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Old Thursday 3rd March 2011, 19:21   #26
Sy V
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Helios

You have my utmost sympathy.
I don't use Gitzo (7D, Sigma 500mm, Manfrotto Tripod and Indian Gimbal) but if this had happened to me I cannot imagine how absolutely distraught I would have felt.
I think everyone, regardless of equipment manufacturer should take heed and take time out to check equipment integrity regularly.
Your mishap Helios, could be a saving grace (in a very unfortunate way) to many like-minded friends.
Better luck for the future

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Old Thursday 3rd March 2011, 23:45   #27
Clive Watson
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Just checked mine after this talk of star-headed screws - it's held on by a hexagonal bolt, so an Allen key wouldn't actually be any good to me (mine is a Gitzo 1325 and looks different to Helios's picture, where you can clearly see the Allen key slot). It still looks as tight as the day it was fixed on Fair Isle (I forget the name of the bloke who helped me, but he had green skin and was wearing just shorts).

In retrospect it doesn't look like a very good piece of design. It would help if the circular piece was fatter at the bottom so that you might get loosening as a kind of warning before it falls out.
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Old Friday 4th March 2011, 10:18   #28
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I would have sworn that my 5 series was fitted with Allen-keyed bolts, but having just checked both the centre plate and legs are fitted with Torx (star) bolts. No need to buy special screwdrivers though because the tripod came with two angled Torx keys - you need one for each end of the leg bolts - and a small Allen key for the little bolt used to prevent rotation of the head on the top plate.

Everything is as tight as it ever was and I usually carry my tripod like Fred Hurteau with thick pipe insulation on the top sections for shoulder protection.

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Old Friday 4th March 2011, 10:41   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Watts View Post
I usually carry my tripod like Fred Hurteau with thick pipe insulation on the top sections for shoulder protection.

Bill
I just couldn't walk around like that ! I'd probably end up damaging the lens by walking in to a branch or similar. I find it much more comfortable to have the tripod over my shoulder and the weight spread over both my shoulder and the flat top of my back back. I imagine it's easier to climb up and down inclines in this fashion too.
However, I wave been warned of the implications now !
I actually wrote to Wimberley before purchasing their Mk11 head and specifically asked about carrying the lens in this manor, and it's suitability with a Manfrotto Pro55x and their answer was much lass evasive.They gave it the green light.
cheers Dave
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Old Friday 4th March 2011, 22:06   #30
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my NSN plate arrived today 2 days from B&H NYC, its a nicely made and finished plate, fitted in seconds and doesn't interfere with the tripod apart from the little hook underneath cant be retro fitted, had to pay 19.00 VAT
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Old Saturday 5th March 2011, 06:53   #31
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Sorry about the accident Dave.....what about a spot of 'thread Lock' next time!!
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Old Saturday 5th March 2011, 16:31   #32
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Many thanks for all the replies and comments. As several people have experienced this, it does seem to be a design issue with the mounting plate. The repair has been extimated at 1300, which is not as bad as I feared, although this could change. I have a series 5 Gitzo, which should be the best of the best, but bare fact is that the mounting plate is held by a collar that is tightened by only one screw. I don't remember fitting the plate myself, and can't find any torx tool to tighten the holding screw, so I believe the plate came factory fitted (although I might be wrong).

You can easily get the torx head in various socket sets. I have a very cheap set that I use for work (5 from the garage), but I think I'll need something a bit more substancial to tighten the collar properly.

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Old Saturday 5th March 2011, 16:35   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkeet View Post
After reading this thread will interest I sent Gitzo a Email regarding my GT5531S tripod.
This was the reply.
"Thank you for your enquiry into Gitzo products.
To ensure that the camera and lens do not pull the top plate out, the user must ensure that the weight of the camera and lens is distributed centrally on the tripod. The only cause for the top plate being pulled out is the result of poor set-up, the camera and lens weight being positioned too far from the centre of the tripod. There is nothing wrong with the design of the tripod or the quality of the materials used.
Hope this helps."
Seems to suggest that the tripod isn't suitable for carrying the setup over your shoulder. But I guess we know this now.
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Old Saturday 5th March 2011, 17:21   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomkeet View Post
After reading this thread will interest I sent Gitzo a Email regarding my GT5531S tripod.
This was the reply.
"Thank you for your enquiry into Gitzo products.
To ensure that the camera and lens do not pull the top plate out, the user must ensure that the weight of the camera and lens is distributed centrally on the tripod. The only cause for the top plate being pulled out is the result of poor set-up, the camera and lens weight being positioned too far from the centre of the tripod. There is nothing wrong with the design of the tripod or the quality of the materials used.
Hope this helps."

