Roundup: Six Massive Tripods For Heavy Responsibility Use

From left to proper; ProMediaGear TR344, Actually Proper Stuff TVC-34, Sirui SR-3204, FLM CP34-L4 II, Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS. (Professional tip: maintain the leg locks away from sand if potential.)

There’s a saying about tripods; ‘Low-cost, gentle, secure – you’ll be able to choose solely two’. And maximizing one facet will reduce the others. This roundup covers tripods that emphasize stability over affordability, and make what concessions they’ll to portability. Additional, these tripods characterize ‘as soon as in a lifetime’ purchases for many fans, and ‘by no means have to fret about it’ gear for professionals.

We’ve collected collectively six tripods supposed to be used with heavy cameras, lengthy lenses, and in troublesome circumstances. They’re all from well-known makers of high quality, sturdy tripods, which share related specs and characterize every firm’s interpretations of the ‘systematic 3-series tripod.’ Nice, however what do these phrases imply?

Gitzo | Sirui | FLM | ProMediaGear | Actually Proper Stuff | Leofoto



A ‘systematic’ tripod has a big, open apex with a detachable prime plate, the place completely different accent objects (video bowl, leveling base, heart column, and so forth.) could be inserted to vary the operate of the tripod itself, while not having one other set of legs.

Open Apex Platform Video Bowl Half Ball Stage Base

Gitzo pioneered this modular strategy greater than 40 years in the past, and since these preliminary tripods and their inserts had been a part of a system, Gitzo referred to them as ‘systematic’ to distinguish them from their different, non-modular tripod choices. That time period has now turn out to be a normal to explain all tripods of this sort.


Subsequent, ‘3-series’ is one other Gitzo tripod time period referring to the completely different measurement ranges of their tripods, and it has been adopted by different producers to some extent to point the tube diameter and common measurement of their merchandise, as nicely. Usually, it means the highest leg tube diameters of the tripod legs are between 33-36mm, though some exceed this.

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Key specs in contrast

All six tripods are the ‘3-series systematic’ kind of medium measurement and modular apex, with four-section legs on the ‘common’ size, besides the ‘lengthy model’ FLM. Subsequently, the specs are fairly shut amongst them, and the crimson/ inexperienced variations within the desk beneath could be comparatively slight.

Gitzo GT3543LS


Leofoto LM-364C FLM CP-34 L4 II
MSRP $1000 $550 $1030 $1100 $580 $683
Size (folded)* 55 cm (21.6″) 54.5 cm (21.5″) 53 cm (20.8″) 53 cm (20.8″) 53 cm (20.8″) 60 cm (23.6″)
Weight* 1.94 kg (4.27 lbs) 2.1 kg (4.62 lbs) 1.82 kg (4.02 lbs) 1.93 kg (4.25 lbs) 1.92 kg (4.23 lbs) 1.95 kg
(4.Three lbs)
Max. Top* 146 cm (57.5″) 150 cm
150 cm
148 cm (58.2″) 145 cm (57.1″) 173.5 cm
Min. Top* 9 cm
14.Three cm (5.6″) 9.Four cm
9 cm
9 cm

11.Three cm

Load Restrict## 25kg
(55 lbs)
(55 lbs)
27.2 kg
(60 lbs)
39 kg
(85 lbs)
30 kg
(66 lbs)
33 kg
(77 lbs)
Leg Tube Diameters* 33, 29, 25.3, 21.Eight mm 33, 29.5, 26, 22mm 34, 30, 26.2, 22.Four mm 36.7, 33, 28.5, 24.7 mm 36, 32.5, 28, 25mm 34, 30, 26, 22mm
Leg Angles*

23°, 53°, 86°

25°, 51°, 79° 24°, 50°, 84° 26°, 53°, 86° 23°, 56°, 87° 25°, 54°, 84°
Platform Diameter* 70 mm
78mm (3.1″) 69mm (2.7″) 70 mm
75mm (2.95″) 75mm (2.95″)

* All sizes, weights and angles primarily based on in-house measurements.
## Producer supplied quantity. Not a standardized measurement.

On this group of tripods, each represented producer presents these tripods with three or 4 part legs, and most supply ‘lengthy’ variations, for additional top. The FLM on this group is a protracted model, as that’s the solely measurement usually stocked in North America (the Medium and Small are particular order). As well as, nearly all the manufacturers supply even bigger systematic tripods with thicker legs, and corresponding will increase in different dimensions, as nicely.

