Gitzo and I: A Coda

The Lost City, Machu Picchu, Peru

When 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 incident with the “Industry Standard for Excellence” but instead it was the proverbial last straw for me. One commenter wholeheartedly agreed and thanked me for pointing out that the emperor, indeed, had no clothes. The folks at Gitzo, on the other hand, “thanked” me for – in their words, “ripping them a new one.”

Other readers believed I was being a bit unfair. After all, how about my beloved Righteous Set of Sticks? OK, fair enough. The Righteous Set of Sticks, however, is now officially semi-retired and it only managed to
attain a long life by cannibalizing parts and pieces from my other crippled Gitzo tripods.

After reaching out to a contact I had in Gitzo’s upper management, I did eventually get the parts I had been requesting for the past month. I am grateful for the help, but it’s too little too late, I’m afraid. It should never have gotten as far as it did.

In the meantime, I’ve accepted a sponsorship offer from Really Right Stuff. When I return from Iceland in a few weeks, I’ll be using their products – including tripods – exclusively. Really Right Stuff makes the best camera support products in the business. Their tripods, ballheads, and camera and lens plates aren’t cheap, but when did I ever complain about the price of Gitzo tripods? Well, that would be never. I’m only interested in equipment that works, so I don’t have to think about it. I only want to focus on creating great images.

And when something does go wrong and breaks – and let’s face it, all photo equipment will have problems eventually – I want someone on the other end of the line who is going to help me get it fixed ASAP. I’m pretty tough on my equipment due to the amount of time and the way it’s used. Really Right Stuff, because of the quality of their products and their commitment to customer service, is the best partner for my business at this time.

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  1. Posted December 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm by Richard Lamb | Permalink

    RRS is and has been for many years my go to solution for most things related to camera support and beyond. You have made a very good choice with RRS!! The only product I have yet to own from RRS is a tripod and that’s only because my trusty Manfrotto has yet to let me down!


    Rick Lamb
    Ramblin Lamb Photography

  2. Posted December 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm by ian | Permalink

    Congrats on the RRS sponsorship! Need to replace my Manfrotto gear someday with a full set from RRS…

  3. Posted December 2, 2012 at 4:23 pm by Annette Otts | Permalink

    Your photo of Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Thank you for sharing! Did you climb Huayna Picchu?

  4. Posted December 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm by Jim Ruff | Permalink

    Richard, I guess I’m not the only one that has had a recent problem with Gitzo. I contacted them several times concerning some replacement parts of a Gitzo tripod and they never had the courtesy of replying. It’s pretty sad when a company refuses to adequately support their products and their customers. Unless they change their approach, they will soon be history. Jim

  5. Posted December 2, 2012 at 8:02 pm by Frank Field | Permalink

    Richard thanks for speaking up and speaking out. At the price point Gitzo products sell, one has every right to expect on going support and the ability to purchase replacement parts. Sadly, they would not be the only supplier to the photo community currently cutting support to save $.

    Congrats on picking up sponsorship from RRS. Their products just ooze excellence and the Johnsons love of design comes through in everything they do. I was very happy for them when I learned the RRS business is doing so well that they moved into a much larger building.

  6. Posted December 2, 2012 at 11:54 pm by Fran | Permalink

    I have been using RRS since they started in a small storefront in Los Osos. I still use their original Ballhead. All camera plates since My Nikon D100 days. I have a wimberley for my long glass. My gitzo tripod is not yet ready for replacement.

  7. Posted December 3, 2012 at 12:54 pm by Phyllis Hunter | Permalink

    The photo of Machu Picchu is amazing — this ancient world arising out of the mists. Really exceptional.
    Is it possible to purchase a print of it?
    And thank you for showcasing the natural beauty of the Eastern United States. I think we get overlooked sometimes. Phyllis Whitman Hunter (from North Carolina)

  8. Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm by Brad Mangas | Permalink

    I have to say I am sorry to hear you went the way of the “sponsor”. I really try to avoid accepting much information from sponsored sights. Sure we all need to make money, but we all need to be unbiased first.

    • Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:27 pm by Tom Keys | Permalink

      Bias is meaningless when it comes to RRS. You’re basically talking physics. And there is simply no point in denying their excellent customer service.

      Purchased ballhead and L-mounting bracket for my rig. RRS is simply perfection.

  9. Posted December 10, 2012 at 9:39 am by Argent | Permalink

    Congrats, Richard. I’m happy that you received some lemonade in return for your lemons. 😉

  10. Posted December 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm by Morgan | Permalink

    Your pictures really fascinate me…-Great!

  11. Posted December 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm by Al Kawasaki | Permalink

    I have experienced the same “no response” from Manfrotto, the USA distributor of Gitzo. I’ve had a good repair experience with Really Right Stuff. The tech called me about the ballhead and clamp being repaired to verify the problem I was experiencing and pointed out one other problem I did not notice.

  12. Posted December 20, 2012 at 8:37 pm by Gary Crabbe | Permalink

    Richard: Sorry to hear about your experience. I’m just now retiring my Gizto; the original model which Ive been using non-stop since 1994 for all of my photography. That’s 18 years of solid use. I gotta give some credit to a product that’s held up over so much time. But you’re certainly right about one thing above all; A company should be professional and responsive. I don’t care if you make the best product in the world, if you treat your customers like crap, it may just be that fact alone that makes me walk away. FWIW – I also own a bunch of RRS, (no tripods) but what I do have is also high quality and durable.

    Cheers & Happy Holidays my friend.

  13. Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:21 pm by Tom Keys | Permalink

    It is pure insanity that the NJ outfit is allowed to even use the Gitzo name. I was using the GT2531 in death valley. Legs were fully collapsed and in first position and placed into the top of a sand dune ridge. As I rose to stand, I placed a little weight on the camera/tripod to steady my rise and the tripod instantly gave way as one leg snapped completely away from the main casting. Insane! It was sunrise and the temperature was 75F or so.

    The break looks exactly like all the other inexplicable leg breaks I’ve seen online in photos.

    Found the part easy enough. And have since placed three calls to order the part (NJ phone number). I am not even seeking a warranty as it’s not worth the risk of loosing my tripod for months just to replace an obviously faulty part. I’d much rather pay the $125 or so (price attained from the British parts site).

    This is pure insanity that customer support can be so bad … and continues to this very day.

    To sum up: Trying to order main casting for GT2531. After talking with warranty people in AZ (C.R.I.S.) I learned I had to ship the whole unit into AZ. just so they could look at it and decide if it is covered under warranty. I then decided it would be more effective to simply order the part and make the repair myself and that the additional cost would be worth being able to use the tripod in a reasonable amount of time.

    So far this effort has been fruitless as NJ will not return my call, and thus I can not order the part.

    I am currently debating buying the part from England and shipping it to the USA. They appear to want to sell parts and service Gitzo customers.

    I am shocked that Gitzo is so uncaring in this matter.

    • Posted November 6, 2014 at 7:18 pm by Tom Keys | Permalink

      Update: Finally reached a person (third try today) who was able to send me the part. They were fair and they are not charging for shipping.

      I trust I’ll get the part soon and that’ll be that.

      CONCLUSION: Keep trying, someone will answer … someday.

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