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01-08-2015, 10:24 PM   #1
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Gitzo Systematic for a Pentax 6x7

I've been lugging around a rickety aluminum Bogen and its time to upgrade my legs.

I've narrowed it down to two Gitzo Systematic tripods the GT3542LS and the GT2542LS

Both have the same 55lb load rating
The benefits to me of the 2 series(GT2542LS) are; .5lbs lighter, 1.4 inches taller, 1.2 inches shorter closed

I'm shooting landscape, a Pentax 6x7 MLU and the 200 f/4 is my largest lens (I think about 8lbs). Long term I would see myself shooting a 4x5 field camera off it which wouldn't weigh more than my Pentax 6x7, also maybe digital MF.

What I'm currently having a hard time deciding is whether or not I need the heavier 3 series (larger leg diameters) over the smaller 2 series. All of the discussions over the two, as well as most serious tripods are speaking in terms of lens size. Most people seem to agree 300mm + winds/creek/waves/etc. is about the limit of the 2 series. But I am concerned more in terms of the torque vibration of my not so dainty focal plane shutter. Would the 2 series be enough for the combined forces of windy conditions and my shutter?

I've spent the last 2 days searching around Southern California for someone with both, if not a single one of these tripods in stock with no luck so if anyone has any experience with one or both of these models and would care to weigh in I'd greatly appreciate it!

-James


Last edited by jwatts; 01-08-2015 at 10:32 PM.
01-09-2015, 06:55 AM   #2
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Buy the biggest tripod your back will accept :-)

And make sure to buy one without a centre column. Mount your BIG head right on the leg-set. that's your only hope for counter-acting The Guillotine inside the 67.

You'll want the same for MF digitial. And frankly for 45 as well, though more because of wind.

:-)
01-09-2015, 11:10 AM   #3
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I was recently struggling with what tripod legs to buy. Like you I have a 6x7, and I just acquired a FA 250-600. Needed to upgrade from my Manfrotto anyway for the 6x7 and the lens made it absolutely mandatory. I looked at Gitzo 3 series and Vanguard (recommended to me by a friend). I finally decided on RRS as the capacity was right, reviews were all excellent, and I liked their base levelling system. They're a little more expensive, but I can tell you they are rock solid and I'm glad I went this direction.
01-09-2015, 12:06 PM   #4
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I have owned the Gitzo 3 series Aluminum for many years now and have had many problems with it, so I cannot recommend that brand. If weight is really a major concern to you, go with a carbon fiber pod. If it is not critical, consider this-- Aluminum Pro Geared Tripod With Geared Column - Black 475B - Studio Series | Manfrotto I use one similar to this for my 67 landscape work.

01-09-2015, 12:53 PM   #5
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If you want a lighter tripod for hiking, get a medium-sized one and just don't raise it to eye-level. Shoot around waist-level and it will be much stronger. I do that for my backpacking tripod where I don't want to haul a monster around. Place a palm-sized or so sand bag type weight on top of the camera too and that will help dampen the inertia of the shutter curtain for those more critical shots.
01-09-2015, 04:44 PM   #6
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ndevlin- I agree, any choice I make will not have a center column.

jrpower10 - I was debating on the RSS option as well. Specifically the TVC-34, I think if I was going to shoot a longer lens, and defiantly if i was going to be using a leveling base. I just think that the level of support either of the glitz's will give me does not give me room to justify the extra $300 for the RSS.

desertscape- What issues did you find with your Gitzo 3 series? Im going CF for vibration reduction and weight.

Tuco - Right now I'm shooting a tripod thats about 7 inches lower than my eye level. Both of these options will be a lot closer to eye level for me, which is less of a concern than having length in the legs for uneven terrain. Good tip concerning a sand bag on top of the camera. I was reading somewhere recently, a well know p67 landscape shooter was saying he shot "hand held" on a tripod without a shutter release cable because he found that was the best way to suppress shutter vibrations.

I called a few more stores today hoping to be able to see any of the Gitzo Systematic series. No luck. Pretty unbelievable for Los Angeles.

Thanks guys for all your input! I'll have to roll this all around in my head over the weekend.
-James
01-09-2015, 06:34 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by jwatts Quote
Tuco - Right now I'm shooting a tripod thats about 7 inches lower than my eye level. Both of these options will be a lot closer to eye level for me, which is less of a concern than having length in the legs for uneven terrain.
Would you like to see a handhold 6x7 shot with a 1:1 crop using a 55mm? It's as sharp as any of my tripod shots.
01-10-2015, 11:04 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jwatts Quote
desertscape- What issues did you find with your Gitzo 3 series? Im going CF for vibration reduction and weight.
I have had problems with the leg mounting to the main tripod frame. Over time, one of the legs would wobble a bit so I had to have it welded. Also the leg locking system would lock too well and I had problems getting the legs free. I'm not sure if Gitzo has improved their tripods since my 3 series aluminum was made but I am reluctant to recommend a product that I have had so much trouble with. I still use it for travel and hiking but use the bigger Bogan/Manfrotto for short hikes and longer lenses. I believe that most of us that have shot this camera for many years have two tripods; each for its own purpose. I do not use a sand bag for stabilization but I will hold down on the tripod for certain shutter speeds.

