Roundup: Six Giant Tripods For Heavy Responsibility Use: Digital Images Evaluation



Roundup: Six Giant Tripods For Heavy Responsibility Use

From left to proper; ProMediaGear TR344, Actually Proper Stuff TVC-34, Sirui SR-3204, FLM CP34-L4 II, Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS. (Professional tip: preserve the leg locks away from sand if potential.)

There’s a saying about tripods; ‘Low cost, gentle, steady – you possibly can decide solely two’. And maximizing one facet will reduce the others. This roundup covers tripods that emphasize stability over affordability, and make what concessions they will to portability. Additional, these tripods signify ‘as soon as in a lifetime’ purchases for many fanatics, and ‘by no means have to fret about it’ gear for professionals.
Now we have collected collectively six tripods supposed to be used with heavy cameras, lengthy lenses, and in tough situations. They’re all from well-known makers of high quality, sturdy tripods, which share comparable specs and signify every firm’s interpretations of the ‘systematic 3-series tripod.’ Nice, however what do these phrases imply?

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Terminology | Specs comparability | Testing methodsGitzo | Sirui | FLM | ProMediaGear | Actually Proper Stuff | LeofotoConclusion

A ‘systematic’ tripod has a big, open apex with a detachable prime plate, the place completely different accent objects (video bowl, leveling base, middle column, and so forth.) might be inserted to alter the operate of the tripod itself, with no need one other set of legs.

Open Apex
Video Bowl
Half Ball
Degree Base

Gitzo pioneered this modular strategy greater than 40 years in the past, and since these preliminary tripods and their inserts had been a part of a system, Gitzo referred to them as ‘systematic’ to distinguish them from their different, non-modular tripod choices. That time period has now change into a typical to explain all tripods of this kind.
Subsequent, ‘3-series’ is one other Gitzo tripod time period referring to the completely different measurement ranges of their tripods, and it has been adopted by different producers to some extent to point the tube diameter and basic measurement of their merchandise, as nicely. Usually, it means the highest leg tube diameters of the tripod legs are between 33-36mm, though some exceed this.
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Key specs in contrast
All six tripods are the ‘3-series systematic’ sort of medium measurement and modular apex, with four-section legs on the ‘common’ size, besides the ‘lengthy model’ FLM. Subsequently, the specs are fairly shut amongst them, and the purple/ inexperienced variations within the desk under might be comparatively slight.

Gitzo GT3543LS


Leofoto LM-364C


Size (folded)*
55 cm (21.6″)
54.5 cm (21.5″)
53 cm (20.8″)
53 cm (20.8″)
53 cm (20.8″)
60 cm (23.6″)

1.94 kg (4.27 lbs)
2.1 kg (4.62 lbs)
1.82 kg (4.02 lbs)
1.93 kg (4.25 lbs)
1.92 kg (4.23 lbs)
1.95 kg (4.3 lbs)

Max. Peak*
146 cm (57.5″)
150 cm(59.1″)
150 cm(59.1″)
148 cm (58.2″)
145 cm (57.1″)
173.5 cm(68.3″)

Min. Peak*
9 cm(3.54″)
14.3 cm (5.6″)
9.4 cm(3.7″)
9 cm(3.54″)
9 cm(3.54″)

11.3 cm(4.5″)

Load Restrict##
25kg (55 lbs)
25kg (55 lbs)
27.2 kg (60 lbs)
39 kg (85 lbs)
30 kg (66 lbs)
33 kg (77 lbs)

Leg Tube Diameters*
33, 29, 25.3, 21.8 mm
33, 29.5, 26, 22mm
34, 30, 26.2, 22.4 mm
36.7, 33, 28.5, 24.7 mm
36, 32.5, 28, 25mm
34, 30, 26, 22mm

Leg Angles*

23°, 53°, 86°

25°, 51°, 79°
24°, 50°, 84°
26°, 53°, 86°
23°, 56°, 87°
25°, 54°, 84°

Platform Diameter*
70 mm(2.75″)
78mm (3.1″)
69mm (2.7″)
70 mm(2.75″)
75mm (2.95″)
75mm (2.95″)

* All sizes, weights and angles primarily based on in-house measurements.## Producer supplied quantity. Not a standardized measurement.
On this group of tripods, each represented producer provides these tripods with three or 4 part legs, and most supply ‘lengthy’ variations, for additional top. The FLM on this group is a protracted model, as that’s the solely measurement usually stocked in North America (the Medium and Small are particular order). As well as, nearly the entire manufacturers supply even bigger systematic tripods with thicker legs, and corresponding will increase in different dimensions, as nicely.
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Testing strategies – 4 seasons of use

