Gitzo GT3542XLS Se­ries 3 6X Sys­tem­atic + GH3780QD head £1115, $1530

NPhoto - - Test Team -

The ‘sys­tem­atic’ ap­proach en­ables you to con­fig­ure this mod­u­lar tri­pod to suit your ex­act re­quire­ments Gitzo is a favourite with many pro pho­tog­ra­phers, and the ‘Sys­tem­atic’ range is its most ex­otic prod­uct line. The idea is that the large aper­ture at the cen­tre of the tri­pod col­lar can be con­fig­ured with a geared or slid­ing cen­tre col­umn, a lev­el­ling base, a video half-ball adap­tor or, as sup­plied here, a flat disk. You fit the com­po­nents that best suit your re­quire­ments.

The GT3542XLS (ex­tra long) tri­pod has four-sec­tion car­bon fi­bre legs. When folded with the GH3780QD ball head at­tached, the 80cm car­ry­ing height is the joint-long­est in the group, along with the Slik 700DX. How­ever, with all leg sec­tions ex­tended, the Gitzo reaches 212cm, dwarf­ing ev­ery­thing else in the group. That’s quite some­thing, con­sid­er­ing it doesn’t have a cen­tre col­umn. The lack of a cen­tre col­umn en­ables ul­tra-low shoot­ing down to 20cm.

Per­for­mance

As you’d ex­pect from a tri­pod of this price, the build qual­ity is fab­u­lous. The load rat­ing of the legs and head are 25kg and 21kg re­spec­tively, and the Gitzo feels solid even when sup­port­ing the heav­i­est D-SLRs and lenses. All ad­just­ments are quick, easy and ef­fec­tive, and the ball head lock­ing mech­a­nism works well. Even so, per­for­mance of some com­peti­tors comes close, at a frac­tion of the price.

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