Gitzo Explorer 2200 and 1276M Offset Ball Head Discussion
Tripod and Tripod head are often overlooked, but critical
accessories. Unfortunately, like everything else as the quality
gets better the price increases rapidly. High end tripods do not
come with a head. You must actually purchase the head
separately. Again the price increases sharply as the quality goes
Photo Equipment Section
Photos by Rob Bukar
I chose the 1276M offset ball head
because this is the model recommended for the 2200 on the Gitzo web site.
They recommend an offset ball head to give you greater flexibility in positioning
your camera that follows with the incredible flexibility of the 2200 tripod.
I have truly loved my purchase, but to be honest I do not have experience
with any other tripod heads. According to every professional out there,
the best tripod head is the Arca-Swiss B-1 Ball Head. I looked into
purchasing this head, but it is about $400. This is just for the head,
you still need a tripod. In addition the head is pretty large and heavy.
If you want the best get the Arca-Swiss, but for now I'm satisfied with the
Gitzo I purchased.
Now for the tripod itself.
Gitzo tripods are rated among the best. There are a few factors to check
out when purchasing a tripod. The most important factor is stability.
This is the main reason you will be using the tripod in the first place.
If you buy a cheap tripod it will not be very stable if there is any wind
or ground vibration present. The stability will decrease dramatically
as you extend it's legs and/or center column. There is really no point
in lugging a tripod along, if once you set it up you realize that a 7mph breeze
is causing it to vibrate.
Second you want to look at the overall
weight and fully extended height of the tripod. The heavier it is the
more work to lug it around, but at the same time, it will probably be more
stable as it gets heavier. The more height you can get out of your tripod
the more flexibility you have, but as you extend the legs and center column
you will decrease the stability of the system. Most photographers look
for a tripod that will extend to at least 6 feet, about eye level. In
addition, the minimum collapsed height of the tripod gives you added flexibility.
The lower to the ground you can get the closer you can get to the picture
in many cases.
I choose the 2200 for it's incredible
flexibility. It is not the most stable tripod out there, but for it
gives you an incredible amount of flexibility, it's very stable, and it is
not all that heavy. The 2227 versions is the same tripod, but it is
made out of carbon fibre. This version is lighter, stronger (more stable),
and is more resistant to vibration. It also cost a lot more money and
was out of my budget range. The 2200 is made of Aluminum. There
is also another version that has 4 extension points on each leg to give you
greater height. Many photographers feel that this extra joint adds more
instability and there is rarely a need for the extra height. This is
why I choose the 3 section version.
The unique aspect of the Explorer
line of tripods from Gitzo, is that the center column is off to the side.
It does not run down the middle between the three legs. This allows
for the center column to be rotated 360 degrees, so it can be extended up
as in traditional tripods, but it can also point out horizontally or even
upside down. This gives amazing flexibility over other traditional tripod
designs. For anyone who enjoys nature (flower) photos, and enjoys backpacking
or hiking into rough terrain, I highly recommend this tripod.
You can check out the review
of the Gitzo 2227 at luminous-landscape.com. There is also a nice
of the tripod and Canon 10D at Outbackphoto.com