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Thread: Gitzo Safari S320 Tripod feet and head suggestions

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    Gitzo Safari S320 Tripod feet and head suggestions

    just purchased one of these vintage Green Safari Gitzos with the inside out telescoping legs to replace a standard Series Three which did not survive multiple encounters with the surf and sand.

    This was in part my fault for know really knowing how to take one of these apart to clean properly. Luckily it was not an expensive new one. It now sits permanently at a set height with my video camera mounted.

    It seems to me this Safari design will help a little and I am wondering if anyone knows what snow shoes to recommend for this model?

    I will need a good general purpose head as well, one that is not too heavy and that will stand up to the conditions. I am not sure if this means a model that is easy to clean or not. I love shooting down at the water's edge but it has its hazards.Gitzo safari.JPG


    Comments and suggestions welcome.
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Nothing really much you can do to stop the ingress of water/sand/salt/other stuff into the leg tubes actually.

    These types of tripods are like this by design. That is, the fact that they have moving parts(ie. the extendable legs) means that they need to have clearance for those moving parts to move.
    This clearance means that there are gaps. Gaps mean stuff is allowed to get in. Stuff will get in no matter what you try to do. If you try to seal the gaps, the chances are that the moving parts will no longer move.

    You're best advised to get into a routine of cleaning the moving parts on a regular basis.
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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    Nothing really much you can do to stop the ingress of water/sand/salt/other stuff into the leg tubes actually.

    These types of tripods are like this by design. That is, the fact that they have moving parts(ie. the extendable legs) means that they need to have clearance for those moving parts to move.
    This clearance means that there are gaps. Gaps mean stuff is allowed to get in. Stuff will get in no matter what you try to do. If you try to seal the gaps, the chances are that the moving parts will no longer move.

    You're best advised to get into a routine of cleaning the moving parts on a regular basis.
    I possibly did not explain my question very well. I have learned my lesson on cleaning, and with this purchase was only really hoping the design would help keep water out when standing in the lip of the water on shore.

    Thus, the main question was about the need for 'snow shoes' or similar to help keep the tripod from getting sucked deeper and deeper into the sand with passage of water around the legs. This sucking down, apart from raising the relative water level, also shifts the orientation of the camera every time and is a pain when trying to capture multiple similar images.

    Also, are there some heads that are easier to clean than others?

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    I found that these Giottos FP 2021 Multifunction All-Weather Shoe fitted my Gitzo GT2531 Mountaineer CF. I just unscrew the standard rubber tips and then these shoes just screw in. I use a spanner to hand tighten them; the spanner was part of a kit from an older Giottos tripod that I had.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...l_Weather.html

    The threaded ball & socket appears to be made from a light alloy so I’m not sure how it will stand up to heavy use. I have used mine in sand/mud albeit only 5 or 6 times and each time they have worked well.

    Gitzo have their own Gitzo Big Feet All Terrain Shoes but I haven’t tried these. I suspect they would be more durable than the Giottos versions?

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ain_Shoes.html

    Cheers

    Dennis

    - - - Updated - - -

    I have used a set of 3 tent pole protectors (they prevent a tent pole from damaging the tent floor) but if you have the tripod low set, you will have to saw off some of the vertical tube that sticks up from the flat base so that the steeply angled tripod legs do not foul the tube. Either that, or cut a slot in the tube.

    The other downside is that every time you pick up the tripod, these protectors do not move with them so you have to retrieve them and reposition them under the legs.

    I think these protectors cost maybe 2 or 3$ each from a camping shop.

    Cheers

    Dennis

    - - - Updated - - -

    Just found my Giottos snow shoes for comparison.

    Cheers

    Dennis
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by nardes; 19-10-2014 at 2:34pm.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    The rubber feet that nardes linked too look like something that could work as snow shoes in such situations.

    As for ballheads being easier to clean .. not that I've seen myself.

    Years ago I got myself a National Geographic version of a Manfrotto ballhead due to a specific feature that the NG version had over the frotto version.
    The NG version is for all intents and purposes just made by Manfrotto but I haven't ever seen a Manfrotto version with the same feature.
    I personally don't really care for such marketing, but the feature that swayed me(compared to a Manfrotto version of this ballhead) was that it has a rubber protective cover over the ball area.
    It works quite well, the tripod has seen many desert scenes over the years and apart from one issue it's served me well enough.

    The issue was that the head wasn't sufficient to hold a high magnification lens(whether this was a macro or a large tele lens strongly enough, or allow me to frame accurately enough as I'd have liked.
    After some time I got fed up with it and pulled it as far apart as I could to clean it up.
    The main issue was that Manfrotto used some sort of grease around the ballhead.
    I assumed that as the workings of the ball and socket were of a very low velocity type(not like a car CV joint or something high speed like that) the use of grease was superfluous.
    So I spent a can of WD spray on it(and another Manfrotto head) to clean as much grease as I could off the ball.
    End result was a complete transformation of the head.
    it went from being a not very much liked head .. to one of my favourite heads henceforth.

