Friday, June 3, 2011

REVIEW: Gitzo GT3530LS-Maximum Stability for Long Exposure, Landscape and Studio Photography

 

*** PLEASE NOTE that the tripod featured in this article
has been replaced by the Gitzo GT3532LS ***

Gitzo GT3530LS with Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head
Gitzo GT3530LS with Really Right Stuff BH-55 Ball Head
Maximum Stability

We buy tripods because we need a way to have the stability of putting our camera on solid level surface in places where no such surface exists. As a results early tripods were no more than a solid surface with legs. However, as time has evolved tripod makers have discovered that people want something that allows them to position their gear into odd configurations for things like macro photography, so octopus-like tripods like the Gitzo GT2531EX are their solution.

Gitzo GT3530LS trades a center column for stablility
This huge flat surface for mounting your head is as solid as it gets

For those doing landscape photography or even portrait photography in the studio, all of that flexibly offered by flexible tripods or hiking tripods like the Gitzo GT1541 come at the expense of stability. Some argue that the flexible center column has a tremendous impact on stability as do the tiny surfaces for which many other tripods give you to mount your head. To satisfy the needs of this crowd, Gitzo offers the GT3501LS which is about as solid as a wall which is especially critical for those doing extremely long exposures. Under very long exposure conditions even the slightest movement can ruin the sharpness of the image, so the GT3530LS is the ultimate solution in maximum stability for up to 39.6lbs (18kg) of gear. However, thanks to the carbon fiber design, yet it only weighs 4 lbs (1.840kg)!

Gitzo GT3530LS - Mouse over to see unlocked and mouse out to see locked
The leg angle locks were both fast to operate and rock solid under pressure
In fact Gitzo claims the get even more solid the the more you put weight on them

This tripod features three position angle locks for the legs that actually become more stable under load. Mouse in and out the image above to see how to lock and unlock the legs.

Gitzo GT3530LS in its minimum height configuration of only 4+ inches

Thanks to the lack of a center column, you can get this tripod down to a minimum height of 4.3” (11cm) and quickly raise it back up to its maximum height of 58.3”(148cm). As you can see below, I’m 6’1” and this height is a usable operating height for me, but for those who want a higher operating height and don’t mind an extra leg segment then Gitzo offers the GT3541XLS which goes up to 6’6” (198cm).

Gitzo GT3530LS in its maximum height configuration next to me standing at 6'1"
I’m 6’1” and the L version offers a comfortable height
but the
GT3541XLS will go all the way up to 6’6”

But I WANT A Center Column

Gitzo GS3511S Compact Rapid 6x Carbon Fiber Center Column
GS3511S Compact Rapid 6x Carbon Fiber Center Column

I know some people can’t deal without the center column, so Gitzo has a solution – the Gitzo GS3511S Compact Rapid 6x Carbon Fiber Center Column as a way to have your cake and eat it too. There’s even a Gitzo GS3511KB Carbon 6X Low Level Column Kit if for some reason you want a center column when down low with this tripod.

Conclusion

This is a rock solid tripod that is a must for gimbal head users that are carrying big 400mm lenses and up. It’s also the perfect solution for studio photographers and those doing long exposures like landscape photographers. While the GT3541XLS will offer some additional height, the stability of the three section design is my preference for this class of tripod.

This will be the tripod I get for my studio use, when I can managed to afford it! I therefore highly recommend this tripod for the uses described above, and I have no negative comments about this product beyond its price. For those looking for more flexibility or much lighter weight then I’d suggest you check out my tripod recommendations.

If you found this article helpful, please support this blog by purchasing your GT3530LS at B&H.

*** PLEASE NOTE that the tripod featured in this article
has been replaced by the Gitzo GT3532LS ***

To learn more about the Gitzo system, check out my Gitzo Primer.

Disclaimer

B&H has provided me with the tripods featured in this series on a loaner basis. I do not get to keep them and will be returning them back to B&H if I choose not to buy them.

Gitzo had nothing to do with this article and as of the time of this writing, time I’ve never spoken to anyone from Gitzo. I do not have a relationship with Really Right Stuff (RRS) and I DO NOT make a commission if you purchase any RRS products.

If you purchase using the links in the article from B&H, I may get a commission. Thank you for supporting this blog by using my links when you make your purchase.

If you enjoyed this article, please support future articles like this by making a donation or saving money by using my discount coupon codes. Either way, your support is greatly appreciated!

This blog is intended for freelance writing and sharing of opinions and is not a representative of any of the companies whose links are provided on this site.

The opinions provided are of Ron Martinsen alone and do not reflect the view of any other entity

4 comments:

AikenImagery said...

Helpful review, I find that Gitzo sizes vary greatly, and that being average height a 60" base is too low and the above-mentioned is probably overkill!

Your review helped clear things up for me, between a rock and hard place/

Ron Martinsen said...

This is the big lens tripod, so yeah if you aren't using big lenses or have plans to use a gimbal then it's definitely overkill

sjw Ga said...

Ta for the cool review, just wondering if you think it's worth going for the GT5531S legs over the GT3531S model?
They seem to be pretty similar in specs but one is the 5 series and one is the 3 series...
Then again the RRS TVC-33 legs look pretty good too!

Was going to use them with either the Arca-Swiss Z1 or the Benro B3 or possibly the BH-55, undecided at the moment.

Cheers

Ron Martinsen said...

SJW,

The GT5531S legs look great. I haven't used them permanently, but if you are going to be using a gimbal they may sense. If you aren't going to be using a gimbal, then they are probably overkill.

Of the heads you mention, I'd say do the BH-55 or the Z1. The Benro B3 is decent, but if you can afford these top of the line legs you should get a comparable head