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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 2:39 pm 
Hi everyone! Here is my first impressions and a bunch of pics of my new tripod, the Giottos MTL 9371B and Giottos MH 1000-652 Ball Head.

I received this set up as a Christmas gift (thank you!), so I haven't had it for too long, nor have I had the chance to get out in the field and try it out. But I have toyed around with it in the house, mounted my camera on it and seen how it functions, and I am very impressed! I have not had too much experience with professional quality tripods, but this is a very well manufactured piece of equipment and it both the ballhead and tripod itself feel as if they are the utmost in quality.

Here are some specs before we get into the pics and impressions.

* The tripod is a 3 section aluminum tripod with lever lock legs.
* The leg diameter is 1.2".
* It weighs 5.42 lbs (w/o ballhead).
* When it is all folded, the length is 28.7" (w/o ballhead).
* Extended height is 63" (5'3"), without ballhead.
* Fully extended with center column at full height is 67.7" (around 5'7"), without ballhead.
* Minimum height, again without ballhead, is 11" off the ground.
* It will support up to 10kg (22 lbs!)

My only gripe so far, is its a little on the heavy side. But that's a minor point of contention for me so far because it will be worth having a quality, sturdy support. I can live with that. Also the carbon fiber version is pretty much double the cost!!

So lets move on to the ballhead's specs

* It is 4.7" tall
* it has a 2.5" base diameter
* it weighs 1.3lbs
* it supports up to 10kg (22 lbs)
* it has a 3 way bubble level.

Alright, onto the good stuff!

Here it is all folded up and ready to go, with the ballhead. There is some gear around it to give you a little sense of size, my cell phone, my diana camera, and the tools that came with the tripod.

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So, lets open it up!

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So that's it unfolded, legs still at their shortest.

Lets look at some of the little details here before we get too excited.

Here is the MH-1000 logo on the ballhead.

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This is also on the ballhead, the 3 way bubble level.

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This is the bubble level on the tripod itself.

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Here is the logo and model number sticker on the tripod leg.

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This is the toolkit attached to the tripod. More on that later!

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Here is the center column tension adjuster:

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Okay, lets put a camera on it

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and extend the legs by using the lever locks here:

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to get to this point:

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It seems to be pretty tall!

So it has this 'multi function center column' which is one of the main features I wanted this model for. Especially for my macro work. How this works is you extend the center column fully, then you release the tension on these knobs

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and raise the column up, until you can tilt it over like this:

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So now you can rotate the column 360 degrees around and lengthen or shorten the column as much as you want. When you get it where you want to go, just tighten up those same knobs and away you go!

Lets talk about the independent moving legs which is another feature I was looking for when shopping around for a tripod.
There is these buttons I will call them on tops of the 3 legs that, when pushed in, restrict the movement of the leg to a preset position for, I will say, 'normal operation'. Being a standard set up, all 3 legs the same distance apart. Here are the 'buttons':

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You can pull them out to allow you to pull the leg out further, the above picture shows the leg at the lowest point. There is also a middle point as well. Here is a picture showing the tripod extended and the 3 legs in different positions, this would be good on uneven terrain:

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Using these buttons, if you pull them out and pull the 3 legs out the farthest, you can lower the tripod to its lowest working height. At this point, you will either need to extend the center column to its max extension or it will hit the ground. So you could lower the tripod and use the 360 degree center column mode, like this:

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Or, if you remember the toolbag shown earlier in the post, it has a short center column in it. In order to use this, you will need to remove the big center column and also attach the head to the short center column. To swap the head over to the short center column, you need to use the supplied allen key to loosen this screw:

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Then you can remove the plate that holds the ball head, and you simply swap it over to the short column, which looks like this:

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Once that is done, you can insert the short column into the spot where the bigger column came out. You will need to lock it into place with this little knob, which aligns a small post into the groove of the small column:

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and voila! you have your tripod at its lowest point and the short column installed.

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(Another selling point with this model is that you can use it without a head by using the short column installed all the time, it will function as a 3 way head on its own.)

Lets talk abit about the ballhead! This is model MH 1000-652. So that means that the ball part is MH1000, and the plate on top of it is MH 652. They came together, you can also get different combos. At some point, I will probably upgrade to a quick release plate, hopefully an 'L' plate, which will let me swap between portrait and landscape orientation without detaching the plate from the camera.

Here is a shot of the ballhead:

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The knob on the right, is the locking knob for friction control, the knob on the left is for the socket ball, and the knob on the bottom middle is for the panning base. Pretty self explanatory!
The portion that attaches to the camera is pretty simple as well, you have your plate that screws onto the camera, then you have the part that the plate clips into. The part that goes on the camera has a slotted screw in the bottom with a little metal tab for easy turning (thank you) like this:

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To release the plate from the base, there is a dual action release lever for added security.
So you will push and hold in the little tab I have dubbed '1', then you will pull the tab dubbed '2' over and that will release the plate! Pretty neat

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And finally, here is a close up on the panning markers:

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So I think that about sums it up!
First impressions are;

* Tripod and head seem super sturdy
* quality is top notch, feels and looks professional
* has all the features I wanted, and then some

So I am very pleased with this tripod! I am super excited about using it in the field and I am sure it will serve me well for a long time!

I highly recommend looking at this model if you are in the market for a tripod. I find a lot of people overlook Giottos, they seem to get overshadowed by Manfrotto, Gitzo, etc. But in my opinion, I think this stands up well against the big names!

Ok, thanks for reading this, leave me a comment or drop me a line if you want to see some more info or if you have a particular question about it :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:14 pm 
Impressive review,I've seen a lot of detailed photos here. :)
Is this suppose to be cheaper than a Manfrotto equivalent? 'Cause it looks like a wonderful tripod to have.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:27 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 12:59 pm
Posts: 6009
Location: The Netherlands
Great review, will definitely consider it!

_________________
I take pictures so quickly, my highschool was "Continuous High".


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:59 pm 
thanks guys!
this tripod runs for $185 US on adorama, and the ballhead is $114 US also on adorama,
not sure what the manfrotto equivalent would be :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 8:05 am 
Interesting Review Craig! I might consider those & great substitute to Manfrotto tripods :wink:


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:49 pm 
thanks for the review, it looks like a very versatile beast :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:23 am 
thanks! and yes it seems to be very versatile :)

I cant wait to set up for a macro shoot in a little while, I will post back with more info


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 9:08 am
Posts: 159
Nice review !

It´s a pity that this tripod isnt available in germany :( .


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2010 4:10 pm 
that is a pity, i had to order mine from the states, because i could not find it in canada.


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