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Manfrotto 190GOA4 + 128RC compatibility with Kowa 883, plus backpack/transport question (2 Viewers)

Definitely a Mountaineer, not a Traveler. My go-to tripod is a GT2541, the predecessor of the GT2542, for both my 60mm and my 82mm scope. I personally prefer tripods with three leg sections though. But for general use a shorter tripod with four leg sections is more convenient. That said, I think both the Series 2 and Series 3 Mountaineers fit into the category "medium-sized tripod" ...🙃

The GT2542 is what I'd get. Or an equivalent tripod from another manufacturer if the price of the Gitzos seems too high. (And they really are expensive!)

Edit: The head question ... Either a Manfrotto 500AH or a Gitzo head. I personally don't like the Sirui heads. My standard head on the 2541 is a Gitzo 2180 (out of production), the Manfrotto 500AH is on one of my old aluminium Gitzos (three sections, about a kilo heavier than the GT2541, large leg spread, very stable).

Hermann
Series 2 Mountaineer vs Series 2 Traveler is where I got very confused when I was researching our purchase.

According to Gitzo's tech specs, the Mountaineer GT2542 and the Traveler GT2545 have identical leg diameters for each leg section. Both are Series 2 CF. The Mountaineer is rated for 48 lbs of load capacity vs the Traveler's rating of 26 lbs of load capacity. The Mountaineer's legs spread to a wider angle than the Traveler's, could that help increase the load rating for the Mountaineer?

The Series 2 Traveler is about 1/2 the cost of the Series 2 Mountaineer here in the US. That's a substantial price difference.

Given that both models have the same leg diameter (meaning they should offer similar stability), and both are Series 2 CF, what differences do you see that causes you to select the Mountaineer between these two models?

In terms of price vs quality... For 1/2 the price of the Mountaineer, would the Gitzo Traveler GT2545 be a higher quality choice versus another brand?
 
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Series 2 Mountaineer vs Series 2 Traveler is where I got very confused when I was researching our purchase.
Yep, it is confusing. And the Gitzo website doesn't help much. But you do know the Centercolumn website? They did tests on quite a few Gitzo tripods (and many others): Gitzo

Some background: I've got three Gitzo carbon tripods myself: an (old) Mountaineer GT2541, a Traveler GT1545T, and a Mountaineer GT0532. These are the tripods I can compare.

I find the Traveler loses some stability because you can reverse-fold the legs around the center column. The middle part, where the legs attach, is a bit flimsy when compared to the Mountaineer's. I also find the lock of the middle column isn't quite as bombproof as the lock on the Mountaineers. Hard to describe in detail, but the Mountaineers just inspire more confidence than the Travellers. I find the difference in weight shows!

One interesting fact: The GT0532 is very short. I originally got it for close-up photography. In order to use it with a scope, I need to fully extend the middle column and add an extension (I use a Sirui carbon extension). When I put a scope on the whole contraption (60mm Nikon) it's still very stiff. When I tap the scope the vibrations die down very fast. That combination fares no worse than the GT1545 with only 10cm extension of the middle column.

That said, the Traveller isn't a bad tripod. In fact, I think it's a heck of a lot better than many of the clones. It's ideal if you want a good tripod with low weight. The GT2542 weighs 1.86kg, the Traveler GT2545T 1.33 kg. That's a big difference on long hikes. My GT1545 is even lighter, at 1.066kg.
According to Gitzo's tech specs, the Mountaineer GT2542 and the Traveler GT2545 have identical leg diameters for each leg section. Both are Series 2 CF. The Mountaineer is rated for 48 lbs of load capacity vs the Traveler's rating of 26 lbs of load capacity. The Mountaineer's legs spread to a wider angle than the Traveler's, could that help increase the load rating for the Mountaineer?
Not really. But the greater leg spread increases the overall stability of the tripod in the field. A lot. Especially in windy conditions that may well make the difference. I've seen too many tripods topple over in the wind over the years.

BTW, I don't care what the manufacturers say about the load capacity. It's meaningless, as there's no standardized way to measure it. The same applies to heads.
In terms of price vs quality... For 1/2 the price of the Mountaineer, would the Gitzo Traveler GT2545 be a higher quality choice versus another brand?
I won't buy another brand. I got my first Gitzo (aluminium, Gitzo Reporter 2) more than 40 years ago, and unless something happens to the company, I won't switch. An interesting observation: Before I got the Traveler GT1545T I made a mistake and got a Sirui T1204x. OK, it was cheap, second-hand at my local dealer. The T1204x is bit lighter than the 1545T and a bit shorter. And in my mind unusuable for a scope. It vibrates so much in the wind or when you tap the scope it's just not funny.

