I’ve been using the tripod for over a year now and it has become my main support system. It’s very sturdy and can hold whatever load I’ve thrown at it, but it’s not so heavy that I can’t hike significant distances with it. It’s also tall enough so that I don’t need to crouch over if I am using the tripod on a hillside or on other uneven terrain.
The tripod has four leg sections and is made out of carbon fiber. The tripod is part of Gitzo’s systematic line which essentially means that you can replace the flat plate at the top with other accessories such as the following:
- center column (with a geared or sliding mechanism for changing height)
- leveling base
- integrated ballhead
- video bowl
You can also replace the rubber feet with different tips such as stainless steel spikes.
I know many photographers use 3541LS tripod with long telephoto lenses (e.g. 500mm+) and to support medium/large format camera bodies. Although I do not shoot wildlife and I’m using a relatively small body (canon 5D), my main reason in using this tripod is that I wanted a rock solid tripod for stitching and panoramas. I absolutely don’t want the tripod to shift between shots.
Mounting Plate Safety
The Gitzo systematic tripods keep the top plate attached to the tripod with a collar that is tightened with a single bolt. There have been reports of the screw coming loose and the top plate falling out along with the attached camera gear. I have not experienced any loosening of the plate, but if this is a concern, I would recommend either (1) using loctite on the bolt, (2) attaching a safety plate/bolt that prevents the top platform from falling out, or (3) always holding your camera strap when carrying the tripod with your gear attached.
- max height w 4 legs extended 57.5″
- min height 3.9″
- folded length 21.7″
- weight 3.8 lbs
- manufacturer’s maximum load 39.6 lbs (note: there is no standard method for determining load rating)
- Consider getting the GT3541XLS if you need additional height. For example, at some landscape sites you might be restricted by a fence/cliff edge and the extra height can help keep those elements out of the picture frame
- If you want a leveling base, RRS makes an integrated base for the Gitzo systematic series of tripods. Their version is much lighter than Gitzo’s base (325g vs 600g). Another alternative is Acratech’s leveling base.
- If you don’t need to worry about fitting the tripod into a suitcase, consider the three section version.
- In urban areas, I would get a case for tripod as it is fairly large and looks expensive. By no means is it inconspicuous
- The tripod uses several bolts that require a torx key to tighten or loosen (two different sizes). I consider this to be a drawback and would have preferred that Gitzo used the much more common hex socket or allen key.