These tripods weren’t merely unboxed or examined in a vacuum. They had been in contrast in opposition to one another over 4 seasons of pandemic-inspired pictures alongside the US Atlantic coast. Every tripod has been utilized in sand, snow, mud, rain, and salt water; arrange within the bog-like Atlantic salt marshes and the wind-swept Appalachian mountains. They’ve been loaded with gimbal heads, ball heads, geared and pano-heads, and as much as 4kg (8.8lb) lenses connected to cameras starting from APS-C to medium-format, taking pictures something from long-exposure landscapes to excessive telephoto birds-in-flight. The one check they didn’t undergo was being rough-handled on the airport, because of pandemic journey restrictions.
Because of the measurement and worth of those comparatively area of interest tripods, and contemplating how lengthy they had been used within the discipline, these critiques will embody feedback on how simple they’re to take care of, and issues on spare elements and repair. This gear is designed for long-life and continuous use in lots of difficult environments, so cleansing, care and restore needs to be a routine a part of their use.
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Gitzo GT3543LS

Gitzo has been the primary (and generally final) phrase in high-end and heavy-duty tripods for a lot of many years, and their improvements and affect are clearly seen in each different tripod of this kind available on the market. The GT3543LS exemplifies Gitzo’s continuous refinement of this sort of tripod in match, end, kind and performance. Whereas it could have the slimmest legs and narrowest stance on this group, each of which anecdotally ought to make it much less steady, it is available in a detailed second for vibration resistance.
Our take: The protected, however expensive, wager. Glorious efficiency with worldwide help
The wide range of equipment obtainable to slot in its 70mm apex means that is really a broad system to purchase into. Just a few small points come up by way of the leg angle locks and the general dimensions, however this tripod has only a few flaws and performs admirably in each scenario and check. Whereas any Gitzo is an costly proposition, they’re probably the most accessible and broadly supported tripod of this kind worldwide, which makes it a protected wager as a stalwart companion for a few years.
Learn the Gitzo GT3543LS in-depth evaluate
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Sirui SR-3204

Sirui made their identify with a line of fantastic tripod heads and a dizzying array of smaller tripods, with the SR-series on the prime of their line in most areas. Lots of the highlights from their different merchandise are on full show within the SR-3204, with glorious leg collars, well-machined aluminum and magnesium alloy elements, and glorious carbon fiber tubes, however then among the different frequent elements, such because the press-in angle locks, don’t scale up as nicely. The complete SR-series contains an aluminum legged model, in addition to a 3-section carbon fiber tripod, which decrease the already inexpensive worth of this measurement and kind of tripod.
Our take: Funds-friendly decide, with possibility for even less-expensive aluminum legs.
Functionally the built-in video bowl is sort of welcome, as is the (hard-to-find) middle column accent, however there are some compatibility points that warrant trying to different producers for add-ons. The shortage of any directions or spare elements for upkeep of this sort of help system is shocking, given the anticipated longevity. Compared on this group, the Sirui SR-3204 is a bit heavy and never as vibration resistant as its friends, and lacks some refinement in its design and features, however nonetheless provides rather a lot for the low worth.
Learn the Sirui SR-3204 in-depth evaluate
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The CP34-L4 is the tallest tripod on this roundup, on account of FLM prioritizing this ‘Giant’ measurement for the North American market, nevertheless it additionally reveals simply what might be gained from any tripod by choosing a longer-legged model. In the meantime, FLM has constructed its popularity on the rock-solid stability of its varied heads, and although these new tripods are made in China, the identical sturdy engineering and tight development is carried over. The tripod is nicely completed and extremely sturdy for its measurement, with only some missteps within the design, such because the lacking weight hook and naked metallic leg locks, however these are offset by the built-in video bowl and comparatively inexpensive worth.
Our take: The tall possibility, with considerate options at an affordable worth
Vibration resistance for this long-legged model is sort of good, and the convenience of upkeep and availability of spare elements carries over the FLM custom of help lengthy after buy. The top result’s an simply beneficial different to the top-end tripods from some other producer, and nicely definitely worth the particular order in some markets if one thing lower than the examined ‘massive’ tripod is required.
Learn the FLM CP34-L4 II in-depth evaluate
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ProMediaGear has fastidiously engineered the TR344 to be as gentle and compact as potential (besting its rivals on this group), with considerate options like quite a lot of apex attachment factors, hidden (however all the time there) foot spikes, and a big bubble stage. The obtainable choices of a larger-legged model or a extra compact apex (the TRS344), and the even bigger 42mm-series, full the PMG tripod for the high-end of demanding customers. Exploiting the systematic, modular apex on the TR344 is a bit more durable on account of a proprietary attachment technique, however many apex inserts and choices can be found from PMG.
Our take: Lightest and most compact on this group, with glorious construct and choices
Glorious vibration management traits and a really exact match and end make the TR344 a pleasure to make use of within the discipline, and whereas using handbook leg angle locks and all-metal leg collars could also be uncommon, however not a giant purposeful problem except it will get actually chilly. Cleansing and upkeep are pretty simple and well-documented, whereas spare elements can be found direct from PMG. General, the ProMediaGear TR344 ‘Professional-Stix’ tripod is a high-performing help system that does not distract with points or shortcomings throughout lengthy days of taking pictures.
Learn the ProMediaGear Professional-Stix TR344 in-depth evaluate
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Actually Proper Stuff Versa TVC34

