Originally Posted by CH79
Thanks for that reply John, most useful!
I have options on two second hand 3530LS tripods. One is priced at £250 (the private seller said there is only a couple of marks to one of the twist locks), and the other priced at £350 stated as mint from a main Gitzo dealer in the UK.
I purchased a mint second hand Wimberley II head from MPB Photographic earlier this week. There is a card in the box dated March 2013 so I suspect the head is quite recent. However, replacing the 'Torx' bolt is a good idea - I've read elsewhere the original has a tendency to become loose over time if not checked regularly (which would be good practice to check the tightness in any case given the payload!)
So long as you can inspect the used Gitzo then I would probably go for that one. They do pick up chips and knocks (mine has) but they are fairly bulletproof. However if you are in any doubt then, bite the bullet, and get that dearer one from the Gitzo dealer. As it is coming from a Gitzo dealer it should carry some sort of guarantee - just in case, after all you are buying this for the long term!
Here is a site for spares should you ever need them:
Your Wimberley is considerably more recent than mine so the part where the stud on the tripod engages should be steel so no worries there!
My main problem with the torx bolt is the way the supplied keys slip out and I bang my knuckles! If you can't find any suitable allen bolts then send me an SAE and I can post you 2 or 3 as I have plenty, PM me for address. Frankly these do a far better job and there is less risk to your fingers and little/no risk of burring the heads, though you will have to invest in an allen key or two.
With the Wimberley 2 and the Gitzo 3530 I think you have about the best support going for your lens. I include the latest models (eg 3532) in this as they offer a very marginal increase in rigidity, a weight increase and a BIG increase in price. I have tried the 3, 4 and 5 series of the latest models and was definitely not convinced.
Happy new toys - I hope you enjoy!