My Last Gitzo Tripod – EVER

Last year, I bought my last Gitzo tripod ever. The biggest myth ever perpetuated on photographers across the globe is that Gitzo makes the best tripod on the market. And for years, I bought into this myth. As another professional photographer recently quipped, “Gitzo’s is the best tripod – when they’re actually working!” Unfortunately, we both agreed that’s not very often.

Last year’s purchase was a Gitzo GT2542L. That’s $750 for a tripod, an amount that most weekend or amateur photographers might find offensive. A tripod? Yes, a tripod. It’s kinda important to what I do so I don’t mind investing that much money in one. You would hope, however, that the price would be justified by it’s quality and world-class service, right?

Remember. It’s one year since this purchase. Two of the legs stops are gone. Just gone. Disappeared. A minor nuisance, but one I could live with. I am busy traveling, leading workshops, and haven’t had time to fix these small problems right away. Then last month, one of the leg locks quit working during the workshop I was leading in the Smoky Mountains. I had a backup, but it was a bit embarrassing a the time. The actual lock is made up of two pieces (D0402.28 and D0301.24 if you’re listening, Gitzo) and the two pieces separated leaving the tripod entirely useless. The part was small, plastic, and seemingly inexpensive-looking so I decided to order the part as soon as possible so it would be ready for my Peru trip.

The service and parts departments are buried within it’s slick website. There is no place to order parts except via an email. I did that. No response. I called the phone number on the website and ended up with the parts department which is apparently one person and a single phone line, which is always busy or unavailable with an option to “leave a message.” I did that. Twice. Still no response.

So I left for Peru with a different tripod. Not my first choice, but it worked just fine. This particular tripod was one-third of the price and it actually worked! When I returned home form Peru, one of the first things that I did was call Gitzo once again. The line was busy – as always –  but I could leave a message once again. I have yet to receive a response.

In my office I have a virtual graveyard of older, expensive, Gitzo tripods. Most have frozen up leg-lock issues. Worthless junk. Gitzo supposedly improved the design on the locks but last year’s purchase nullifies that notion for me. It’s one thing to be the price leader, but when the quality doesn’t match the price nor does the customer service, what’s the point?

So I’ll do my best to get this one fixed, but that’s it. It’s utterly insane. It’s also time to find a new tripod.

Enjoy this post? Please leave a comment or Subscribe to Earth and Light!

Posted in Essays | Tagged


  1. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:25 pm by Peyton | Permalink

    sorry to hear the crappy luck Richard… I still think Feisol is a better bang for the buck tripod!

    • Posted July 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm by Michael | Permalink

      I wholeheartedly concur about Gitzo’s atrocious service. I cannot understand how in 2013 companies are willing to disregard the customer the way this company does and survive. It took me more calls to the parts department than I care to admit until I was able to get a person to pick up. When I wanted to return several parts for credit I didn’t know where to ship them — the invoice provided no return information, and when I called their NY and AZ warehouses, nobody could tell me to what address to send returns! I have since sent several emails and left messages to no avail. To make matters worse I noticed a charge to my account for approximately $10 from Gitzo, but have no idea why. One begins to think this “don’t bother us” approach to customer service is by design. The horrible service is shameful for a company of Gitzo’s reputation and stature within the world of photography.

  2. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:30 pm by Daniel Frei | Permalink

    What tripod you looking at now? I recently bought a new tripod, the manfrotto 190CXpro4 with a Giottos head and although the tripod is super sturdy and I haven’t had any issues with it, I’m looking to upgrade. The kit weighs just over 4lbs which is a little heavy for long hikes. I’ve been looking at Gitzo but have read stories like this about their service. I really love my Giottos head so I was thinking of going with one of their tripods because I’m really impressed with the quality of the head I bought.

    Just wondering what your thoughts were on your “new tripod”

  3. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm by Doug Walker | Permalink

    Have you looked at “Really Right Stuff” they have their own line of tripods that I heard are really nice.

    Love your work.. I wish I could make it to one of your workshops!


