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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 14:17   #1
pmaxp
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Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Gainesville, FL
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Gitzo Tripod Operation Question

Greetings all. I just purchased a lightly used Gitzo 3541L tripod. I have yet to choose a new head so I am going to use my well-used Manfrotto 128RC taken from my previous tripod. I cannot determine how to secure the head on to the Gitzo after it has been threaded down. Are there set screws like those on the Manfrotto 3021 tripod I have been using? Can anyone scan and email me the Instructions?

Thanks.

Last edited by pmaxp : Saturday 1st April 2017 at 15:43. Reason: spelling error
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Old Saturday 1st April 2017, 22:15   #2
johnf3f
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Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: South Wales UK
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I assume that this is the Systematic type tripod?

I am a keen user of Gitzo Systematics and I have yet to have a head try to come loose. I have Top Plates of the latest type + the older "Safety Lock type and the original ones with no gripping material on top - just Hammaerite paint! Just dog the head down as tight as you sensibly can (don't over do it!) and forget about it for a few years.

I just re-read your post and remembered that your tripod uses the same top plate as my 3320BS and (ex) 3530 LS - in other words the "Safety Lock type". If you look underneath then there is a little grub screw that can be used to prevent head rotation.

I have no idea as to how well it works! It is simply not needed - my Winberly 2 head has been on one of these top plates for about a decade - it hasn't tried to escape yet...............

I use the Manfrotto 701HDV head, but it is no longer made - I read that it's replacement is better (500 series) but I have not tried one.

P.S. Could I make a suggestion? I find it very awkward to unscrew the head after use and then screw it on next time I need it. To me the purpose of the Systematic system is to make life easier, so I remove the head and top plate as a unit. This also removes the chance of cross threading, loosening over time and is quicker too! If you decide to do this then get some 6mm Stainless Allen bolts (Dome head and 16mm overall length) as the Torxz bolts and wrenches that Gitzo supply will get you skinned knuckles!

Happy new tripod - you will find that this is about as good as it gets for scope use. My Gitzo 3530LS was simply the 3 leg section version of yours and it shocked quite a few local Birders - they just didn't realise how bad their tripods were!
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Old Sunday 2nd April 2017, 15:52   #3
pmaxp
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John:

Thanks. It's not a Systematic type, it's a Series 3 Mountaineer (has center column).
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Old Sunday 2nd April 2017, 21:37   #4
johnf3f
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Doh! My brain automatically read Gitzo 3541LS!

I think that your tripod may still have the grub screw that I mentioned - my Gitzo GT2531 Mountaineer has two of them. As per the previous post I have never used them but I have only had the tripod about 9 years so I didn't want to rush into things! To be honest I had to go and have a look at my 2531 as I didn't actually know if it had the locking grub screws so they must be very important = NOT!

The locking grub screws are irrelevant as far as I am concerned as I have yet to use one in the past decade on a Gitzo tripod! As I said above I actually had to check that I actually had them!

For scope use I use the Manfrotto 701 HDV head (frequently on my Mountaineer) and I just tighten the panning lever, screw it down fairly firmly, loosen the panning lever and forget about it. The only issue I have had is that it is sometimes a little reluctant to come off!

If you still are not certain/happy I can send an image of the top of my tripod which should be similar (though slightly smaller) to yours, but I have honestly had zero problems with heads loosening on 4 different generations of Gitzo tripods and have never used the locking screw facility.

P.S. Have a look at the top of your tripod, does it have a black disk with "Safe Lock" written on it? It should have, this top plate materiel was designed to stop heads working loose on their own. This was a great improvement over the predecessor plates (I have one) which once they had grabbed a head they simply would NOT let it go! I had to remove mine and replace it with a newer model otherwise the head would be a permanent fixture! If you are worried about you head coming loose you can have it for the cost of postage, it should fit fine. I guarantee that once tightened your head will not come loose - even when you want it to!

Last edited by johnf3f : Sunday 2nd April 2017 at 21:48. Reason: more info
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