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06-13-2008, 10:09 AM   #1
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Giottos MTL9351B lightweight tripod - Highly Recommended !

Hi all

My wife and I will shortly be departing for 4 months on a round-the-world trip, but we're intent on reducing the overall weight of our luggage. I'd been on the lookout for a lighter version of my Manfrotto 055 tripod, but was nevertheless seeking a stable platform on which to adequately support the combined weight of a K10D, D BG-2 grip and Tamron 18-250mm super-zoom. I briefly tried the Manfrotto190XPROB, but regrettably it's extended height is noticeably shorter than the 055 and I remain unconvinced about it's overall rigidity, when this tripod is fully extended. I'd decided to see what was available at my photographic store and as luck would have it, the latest Giottos MTL9351B model had just arrived in stock. It weighs a total of 2.1 Kg, maximum height (with centre-column extended) is 156 cm and it is manufactured from aluminium. Please see attached .pdf for details of all three Giottos tripods mentioned.

Incidentally, if the MTL9351B still seems too heavy for your requirements, Giotto also sell some even lighter Carbon Fibre versions, namely the 4 leg-section MTL8350B or the 3 leg-section MTL8351B, but naturally at a somewhat higher cost.

After a short inspection, I instantly realised that the MTL9351B was precisely what I'd been looking for ! It is reassuringly well made and beautifully finished, with comfortable soft-foam hand-grips on all three legs (ideal in cold weather !). In my opinion, this Giottos tripod is easily the best value product I have purchased in a very long time and when fully extended, it's maximum height is similar to the Manfrotto 055. It also has an integral spirit level and a number of features which distinguish this product from it's immediate competitors, including a simple but unique patented rotating mechanism (see the 'Adjustable Column' illustration).
This cleverly enables you to release and entirely lift-out the main centre column, whilst undoing and rotating the mount assembly through 90 before re-tightening it. You can then re-insert the centre column, so that it can be fixed in the horizontal position (or at any angle you choose in between) making it ideal for overhead shots - i.e. photographing downwards at book pages, coins, stamps or macro shots etc.
The tripod also comes with an interchangeable 'short column' section (approx 1"- 2" long), which can accept the circular camera support plate & threaded tripod bush from the main centre column. The support plate can easily be swapped over by partially slackening-off a small grub screw at the side of the main centre column, via a supplied allen-key. This key and also a nut-tightening spanner are neatly stored in a dedicated 'pouch', which hangs from a special 'hook-eye', fixed to the underside of the tripod column. Within the head-mount assembly, there is a clever spring-loaded 'safe-lock' shaft, whose primary purpose is to act as a 'fail-safe' device to retain the 'short column' in place, thus preventing it from inadvertently falling out. Were you to attach a camera to this unsecured 'short column' and momentarily forget to safe-lock everything in place, your camera could potentially come crashing expensively to the floor, with disastrous results ! With the safe-lock secured, you can then rotate your camera through a 360 sweep, tightening the knob at the desired spot. To release the 'short column', just reverse the whole process. A quick action 3-position vari-angle locking device is fitted to the top of each leg and when the legs are fully splayed out, the whole tripod can be placed very close proximity to floor level (see illustration).
Finally there is a semi-concealed spring-loaded hook at the bottom of the main centre column, so if conditions become windy, you can hang a suitable ballast weight from it in order to provide additional stability. All-in-all, it's a fabulous product IMHO, and it currently retails for a very reasonable 80.00/90.00 in the U.K. (or approx U.S. $160.00 at today's exchange rates). I can unhesitatingly recommend this tripod to anyone and have no connection whatsoever with the company, apart from becoming a VERY satisfied customer indeed !

MT 92/82 Professional Tripods

Best regards
RichardAttachment 42391

Attached Images
     
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File Type: pdf Giottos Comparison Table.pdf (45.4 KB, 1841 views)

Last edited by Confused; 09-02-2009 at 03:45 PM.
06-13-2008, 07:39 PM   #2
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Thanks Richard,

I am looking at tripods too. This helps a bit in my search.
06-14-2008, 03:52 AM   #3
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Thanks for the detailed report Richard. I too am looking for a decent tripod. My current Velbon model is very heavily reliant on plastic parts and it makes me nervous placing a valuable camera/lens combination on it.

One type of photography I enjoy doing is flower macros. Does the Giottos model you purchased have the ability to support 2.5 kilos rather low to the ground and at various angles? Also. did you have to purchase a separate ball head or does it come with one? Is there a quick-connect system to attach and remove the camera from the head or does it have to be spun off each time?

Thanks for your time.

Jeff
06-14-2008, 06:16 AM   #4
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Original Poster
Hi Jeff

Re your query:

QuoteQuote:
Does the Giottos model you purchased have the ability to support 2.5 kilos rather low to the ground and at various angles?
The quoted weight capacity of the Giottos MTL9351B is 5 Kg, but how those figures were calculated I'm afraid I haven't the faintest idea. I'd suggest you contact them directly for more information.

Giotto's Helpline - 0044 (0)870 066 9285
Brochure Line - 0044 (0)870 066 9283
Email - info@giottos-tripods.co.uk

Address

DayMen International Ltd
Merryhills Enterprise Park
Park Lane
Wolverhampton
WV10 9TJ

Re your second point:

QuoteQuote:
Did you have to purchase a separate ball head or does it come with one? Is there a quick-connect system to attach and remove the camera from the head or does it have to be spun off each time?
My Giottos MTL9351B wasn't supplied with a head, so I've temporarily cannibalized the head from my old Manfrotto 055. I believe that Giottos sell a range of different heads separately. Have a look at the link below:

ball head series

Giottos: Heads

http://www.red-door.co.uk/pages/productpages/giottos/Giottos_2008.pdf

Best regards
Richard


Last edited by Confused; 06-16-2008 at 12:25 PM.
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