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  1. #1
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Giottos tripods - whats wrong with them

    I recently saw a Giottos MT-9160 tripod in my local store and was totally blown away by it. Innovative and rock solid!

    If you don't know it, it's kind of a Gitzo explorer knockoff in its implementation of the lateral arm, but only better - because when you don't need it, it goes straight thru the center like a normal center column. It's a trifle heavy at 6.2 lbs but is rated to support 22!

    I was seriously taken by it and am considering it as I do some macro photography and the Explorer at $250 is out of my range right now. I get by with the Bogen 3001, but at about $140 the Giottos is in the same ballpark.

    Which brings me to the question, if this company is making such an attractive product why don't I ever hear about it or find a review. Is there a flaw I should know about - will the legs fall off in six month, will the screws come loose. If you have any experience with or information about Giottos tripods, please share them with me.

    Thanks,
    -Anupam

    PS: Here is a link at B&H's website .

  2. #2
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    I have one that I have been using for about 3 years now, still as sturdy as the day I bought it, I also sold them alot when I worked in the photo stores, I have never heard anything bad about them at all, in fact most mags, and photogs have reviewed them very favorably.

    Just cause you have not heard of something don't mean its bad, less than 2 years ago, no one had heard of my product and its number one in the world now.

    Almost ever major magazine in the world has at one time reviewed them and run ad's for them, if I remember right HP marketing is the company that handles them.

    Dave

  3. #3
    Anupam Basu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Satinsnow
    I have one that I have been using for about 3 years now,
    Do you have the same model or a different one? I would like to hear your experiences with it regarding ease of use especially at near ground level with a ballhead like, say, a Bogen 486.

    -A

  4. #4
    Daniel Lawton's Avatar
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    Well here's my take. I bought a Giottos MT 9170 about a year and a half ago and after about 4 months of steady use, the twist lock leg clamps became a living nightmare. The little plastic shims on the inside became worn and extending the legs sometimes became an exercise in futility and required a great deal of physical determination to succeed. After the shims wore out completely, the legs would come out easy, but when extended all the way they would fall out. Either way I consider it a major design flaw and I wouldn't consider a twist-lock tripod design unless it is a Gitzo. I guess there's a reason they cost a small fortune. The Giottos is rock solid and the lateral arm is a neat feature, but the leg extending issues are a major pain IMO. I replaced it with a Bogen 3021 BPRO which is about the same amount of money but a better design in terms of durability.

  5. #5
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    I don't remember the model number of the one that I have, and it is lent out to a friend right now, most of my ground level work I do with my Bogen 3001 or my 3021. But I don't recall any problems with me Giotto in low level work. There not that uncommon in the various stores, in fact I think Wolf/Ritz camera carries them, if you get a chance you ought to look at one in person and see how it adjusts and works for your type of shooting.

    Dave

  6. #6
    Paul Sorensen's Avatar
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    I had a Giottos ballhead, the MH-1000 and I loved it. It wasn't sturdy enough for 4X5 so I got rid of it in favor of a Bogen 3047. For my medium format and 35mm work, it was wonderful and seemed to be very well built. I thought it was a great value. I haven't had any experience with their tripods, but would be happy to have one based on that experience.

    As for the reputation issue, I got the same impression. It seemed to me that folks didn't think much of Goittos and pretty kuch scoffed at them. Of course, that might be because they were Arca B1 types who have decided that you can't get a decent ballhead for less than $300.

  7. #7

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    I've got the 9180. It's the 4 section model.

    The first one I got in the mail looked like it might have been used in the shop. Nothing major but it seemed that way. A couple of days later a knob popped off -( I drove across town to the distributor and they gave me a new one under warranty [10 years I think?] The new one has held up to everything I can throw at it. Up to and including 8x10 cameras. I actually think my Manfrotto head [329RC4] is more of a limit right now then the tripod.

    OTOH I'm not thrilled with the leg locks. They work just fine but it took me some time to get used to them. I just couldn't get my wooly head around them.

    Like anything else it's a money issue. I know better tripods can be bought. OTOH better tripods cost quite a bit more money.

  8. #8

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    I have the MT-9170 (aluminum, 3-section legs, 26 lb load) tripod and love it! The arm is very steady with any of my Pentax 35mm equipment, but not very steady when extended more than a few inches with my heavy Mamiya MF equipment (C330S, RB67). Normally, I use the arm as the center column, in which case the tripod is very steady with all of my equipment. The padded arms and strap make the tripod a pleasure to hike with.

    The one thing I don't like is the twist-style leg extension locks. While I'm very gentle with my equipment, I can see how they may become an issue for many people.

    I, too, was suspicious of the price at first ($145 @ B&H). However, the tripod has performed very well for me.
    Jacob

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Sorensen
    As for the reputation issue, I got the same impression. It seemed to me that folks didn't think much of Goittos and pretty kuch scoffed at them. Of course, that might be because they were Arca B1 types who have decided that you can't get a decent ballhead for less than $300.
    Well, you can't, at least not new.

  10. #10
    Dave Parker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter De Smidt
    Well, you can't, at least not new.
    Well I beg to differ with your opinion of the situation, I have two ballheads that I got for less than $300 that after 12 years and 5 years repspectivly work great...

    Price does not always equate quality....Good quality Low priced items can be found in this business, thank god or I would be pumping gas at the local quick stop!

    I have a Canon Ball head I purchased about 7 years ago, for $100 that has held everything from my shortest macro lens to a 600mm f/4 and my LF gear that is still going strong and will for a long time to come, one of the real un-sung heros of the camera industry.

    LOL

    Dave

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