All entries for February 2009

February 17, 2009

Gitzo Ball Heads for Photography

Gitzo Ball Heads for Photography

Having chosen a Gitzo carbon fibre tripod the next step was to choose a suitable head for it. This was no easy task as Gitzo do a large range of ball heads ranging from around £30 to well over £200. I  made a basic mistake when choosing and didn't check out the weight of the heads. Seduced by a spcial offer I ordered the head below which turned out to be not far short of a kilo in weight. As I had ordered a carbon fibre tripod in order to reduce weight this meant a rethink.


The Gitzo G1377M weighs in at nearly a kilo

I decided to go for a G1077M which is far more portable and claims some good anti-vibration features.

Gitzmo G1077M

The Gitzo G1077M. A good head for 35mm/D SLRs

February 16, 2009

Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod

Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod

Plans for the day had included searching for a high quality tripod and head to go with a Nikon  D80. The current tripod in use is a lightweight Veblon which is fine for compact cameras and probably the lighter weight  "bridge" cameras such as Fuji Finepix S100. The tripod proved wanting when trying to take precision shots of architectural models and we ended up borrowing a friend's birdspotting tripod which is used to support my old Kowa ED 77mm spotting scope which is pretty heavy. So with birthday time coming around it was time to upgrade the tripod.

Gitzo Mountaineer 531

Gitzo Mountaineer 531 Carbon Fibre Tripod

My plan was to go for a Manfrotto. They have a good reputation and I had been purchasing Manfrotto systems for the college. However, I discovered some interesting clearance deals with Gitzo. I had vaguely heard of them but had no real familiarity so I investigated the company and its products a little more closely:

Gitzo was founded in France in 1917 by Arsène Gitzhoven, who produced cameras, cable releases, shutters (at a rate of 750 per day) and filmpack frames for the photographic industry until 1942, when the World War led to the company being temporarily dismantled. Production started again in 1944 and tripods were introduced to the Gitzo’s product range in the 1950’s.

The company is now ownd by Vitec:

Vitec companies are primarily focused on the broadcast live event and photography markets. Our premium brands have unique characters and are organised in clusters by market served, so as to maximise synergies. We share ideas, infrastructure, and technology across our decentralised Group.

General Gitzo Tripod Features

The company is highly innovative in both the materials used and the actual designs.


G-lock is the innovative evolution of the original twist-lock system: completely redesigned to be faster, stronger and more rigid than its predecessor. Unwanted gaps in between lock parts have been removed to give a rock solid structure to the leg sections, resulting in more clarity and sharpness to your pictures.

Gitzo G Lock 2

Gitzo Ground Level System

For low angle shooting, the center column can be removed and the upper disc fitted directly to the tripod top casting. the disc is locked into position using the retrsctible column hook. The ground level configuration can be achieved in a few seconds without tools or extra components, and only the column need be removed.

gitzo ground level 2

Gitzo Mountaineer 531

The smallest and lightest tripod in the Gitzo range, Series 00 offers surprisingly good rigidity. Ideal for spotting scopes, binoculars, compact cameras and DSLR with lenses up to 175mm. Convenient for use on top of tables, car bonnets and walls or when working at ground level.

Gitzo 6Xtube

The Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tube Structure

When Gitzo launched the Mountaineer tripods in 1994, they were the World’s first carbon fiber tripods. Ever since then they’ve set the standard for performance and quality. The main feature of the range is the new 6X carbon fiber tube, made of a unique structure of 6 crossed layers that maximises rigidity, vibration absorption and lightweight performance. 6X tube has a high density structure made of top quality ultra-thin carbon fibers (7?m or 0.007 mm). Built-in Anti Leg Rotation is now a feature of the whole carbon fiber range. Mountaineer tripods have been further improved with features and details that increase performance, versatility and quality.

Well this is the tripod I went for not that mountains are on the agenda but it is light enough to be carried around over a day without sacrificing stability. I'm looking forward to it's arrival and shall comment further once it is in situ. There is also a ball head arriving as well which will be subjct to a separate posting.

New Nikon Cameras on Ebay: Beware Void Warranties

"New" Nikon Cameras on Ebay: Beware Void Warranties

Nikon D90 1

Whilst rooting through Ebay in search of a second-hand tripod  I decided to check out Nikon cameras out of idle interest.  I came across a very useful warning about the risks of buying "New" camera equipment such as lenses and bodies (Ebay buyer guide). With many Ebay traders being secondary traders who have got hold of camera equipment at trade prices they are not considered by Nikon - and probably other leading makes - as primary dealers who are authorised to provide warranties on the equipment sold.

There are a number on ebay that are retailers as they run photographic shops and use ebay to increase sales - but there are also many that are simply selling items they have bought. Unless you can provide Nikon with a photographic
retailers invoice with your repair request to show where it was bought, when it was bought (to determine if the warranty is still valid) and its cost - there is not a lot of chance of getting your item fixed within its warranty cover -

Nikon Lens 3

For the poor ebay buyer cited above he had bought a lens from ebay via a secondary buyer rather than a proper camera dealer and although it had a warranty card Nikon refused to validate it.  The cost of repair was more than the lens cost. As a result all the buyer's money was lost !

It should also be noted that the same conditions would apply if you buy from an individual seller who is selling with a warranty in small ads in camera magazines for example.

February 2009

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