Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Gitzo & Really Right Stuff Tripods - TVC-34L

    I currently use a Gitzo GT5541LS tripod for most of the shooting that I do with large glass.  Previously I have used the Gitzo GT3541LS, GT3531s (I am sure you have seen a picture of it if you have googled "nikon 600mm f/4" when I had my afs II on a crappy ballhead at the beach), Gitzo GT5530s, and the GT3541XLS.  The GT3541xls was great, sturdy and tall but was too long for traveling when completely closed up. The GT3541ls was almost tall enough for me (I am 6'-1") and alright with a 500mm f/4 or less.  The GT5530s was massive, heavy and sturdy as hell.  It unfortunately was just too short for me and I hated the center column on it.  I have taken the GT3531s with me to Alaska as it proved to be great for packing in checked luggage and strong enough for the 300mm VR that I took along (I wish I took longer glass!).

Nikon 600mm f/4. Gitzo GT3531s
Nikon 600mm f/4 AF-S II w/ Gitzo GT3531s
Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR
Nikon 400mm f/2.8 VR w/ Gitzo GT5530s

    Now, the GT5541LS is a great tripod and it has been my go to for some time now.  It is a bit on the heavy side at a tad over 6lbs for just the legs.  Add a wimberley head at 3 pounds and you are carrying some weight.  I had always thought that Gitzo was the only way to go as I could not find a comparable product in the market place.  
    Now, I know Really Right Stuff was going to be making tripods for some time now, but I never saw any in action or much advertising of them.  I have been reading a lot about their Really Right Stuff TVC-33 in many online photo forums and really enjoying what I am seeing and reading.  Looking at the specs, the weight of the tripod looks fantastic, but it seems it might come up a little short for me when fully extended and a little long when folded up.  
    Enter the Really Right Stuff TVC-34L.  I am excited about the prospects of this one as it has a full height of 70" when extended and a tad over 24" when fully closed up.  The best part, 4.7lbs and a smaller overall diameter of the top plate.  This is almost 2lbs lighter, opens up taller and more compact than the GT5541LS that I am currently using.  I am heading back to Alaska this summer and will be packing the 600mm VR and I need a good tripod to pack.  Weight and size savings will be welcomed like a new family member.  I am anxiously awaiting the release of the TVC-34L and can't wait to give my review.
Nikon 500mm f/4 VR. Gitzo GT5541LS
Nikon 500mm f/4 VR w/ Gitzo GT5541LS
Gitzo GT5541LS vs GT3541LS
Size Comparison of the Gitzo GT5544LS vs. Gitzo GT3541LS