|Gitzo 1410 Tripod|
The Gitzo G1410 Pro Studex Mk2 Performance Tripod (around $355) is a beautifully-made, rugged, no-compromises aluminum unit. Figure 1 shows the 1410 with its middle and lower legs partly extended. This tripod provides the ultimate in support for 35 mm camera equipment in the field. It is adaptable even in rocky terrain and holds still in the wind. This helps achieve that nirvana of outdoor photography: sharpness.
A tripod is most comfortable when the camera's viewfinder eyepiece is at the same height as the photographer's eyes. This means no leaning over and no sore back.
The leg diameters are 1.375" for the upper section, 1.25" for the middle section, and 1.125" for the lower section. The legs are made so well that when you push a leg section in to the next section, it slips back out 2 inches for a few moments due to air buildup inside the section - like a bicycle pump. Then it hisses and slowly recedes into position. After all these miles I still enjoy this little show.
Adjustment of the length of the middle of the three sections is easy with the large winged leg locks that can easily be reached from the photographer's normal position with minimal bending over (see Figure 2). With less sturdy tripods it is preferable to shorten the length of the lower rather than middle section, because the lower section is thinner and could induce wobble if fully extended. However, this is not the case with the 1410; the lower leg sections are plenty rigid for almost any situation. Using the middle leg section for fine-tuning height and level is fast and easy, and the big wing nuts can be adjusted with one hand - no bending and you don't even need to take your eye away from the viewfinder.
The legs have a normal fixed angle position of 24 degrees, plus two wider fixed angle locking positions at 55 and 80 degrees. In fact, each leg can be put at any angle in this range and hold ground solidly, but I'd recommend using one of the locking positions to prevent unexpected leg swing-out. When the legs are collapsed and at the maximum angle, the platform is only 7" off the ground (see Figure 3).
The leg lock is an L-shaped tab that slides in and out just below the leg's pivot point (photos below).
The 1410 weighs 8.4 lbs. which contributes to its sturdiness and helps you get those sharp pictures. But it will surely wear you down if you don't have an effective way to carry it (discussed below). It will support 22 lbs, which is more than the heaviest 35mm rig (unless you're sporting a 1200mm f/5.6 lens).
The platform is 4" in diameter. It is designed to handle 8x10 view cameras and video equipment. Most ball heads supporting 35 mm equipment will look puny on this platform, but that is not any kind of problem.
Several center columns are available for the 1410. I initially bought an 11" center column with mine because I thought it would be easier to make vertical adjustments of the platform with a center column than with the legs. To install the column, remove the center plate from the platform. Then install the plate that comes with the column; it accepts the column and provides a winged column lock collar. All of these components are heavy duty. I returned the center column for several reasons:
I wrapped the legs with Gitzo leg wraps (also called "leg protectors") to make it more comfortable to carry the tripod on my shoulder for short distance. These are Styrofoam-like hollow cylinders with a slit that you wrap around the leg like wrapping a water pipe. A tough nylon sleeve fits tightly over the wrap to hold everything in place. I used a strip of two-sided tape between the leg and the wrap to make sure the wrap would not slip around the leg.
The next part of this article offers some tips for field use of the Gitzo tripod.
|Updated 11-aug-11 Contents copyright © 2001 - 2011 PhotoCentric.Net, All Rights Reserved|