01-10-2015, 03:28 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Would you like to see a handhold 6x7 shot with a 1:1 crop using a 55mm? It's as sharp as any of my tripod shots.
A lot of my shooting is around sunrise or sunset at the equivalent of 40-25 iso, so Im shooting from a tripod 90% of the time. I'm kinda interested in the 55 lens though, as the 45 is a little wide at times, Ive heard a lot of good things about that lens.

---------- Post added 01-10-15 at 04:37 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
I have had problems with the leg mounting to the main tripod frame. Over time, one of the legs would wobble a bit so I had to have it welded. Also the leg locking system would lock too well and I had problems getting the legs free. I'm not sure if Gitzo has improved their tripods since my 3 series aluminum was made but I am reluctant to recommend a product that I have had so much trouble with. I still use it for travel and hiking but use the bigger Bogan/Manfrotto for short hikes and longer lenses. I believe that most of us that have shot this camera for many years have two tripods; each for its own purpose. I do not use a sand bag for stabilization but I will hold down on the tripod for certain shutter speeds.
Interesting, thanks for sharing. I'm pretty sure that they have changed the leg locks. The leg locks and the top plate were the two major complaints of the previous models and its seems that they have addressed these issues, or so I've read from the reviews.

When you say you hold down on the tripod are you meaning a hand on top of the camera holding down, or by weight down on the tripod by hanging your bag/other weight, or pressing down on it?

-James
01-10-2015, 06:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by jwatts Quote
A lot of my shooting is around sunrise or sunset at the equivalent of 40-25 iso, so Im shooting from a tripod 90% of the time. I'm kinda interested in the 55 lens though, as the 45 is a little wide at times, Ive heard a lot of good things about that lens.
What kind of landscapes are you doing where you don't have a 45 or 55mm? At f19, the 90mm can just barely get about 15 feet to infinity. Any longer focal length and you pretty much have to focus stack for a near/far in focus or be shooting with the near ground much further out.

And if you follow tuco's path of least resistance in dealing with camera gear, why bother trying to squeeze out the last 2% of quality from your medium format gear when it's much easier to shift gears into the next larger format and get it done.

And, yeah, I shoot 100ACR at EI12 and 400TMY at EI50 often to compress my highlights.

Last edited by tuco; 01-10-2015 at 09:07 PM.
01-11-2015, 09:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jwatts Quote
When you say you hold down on the tripod are you meaning a hand on top of the camera holding down, or by weight down on the tripod by hanging your bag/other weight, or pressing down on it?
No, I hold onto the upper part of the tripod legs and put some of my weight on it.
01-11-2015, 10:04 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by desertscape Quote
If it is not critical, consider this-- Aluminum Pro Geared Tripod With Geared Column - Black 475B - Studio Series | Manfrotto I use one similar to this for my 67 landscape work.
+1

I use a Triman tripod with a 229 3-way head:

Triman Camera Tripod Black Without Head 028B - Studio Series | Manfrotto

Phil.
01-11-2015, 07:57 PM   #13
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I have have had a GT3532LS for about a year. I use a gimbal head with telephotos. No issues so far, it has been immersed in fresh water and used in dusty conditions.

My research a year ago indicated that new carbon Gitzos had overcome the quality issues with their earlier carbon models leg locks and also problems with the older aluminum models.

If you are concerned about stability have you considered a 3 section vs. 4 section? The bigger legs of the GT3542LS will be an advantage over the GT2542 in terms of stability but of course it is bigger & heavier.

The Systematics have a built in hook to hang a gear bag / whatever for weight / stability.

My 2 cents, good luck deciding.

Geoff
01-11-2015, 08:15 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
What kind of landscapes are you doing where you don't have a 45 or 55mm? At f19, the 90mm can just barely get about 15 feet to infinity. Any longer focal length and you pretty much have to focus stack for a near/far in focus or be shooting with the near ground much further out.

And if you follow tuco's path of least resistance in dealing with camera gear, why bother trying to squeeze out the last 2% of quality from your medium format gear when it's much easier to shift gears into the next larger format and get it done.

And, yeah, I shoot 100ACR at EI12 and 400TMY at EI50 often to compress my highlights.
Sorry, I think I was unclear. I do have a 45mm, as well as a 105mm. Not many of my compositions require near/far focus much outside of the limitations of the 45/105 lens. The 45mm is limiting but in most of the near/far compositions that I find myself being limited, as well as a larger near/far range than the 45mm is capable of, I'd also want the movements of a 4x5... So LF is defiantly on my mind. I have some work to put in on both the technical and personal front before making the move to large format. I feel I have a lot of room to grow and learn with the tools I have now.

My tripod legs were an extremely weak link in my kit, technically and mentally. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the larger 3 series Gitzo Systematic. The larger leg diamater, smoothness of operation, piece of mind in waves/wind, ability to hang my bag when setting it down might not be possible as well as future possibly to use with LF are worth the price to add it into my kit. at least, thats what I'm telling myself...lol
01-13-2015, 09:25 PM   #15
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In the event that someone else's search leads them here.

I got my GT3542ls in the mail from BH Photo. I'm happy I went with the larger 3 series. I can't answer to the abilities of the 2 series, I'm sure its a capable set of legs. Just personally the sizing of the legs on the larger GT3542ls is more on par with what I was looking for. In my personal opinion its worth the extra .5lbs, I loaded up my camera backpack (f-stop tilopa) and strapped the tripod on the back and its light enough to not feel like an object is strapped to my backpack, unbalancing the pack.
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