  4. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm by terrell c woods | Permalink

    I am not a professional but I too have a Gitzo, a smaller GT2541. I had used it for about a year when I also had some issues and questions. I never, ever got a response. I now use a Really Right Stuff tripod…mainly what sold me after the sticker shock was their superb customer service. Answering every dumb question a novice could ask, yet still treated me as if I was their biggest account. ALWAYS making sure my understanding is complete and that I am satisfied with the service

  5. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:33 pm by Richard Bernabe | Permalink

    I am open to suggestions on a new tripod, so keep them coming. This experience with their “parts department” is shocking, actually.

    • Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:42 pm by Daniel Frei | Permalink

      I don’t blame you. I don’t take very well to poor customer service.

    • Posted October 24, 2014 at 6:26 pm by William Spears | Permalink

      I bought 2 velbons in 1980 in 82 needing 2 new tripods I bought a Gitzo Loisir and a Reporter. I’ve had no trouble with either one still use both. I am sad to hear what a sorry state Gitzo has fallen to. It’s possible that their aquisition by Manfroto has not done either company any good.

  6. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:36 pm by David Mangels | Permalink

    Rotten luck, and sorry to hear about the poor service. Makes me want to give my Induro CT414 that much more of a hug. Still early days for me and it, but it’s been great through its first season of work.

  7. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm by Stacy White | Permalink

    That stinks. When you decide on your new one I would love to hear what you decided to go with!

  8. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:43 pm by Daniel Frei | Permalink

    When it’s all said and done… you need a “My Gear” page.

  9. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:51 pm by Kevin D | Permalink

    I think it is fair to say Gitzo was once the best available, but maybe that has changed. (I did read that they moved production from France to Italy in 2005)
    The last Gitzo tripod I bought (I’ve owned four) was 2011 and I very nearly bought another brand because the competition (Feisol, RRS, etc) has really stepped up their game and done so at a far lower price.
    Only once did I ever need a repair and I had no trouble with the service, but that was many years ago.

    • Posted March 15, 2016 at 9:05 am by Lohenstein | Permalink

      I think, indeed, that Linhof is the best you can get – and quite affordable, too. Just give them a try, even if the tripods are older, used ones. Its really worth the effort.

  10. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm by Mylan Dawson | Permalink


    Sorry to hear of the issues you are having. I’ve experienced the frustration in trying to find a way to order replacement parts for my Gitzo tripods. I can find the parts easily enough but how to actually order them was not very clear.

    Anyway, if you are interested in getting the parts, I think Manfrotto as the US distributor handles all the replacement parts. Or at least that is how it seems, given that Manfrotto responded to my questions to Gitzo. I use this email: and have good luck getting a pretty fast response. The last time I ordered a part (Sept. 2012) I corresponded with Josh Meltzer in the Manfrotto Parts Department, Direct Line: +1 (201) 818-9500 Ext. 250 (I used the email posted above).

    Hope that helps and I am anxious to see what tripod brand you go with next. As others have said, I too have heard good things about RRS tripods as well as Feisol.


  11. Posted November 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm by Rob Suisted | Permalink

    I agree, after spending a ridiculous sum on a very expensive carbon leveling model, I now have to carry a tube of super glue in my camera bag ready to fix it. The legs fall out of their tubes, or the feet stubs come out. NEVER buying a Gitzo again.

  12. Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:17 pm by Robert | Permalink

    Manfrotto every time #ftw

  13. Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:28 pm by Claudio Bacinello | Permalink

    Nothing worse than having a critical piece of gear fail in the field – I feel for you. For what it’s worth, I’ve been using an Induro CT414 for a couple of years now and it still works like new. Used it extensively all through Iceland – you know what that’s like!
    Good luck.

  14. Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm by Jack | Permalink

    Have a look at Redged, great all weather, all conditions tripods, great customer oriented.
    They don’t sell you their most expensive tripod but are selling you a solution for your specific needs.
    Aftersales dept. is great and they are sponsoring a great number of pro users worldwide to test and give constructive feedback on developing even better equipment.

    no sensitive parts found so far.