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Testing strategies – 4 seasons of use

These tripods weren’t merely unboxed or examined in a vacuum. They had been in contrast towards one another over 4 seasons of pandemic-inspired pictures alongside the US Atlantic coast. Every tripod has been utilized in sand, snow, mud, rain, and salt water; arrange within the bog-like Atlantic salt marshes and the wind-swept Appalachian mountains. They’ve been loaded with gimbal heads, ball heads, geared and pano-heads, and as much as 4kg (8.8lb) lenses connected to cameras starting from APS-C to medium-format, taking pictures something from long-exposure landscapes to excessive telephoto birds-in-flight. The one take a look at they didn’t undergo was being rough-handled on the airport, because of pandemic journey restrictions.

As a result of measurement and worth of those comparatively area of interest tripods, and contemplating how lengthy they had been used within the subject, these critiques will embody feedback on how simple they’re to take care of, and concerns on spare elements and repair. This gear is designed for long-life and continuous use in lots of difficult environments, so cleansing, care and restore must be a routine a part of their use.

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Gitzo GT3543LS

Gitzo has been the primary (and typically final) phrase in high-end and heavy-duty tripods for a lot of many years, and their improvements and affect are clearly seen in each different tripod of this sort available on the market. The GT3543LS exemplifies Gitzo’s continuous refinement of any such tripod in match, end, type and performance. Whereas it could have the slimmest legs and narrowest stance on this group, each of which anecdotally ought to make it much less secure, it is available in an in depth second for vibration resistance.

Our take: The secure, however expensive, guess. Wonderful efficiency with worldwide help

The wide range of equipment obtainable to slot in its 70mm apex means that is actually a broad system to purchase into. Only some small points come up when it comes to the leg angle locks and the general dimensions, however this tripod has only a few flaws and performs admirably in each scenario and take a look at. Whereas any Gitzo is an costly proposition, they’re essentially the most accessible and broadly supported tripod of this sort worldwide, which makes it a secure guess as a stalwart companion for a few years.

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Sirui SR-3204

Sirui made their identify with a line of wonderful tripod heads and a dizzying array of smaller tripods, with the SR-series on the prime of their line in most areas. Lots of the highlights from their different merchandise are on full show within the SR-3204, with wonderful leg collars, well-machined aluminum and magnesium alloy elements, and wonderful carbon fiber tubes, however then among the different widespread elements, such because the press-in angle locks, don’t scale up as nicely. The total SR-series contains an aluminum legged model, in addition to a 3-section carbon fiber tripod, which decrease the already reasonably priced worth of this measurement and sort of tripod.

Functionally the built-in video bowl is kind of welcome, as is the (hard-to-find) heart column accent, however there are some compatibility points that warrant trying to different producers for add-ons. The shortage of any directions or spare elements for upkeep of any such help system is stunning, given the anticipated longevity. Compared on this group, the Sirui SR-3204 is a bit heavy and never as vibration resistant as its friends, and lacks some refinement in its design and features, however nonetheless presents quite a bit for the low worth.

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The CP34-L4 is the tallest tripod on this roundup, resulting from FLM prioritizing this ‘Massive’ measurement for the North American market, however it additionally exhibits simply what could be gained from any tripod by choosing a longer-legged model. In the meantime, FLM has constructed its popularity on the rock-solid stability of its numerous heads, and although these new tripods are made in China, the identical sturdy engineering and tight development is carried over. The tripod is nicely completed and extremely sturdy for its measurement, with only some missteps within the design, such because the lacking weight hook and naked metallic leg locks, however these are offset by the built-in video bowl and comparatively reasonably priced worth.

Our take: The tall possibility, with considerate options at an inexpensive worth

Vibration resistance for this long-legged model is kind of good, and the benefit of upkeep and availability of spare elements carries over the FLM custom of help lengthy after buy. The tip result’s an simply really helpful various to the top-end tripods from another producer, and nicely well worth the particular order in some markets if one thing lower than the examined ‘giant’ tripod is required.

