New Gitzo Tripods for 2007
The very first PhotoTip article I wrote here at Earthbound Light back in October of 2001 was about using a tripod. I like tripods. So I've been quite interested in the recent introduction of Gtizo's new 6X carbon fiber models.
Current Gitzo CF tripods have leg tubes that have a 1.5 mm wall thickness. By improving their construction methods, they are now able to produce tubes with the same rigidity that are only 1 mm thick. The process utilizes six layers of carbon fiber wrapped and woven together with epoxy resin under high temperature and pressure. The leg tubes themselves are now thirty percent lighter than those on previous carbon fiber models. After factoring in the weight of the aluminum fittings and other parts, the complete tripods average ten to seventeen percent lighter than before.
But the legs are no longer just simple tubes. Running down the inside of each is a special ridge that is part of the new Anti-Leg-Rotation (ALR) system incorporated into the new 6X models. No longer will Gitzo legs twist as you try to adjust them. Presently, until new Gitzo owners get the hang things they often have a hard time adjusting the legs. But no longer. You used to have to adjust the leg joints in order to not frustrate yourself in the process but this will now be a thing of the past thanks to ALR. Other manufacturers have had non-twisting legs all along so it's a welcome change to have Gitzo finally address this. You can now just loosen all the leg locks, pull the legs straight out and relock them in any order you want. Imagine that.
They've also improved the leg locks themselves. The new G-Lock system features cone-shaped locking parts that create a "gravity locking" effect as an integral feature of the tripod leg. The more weight you put atop the tripod, the more solid the leg will lock. The material used for bushings in the new locks has also changed to lessen problems with swelling and sticking when using the tripod in water.
But there's more. The leg ends have been improved to allow you to unscrew the standard rubber tips and replace them with spikes or other accessories such as sand/snow shoes. Bolts used to construct the new models are now high-grade stainless steel for improved anti-corrosion. And ground-level shooting options have been improved by letting you attach the top mounting disc directly to the leg casting, removing the center column completely.
Specific models include the new GT2530 and GT2540L which will replace the current G1257, the new GT3530 and GT3540LS which replaces the G1325 and G1327, and the GT5540LS which takes the place of the current G1548. There are several variations on each of these, so check with Gitzo for full details. They should start showing up in stores soon if they haven't already where you live. Some of these features are also being incorporated into new Basalt models and at least some new aluminum models are expected as well.
The official story is these new models are being introduced to celebrate Gitzo's 90th anniversary which falls in 2007. That may be true, but there may be more to it than that. Over the past few years, Chinese knock-off imports of Gitzo's current models have started showing up here in the West. A product of our global economy I suppose. But their arrival may have played a role in prodding Gitzo engineers to go back to their labs and come up with their new innovations. Whatever the reason, it is all of us that benefit.
Gitzo has always made excellent tripods. If you are in the market for a new tripod, I'd suggest definitely taking a look at their new models. Heck, even if you not in the market for a new tripod, you might consider upgrading anyway. They really are quite nice.