  15. Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:52 pm by Andrew | Permalink

    I can relate. I purchased a brand new Gitzo (forget the model#) and when I took it out of the box and attempted to set it up one of the legs came undone. I was in my friend’s office at the time because I wanted to impress her with the unboxing of my shiny new Gitzo, and it turned out to be rather embarassing for me as I spent the next 30 minutes trying in vain to re-assemble the leg. She has an Induro CT214 tripod and proceeded to show it to me while I was fussing with the broken Gitzo. It is every bit a quality tripod (i believe the induros to be better) as the Gitzos and it was $200 cheaper and came with a carry bag w/strap, tool kit, foam wraps on ALL legs and interchangeable rubber feet and spikes. Bottom line: I couldn’t be happier with my Induro CT214!

  16. Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm by Ann | Permalink

    Sorry,about your bad luck with your tripod, had always heard Gitzo was supposed to be good…never owned one… Have a Manfrotto and absolutely love it! 🙂

  17. Posted November 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm by Michael | Permalink

    I’ve been using a Really Right Stuff TVC-33 with an Arca Swiss Monoball Z1 ballhead for a year now – I am really right impressed! It’ solid, reliable AND completely American made.

  18. Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:01 pm by Robin Ann Walker | Permalink

    Thanks, Richard, for sharing your experience!

  19. Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:02 pm by Jürgen Weginger | Permalink

    Can suggest Benro, some says it´s a “Gitzo”, I don´t know. For me it works very well, solid and good quality. And it is the half of the price of a Gitzo. Here in europe we have a good support from the Main dealer of Europe. Before I had a Feisol, for the price a really good tripod but very soon I got problems with the legs, nothing big but very sensitive for dirt and dust.

  20. Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm by QT Luong | Permalink

    I, too was disappointed with Gitzo because of a parts issue. However, after using both an Induro and a Feisol, I found them lacking in rigidity – although they have otherwise very nice features, and eventually bought another Gitzo. I suspect RSS would work, but they are more expensive and heavy.

  21. Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm by David Kingham | Permalink

    I’ve had 2 Gitzo’s for a couple years and have never had an issue with either, I think they’re great. That said, if I were to start over I would buy a Feisol for half the price and equal quality. If money were no option I would get a RRS

  22. Posted November 20, 2012 at 4:59 pm by Kory Lidstrom | Permalink

    Richard, I know EXACTLY what you mean! A couple years ago, I needed a new tripod, so I asked my good friend Marc Adamus for advice. His response was so spot-on and hilarious that I saved it. I shall quote it for you:

    “I hate every [tripod] I’ve ever owned. I’ve had to pay way too much and gotten little or no customer service. Gitzo is popular, expensive, has no customer service, doesn’t honor their warranties and just all-around sucks except for the first six weeks you own the thing. They’re nice if you don’t get them in dirt, sand, water, ice, snow or really use them in any way that does not involve balmy temperatures and pavement next to your vehicle, and don’t mind spending $700.”

    So, um, yeah. I think Marc pretty much hit the nail on the head and his experience clearly gels with yours. And, unfortunately, mine as well.

  23. Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:24 pm by Ben Lassing | Permalink

    Since 1972 I make use of a Gitzo tripod… An aluminium tube sturdy one. Now, I’ve restored (renewed rubber grips several times and cleaned) it and enhanced with a Manfrotto Joystick. It is quite a heavy tripod, not suitable for long walks. Therefore I use a Manfrotto 4-lid legs lightweight tripod, which got broken a few months ago. Ordered the new part, which came rightaway. During mounting the other part on the same leg broke. Sent to the Manfrottoretailfirm. Got it repaired completely free of charge. That’s what I call good service…

  24. Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm by Lynne | Permalink

    Sorry about your bad luck Richard. I thought it was just me– I bought a new Gitzo about 5 years ago, and took it to the Colorado San Juan mountains for an autumn shoot. Stopped at a roadside spot and set up my tripod into the higher elevation’s snow only to have one leg completely sheer off at the tripod center collar! I didn’t have a spare tripod, so the rest of the trip’s photos were garbage and it took a few months to ship the tripod back to get it repaired by Gitzo. Since then, the tripod has worked fine, but I now always bring at least a monopod with me as a backup.

    Next time around, I’ll look at RRS or another smaller USA vendor of quality stuff. My RRS Ballhead has been bomb-proof for over 7 years now and if it ever failed, I know their staff is very responsive to their customers.