As Etudiant has already mentioned, this is a very, very poor response from Gitzo. Their response is, in other words : "Do NOT carry the tripod with camera/lens attached horizontally over the shoulder".
Most birders DO, and photographers probably as well, since it is the easiest way to carry gear and have it ready when needed instantly. All else is just nonsense.
Tripod manufacturers should not be giving snug answers, they should be aware of the needs of their clients. If we want a tripod we can carry horizontally over the shoulder with heavy spotting scope or camera/lens attached, they should make something that will give 100% peace of mind, and eliminate even the slightest fear the whole lot comes apart and expensive gear drops dead.
I'm not talking about screws, I'm talking about bolts and I'm talking about welding.
I want a tripod to be as sturdy and trustworthy as possible, so we can concentrate on birds instead of worrying that our expensive gear hangs on a thread and can fall off any moment.

It's a bl**dy shame that Gitzo doesn't respond to our needs, but only tells us how we should carry our stuff.
Just listen to us and give us 100% peace of mind!

Best regards,

Ronald
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Old Saturday 5th March 2011, 18:26   #35
Clive Watson
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Why is the circular mounting plate removable anyway? Why isn't it just a solid piece of metal? Are there other mounting plates that can be interchanged?
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Old Saturday 5th March 2011, 19:08   #36
Duke Leto
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Yes there are various options from that require different plates to be fitted
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Old Sunday 6th March 2011, 09:55   #37
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Not good for this to happen can i suggest a simple fix using a roll pin they come in many sizes .
All you have to do is drill a hole through both parts and tap the pin in ,i would recommend 2 pins one opposite the other .
Rob.
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Old Sunday 6th March 2011, 19:05   #38
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I think we should all thank Helios for posting this as it is a wake up call for anyone carry a big lens like this. Although my tripod is different to the Gitzo in as much as it has three grub screws holding the mounting base in, I went out yesterday and was thinking about it every time I slung the rig over my shoulder. So today I have made a cheap but hopefully effective remedy by using cable ties to further reinforce the two parts. I am not 100% sure it will work but it will certainly put my mind at ease. Only thing I need now is to find some black cable ties.
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Old Sunday 6th March 2011, 19:39   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roy C View Post
I think we should all thank Helios for posting this as it is a wake up call for anyone carry a big lens like this.
Totally agree Roy.
Like your fix, simple but effective. Pity your not closer Roy I have some black ties.
Managed to do a "quick fix" using a plastic disk on my Gitzo, just looking for a small sheet of 1/8" aluminium sheet now!
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Old Sunday 6th March 2011, 23:15   #40
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Hi Roy C,
Nice McGuyver fix! Quick, easy and cheap.
Maybe add a third tie to further constrain the top section with the weighty optics. In Helios' case , it looked as if they had levered out of the retaining ring.
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Old Monday 7th March 2011, 07:54   #41
Roy C
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Hi Roy C,
Nice McGuyver fix! Quick, easy and cheap.
Maybe add a third tie to further constrain the top section with the weighty optics. In Helios' case , it looked as if they had levered out of the retaining ring.
Yep, I have already tidy up with a third tie which now makes them equally spaced and neatly criss crossed around each leg section.
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Old Monday 7th March 2011, 08:18   #42
Duke Leto
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Another great British invention, probably around 10K of gear and the safety net is 15pence worth of cable tie......
Agree the black ones will look better, nice one Roy

In my case none of this would have worked as I tripped and smashed my lens against the ground, now Roy if you can invent a kind of air bag system as well.
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Old Monday 7th March 2011, 18:23   #43
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Yep, I have already tidy up with a third tie which now makes them equally spaced and neatly criss crossed around each leg section.


Excellent!

Exactly how I would have done it. Maybe Gitzo should include some black cable-ties to come with their expensive gear.

