I've got some tubular legs somewhere - quite solid but rotational forces mean it moves left and right quite a bit when the locked head is turned.

It's too expensive to be a rival to proper legs and heads. Ok for stills -perhaps even good, but for video rotational rigidity is very important, and these stills origin products are not for me. They're perfect for DSLRs taking stills, but if you want smooth pans and tilts at long focal lengths, then a video pedigree set of legs and a head is a must.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 01:50 PM   #5
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Not to dogpile you Slavik, but I think Noa and Paul did a good job of answering your question as to why no one is talking about that tripod. :)
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Old May 29th, 2014, 02:59 PM   #6
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

I too find that the manufacturers are behind the users when it comes to lightweight legs and heads, suitable for the kind of slim run and gun enabled by dSLRs and other small cams.

I'd like to add to my selection of heavyweights from Gitzo & Manfrotto; those pods/heads will support my dSLR, but at a significant weight & bulk. The return springs aren't right either.

On the stills side we see much more maturity in lightweight products. They typically don't have leveling heads, but there are alternatives as Slavik points out. In addition to the Manfrotto and Acratech levelers, and the Gitzo wobbly column, there's also the leveling columns Manfrotto sells that somewhat video-ize their 055 and 190 series legs, and they have a heavier CF tripod (755) with an integrated leveler. I may eventually buy the column for my 190 legs.

IMO we still haven't seen the killer lightweight video head. Sachtler tried miniaturizing a conventional head, I'm thinking about something slimmer. Manfrotto has a longer history with mini video heads... see below.

The QR systems both on Sachtler and the the OP's Manfrotto MVH500 haven't been downsized enough. I'd like to see something based on Arca-Swiss compatibility. Acratech showed such a head at shows this year, it will release at $500 sometime. I'd like to see the downsized MVH500/Arca-Swiss QR version, with a smaller top plate... under $200.

I can see the points others have made in this thread, but I have to agree that current products on offer don't meet my vision of what a professional video travel tripod/head for dSLR can be.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 03:56 PM   #7
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
I too find that the manufacturers are behind the users when it comes to lightweight legs and heads, suitable for the kind of slim run and gun enabled by dSLRs and other small cams.

=====

I can see the points others have made in this thread, but I have to agree that current products on offer don't meet my vision of what a professional video travel tripod/head for dSLR can be.
Part of the problem is that a dSLR with a 50mm kit kens has a very low overall mass with it being fairly centred, front to back.

Add a 70-200, 100-400 or 500mm lens and all of a sudden your "lightweight dSLR" is terribly front-heavy and nearly unbalanceable even on mid-weight video tripods.

Not a simple One-Size-Fits-All-Cheaply problem to solve.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 04:30 PM   #8
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Add a 70-200, 100-400 or 500mm lens and all of a sudden your "lightweight dSLR" is terribly front-heavy and nearly unbalanceable even on mid-weight video tripods.
By using a tripod mount ring rather than camera-based mount, the balance isn't terrible. Mounting from the camera with a large lens would be the wrong way to go...
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Old May 29th, 2014, 04:52 PM   #9
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Shaun, weren't you JUST telling me about how impressed you were at NAB with all the lightweight video tripods coming in from China?
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Old May 29th, 2014, 05:43 PM   #10
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

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Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
By using a tripod mount ring rather than camera-based mount, the balance isn't terrible. Mounting from the camera with a large lens would be the wrong way to go...
Which of course slows down the whole changing lens thing in the field... one of the main reasons I don't personally work with dSLRs. And by that I mean changing from a long zoom to a short prime and back.
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Old May 29th, 2014, 05:44 PM   #11
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

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Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
Shaun, weren't you JUST telling me about how impressed you were at NAB with all the lightweight video tripods coming in from China?
Right...

I think I pointed out the ridiculously heavy Seceed copy of a Sachtler Video25 wasn't nearly as bad as I expected...
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Old May 30th, 2014, 01:33 AM   #12
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Part of the problem is that a dSLR with a 50mm kit kens has a very low overall mass with it being fairly centred, front to back.