  25. Posted November 20, 2012 at 5:50 pm by Brook Tyler | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about your Gitzo problems. As a newbie, I was shooting with a Manfrotto. In roughly 2 years, the leg joints started to snap. Although it was under warranty, they said that “it looks well-used”, and refused to honour the warranty. I suggested that they offer me a discount toward a new Manfrotto. They said “no”. So I bought a Gitzo. Compared to the Manfrotto, it is a pleasure to use. And although it has been subject to the same amount of use, after two years it is still looking, and working, like new.

  26. Posted November 20, 2012 at 6:42 pm by Michele | Permalink

    I have a Gitzo circa 1990’s. to date i’ve had no problems with it. (Sounds like that is a lucky thing from comments above.) It’s heavy – Aluminum. G1335C Made in Italy. It’s heavy so I’m Not crazy about draggin it deep into the woods but I have. And I’ve literally used it as a walking stick on a few occasions. It’s been in rivers, too. Nice and solid. I’d like to find a lighter version for hiking but it sounds like I should look at other brands.

  27. Posted November 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm by Lensman | Permalink

    Gitzo. I had never trusted them much anyway, not forgotten those Gitzo clones out there from China.

    Had been using the Italian made Manfrotto for over 25 years. They are bulky and heavy, but then it works. My 20+ years old tripod’s plastic locking levers broke. Called and prepaid for the replacements and got it within 3 months, and for about US$8ea. Only recently, I have noticed that there are cheaper models under the same brand, Made In China. Oh no, i seriously don’t think it will last as long. Lets see….

  28. Posted November 21, 2012 at 4:57 am by David Tothill | Permalink

    I’m at the point where I must upgrade my tripod, based on your experience I’ll certainly give Gitzo a miss. Thanks for sharing this information.

  29. Posted November 21, 2012 at 6:25 am by Kevin Broussard | Permalink

    Please let us know what you decide upon as your next tripod. I am looking to upgrade also.


  30. Posted November 21, 2012 at 6:37 am by Jeff Sinon | Permalink

    Sorry to hear about all the headaches. I have to say that, so far anyway, I’ve had excellent luck with my GT 2451 Mountaineer. The only problem I’ve had with it was that the upper casting broke leaving me with a bipod and a monopod. I have to say it was likely my fault pushing the legs down into deep snow, causing them to put too much force on the leg stop. Lesson learned the hard way!

    That said, I sent it off to Manfrotto, the U.S. distributor, and they replaced it under warranty no questions asked.

  31. Posted November 29, 2012 at 2:15 am by Brad Mangas | Permalink

    I really like the Induro I have, they are worth checking out.

  32. Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:17 am by Andy Keeble | Permalink

    I’m sorry to hear of your trials and tribulations with Gitzo, for the money they charge one could at least rely on a good parts dept at the very least.

    I use a Manfrotto 055CX03PRO with a Manfrotto geared head and find them to be excellent. I have also read good things of the Induro tripods and heads but they are Gitzo expensive!

    I would really like to know what you decide to buy and would love to see a, “what’s in my camera bag” type post as I am a gear junkie, ain’t we all?!!!

    All the best for the festive season.


  33. Posted December 2, 2012 at 3:55 pm by Mark Kalan | Permalink

    I have been using the same Gitzo Tele-Studex since 1973. the only problem I’ve ever had was the head’s knobs shattering during airplane. A couple years ago I took the stids to a machinist and he mounted some new knobs similar to the current round ones Gitzo uses. Not a problem since.

  34. Posted February 24, 2013 at 8:15 pm by Shane Reid | Permalink


    Gitzo is now owned by Manfrotto… I think that has been the case for a while which makes sense why they are not as good as they once were… What a shame..

    Cheers. SR.

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm by jerry | Permalink

      Have same tripod, lost screw to hold camera do you know where to find one. Already called manfrotto no luck.
      Is there a place to recondition this, this is reporter with professional ball head made in Paris.

  35. Posted March 29, 2013 at 5:09 pm by roland | Permalink

    Sorry to hear this things.
    I bought myself ± 30 years ago a Gitzo Gilux Reporter and i am still working with it although had to replace the rubber griprings a few years ago. I do and did a lot of studio and nature fotography and yes you have to maintain your gear ones and a while. Wash off the dirt and sand, tighten the screws and lubricate the moving parts but really thats all i do.
    In the old days they where made in good old France and made out of aluminum.

