Gitzo GM3551 Series 3 6X Carbon Fiber 5-Section Monopod with G-Lock - Replaces GM3550 (Black)
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- G-Lock system for easy secure locking.
- 6X carbon fiber construction for strength and durability.
- 5 section make for small compact size.
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Gitzo monopods continue to set the standard for professionals and advanced amateurs. The carbon fiber range has been completely revised with new features and materials in order to offer lighter, faster and more stable products. ALR, 6X tubes and g-lock are now available for all carbon fiber monopods. Attachment: 1/4-Inch and 3/8-Inch screws; 5 leg sections; load capacity: 39.68 lbs.; material: carbon fiber 6X; maximum height: 75.59 in.; minimum height: 21.26 in.; series: 3; weight: 1.37 lbs.
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RRS does not make a monopod that meets my needs (max. length at least 72" for high angle bird pix with a big lens, getting above crowds, over fences, Live View high angle, etc.) while still less than 22" collapsed to avoid air travel issues. The GM3551 Gitzo is perfect for me. I try not to use the smallest diameter segment, but when needed it is there and does its job adequately. The thing is both lightweight and strong.
A monopod provides not even close to as good support as a tripod does, but a monopod is far better than straight handheld and hella more portable than a tripod is when moving through a crowd. Plus the pod takes the weight, so for folks like me who shoot with heavy pro bodies (Nikon D3 & D500) and lenses it makes a huge difference in how quickly one's arms tire, especially when shooting for multiple hours.
I recently switched from using a ball head to using a RRS MH-02LR monopod head, and the new Gitzo/RRS combination absolutely rocks; it seemed weird at first but the RRS head is much better than a ballhead. All my camera bodies and long lenses have RRS Arca-Swiss style plates on them and clamp solidly into the RRS head so it makes a very solid, very functional setup. The components are expensive but they should last forever.
The good news -- it certainly is tall! At my height a 65" monopod would probably be sufficient. The extra height is nice, but unnecessary in most circumstances.
Now onto the Gitzo quality. I own a Series 3 tripod and it is expensive and solid. Rock solid. Not going anywhere. So I had high expectations for this monopod, particularly at this price point.
While the machining and fit and finish are top-notch, I noticed significant flex in the lower section of the monopod. On inspection, I saw both the thin 16mm-diameter lower section flexing, but also somewhat of a hinging movement in the two lower leg joints. This flexing resolved somewhat when not using the lower-most section, but what good is a tall monopod if it can't be tall?
Long story short, I ended up returning this monopod and going with a ROCK SOLID Sirui at about half the price, the same weight, and greater load capacity.
Maybe my unit of the 3551 was flawed -- who knows -- but who really has time to go back and forth and back and forth in search of the perfect sample, particularly when other brands are in the market with competitive products at significantly lower price points.
I'll keep my Gitzo tripod for now, after years of faithful service, but were I doing it over, I would certainly give Sirui tripods a real shot as well...
The monopod is not cheap, but compared to my L lenses, it is not that expensive. Also, I know that I will have my Gitzos long after I sell my current cameras, so I believe these supports are good investments.
Otherwise, this is a very good monopod. I use it with my Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens, mounted with a ballhead, and it's easy to carry around. Grip is just about the right size too, and the extra length, though not often used, if very handy, especially with birds in the sky.
For starters, I have a series 3 Gitzo and knew the build and quality would be fantastic - It is.
The weight and handling of the Monopod is very good, I use it for my Nikkor 400mm and D810 during sideline shooting to give my neck a break. My photos are on the truetoad site.
Folded down is just at 21 inches.
My one disappointment is the monopod ships with a 1/4 screw and include not the larger one most folks use.
Easy to use with a twist of the wrist to extend, and a carry bag is included.