Relating to help gear, Actually Proper Stuff is sort of all the time thought-about the ‘nec-plus-ultra’ by way of design, innovation, and excessive worth. In different phrases, nice stuff for those who can afford it. The RRS ‘Versa’ TVC-34 tripod, nonetheless, is just not far more costly than a couple of different 3-series systematic tripods on this group, however delivers practically bomb-proof stability together with eminent portability in a really refined package deal. Consideration to particulars just like the rounded leg angle locks and sealed leg collars pervade the RRS tripod line, whereas the 36.7mm prime tube diameter of the TVC-34 is the most important of any ‘3-series’ tripod on this roundup.
Our take: most stability in an overbuilt however balanced package deal
The one points to be discovered are a reluctant leg extension (on account of very tight tolerances), a easy aluminum platform, and lack of any extras within the field in comparison with the competitors. RRS features a information on sustaining their tripods and supplies spare elements and repair from their Utah headquarters. By overbuilding and oversizing nearly every part about this tripod, whereas retaining a really transportable profile, RRS has merely gone past the competitors on this roundup, and exemplifies their ‘better of one of the best’ philosophy in help tools.
Learn the Actually Proper Stuff Versa TVC34 in-depth evaluate
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Leofoto Summit LM-364C

The LM ‘Summit’ sequence of ‘systematic’ tripods from Leofoto extends to 12 completely different fashions, various in top, variety of leg sections, and leg tube width. The LM-364C is their 4-section ‘3-series’ measurement with beneficiant 36mm prime leg tubes, included extras like a padded bag and 75mm video bowl, and a big catalog of optionally available extras for that open apex. The comparatively low worth for this measurement and kind of tripod is the actual attraction, and after an intensive evaluate and lengthy testing interval, there have been only some minor points with the match of all of the elements.
Our take: Excessive worth for a low worth, with only a few compromises
Stability of the system is the first operate of any tripod, and the Leofoto doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It’s simple to make use of and can help heavy masses in quite a lot of situations. The big selection of choices within the ‘Summit’ and associated ‘Ranger’ sequence, with comparable legs and supplies, imply there may be in all probability a superb private match within the Leofoto tripod line for many wants. The one ongoing concern is the provision of elements and help lengthy after the preliminary buy, however this can fluctuate by geographic area.
Learn the Leofoto LM0364C in-depth evaluate
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Our intrepid tripods, standing tall within the shoulder season. From left to proper; SIrui SR-3204, RRS TVC-34, FLM CP34-L4, PMG TR344. Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS.

These should not your regular, run-of-the-mill, three-legged help methods by any stretch of the creativeness. They’re purposefully designed for max stability and suppleness, and is probably not a sensible choice for everybody, or each scenario. The excellent news is that every of those producers has choices for smaller, lighter, and extra transportable tripods, simply as most of them supply even bigger legs, if desired.
In any case is claimed and completed, which is one of the best ‘3-series systematic’ tripod? That will depend on many customized components; like what gear you’ll help with it, the place you’ll take it, how tall you might be, and what your price range and priorities are. Should you’ve learn via these tripod critiques with curiosity, more than likely a number of of them will bounce out at you as being one of the best compromise in your wants. And when you actually need steady help for some massive or heavy pictures tools, that tripod would be the greatest for you.
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Honest because of for offering cameras and (massive) lenses used within the creation of those critiques