    • Posted January 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm by jerry | Permalink

      Have same tripod, lost screw to hold camera do you know where to find one. Already called manfrotto no luck.
      Is there a place to recondition this, this is reporter with professional ball head made in Paris.

  36. Posted April 8, 2013 at 2:34 pm by EricB | Permalink

    I can completely relate to the poor quality of Gitzo tripods. They are not suitable for professional use.

    I bought two 3540LS models 4 years ago when they were replaced by the 3541LS. Since then I’ve had to repair two of three legs when the glue failed where the top leg section attaches to the casting. It was replaced with epoxy and is fine now. I’ve had the tripod feet come off a number of times – and lost 4 to date. I’ve fractured the metal casting at the top of the leg section when I fell in the Smokies. The replacement part took 5 weeks and cost $160 – for a single leg section. And I’ve had the tripod plate come off with my ballhead and camera attached. Luckily I caught the camera by the strap and had no damage. I added the third party plate to secure the top plate. So at this point I have a 4 year old tripod with 7 failures due to design or workmanship.

    I’ve heard great things about the Feisol tripods and will probably turn to them for my next tripod. They had a good display at the NANPA Summit last month and have some excellent new designs. The product is manufactured in the US and carries both a lower price and better availability of parts.

  37. Posted June 14, 2013 at 4:37 pm by Jonathan | Permalink

    hmmmm… well I’m not sure what you expect – the build quality has been suffering for 15 years or so now. Their reputation was forged by the older XXX series (three digit) tripods. The newer ones with plastic and carbon fiber (another form of plastic IMO) are just silly… I’m not surprised it broke.

  38. Posted June 26, 2013 at 10:26 am by Michael | Permalink

    Another disillusioned Gitzo customer here–I very recently had to inquire about a leg replacement, and ran into similar troubles with their parts department (Manfrotto?). Gitzo made it easy to look up parts lists for various product models online, but the parts rep I spoke with sounded sleepy and was unable to find a specific part number–right off the official part list. Instead, I was quoted a price on another part that wasn’t on the sheet at all. All subsequent attempts at contacting them (leaving both phone and email messages) have resulted in zero response.

    Gitzo needs to get its act together. Shoddy product quality is one thing, but poor customer service is inexcusable for this product class.

  39. Posted June 27, 2013 at 5:37 am by Gitzo | Permalink

    We are very sorry for what happened.
    We experienced some serious problems with our customer service and we are working hard to improve it, so that no more customers will have the same issue.

    • Posted June 29, 2013 at 4:17 pm by Thomas Gaitley | Permalink

      Really? Then why am I going through the same thing now with my 3330 that I did with my 3530 problem six months ago. Two completely separate but similar problems indicates a TREND to me, not an anomaly. Added together, I have given you approximatley $6000 of my money in tripods over the years. I have ALWAYS been a loyal Gitzo supporter – but no longer. The casual disregard of a premium brand toward its customer base is intolerable. I also see that I am not alone in my dissatisfaction nor in being vocal about it. I feel like you have abused my trust and loyalty as a longtime customer. General Motors couldn’t even spell “Japan” in the 70s. I expect to see Gitzo go the same way.

    • Posted September 22, 2014 at 2:51 pm by Otter | Permalink

      I just called the Gitzo/Manfrotto USA Parts line at (201) 818-9500 / 3, rang more than 20 times then got a recording to leave a message. I am skeptical that Gitzo has/can deliver on the promise you make here. Same old, same old, as far as I can tell. I guess an alternative to Gitzo is the more prudent step. -O

  40. Posted June 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm by Thomas Gaitley | Permalink

    I have had similar experiences with Gitzo. I have had five in my lifetime and will never buy another. I have had to go through the same horrible experience with the outsourced Gitzo parts (to Vitec/Manfrotto) twice now. Once for a joint snap on a carbon fiber leg for my 3530 and another for a bent leg on my 3330. Slow response, no response, seem to be par for the course. I spent a lot of money on my gitzos and it is going to another place in the future-I expect the service to be commensurate with the price. Instead it feels like I was swindled. They suck.

