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05-06-2013, 06:07 PM   #1
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Gitzo or Manfrotto

Hi
I've decided to buy a tripod, my first one. The primary use is for landscape (no macro photography, yet), and general purpose.
After reading a lot of internet advice, articles, and seeing videos on youtube, it is clear to me both, a cheap and light tripod would be a waste of many and I will made the wrong choice .
I've made a first selection and I've two candidates:
1- Manfrotto 055CX3 (carbon fiber 3 sections)
Cons: Preset leg angles. Load capacity (8 Kg.) 055 Carbon Fibre 3-section Tripod 055CX3 - 055 Series | Manfrotto
Pros: Good quality. Price
2- Gitzo Explorer GT2531EX (cabon fiber 3 section) Series 2 6X Explorer 3S. G-Lock GT2531EX - Explorer | Gitzo
Cons: Price.
Pros: Good quality. Free leg angles. Load capacity (12 Kg.)

I like more the gitzo over the manfrotto, but I haven't found neither a good review not a user test. So, I would like your advice or your experience about this two tripods.

By the way, whatever the choice the head would be manfrotto 468MGRC0 Hydrostatic Ball Head With RC0 Rapid Connect System 468MGRC0 - Hydrostatic | Manfrotto

Thank you very much for your help!!!

05-06-2013, 07:37 PM   #2
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You haven't shared what equipment you would be mounting on a tripod so assssing weight and stability is more based on assumptions and our needs rather than yours. I also cannot tell if you will be driving to shooting sites or packing your gear on foot.

I sold a cf Gitzo because I preferred a cf Manfrotto. I think you have to consider if closeup photography is in the cards as the 190 series has wonderfully quick center column conversion. I also prefer the locking levers of the Manfrotto because it provides visual confirmation of engagement. Twisty locking is dumb design to me. Sometimes I am in a hurray to setup for a shot, and it is easy to get distracted and bypass tightening a lock. I almost lost a very expensive combo that way & the next week sold the Gitzo.

That ball head looks pretty complicated to me. Heavy too. What are the requirements driving that choice?
The issue with some Manfrotto ball heads is that their releases are proprietary, rather that Arca compatible. I think the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead is hard to beat for its simple design, standard interfaces, light weight, and cleanability.

All of your choices are really good by themselves--it is the fit with your needs that matters most.

M
05-06-2013, 07:52 PM   #3
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I don't own either, but if you end up picking up the Manfrotto you might want to check out this post.
05-06-2013, 08:32 PM   #4
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I have the Manfrotto 055cx3 and liked it so much I bought the same for my wife when she was ready to move up from her cheap all in one. Well made solid and remarkably light. I've never had a Gitzo and I suspect within the same category this is a little like buying a Ford or Chevy, which do you like more?

Look for the little things like how the knobs and levers work, do you prefer snap or twist locks, things like that. I doubt you will go wrong with either, just pick the one that fits better for you. Both are high quality solid tripods.

QuoteQuote:
The issue with some Manfrotto ball heads is that their releases are proprietary, rather that Arca compatible. I think the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead is hard to beat for its simple design,
Agree here 100%. I use an Acratech GP and the wife has a Benro both with Arca compatible clamps. Does not matter who uses what gear, it all works together.

05-06-2013, 10:52 PM   #5
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Good Evening,

Just my opinion, but tripods are very subjective to personal views. There are a number of small items/decisions that add up to a selection that either works very well or not too well at all. I'll explain a bit.

Originally, I went with a Benro Travel Angel - I like it very much - still use it a lot. 4 sections so as to fit into my carry on luggage. It has twist locks on the legs, not my favorite, but they work. After a couple of years, I looked around a found an old very used Manfrotto 3000 - 3 sections, flip leg locks, much heavier - but I have it in the back seat of my truck and I really do not need to carry it a lot. Two different uses, where a single tripod would not satisfy each of the use cases. There are times I want/need a heavy set of legs, but they are too heavy and too large to fit into my luggage.