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ProMediaGear has rigorously engineered the TR344 to be as gentle and compact as potential (besting its rivals on this group), with considerate options like a wide range of apex attachment factors, hidden (however at all times there) foot spikes, and a big bubble stage. The obtainable choices of a larger-legged model or a extra compact apex (the TRS344), and the even bigger 42mm-series, full the PMG tripod for the high-end of demanding customers. Exploiting the systematic, modular apex on the TR344 is slightly tougher resulting from a proprietary attachment technique, however many apex inserts and choices can be found from PMG.

Our take: Lightest and most compact on this group, with wonderful construct and choices

Wonderful vibration management traits and a really exact match and end make the TR344 a pleasure to make use of within the subject, and whereas using handbook leg angle locks and all-metal leg collars could also be uncommon, however not an enormous useful concern except it will get actually chilly. Cleansing and upkeep are pretty simple and well-documented, whereas spare elements can be found direct from PMG. General, the ProMediaGear TR344 ‘Professional-Stix’ tripod is a high-performing help system that does not distract with points or shortcomings throughout lengthy days of taking pictures.

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Actually Proper Stuff Versa TVC34

In terms of help gear, Actually Proper Stuff is sort of at all times thought-about the ‘nec-plus-ultra’ when it comes to design, innovation, and excessive worth. In different phrases, nice stuff if you happen to can afford it. The RRS ‘Versa’ TVC-34 tripod, nonetheless, is just not way more costly than a couple of different 3-series systematic tripods on this group, however delivers almost bomb-proof stability together with eminent portability in a really refined package deal. Consideration to particulars just like the rounded leg angle locks and sealed leg collars pervade the RRS tripod line, whereas the 36.7mm prime tube diameter of the TVC-34 is the most important of any ‘3-series’ tripod on this roundup.

Our take: most stability in an overbuilt however balanced package deal

The one points to be discovered are a reluctant leg extension (resulting from very tight tolerances), a easy aluminum platform, and lack of any extras within the field in comparison with the competitors. RRS features a information on sustaining their tripods and supplies spare elements and repair from their Utah headquarters. By overbuilding and oversizing nearly all the things about this tripod, whereas retaining a really transportable profile, RRS has merely gone past the competitors on this roundup, and exemplifies their ‘better of the very best’ philosophy in help gear.

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Leofoto Summit LM-364C

The LM ‘Summit’ collection of ‘systematic’ tripods from Leofoto extends to 12 completely different fashions, various in top, variety of leg sections, and leg tube width. The LM-364C is their 4-section ‘3-series’ measurement with beneficiant 36mm prime leg tubes, included extras like a padded bag and 75mm video bowl, and a big catalog of non-obligatory extras for that open apex. The comparatively low worth for this measurement and sort of tripod is the actual attraction, and after an intensive evaluation and lengthy testing interval, there have been only some minor points with the match of all of the elements.

Our take: Excessive worth for a low worth, with only a few compromises

Stability of the system is the first operate of any tripod, and the Leofoto doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It’s simple to make use of and can help heavy masses in a wide range of circumstances. The big selection of choices within the ‘Summit’ and associated ‘Ranger’ collection, with related legs and supplies, imply there’s most likely a very good private match within the Leofoto tripod line for many wants. The one ongoing concern is the supply of elements and help lengthy after the preliminary buy, however this may range by geographic area.

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Our intrepid tripods, standing tall within the shoulder season. From left to proper; SIrui SR-3204, RRS TVC-34, FLM CP34-L4, PMG TR344. Leofoto LM-364C, Gitzo GT3543LS.

These should not your regular, run-of-the-mill, three-legged help programs by any stretch of the creativeness. They’re purposefully designed for max stability and adaptability, and is probably not a sensible choice for everybody, or each scenario. The excellent news is that every of those producers has choices for smaller, lighter, and extra transportable tripods, simply as most of them supply even bigger legs, if desired.

In any case is claimed and completed, which is the very best ‘3-series systematic’ tripod? That relies on many customized elements; like what gear you’ll help with it, the place you’ll take it, how tall you might be, and what your price range and priorities are. In case you’ve learn by these tripod critiques with curiosity, most probably a number of of them will soar out at you as being the very best compromise in your wants. And when you really want secure help for some massive or heavy pictures gear, that tripod would be the greatest for you.

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Honest because of for offering cameras and (giant) lenses used within the creation of those critiques

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