  41. Posted July 28, 2013 at 8:23 pm by Yvonne | Permalink

    Hi not sure if anyone has mentioned this but you can get your two parts online at they are both instock. I have two gitzo tripods and purchase spare parts to be ready if I need them, so far I haven’t needed to yet. Cheers Y

  42. Posted August 8, 2013 at 1:08 pm by TS_Photo | Permalink

    Funny seeing all the people posting to buy Manfrotto over Gitzo — under the same ownership for years. : great link.

    It’s great to see how many have responded to this post. As Gitzo becomes less relevant due to super high price, and poor customer service, many people have gone to other brands. But Manfrotto is largely the same company, just making a different type of product. And there is not that much information on the older Gitzo models online, or at least I have to really dig for it when I consider adding another tripod.

  43. Posted August 12, 2013 at 8:33 pm by Patrick Downs | Permalink

    Ries H100 is one I am considering. Maybe not ideal for you, for travel, but gets great reviews and they do make a breakdown model too.

    It will be this or the RRS 24L.

  44. Posted September 12, 2013 at 7:45 am by Olger | Permalink

    Yes i have some experience with them as well.. Gitzo=Patience.. al lot, by far! Posted a message at facebook about this:

  45. Posted September 20, 2013 at 6:11 pm by Brian Lee | Permalink

    I can’t agree with you more! The Gitzo GT2542L has been nothing but trouble. I own and use Manfrotto tripods (irony that they are owned by the same parent company) and they’re a lot more reliable and less expensive. On the Gitzo, the leg locks do fall apart if you open the twist locks too much. The feet also come undone quite easily. I have already purchased replacement parts for this tripod as pieces keep coming off. If you’re truly a person on the go, this tripod may not last. It’s not that it’s flimsy, it’s just that the darn parts come undone one by one. It’s almost as if they want parts to keep falling away so you can order more though them. I recommend a good tube of Loctite!

  46. Posted October 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm by Peter Cabrera | Permalink

    Interesting post Richard. I was in the Grand Tetons waiting to start a workshop with you when my gitzo gt2531 tripod just snapped. Had to go into Jackson and spend quite a bit to get another tripod to save the day. I thought I was an isolated case.

  47. Posted November 27, 2013 at 1:23 am by paul | Permalink

    I use a Manfrotto 055X proB, but have ordered an Induro CT 214. The induro tripods get great reviews on B&H, and that is what sold me. They are also on sale right now. MY CT 214, which regularly costs $400, is on sale for $300! That is only a littel more than my Manfrotto, but much lighter, and apparently rigid for fairly large lenses. My biggest lens is an 70-200 L. I get this tripod in about 2 weeks, and will test it well!

  48. Posted December 27, 2013 at 6:57 pm by Stephen | Permalink

    I will never buy another Gitzo/Manfrotto again. I have had my gt2932 for 4 years aAnd have had nothing but problems with the bottom leg. The glued in part that the foot screws into has fallen out on numerous occasions. I finally lost it and had to buy the whole leg section to replace it. Gitzo Canada witch is a terrible company called Gentec in Canada wouldn’t return my phone calls or emails. I had to send for the part from the UK and now the part they sent was to short. I’m not sure where to go next. I refuse to buy from RRS for political reasons and although I hear good things about the knockoff companies I have also heared horror stories.

  49. Posted January 17, 2014 at 1:05 pm by Colin Smale | Permalink

    I WILL NOT BE REPLACING MY GITZO TRIPOD. After a few years (admittedly) the legs failed to lock in place. Gitzo sent me a new set of shims, they are only corky looking things for £50 + and probably more now. I think that would be about 3 years ago and one of the legs has gone again.
    ADDED TO THIS… I attended the photo show at Birmingham and spoke to an elderly ‘gent’ on the stand, I mentioned how well (up to that point) the tripod worked. He looked down his nose at me and absolutely sneered; “THAT’S BECAUSE IT’S A GITZO” he said. I never forgot that remark and it isn’t helping now that the tripod has failed again. Luckily I have a nice Manfrotto that USED TO BE my back up.

