Gitzo GM3551 Series 3 6X Carbon Fiber 5-Section Monopod with G-Lock - Replaces GM3550 (Black)
|Price:||$309.99 + $9.95 shipping|
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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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|Item Dimensions||27.01 x 2.91 x 2.91 inches|
|Item Weight||1.98 pounds|
|Shipping Weight||1.95 pounds|
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This item Gitzo GM3551 Series 3 6X Carbon Fiber 5-Section Monopod with G-Lock - Replaces GM3550 (Black)
|Shipping||$9.95||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping||$9.10||FREE Shipping||FREE Shipping|
|Sold By||PROCAM||Outdoor Photo Gear||Amazon.com||Ace Photo||Amazon.com||Amazon.com|
|Item Dimensions||2.91 x 2.91 x 27.01 in||3.1 x 16.8 x 3 in||3 x 19.3 x 3 in||3.11 x 3.11 x 19.68 in||17.32 x 2.36 x 2.16 in||4 x 21 x 4 in|
|Item Weight||1.98 lbs||0.88 lb||0.89 lb||1.1 lbs||1 lb||1.5 lbs|
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...
In addition, I noted considerable flex with this monopod when the 600 VR was mounted. I know Gitzo makes the heavier series 55 monopods rated at 55 lbs, but the 3551 is rated to support 39.6 lbs, which is far more than the combined ~15 lb weight of my camera/lens/flash combo. Unclear how they derived that weight rating, as I now suspect the 55 series is what I would need.
Then, last month, after only about 10 serious shoots (and I'm definitely gentle with my gear, I use it but don't abuse it, I'm the guy whose heavily used lenses still look new after 10 years of ownership), the monopod foot disappeared somewhere during use in Yellowstone. Without the foot, the monopod is close to useless. I note someone else posting an amazon review of the 3551 had the same experience.
I will contact Gitzo about a replacement foot, but overall I feel this expensive device has decidedly not lived up to expectations. I'm not a pro shooter, so I can't imagine this pod handling their even tougher abuse. I'm a Gitzo fan, still using my excellent but heavy 410 tripod from the 90s, and I simply fear at this point that their newer carbon fiber G-lock offerings simply don't seem to be up to the abuse of serious field shoots. This is a dilemma, because I'm shopping for a CF tripod for travel use to supplement my 410, now over 15 years old but working as smoothly as the day I bought it (with wimberly II installed). I was planning to stay with Gitzo becuase of years of good experience, but this experience means I will probably look elsewhere, like RRS or someone else. Perhaps Gitzo has become too large and corporate?
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.
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