    As a comparison, just prior to doing this clean out, I also got myself an RRS BH-55, of which much praise is heaped upon.
    It's not a bad ballhead, it's just not as good as many folks make it out to be.
    Compared to the uncleaned(ie. greased up NG/Manfrotto) head it was in a word .. miraculous.
    But once I cleaned the NG/frotto head, the tables turned the other way and now the Manfrotto head is my preferred for many uses .. mainly when framing is critical.

    The RRS is a stonger, less vibration prone head compared to the NG but I can frame much more accurately with the NG head more often.

    The NG model name is the MGEH2, and in Manfrotto terms this translates into an 468MG ballhead.

    Problem is these are no longer available new, but I assume that a second hand product isn't an issue for you.

    I usually have very low praise for Manfrotto products(only from experience), but this one is an exception.

    The other modification I did to the ballhead was to remove the immensely strong, but generally annoying RC5 plate and replace it with an aftermarket Arca Swiss type.
    While it makes no difference to stability in any way, I prefer the less tedious Arca plates over the large manfrotto plates.

    While it doesn't look like a major difference, that ball cover is actually all the world of difference.
    After nearly 8 years of use, the rubber cover is still in very good shape too(ie. not fragile).

    As another point of view tho, the RRS head is much easier to keep clean.
    Where the manfrotto head uses easily dirtied material, the material used on the RRS head is much easier to keep clean. It almost feels like teflon by comparison to the manfrottos metal.

    I think the difference is just in the way it's made/engineered. The finish of the RRS is so much smoother than the metal used on the ball of the NG(Manfrotto).
    The grease took forever to clean off the NG ball, and once it finally did stop leaching out, it revealed a much more rough looking ball.
    With the RRS, I loosen the ball to be totally free, and grab a clean cloth in one hand and wrap it around the ball with my hand. I then just move it about with the head flip flopping freely.
    The ball of the RRS sits in a teflon looking sleeve material. I can't see any way to disassemble the RRS to clean it out any further .. nor does there look like any reason to do so.

    Looking at the tripod you posted a pic of, it appears that the lowest portion of the leg seems to unscrew from the leg tube. Make sure this is a water tight seal that it doesn't let water in at all
    Conversely, make sure it allows the free flow of water out of the leg if any water enters into it.

    My preference is for the Gitzo legs that nardes posted(I have a 3 series myself), where you can easily disassemble the bits without the need for any tools give them a wipe down and put it all together again in relatively no time.

    FWIW: the only tripod leg setup that is totally sealed against the ingress of external matter is something like Manfrotto's Neotech series of tripods.
    It is a heavy set of legs, as they are of a hydraulic type. The sealed hydraulic legs make them 'environmentally sealed'(to a degree).

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    Quote Originally Posted by nardes View Post
    I found that these Giottos FP 2021 Multifunction All-Weather Shoe fitted my Gitzo GT2531 Mountaineer CF. I just unscrew the standard rubber tips and then these shoes just screw in. I use a spanner to hand tighten them; the spanner was part of a kit from an older Giottos tripod that I had.


    The threaded ball & socket appears to be made from a light alloy so I’m not sure how it will stand up to heavy use. I have used mine in sand/mud albeit only 5 or 6 times and each time they have worked well.

    Gitzo have their own Gitzo Big Feet All Terrain Shoes but I haven’t tried these. I suspect they would be more durable than the Giottos versions?


    Dennis
    Thank you. The third option look possible, but I will have to wait until the tripod arrives and inspect the lower tip. With this older Safari design, the largest tube is on the bottom and the diameter might be too great for the other cups you show.. The tent pole protector might be worth exploring too.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    The rubber feet that nardes linked too look like something that could work as snow shoes in such situations.

    As for ballheads being easier to clean .. not that I've seen myself.

    Years ago I got myself a National Geographic version of a Manfrotto ballhead due to a specific feature that the NG version had over the frotto version.
    The NG version is for all intents and purposes just made by Manfrotto but I haven't ever seen a Manfrotto version with the same feature.
    I personally don't really care for such marketing, but the feature that swayed me(compared to a Manfrotto version of this ballhead) was that it has a rubber protective cover over the ball area.
    It works quite well, the tripod has seen many desert scenes over the years and apart from one issue it's served me well enough.


    I assumed that as the workings of the ball and socket were of a very low velocity type(not like a car CV joint or something high speed like that) the use of grease was superfluous.
    So I spent a can of WD spray on it(and another Manfrotto head) to clean as much grease as I could off the ball.
    End result was a complete transformation of the head.
    it went from being a not very much liked head .. to one of my favourite heads henceforth........

