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Old Monday 3rd April 2017, 20:16   #1
pmaxp
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Head Opinions: Sirui VH-10 vs Gitzo GH1720

Greetings All:
Now that I have my new (used) Gitzo tripod (3541L) I need a new head. I use a Nikon 82ED scope. I have read as many of the relevant postings and have narrowed it down to these two heads. It seems that one significant difference is the ability of the Gitzo to be adapted to use Arca-Swiss QR plates. I am curious to hear from the community their opinions so I can make a final purchase decision. Thank you all in advance.
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Old Tuesday 4th April 2017, 04:11   #2
Alexis Powell
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Still loving my GH1720QR for its light weight and smooth and solid operation (see other threads for my earlier comments). I use it with an Arca-type plate adapter and Nikon 82ED. I've no experience with the Sirui.

--AP
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Old Tuesday 4th April 2017, 11:01   #3
dogfish
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I'm not a great fan of the Gitzo, mine is far from smooth when tilting and panning. I use it with a Swaro ATS 65 HD so wonder if Alexis's heavier scope might help improve the action.

Sean

Last edited by dogfish : Tuesday 4th April 2017 at 17:50. Reason: missed out the 65 in scope name
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Old Tuesday 4th April 2017, 17:45   #4
kabsetz
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My impression is that people's opinions about video heads also depend on their habits of using it. I might be a bit out-of-date with this generalization, but when I have been birding in the U.S. and elsewhere, rather few birders seemed to use their scopes for tracking birds in flight. Tracking birds in flight is something we do a lot in the Nordic countries, and this places higher requirements on smooth operation of the head.

There are also some unit-to-unit differences in how smoothly and with how much resistance fluid-type heads pan and tilt.

I used to have the Nikon ED 82 A, and now have a Swaro ATX 95. With the Nikon, I mostly used a Gitzo 2380, which was very sturdy and had rather good resistance and damping for both panning and tilting, but lacked a balance spring. I now have a rather early specimen of the Sirui VH 10, which is just as sturdy and vibration-free as the 2380 was, but has the additional benefit of a balance spring which is excellent when following birds in flight. My Sirui has just about perfect tilt behavior, but I'd prefer a bit more damping for panning, especially in warm temperatures. In below-freezing temps, the action stiffens up enough to be rather close to ideal. Newer VH 10's seem to have even less damping in the horizontal movement, so it is worthwhile to try these out before buying. Shape, size contours and controls are very good on the Sirui.

The GH 1720 I have no personal user-experience of, but have seen it in stores and briefly tried it out.

Kimmo
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Old Tuesday 4th April 2017, 19:23   #5
Alexis Powell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dogfish View Post
I'm not a great fan of the Gitzo, mine is far from smooth when tilting and panning. I use it with a Swaro ATS 65 HD so wonder if Alexis's heavier scope might help improve the action.
Mine is smooth with a light scope as well. I think the problem, as Kimmo noted, is inconsistent manufacturing of these small "fluid" heads. I've noticed a lot of variation among individual units of various Manfrotto and some Gitzo models.

--AP
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Old Wednesday 5th April 2017, 15:20   #6
safaridreaming
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I have the VH-10 but to be honest I find it overkill for a spotting scope.

My Kowa Highlander is mounted on this head. I prefer the smaller VA-5 for my spotter.

Both the Swaro ATS 80 and the Zeiss Diascope 85 balance perfectly on this head and can be left in any position without drooping or creeping... perfectly smooth pan/tilt motion as well.

Its also smaller and lighter so if you're walking with your tripod, the weight of the head is negligible.

Photo below is the Zeiss Diascope on the VA-5 head and the Kowa Highlander on the VH-10

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...pstkzcrj60.jpg

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a2...psvkyn9qal.jpg

cheers
Jeelan
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Old Thursday 6th April 2017, 20:31   #7
WimDel
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You should also consider the Manfrotto MVH500AH, I have recently compared it to the Sirui VH-10 and I found the Manfrotto head to be smoother. I also used the Gitzo head a few years ago, I don't think it equals the Manfrotto or even the Sirui in smoothness. My 2c.
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Old Friday 7th April 2017, 01:42   #8
Bill Atwood
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Totally agree with Wim. I have a VH-10, it performs fine, but my first one crapped out shortly after purchase. Returning it could of been smoother, plus I had to pay return shipping for a defective unit. Would get a MVH500AH if I had to do it over. Last time I checked the Manfrotto is significantly less than the VH-10.
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Old Friday 7th April 2017, 02:04   #9
safaridreaming
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Atwood View Post
Totally agree with Wim. I have a VH-10, it performs fine, but my first one crapped out shortly after purchase. Returning it could of been smoother, plus I had to pay return shipping for a defective unit. Would get a MVH500AH if I had to do it over. Last time I checked the Manfrotto is significantly less than the VH-10.
yeah the price makes the Manfrotto MV500ah quite attractive and they come on special frequently too..