I too use an Acratech GP head. Its light, but holds up to 25Lbs (I like a bit of margin - heaviest combination is about 5Lbs), but more importantly to me, I can invert the head, so that I really do not need to be accurate at all in leveling the tripod, I can just let the ballhead level everything. The panning base (since its inverted) is above the ball and thus I can pan around level for perfectly stitched panoramas. Its also a gimble so that I can pan vertically for vertical stitches. I also have everything Arca-Swiss so that I can interchange anything and everything - thus making it very easy. The head works on both of my tripods.

05-07-2013, 07:21 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ashurbanipal Quote
I don't own either, but if you end up picking up the Manfrotto you might want to check out this post.
Thanks ashurbanipal but, unfortunataly, those rebates just apply to US citizens living in USA.

I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

Chears!!
05-07-2013, 07:28 AM   #7
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I have enough camera mounting platforms to fill up a full sized pick-up truck; which would naturally include selections from both Manfrotto and Gitzo.

But it has generally been my experience that Gitzo's are made better, more durably, and to handle more weight. But all of that at a price. Be sure to take a look at some of the prices of the tripod heads as well. It's not difficult to easy exceed five hundred.

05-07-2013, 07:56 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Miguel Quote
You haven't shared what equipment you would be mounting on a tripod so assssing weight and stability is more based on assumptions and our needs rather than yours. I also cannot tell if you will be driving to shooting sites or packing your gear on foot.

I sold a cf Gitzo because I preferred a cf Manfrotto. I think you have to consider if closeup photography is in the cards as the 190 series has wonderfully quick center column conversion. I also prefer the locking levers of the Manfrotto because it provides visual confirmation of engagement. Twisty locking is dumb design to me. Sometimes I am in a hurray to setup for a shot, and it is easy to get distracted and bypass tightening a lock. I almost lost a very expensive combo that way & the next week sold the Gitzo.

That ball head looks pretty complicated to me. Heavy too. What are the requirements driving that choice?
The issue with some Manfrotto ball heads is that their releases are proprietary, rather that Arca compatible. I think the Acratech Ultimate Ballhead is hard to beat for its simple design, standard interfaces, light weight, and cleanability.

All of your choices are really good by themselves--it is the fit with your needs that matters most.

M
Hi Miguel
Thanks for your answer.
You are right, I've forgotten to mention my heavy set up, which is: Sigma 70-200 f2.8 (1.6Kg) + K7 with grip attached and 2 batteries (aprox 1 Kg) + 1.7TC (aprox .2Kg); lets say 3 Kg in total.

If you have time, please take a look at the gitzo's center column, it can be set up at every direction and has a hook.
About 190 series, I wasn't able to find if it is capable to support a 70-200mm lens and this item is MUST for me.

Regarding the ball head, I've chosen this because the load capacity and, the most important issue, the hexagonal plate type shape is very much stable whit heavy load, I mean, it is quiete imposible that it slides (professionals say that ).

I'll have to think about twist lock.....

I always carry my stuff on foot

Chears

Last edited by Ogion; 05-07-2013 at 08:02 AM.
05-07-2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Medium FormatPro Quote
I have enough camera mounting platforms to fill up a full sized pick-up truck; which would naturally include selections from both Manfrotto and Gitzo.

But it has generally been my experience that Gitzo's are made better, more durably, and to handle more weight. But all of that at a price. Be sure to take a look at some of the prices of the tripod heads as well. It's not difficult to easy exceed five hundred.
Thank you for your advice!!!

Manfrotto's head costs $310 on b&h. In your experience, Which another tripod head I should consider?

Regards
05-07-2013, 08:32 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ogion Quote
About 190 series, I wasn't able to find if it is capable to support a 70-200mm lens and this item is MUST for me
B&H product page for the 190 says 6Kg.

The Gitzo looks like a really nice design and I'm sure it is top-notch quality. One thing I prefer about the Manfrotto that I don't readily see on the Gitzo--is that the center column can be placed below grade. I've used this occasionally and it's sweet, but it is macro oriented.

I don't think the requirements for your quoted setup are out of the ordinary. I routinely put a Canon 7D+100-400L lens on my Manfrotto and Ultimate Ballhead with zero issues. I still think the Manfrotto ballhead looks like overkill. And I totally agree with interested_observer, tripods are highly subjective. I just never bonded with my Gitzo.