  50. Posted January 27, 2014 at 11:45 am by yardstick | Permalink

    I’m way late to this party, but felt compelled to chime in. I thought I was in the minority with respect to poor customer service for Manfrotto/Gitzo products.

    I too had an almost identical experience with the “parts department”. I receieved the number to the parts and services department by contacting B&H photo so I knew it was valid number. After having spent more than year leaving voice mail messages that all went unreturned, I finally gave up. I did receive email from a gentlemen known as “Josh” who was unhelpful and who I believe lied to me about parts availability for a backup Manfrotto tripod (he was happy to take my broken tripod in trade for a new one, however).

    So far, my Gitzo has not failed me, but I’m not looking forward to the day when I need to obtain parts for it.

  51. Posted February 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm by Hank Jones | Permalink

    The new kid on the block is FLM; apparently top-notch German quality with prices comparable to Gitzo, but good customer service in North America supported by a 10-year warranty.
    I bought a tripod from them at B&H, next on my list is one of their ball heads.

  52. Posted February 28, 2014 at 11:40 am by John | Permalink

    I have a first generation 6x Gitzo 3530 carbon fiber tripod. I’ve had it for around 8 years I think, no trouble so far.

    But I’ve read of so many similar horror stories with the Gitzo service in North America (I hear European service is fine) that if I have trouble, I expect I’ll simply replace it.

  53. Posted March 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm by Elliot Framan | Permalink

    I have had Manfrotto tripods and attachments for years and taken them on many international shoots. Reliable, easy to use and the carbon fiber is nice and light. Can’t say that for the ball and video heads but …

  54. Posted March 6, 2014 at 11:21 am by Rob W. | Permalink

    Sure wish I had read this BEFORE I unloaded the wallet to buy a Gitzo GT3542XLS. So far I have had no problems with this tripod, but it has seen fairly light use in the few months that I have owned it. A friend/associate was not so lucky, and broke a leg off his smaller Gitzo while attempting to support a D800E and 600mm Nikon lens.

    • Posted April 22, 2014 at 1:09 am by Dominic | Permalink

      I’ve owned the previous model (GT3541XLS) for 4 years now and haven’t had any problems. Nothing else on the market touches it for height without a center column (6’6″) and weight for its size (less than 5lbs) so it was a simple choice. However it’s worth mentioning that a 3 series is only designed to handle a 400mm 2.8 lens so if your friend was using a smaller Gitzo with a 600 f/4 then he was obviously rolling the dice. That’s a job for the 5 and 6 series tripods.

    • Posted August 20, 2014 at 9:46 am by Hougaard Malan | Permalink

      I’ve owned a 3541XLS for close to three years, used it in all kinds of environments, fallen on it (I’m 120kg) and dropped it and its absolutely trouble free. People who think they can use a tripod in tough environments and never clean it are naive. It’s a mechanical tool with moving parts and if you get dirt in there, then you need to get it out. I disassemble and clean mine about twice a year. I’ve used plenty of other brands and nothing comes close to the light weight, quality manufacturing and convenience of use of a Gitzo.

      It sucks to hear that their service is so bad, but then again it comes down to the distributing company in each country.

  55. Posted March 13, 2014 at 1:54 pm by Paul Chilton | Permalink

    I have a G1348 Mk 2, an early Explorer (the number label has worn off), and a small G1128 Mk2, all carbon fibre and all currently useless because the leg locks are so difficult to open and close. If these tripods had been a car there would have been a major recall to fix the problem. No such response from Gitzo. I’ve had a faulty Gitzo head in the past too.
    I also agree with everyone above about the poor customer service.
    I will never buy another Gitzo tripod.
    World Class? Don’t make me laugh.

  56. Posted May 27, 2014 at 1:15 pm by Jeff Ryan | Permalink

    Picked up a used 1410 on Ebay for 150.00. Heavy yes but incredibly stable. The thing has to be 20 years old, but the legs extend and retract smoothly with that slight air pressure in the tube. I shoot architecture primarily and the 1410 is perfect for my D800 and 24mmTS. Parts? I can find every nut and bolt on Ebay. Best tripod that I have owned!