Add a 70-200, 100-400 or 500mm lens and all of a sudden your "lightweight dSLR" is terribly front-heavy and nearly unbalanceable even on mid-weight video tripods.

Not a simple One-Size-Fits-All-Cheaply problem to solve.
Well, you raise a good point, but that's a little longer than I'd go, to be sure. I think of either of those last two as sports/wildlife lenses, and I don't do much of either.

However, back in Arca-Swiss land, I do have an inexpensive nodal pano clamping rail that would balance the 70-200 or even the 100-400, I'd think. Then just slide the rail in the head's QR to find balance. That is, if I had access to an affordable A-S based fluid head that was worth a darn.

Acratech has finally put up a page for their new fluid / ball hybrid head. I do love their stuff, and extremely well-engineered, but the rumored $500 is pretty spendy for a lightweight. Looks like the same balance challenge, with no spring, but with a sliding nodal rail for balance perhaps it would work great.
Acratech Video Ballhead

But for your long focal lengths, what are you going to do? Even if you put them on larger video camcorder things are going to get real front-heavy. On some of the bigger heads you can quickly dial in the counterbalance, but that's really another ballgame of size & weight
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Which of course slows down the whole changing lens thing in the field... one of the main reasons I don't personally work with dSLRs. And by that I mean changing from a long zoom to a short prime and back.
Oh, you gotta be talking about a conventional 10:1 or better zoom, yes? Well, you're right, you can't touch a broadcast lens' range with a dSLR without a lot of lens changing. But that's apples and oranges, isn't it?
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Old May 30th, 2014, 02:45 AM   #13
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Well, you raise a good point, but that's a little longer than I'd go, to be sure. I think of either of those last two as sports/wildlife lenses, and I don't do much of either.
Around Vancouver, dSLRs are used for EVERYTHING (right tool or not...) including conference coverage and the 100 - 400 is often requested for the back-of-room podium coverage camera.

You are right of course - horses for courses - but a significant number of people I run into on a daily basis think that a $500 tripod is going to work for all occasions and don't take weight positional loading into account.
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Old May 30th, 2014, 06:13 AM   #14
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
Around Vancouver, dSLRs are used for EVERYTHING (right tool or not...) including conference coverage and the 100 - 400 is often requested for the back-of-room podium coverage camera.

You are right of course - horses for courses - but a significant number of people I run into on a daily basis think that a $500 tripod is going to work for all occasions and don't take weight positional loading into account.
Seriously? A DSLR for seminar coverage? Wow, I'm sorry but I'm shaking my head in wonderment on this.
I've covered hundreds if not more of seminars and conferences and I just can't imagine NOT using a proper video camera for shooting one, regardless of whether I'm actually recording it, going to iMag, recording the footage in video world or any combination.
Maybe I'm too old school and the world has passed me by. :-(
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Old May 30th, 2014, 12:45 PM   #15
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Re: The Gitzo tripod no one is talking about

For company meetings, we shoot with a standard camcorder for the master shot and a 5D2 with 70-200/2.8 IS (virtually always at 200mm) for the podium. Works great - but only because of the camcorder support. The DSLR advantage is that even with the background not so far behind the speaker, we can still blur the background a bit.

It works because:
1) I'm not changing lenses,
2) I'm not messing with focus,
3) I'm not live zooming,
4) The master cam covers the start/stop of the 12 minute limit,
5) The master cam handles the continuous audio,
6) I use a large CF card,
7) I have an AC adapter,
8) We edit in post. (DSLRs don't have genlock or HD-SDI.)

I just worry about framing. And I slide the framing over to make room for a Power Point insert, similar to the technique they use on The Daily Show and Colbert Report.

Back on the tripod topic, I use a Vinten 3AS, which isn't bad but isn't perfect either. IS helps, as does a weight hanging from the center of the tripod from a rope. Make sure to use spikes on carpet. Initially, I only had a floor spreader and that is a carpet fail.
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