Gitzo GT2540FL carbon fibre tripod and Gitzo GH2780FQR Ball tripod head user review.
This Gitzo tripod review is based on actual use of the items for a couple of years; the items were not supplied or donated but bought for professional use. I am not a techno wiz, I’m a photographer, the items I use are tools, they have a job to do and I judge and rate them on how they do that particular job for me on a daily basis and hopefully others might find these reviews of interest.
Gitzo GT2540FL carbon fibre tripod. This was my first carbon fibre tripod having used aluminium prior. It’s not the smallest or lightest in the Gitzo range but as I intended to use it both outdoors and in the studio that was not the main reason for going for this model.
The tripod certainly has a good and professional look; the green and dark grey of the carbon is a nice matte colour.
The movement while extracting the legs (4 segments per leg) has and after a lot of work still is smooth and easy, with one twist to lock and unlock being all that is needed. I have used the tripod in dusty, hot, muddy and wet environments and the locks and general leg movements have never been a problem.
While I have never at this stage needed to use the leg spikes, they are located under the rubber caps at the base of each leg, I initially had concerns regarding the spikes as you need to have them attached in order to have the rubber plugs on, the plugs gripping the spikes to stay in place (you can remove the spikes but then the rubber caps can’t be used). All this means that you have an extendable leg with a spike hidden under a cap, my worry was with airport security, I mean you can’t take metal knifes or forks etc. and yet here you are with a javelin type things with a spike, quite a weapon in some ways, but having travelled quite a bit and with my camera gear always being hand luggage (including the tripod) I have as yet (touch wood) not had any problems or issues. Still, I think it would be wise if Gitzo addressed this design feature as I feel it’s only a matter of time before it starts to become an issue for flight.
The centre lock can be a bit sticky, (not that I use it very often) and in dusty areas on an early cold morning it can be a real pain to un-lock.
Generally I am very happy with this tripod, it has a rough life and as yet shows little signs of wear and functions as it did when new.
Gitzo GH2780FQR Ball head.
The GH2780FQR matches the legs in colour and style (if that’s important to you) and it attaches easily and securely to the tripod.
From this point on I have to say I am not that impressed with this head (exp, coming from the Gitzo company and with attached price tag). While its basic function is fine, ball movement is smooth and generally quite easy for frame alignment I have had a number of irritating issues that I feel I should not have with a head of this calibre.
For a period I was doing some extensive driving, the tripod was always on the back seat while I travelled and I was mostly in the Australian outback. After a few days of this I was cleaning my gear and noticed that one of the spirit levels on the top plate was missing, scouring through the car I manage to find the level but had no luck with the locking screw, ended up sealing the level in with silicone (bear with me here as this is not the only issue from what I imagine came from vibration while it was on the back seat of a car).
A few day later I was working a shot and was having stability issues, I checked the base mount attached to the camera, that was fine, it was the top plate on the head, three allen key screws had worked themselves loose allowing movement of the top plate,,,,,,ummmm (once I tightened them they have, as of yet not worked loose again), I now carry a small tool kit for the head and unfortunately have repeatedly needed to use it on other issues.
Next issue was and is the locking ring on the ball lock, it came loose on that trip (again needing tools to fix (see attached picture)) and has since worked its way loose four more times (this is after hard tightening), once with the whole assembly falling off into the dirt and being covered in grease there is no need to tell you how that went.
The top plate lock is fine, the safety lock etc, all seem to be fine and I have had no problems with them or with general ball movement, but I have to say that while I use this head daily their’s always a niggling un-trust that has crept in.
Well there you have it, a short review but one based on actually using the items in the real world and after a few years doing so.
Would I still buy the tripod now knowing what I know, yes. The head however is a different story, looking in hindsight, no, I would go for a different head for this setup.
Hope this helps and any questions you might have can be posted in the comment section and I will try to answer as soon as I can.
Next review will be on the “ThinkTank airport security V2.0 bag”