  57. Posted June 9, 2014 at 5:37 pm by Victor | Permalink

    I’m new to photography and I wanted to buy the best tripod – Gitzo. There are so many models on their website that I found it challenging to choose the right one for my needs. I wanted to talk to a sales representative to assist me in choosing the best tripod for my needs. I called them for days and wrote several emails. There’s NO ONE answering. Does Gitzo exist? Maybe they are out of market and shops try to sell their leftovers.

    • Posted December 7, 2014 at 2:57 pm by David Sattar | Permalink

      I’m going to have to wade in here with a largely contrarian post. A couple decades back I was living in Paris – yes – France, where at the time Gitzo was made. I’m a Brit, and at the time was working in the architectural design department of the SNCF (French National Railway). I was building models of underground train station designs (generally 1:50 scale) and photographing them. Guess I’d consider that a semi-pro level of photography. Wasn’t being paid as a pure photographer, but I *was* being paid to build the models and then to photograph them.

      At the time I bought two Gitzo tripods, a Gtizo 201 for studio use, and a smaller Gitzo G01 for travelling. The SNCF also bought a Manfrotto rig for me to hold and position a studio light. The Manfrotto gear was fine, but ‘knobby’ – big knobs. Worked just fine in a studio context, but not to my personal aesthetic taste and not good for travelling – too many sticking out bits getting in the way.

      I’ve had those two Gitzo tripods for 20+ years and they’ve been flawless. Solid as a brick, and as sweetly reliable as anyone could wish for. Yes I’ve looked after them and mostly been using them in an indoors studio setting, so generally not stressed with wet weather/temp variations, but they’ve been tripod perfection as far as I’m concerned.

      Can’t speak to the current Gitzo / Manfrotto offerings, but had to speak up in defense of Gitzo as it was.


      Dave Sattar

  58. Posted August 25, 2014 at 12:10 am by Grant AKA Adamphotom | Permalink

    I bought a Studex/mountaineer/1348 … 20+ years ago.
    It is still going strong. made in France. I needed 1 part. I phoned my camera store and had the part in 3 weeks. Canada. When a leg did get loose I simply glued it.

    I am very good friends with the FLM North American distributer. If I ever had to replace this great tripod I would get an FLM. Not because I loath Gitzo, but because I luv FLM more.

  59. Posted December 11, 2014 at 7:21 am by Lori L | Permalink

    Interesting. I am researching tripods and thought I would get a GT2543L, but after reading two years worth of similar complaints I think I will go in another direction. I’m all about customer service! I LOVE RRS. Their service is .impeccable, but their prices are high. FLM looks like a great alternative, but I wonder how their support would be especially since they are based in Germany. Anyone had any experience their customer service? I am in the US and stumbled up this post while doing research. Mr Bernabe, are you stilling using the FLM? Have you had any issues with it? Thank you in advance for taking any time out of your schedule to reply. Kind regards, Lori

  60. Posted October 11, 2015 at 7:39 pm by Jim | Permalink

    I like the tripods but absolutely hate their version of “service”.
    Add in the tripods and heads I bought a long time ago had a LIFETIME guarantee – whieh Gitzo no longer honors. Then again, they are French – aren’t they?

  61. Posted November 14, 2015 at 2:56 am by Philippe Bourgeois | Permalink

    FLM now make tripods with no central column. CP 34, CP 38, CP42. Just check out… you will see by yourself what quality means.

  62. Posted February 21, 2016 at 5:39 am by Robert Reiser | Permalink

    Richard, I came across your post while doing some research on a similar experience. Unfortunately it seems that not a lot has changed when dealing with Gitzo, but at least I found their Facebook group to be responsive and professional. You might want to give it a try.

    I have described my experience here: My Gitzo Service Experience, for anyone who is interested. I will continue to update my post until we have a final conclusion.

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Glad I Never Bought a Gitzo | Cody Hatch Photography on November 20, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    […] get how it was so much better than my Manfrotto.Well, I have been seeing more and more of this type of report from Gitzo users. Glad I stuck with my trust Manfrotto 190CXPRO3. Tags: Manfrotto, […]

  2. By Gitzo and I: A Coda on December 2, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    […] I last left you nearly two weeks ago, I was expressing my extreme displeasure with Gitzo for the lack of a response in addressing my broken tripod. This wasn’t merely an isolated […]

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>