    The other modification I did to the ballhead was to remove the immensely strong, but generally annoying RC5 plate and replace it with an aftermarket Arca Swiss type.
    While it makes no difference to stability in any way, I prefer the less tedious Arca plates over the large manfrotto plates.


    FWIW: the only tripod leg setup that is totally sealed against the ingress of external matter is something like Manfrotto's Neotech series of tripods.
    It is a heavy set of legs, as they are of a hydraulic type. The sealed hydraulic legs make them 'environmentally sealed'(to a degree).
    Thank you for this suggestion. Is there anything special, tools or modification wise, needed to swap to an Arca swiss plate?
    I have a spare one of these I could use.
    Last edited by NRandall; 20-10-2014 at 10:00am.

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    If you are worried about your balls getting dirty you might want to consider one of these - http://www.acratech.net/ballheads/ul...qr-with-detent The Acratech Ultimates have greaseless balls that are fully accessible for cleaning, excellent build quality yet lightweight and a generous 11kg load capacity.

    Cheers
    John

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    The ballhead that Wobbles linked too looks interesting coming from your perspective.

    Quote Originally Posted by NRandall View Post
    .....

    Thank you for this suggestion. Is there anything special, tools or modification wise, needed to swap to an Arca swiss plate?
    I have a spare one of these I could use.
    The Arca Swiss device you require(if migrating to an Arca Swiss system) is not a plate ... it's a clamp.
    The plate is used on the camera/lens/contraption that attaches to the tripod head.

    I did mention the Arca Swiss plate, and my apologies for any confusion!!
    But what I replaced on my NG ballhead was the clamp, with an Arca Swiss clamp from a manufacturer called Hejnar. He makes this clamp specifically as a replacement for the RC5 type manfrotto clamp.
    That is, the RC5 system is not specific to this particular ballhead, but any Manfrotto ballhead that has an RC5 type clamp/plate system.
    (Actually the RC5 is more commonly seen on video type heads).

    The RC5 clamp itself was useful enough compared to any other clamps I've come across, but the RC5 plates(the bit that attaches to your camera) was the annoying part for me.
    They are about 2x the thickness of an Arca plate, and they have a very hard edged design .. the annoyance was that when attached on the base of the camera one of the corners of the plate would dig deep into my palm(the left hand that cradles the camera lens).
    If not for this and the fact(back then) that you couldn't get an L-plate for the RC5 system .. I would otherwise have had no issue with the manfrotto plate setup.

    The replacement of the RC5 clamp with the Hejnar clamp was easy. Two hex screws to do and that's about it. The only point to note with the RC5 clamp is that it has a locating dowl that stops it from spinning on the shaft of the ballhead. Generic Arca clamps may not allow for the option to fit a dowl pin to stop it spinning on the shaft.
    For the $60ish I paid for the Hejnar clamp .. I thought it was worth the expense.

    If you have a spare Arca clamp, it should fit pretty much straight onto the most ballheads. The only note is that some ballheads have a plate system whereby the clamp actually screws onto the shaft of the ball(from memory the RC2 and RC4 manfrotto clamps are set up like that).
    It's very hard to find Arca clamps to fit this system.
    Most Arca clamps have a counter sunk opening through which a Hex screw is fitted to mount onto most ball shafts.(so be weary of the manfrotto RC2/RC4 system for this reason).
    if your spare Arca clamp doesn't have any way to locate itself firmly onto the ball shaft and you are competent with a drill, I guess it should be too hard to create a locating pin yourself.

    But I assume that you still don't have a tripod head as yet. If not, the one that Wobbles linked too has a good reputation(I'd forgotten about that one).

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    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    The ballhead that Wobbles linked too looks interesting coming from your perspective.



    The Arca Swiss device you require(if migrating to an Arca Swiss system) is not a plate ... it's a clamp.
    The plate is used on the camera/lens/contraption that attaches to the tripod head.

    I did mention the Arca Swiss plate, and my apologies for any confusion!!
    If you have a spare Arca clamp, ........

    But I assume that you still don't have a tripod head as yet. If not, the one that Wobbles linked too has a good reputation(I'd forgotten about that one).
    Thank you both for the alternate head suggestion, and advice on the mods. I had always assumed we were talking bout Arca style clamps.
    Last edited by NRandall; 20-10-2014 at 11:15pm.

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    For a ball head I can recommend the Sirui K-40x.
    It does the job of the prestige brand models at a more expendable price.
    review: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/819...heads-tested/7
    35kg rating and 6 yr warranty.

    I payed $179 for mine from an Australian store.
    Silky smooth ball motion, with simple tried and true design.
    I have not had it long enough to have needed to look into ease of stripping it down.
    Worst comes to worst its 2-3 times less expensive than some heads of suitable build and size for your tripod.

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