If you are carrying the tripod, consider a 4-section that can better compact to carriers on bags. That to me was a compelling requirement for the 190.

M
05-07-2013, 04:16 PM   #11
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I bought a Gitzo about 35 years ago for 99-99, ( UK Pound ) which was a lot of money back then. I've used it, abused it, lost it and found it. It's still my go to tripod.
I saw two identical ones for sale at a local camera fair last week, both in similar well used condition, and both priced at 150, both sold. It's not many things that actually appreciate in value.
05-07-2013, 05:38 PM   #12
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Thank you everybody, your advice really helps me a lot!

Regarding the tripod, I'll go for the gitzo one, it was my first thought after all and more or less everybody agreed that both brands and very high quality; so I can't be that wrong.

But, I get confuse about ball head, because the manfrotto one is heavy, right, and its load capacity is greater than the tripod one, ok, but plate shape was designed to prevent sliding whit heavy stuff on it. To make it worst to me, the ball head suggested here costs about the same of manfrotto's

Any other idea/suggestion/guide on this issue?

Chears

Last edited by Ogion; 05-07-2013 at 06:04 PM.
05-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ogion Quote
Thanks ashurbanipal but, unfortunataly, those rebates just apply to US citizens living in USA.

I'm from Buenos Aires, Argentina, South America

Chears!!
Oops! Guess I should check locations before posting... I'm not usually so US-centric.
05-08-2013, 03:17 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ogion Quote
Any other idea/suggestion/guide on this issue?
Hi,

Have a look at FEISOL tripods. They are very sturdy yet lightweight. I ordered mine (CT-3441T) directly from manufacturer and can't say it was any bit worse than double-priced Gitzo I was trying in a shop. My previous tripod was Slik Pro.. something.. don't remember the model, and that Feisol is way better, higher and lighter and lived for two years of heavy mountains/outdoors usage without single issue.

As for ballheads: the bigger the better. I use PhotoClam PC-36NS Ball Head which is rated to 66lb load capacity but I feel it is barely enough for K-5 + grip + DA* 16-50 because I wasn't able to get fluid movement when trying to follow action. Of course, it was rock-solid with all nobs tightened.
05-09-2013, 09:29 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ogion Quote
Thank you everybody, your advice really helps me a lot!

Regarding the tripod, I'll go for the gitzo one, it was my first thought after all and more or less everybody agreed that both brands and very high quality; so I can't be that wrong.

But, I get confuse about ball head, because the manfrotto one is heavy, right, and its load capacity is greater than the tripod one, ok, but plate shape was designed to prevent sliding whit heavy stuff on it. To make it worst to me, the ball head suggested here costs about the same of manfrotto's

Any other idea/suggestion/guide on this issue?
Hi Ogion

I only have the aluminium version of the 055 and also an compareably sized Gitzo. The Gitzo may have a higher load capacity and it is perhaps a bit more robustly made, but after more than 20 years with my old Manfrotto I would hardly complain.

Coincidently I use the Manfrotto ProBall hydrostatic head with the hexagons on my Gitzo legs (the Manfrotto 055 carries the Manfrotto gimbal...) The Manfrotto ball head is a very good product, with smooth movements and it clamps down realiably. It isn't complicated at all, bit the tension adjustment adds one knob of course. The RC0 plates (wasn't that the RC030 in the past?) are by far(!) the most robust qr plates one can buy. The can hold very high loads with rotating (you can add set screws to the central tripod screw) and there also some special plates available to suit most needs. The one point I always loved about them is, that you simply click the camera on the tripod head and it stay secure. Nothing to clamp down (or to forget to clamp down...). Also, there is no screw, that could get loose. Just reliable.

I use the hydrostatic head and the qr system with anything up to the old 4.5/500mm and tc with a K20 + grip. But ofcourse it just as stable, when I use another 500mm lens with my Mamiya medium format or even my Cambo large format gear.

The combination of this head and qr system with the Gitzo legs will keep you happy for many years to come and with almost all equipment you may use.

Ben
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