Gitzo 3532LS First Impressions

I had sold my 8 years old Gitzo 1325 tripod along with my 5D Mark II a few weeks ago, so I was looking for a new tripod. There was nothing wrong with the 1325, I just had an opportunity to step up. I was looking for something similarly spec’d. This boiled down to two choices: the new (2012) Gitzo 3532LS and the RRS TVC-33. They are shockingly similar in all aspects, except two: the “I’m an expensive tripod, steal me” pattern on the RRS and their prices. The RRS retails for $925 (which is about 960 EUR after shipping and import duties), but I bought the Gitzo for 680 EUR including shipping (both are net prices). That is, the RRS is 40% more. Simply does not worth it.

The 3532LS is a great tripod. But even the 1325 was a great one. Weight is about the same. Length is about the same (add or take a few grams and millimeters). Gitzo added some nice features to their newest generation, however:

  • Leg locks. On the 1325 I had to learn the exact torque that I should use to tighten the locks – tightening the upper ones a tad more than the lower ones. Just to avoid inadvertent unlocking. The G-Lock system does not let the legs to rotate, so this is not an issue any more.
  • Included spiked feet and snow feet. The spikes are rubber covered. The snow/mud feet looks a bit clumsy compared to the huge one I had for the 1325. But that size was really prohibitive – I had used them only once in 8 years. These smaller ones will find a permanent place in my bag.
  • Spare washers and grease is included (as well as wrenches and a dust cover).
  • Although I had no issue with the 1325’s top plate locking system (and I had carried it over my shoulder with the 500/4 attached a lot), the new secure locking system is a welcome addition.
  • Max load is doubled (25kg now).
  • The entire tripod seems to dampen vibrations much quicker and better than the 1325 did.
  • Weight hook at the bottom of the top plate. Great to hang your heavy bag (or a beanbag) here in windy conditions. I really appreciate this addition.
  • A carabiner hole on the rim of the top plate (I prefer to attach the strap with a carabiner than wrapping around the head).
  • Leg angle stops can be pulled out from the outside (there are finger recesses on both sides), so you don’t have to push them out from inwards. Nice!

The only negative thing I found was that after removing the top plate, some of the exposed edges were quite rough. Actually they were not deburred. I thought that they will scar my fingers in the worst moment, so picked up a file and deburred those edges.

I hope that this product will prove to be at least as reliable as it’s predecessor. It’ll stay with me for the upcoming decade – or even more.