i dont see too many price variations on the Sirui's...

but again, i just find the size of these heads overkill compared to the spotter itself...



cheers
Jeelan
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Old Saturday 8th April 2017, 05:52   #10
Bill Atwood
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"but again, i just find the size of these heads overkill compared to the spotter itself..."

For an 80mm (or the OP's 82mm Nikon) scope sure, for the ATX95 I think they are prime candidates.
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Old Monday 10th April 2017, 07:10   #11
safaridreaming
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Atwood View Post
"but again, i just find the size of these heads overkill compared to the spotter itself..."

For an 80mm (or the OP's 82mm Nikon) scope sure, for the ATX95 I think they are prime candidates.
Bill, I keep forgetting the market has moved on from 80-85mm scopes - they are now considered small :-)

I've never seen the 95mm in person, but looking at the specs its seems like a beast of a scope!!

cheers
Jeelan
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Old Tuesday 11th April 2017, 14:29   #12
pmaxp
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Thanks for the advice. It seems that the quick release plate issue is not especially important for people. By that I am referring to the Arca-Swiss type system vs. the Manfrotto system. It appears that only Gitzo (GH1720QR) provides an adapter for the A-S system.

I also have determined that the Gitzo head is about 1/2 the weight of both the Manfrotto (MVH500AH) and the Sirui (VH-10).

I am still undecided, but am leaning towards trying the Sirui.

Any more thoughts?
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Old Sunday 16th April 2017, 02:40   #13
safaridreaming
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If you intend to do any digiscoping, you may want to consider the higher capacity heads..

The Gitzo is rated to 4kg which could be exceeded if you start attaching cameras etc to your Nikon..

I know i noted previously my preference for the lighter style head (i use the Sirui VA-5) but I know the head wouldn't be able to handle cameras etc attached to the scope. I'd need to use a larger head if that was the case..

The Sirui VH-10, Manfrotto MVH500ah etc are a higher capacity head (around 6kg) so should be able to handle digiscoping setup a lot better. You can also get longer QR plates for the them for better balancing of your setup.

Do you use your Nikon exclusively for optical viewing or do you digiscope as well?

cheers
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Old Thursday 20th April 2017, 14:54   #14
pmaxp
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I use my set-up for scoping. I may buy an Novagarde iphone bracket, but unlikely anything more substantial.

I gather that the type/style of the quick release plate is not an especially significant issue.
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Old Monday 24th April 2017, 13:40   #15
PaulZr
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I use the larger Gitzo 2720QR, and after less than 2 years, it's essentially unusable, the vertical tilt is nearly locked solid, even with the control knob all the way loosened. This is the 2nd one, after the first failed within 90 days, and was replaced by the selling company. I use it on a Vortex Razor 85, on a Gitzo 2542 Mountaineer, and it gets treated well. While waiting on a response from Gitzo, I'm looking for an alternative head.
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Old Tuesday 12th September 2017, 13:08   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulZr View Post
I use the larger Gitzo 2720QR, and after less than 2 years, it's essentially unusable, the vertical tilt is nearly locked solid, even with the control knob all the way loosened. This is the 2nd one, after the first failed within 90 days, and was replaced by the selling company. I use it on a Vortex Razor 85, on a Gitzo 2542 Mountaineer, and it gets treated well. While waiting on a response from Gitzo, I'm looking for an alternative head.
Just following up on my post here. My 2720QR head was repaired under warranty (2 years), and now performs as good as new. After it gets used through this winter, I'll know how the repair holds up.
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Old Wednesday 13th September 2017, 17:27   #17
Saxatilis
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Originally Posted by PaulZr View Post
Just following up on my post here. My 2720QR head was repaired under warranty (2 years), and now performs as good as new. After it gets used through this winter, I'll know how the repair holds up.
Hello PaulZr
also my Gitzo GH1720QR head starts to show the same issue (vertical tilt which is very rigid) and I am a bit disappointed.
Do you know (or did someone at the Repair Center tell you) the exact cause of this problem?
Thanks

Last edited by Saxatilis : Wednesday 13th September 2017 at 17:29.
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Old Wednesday 13th September 2017, 19:33   #18
PaulZr
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Hello PaulZr
also my Gitzo GH1720QR head starts to show the same issue (vertical tilt which is very rigid) and I am a bit disappointed.
Do you know (or did someone at the Repair Center tell you) the exact cause of this problem?
Thanks
Sorry to hear that! Given the high cost of these heads, we should expect years of trouble-free operation.