BTW, if you happen to come across some old Gitzo aluminium tripods - they might still be worth getting. Here's a test of one of the aluminium Gitzos I've got: Gitzo G1220 MK2 Test Results Makes an interesting read. I actually got that as a travel tripod before my first trip to the Pacific NW.

Hermann
 
Thank you for all that info! So to summarize, you’d say the ideal tripod is the Gitzo Mountaineer, but after that, the Gitzo traveler would likely still be better than something from another brand that’s not supposed to be a traveler/closer to a cheaper version of the Mountaineer? e.g. the Manfrotto 055, which seems to have just been recommended in this thread (don’t worry about looking that up if you’re not familiar, just was using it as an example).

And that’s good to know about the old Gitzo aluminum tripods, will see if I can find them and compare.
 
So to summarize, you’d say the ideal tripod is the Gitzo Mountaineer, but after that, the Gitzo traveler would likely still be better than something from another brand that’s not supposed to be a traveler/closer to a cheaper version of the Mountaineer? e.g. the Manfrotto 055, which seems to have just been recommended in this thread (don’t worry about looking that up if you’re not familiar, just was using it as an example).
What you need to take into account: I've been using Gitzos for over 40 years now, so I may well be prejudiced! There are quite a few good tripods on the market. My sister uses an old Slik, so does my mother, a friend uses a fairly heavy Leofoto, another a Feisol, yet another a Benro. FLM makes good tripods. It's just that I have most experience with Gitzo. And I trust them more than other makes (except Berlebach and Sachtler).

The Manfrotto 055 ... That's probably a good tripod, however, I only know the old aluminium 055, not the carbon version. What I don't like are the flip locks. I prefer twist locks. Fewer exposed parts, easier to clean after a day at the sea, perhaps more stable.

Hermann
 
What you need to take into account: I've been using Gitzos for over 40 years now, so I may well be prejudiced! There are quite a few good tripods on the market. My sister uses an old Slik, so does my mother, a friend uses a fairly heavy Leofoto, another a Feisol, yet another a Benro. FLM makes good tripods. It's just that I have most experience with Gitzo. And I trust them more than other makes (except Berlebach and Sachtler).

The Manfrotto 055 ... That's probably a good tripod, however, I only know the old aluminium 055, not the carbon version. What I don't like are the flip locks. I prefer twist locks. Fewer exposed parts, easier to clean after a day at the sea, perhaps more stable.

Hermann
Haha, yeah understood. Thank you again for your input!
 
Hi all,

I'm in a similar situation... recently purchased a TSN-883 that upgrades an older pentax scope. I've also found a nice deal on a Gitzo mountaineer tripod (older GT2530) that will replace manfrotto 190 tripod. I'm 6'0" and the 190 was always a bit low and not quite stiff enough.

Here's my question- What's a good recommendation on a tripod head that would be an actual upgrade in terms of performance (smoothness in panning, ease of use, etc.).

For some more context, I have a Manfrotto RC128 head which gets the job done--the Kowa balances well and the weight is not really an issue. I bought a MHXPRO 2W thinking that'd be an upgrade. It is lighter, but also doesn't inspire confidence given all the plastic. I've scoured all the options and the current Gitzo gets mixed reviews and I am concerned about not being able to fully lock the head because I do hike a good bit with the scope over my shoulder. Berlebach 510 might be the best option but is ~2X $s compared a Manfrotto 500 and not easily had in the states...

Any thoughts would welcome.
 
I have a Manfrotto RC128 which I used first when I got my Kowa 883. Never found any issue with it at all, as described by others. Except for weight & length of the arm. Shorter arm is available of course. However, I bought a Manfrotto 700RC2 which is smaller & lighter & smooth panning, though doesn't have the "balance" function of the RC128. Nevertheless, it is more than capable of working with the 883 & I've been quite content with the setup. I use with a Manfrotto 190clb bought s/h (in fact all my kit is s/h!) which is a tad heavy I guess but suits my short height!
 

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