Best regards,

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Old Monday 7th March 2011, 21:47   #44
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My first attempt at a safety plate for my Gitzo GT5531S, further improvements to be made when I can find a sheet of 1/8" aluminium and buy a Tripod Thread Adaptor, but at least it's a start!
Hope it's maybe of use to some one else.
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Old Wednesday 20th April 2011, 16:27   #45
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I had exactly the same thing happen with my Gitzo GT5541LS recently.
I was carrying my Canon 7D with 500mm F4 attached when suddenly there was a load thump on the floor.
Fortunately I had just stepped off a concreted area onto an area of damp ground with long grass so I got away with a couple of light marks.
The tripod ids only 18 months old and not what I expected from a 'Professionally priced' Tripod.
When I examined tripod in more detail it appears the only thing preventing this from happening is one screw that clamps the centre plate in position.
Even though this did not even appear to be loose it was obviously not tight enough to prevent this kind of accident.
When I took this up with Gitzo (Manfrotto ) UK they basically stated that they did not recommend carrying a camera and lens mounted on the tripod !! - This is nothing but a cop out on their behalf and totally unrealistic in the real world of wildlife photography when you have to stalk whatever it is you are trying to photograph.
Furthermore coming from an engineering background there is absolutely no reason why Gitzo can't be taking further measures to prevent this kind of incident.
The bolt in question has NOTHING in its design to prevent it from working loose. I have re-tightened the bolt and added a spring washer ( cost approx 1p ! ) under the head which should prevent the bolt working loose.
In addition I applied some Loctite 222 screw thread adhesive which is designed to prevent screws coming undone but is a non permanent adhesive which allows it to be removed should you wish to do so.
Having seen the problem first hand I would recommend anyone with a Gitzo with this design to at least check the tightness of this bolt on a regular basis.
Although Gitzo will not admit any liability I understand that they have a new tripod currently being designed that may have a different arrangement.
I wonder why that might be ?
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Old Thursday 21st April 2011, 14:25   #46
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Although Gitzo will not admit any liability I understand that they have a new tripod currently being designed that may have a different arrangement.

The addition of three cable ties maybe?
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Old Friday 10th June 2011, 21:29   #47
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For what it's worth - I use a Gitzo 3530LS with a Wimberley 2 + 600 F4 L IS. The problem of the top plate is simply a non issue to me. The reason for this is that as the mounting thread on the Wimberley is alloy and the screw on the Gitzo top plate is steel. Inevitably one is going to damage the Wimberley thread by continual mounting/dismounting. I simply remove the top plate, complete with head, when dismounting my gear. This method ensures that the top plate is securely gripped every time you re mount it and will not creep/loosen with temperature changes etc over time.
Works for me!
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Old Thursday 16th June 2011, 21:32   #48
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Thank you so much Helios for sharing your experience, heartbreaking stuff!

I had no idea that the top plate was fitted so flimsily, this is quite incredible. Ordered the NSN safety plate immediately!

Gitzo's comments are very disappointing and mean minded. What they should be doing is supplying the safety plate themselves FOC. I have two of their expensive tripods and was living in a false sense of security until now.

I switched from Manfrotto after becoming disillusioned with their dreadful carbon fibre tripods - leg fittings that were always working loose, clips that became brittle and broke. Can anyone recommend a viable alternative to the GT5531S for a heavy telephoto set up?

Thanks a lot, Mike
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Old Monday 27th June 2011, 16:06   #49
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Noticed the post regarding the Gitzo head and thought you might want to refer to my earlier post dated 30th May.
I have pasted the contents below -

Having purchased a Gitzo GT5541LS tripod little over a year ago, you can Imagine my horror when carrying the tripod with an expensive DSLR and 500mm f4 lens attached I heard a loud thud and found both the camera and lens on the ground still attached to the tripod head ( Manfrotto 393 ).
On closer inspection it appears that the only thing preventing the whole head / camera lens etc falling off is the tightness of a single bolt even though in this case it didn't even appear to be noticeably loose.
To cut a long story short I contacted Gitzo UK (Manfrotto) and unbelievably they stated that they did not advise the tripod to be carried with a camera and lens attached. ( Try stalking an animal or bird if every time it moves you have to remove and re-attach camera / lens to the tripod to follow it !! ).
Seeing the potential for a re-currance of the issue I then asked a machinest mate of mine to look at something that would help prevent this from happening in the future.
As a result he has made up a lightweight fixture that I have now fitted to my tripod.
Having fitted and tried it out the Gitzo 'Safe plate' not only stays in place with the bolt loose - it stays secure even if it were to fall out completely.
If anyone has experienced the same situation or would be interested in having the same made at moderate cost I would be happy to pass on the details.
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Old Sunday 10th July 2011, 09:35   #50
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Please do not take this the wrong way, you have my sympathy, but.....

I have always been amazed by the cavalier way people treat their equipment, for example the show off amateur with expensive status camera walking along holding the grip with camera and strap dangling by feet!

I carry my Giottos and gimbal over sholder, camera and lens cradled in left arm like carrying a small child, when the camera is on the mount, strap attached to mount by small light spring clip, also I have separate camera insurance, and finally every week I enjoy checking all the components are tight.

I am a cyclist also with MTBs, and would not ride for a week without routine maintenance.
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