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| Gitzo GT2542LS |
I've received my GT2542LS so I thought I would post some random thoughts about it since there are few reviews of this tripod so far. For a general review of the new features of the most recent series of Gitzo systematic tripods, I would watch this introduction from Robert White:
To clear up a couple of questions that I had before purchase, the 2542LS does have the new rubber covered spikes like the larger series do. The top plate measure 7 centimeters in diameter.
First, let me say that the fit and finish appears excellent. I also own a first generation Feisol CT-3471 carbon and the original Manfrotto Carbon One tripod. I'm only saving 1.1 pounds in weight over the Feisol, but it's feels like more if you lift them both. I weighed them both on a postal scale to see if the manufactureres were being honest with me- they were. I haven't used the Gitzo outdoors yet, but it appears quite stable.
My understanding is that this is a new tripod in the Gitzo systematic series with no predecessors. Prior to January 2012 when this tripod was introduced, the systematic line began with the 3 series and went larger from there. Surprisingly, this tripod's load limit is rated at 25 kilos (55#), the same as the systematic 3 and 4 series. It is recommended for lenses up to 300mm. In comparison, the non-systematic 2542L is load rated at 12 kilos and recommended for lenses of 200mm (300mm max). The 2542L does save you quite a bit of weight, though, especially if you remove the center column.
I've never used the 2542L (or 2541L), but I know that some people replace the the center column with the the Markin's TB-20 base. I assume that the Gitzo ground level set feature (which allows you to remove the center column) is not sufficiently stable for some users? The 2542L with the Markins base must be prettty similar to the new 2542LS without the higher load ratings, but with monetary savings and a significant weight savings. Even with the expense of the Markins TB-20, it only fills about 40% of the price gap toward the cost of 2542LS.
Of course, the systematic tripods allow you to easily change between various options, such as adding a leveling base or a column. But don't jump to the obvious conclusion, pardner! I emailed Gitzo, and they do not make a leveling base for the systematic 2 series and have no plans to so so at this time. I haven't seen a center column which can be added either, though I did not specifically ask about this. If there are no plans for any optional attachments, there was no need for the removable plate at the top. However, the plate does seem to be attached quite securely, so I don't think they would have gained much, if any, added stability if they had gone for a single top piece design.
Anyway, those are my initial thoughts. From here, the proof will be in the pudding with some real world usage.