The U.S. Repair center is C.R.I.S., in Arizona. They didn't provide any detailed explanation. All I was told is that internal parts needed replacement, so it took quite a while to get it back. My guess is a failure of the fluid cartridges. In any case, there is either a design defect, or a manufacturing defect. I hope for the latter, since there really isn't any other head out there with similar functionality. The giant friction knob is really helpful for arthritic hands.

If the repair fails, I'll certainly contact Gitzo, but wouldn't bother with a repair if not covered under warranty. I would have taken mine apart to see what was sticking, but didn't want to void the warranty.
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 10:11   #19
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This may be a bit off-topic, as it concerns horizontal panning movement and not on GH1720, but since it is about Gitzo heads I'll add it anyway.

Some years back, I had the somewhat careless habit of keeping my Gitzo 2380 outside on our open balcony with my waterproof scope attached, ready to use in a second if something of interest would fly by, which frequently happened. There was some rain occasionally, and sometimes the gear would be wet. After a while, the panning action of the Gitzo started to feel decidedly notchy and stiff.

Rather than send it over for repair, I obtained an exploded view drawing of the head, and dismantled it myself. The cause of the problem was quickly found: all the ball bearings for the horizontal movement were rusted. I fixed the problem by cleaning everything carefully, discarding the ball bearings, applying new grease and purchasing stainless steel ball bearings from a specialist bearing dealer, and it has worked as well as or better than new since.

Non-stainless bearings in a non-sealed place in gear intended for heavy outdoor use is not what I'd like to see in what is sold and priced as a quality product, but that is what I found. Luckily, the silicone fluid parts of the head were not contaminated and the rust had not yet caused any lasting damage to the parts that would have been harder to replace.

Kimmo

Last edited by kabsetz : Thursday 14th September 2017 at 10:13.
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Old Thursday 14th September 2017, 13:04   #20
Saxatilis
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Dear Kimmo and PaulZR
I'm also thinking about dismantling the GH 1720 QR head and trying to find the issue and operate a repair on my own. I have also the exploded view of this "birdwatching" head which can be somewhat different in internal design from the more traditional ones.
I'm also moved to do so because an italian official repair centre I have recently asked by phone assumed some repair costs, just for single spare parts, so high that I probably might almost buy a brand new head.
I could think of getting it with a new lubrication of the internal parts involved in the tilt movement, at least I hope so.

Last edited by Saxatilis : Thursday 14th September 2017 at 13:07.
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Old Wednesday 20th September 2017, 06:19   #21
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FWIW, I have the Sirui VA-5, and dismayed at the cost of additional Sirui QR plates, called BHPhoto or other alternatives. According the their salesman, this Sirui head is compatible with Acra-style QR plates and directed me to several alternatives. I have yet to purchase one and try it out in person, however.
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Old Friday 22nd September 2017, 03:01   #22
Alexis Powell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ostracod View Post
FWIW, I have the Sirui VA-5, and dismayed at the cost of additional Sirui QR plates, called BHPhoto or other alternatives. According the their salesman, this Sirui head is compatible with Acra-style QR plates and directed me to several alternatives. I have yet to purchase one and try it out in person, however.
Well, whichever Arca type plate you get, make sure that it has a lip or pin that prevents it from being able to rotate on your scope.

--AP
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Old Thursday 26th October 2017, 15:22   #23
Saxatilis
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Hello
finally I decided to open and dismantle my GH1720qr Gitzo head trying to restore it on my own.
I had to apply a new coat of lubricating solid grease (PTFE type), removing the pristine and sticky one chiefly at the base of the pan mechanism.
I applied this solid grease on the inner parts I got to have access to, whilst I dropped a bit of special lubricating oil on the tilt mechanism.
This treatment resulted in a much smoother pan-tilt movements, giving a perfect and balanced degree of fluidity in both axes.
No more unwanted rigidity and effort when I use the 15x56 Vortex Kaibab on this head.
That's all for the moment!
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