If you are a nature lover, I am sure at some point of time in your life you would have wished to be able to capture the essence of nature and freeze the moment within your camera for the world to see. Not only nature enthusiasts but also people working for the preservation and study of flora and fauna also require top-class equipment to work. Tripods are an essential part of this set of equipment and I cannot even begin to explain the importance of a reliable tripod in wildlife photography.
Continue reading this post and in the next 8-10 minutes, you will have a fair idea about the best range of tripods for wildlife photography.
What are Systematic Tripods?
Systematic Tripods are solely manufactured by GITZO and they have captured the market with their premium range of camera supports. What are systematic tripods?
This range of tripods is sold without the center column and without a head as well. These tripods offer the best possible services due to a number of features which I’ll be discussing soon. Basically, it offers the flexibility to choose the attachment for the center plate. You can screw on a vertical or a horizontal center column, attach a variety of heads, use it as a video tripod, etc. These tripods are specially built to support heavy equipment and are generally larger. They offer the best in class stability and are the strongest sets of legs you can get your hands on. The flat top plates on these tripods help in reducing vibrations and provide a stable platform to mount your head.
Again, I would not recommend these to someone who has just started exploring the field of photography and who isn’t sure where does he/she wanna go with it. But that’s my opinion, some people might wanna invest in quality equipment right from the start and there is absolutely nothing wrong in that!
GITZO GT5543L Systematic Tripod, Overview
Awesome! By this time you might have a fair idea of what is a systematic tripod. The model which I’ll be discussing here is the Gitzo GT5543-Large. This is a beast of a tripod and you cannot compare it to anything else in terms of strength and built quality. Let’s have a look at the specs before you go in detail about this tripod.
Product: GITZO GT5543L
Price: Best on Amazon ( Click here)
Max. Height: 61.5″ (156cm)
Min. Height: 10cm
Weight: 6.2lb (2.8 kg)
Payload: 88lb (40kg)
Warranty: 2yr (5yr extended)
My Rating: 9.5/10
The GITZO GT5543L is a fairly large sized tripod suitable for all kinds of environments especially in the wild. The model name itself has a meaning to it. I’m gonna decode it for you. The GT is the model number and the first 5 stands for the series. The series 5 tripod is the strongest of all the others. There is a 2 and 3 also, they all represent the various levels of sturdiness. In my opinion, an amateur won’t need anything more than a 3 but a 5 is even better. The other 5 stands for the material – Carbon Fiber 6x. You can check out the version 3 here if you want to.
Next, 4 stands for the number of leg sections. In this case, there are 4 sections. The fourth number represents the edition of this particular model. The L stands for the large sized model. There is a small, large and XL. The XL when extended is so tall that Dwayne Johnson himself would need a stool, haha!
Couple this support with a good ball head or a fluid head and you are good to go. I would recommend going in for the GH1382QD ball head or a Nitrotech N8 Fluid Video Head With Continuous CBS. This video head is just pure class!
Why should you choose this for Wildlife Imaging?
Now the most obvious question you might be having is do I really require such a high-class tripod or will I be able to utilize it to the full potential seeing the high price. Well people, this section is all about that. They are primarily used by photographers having long heavy lenses and cameras. Professional wildlife photographers generally are seen carrying long 600mm-800mm lenses with big bodies like the D800, 1DX, etc. For them, I see this as a very viable option thanks to the surplus weight carrying capacity (40kg).
Wildlife photography is a very challenging field of photography. Sometimes it requires a person to stand for hours just for a perfect shot. Standing, waiting for such a long period of time with such heavy equipment can be a real task! I have seen photographers standing in pools/ rivers along with this tripod halfway under water and these tripods won’t even budge. You can trust your expensive gear with these tripods, that’s for sure whether you are out in the wild or in your own backyard.
Even though there are a lot of options for wildlife photographers in my opinion, this set of legs offer the best value for money. The max. height is sufficient for an average person and the min. height is unparalleled. You cannot expect any tripod of these dimensions to go as low as a 10cm. The rigidness, flexibility, load capacity and the ability to switch the top plates/ central columns make it a keeper!
Strengths and … I guess only strengths
Let’s talk about the strengths and weaknesses of this tripod and how you can use it to its full potential in wildlife photography.
- Strength and Stability
- Diverse Applications
- Long Life
- Easy to Use
- High-Quality Rubberized Feet with detachable spikes
These are the salient features of this tripod. Let’s dive a little deeper into what goes into making this series of tripods one of a kind. Yes, it the part where you can replace the top plate completely and attach peripherals like geared column, etc.
Depending upon the model of the tripod, you can opt one or more from these attachments.
- Half-Bowl Video Adapter: Used for attaching video heads
- Flat-Top Plates (Hook Attachment): Extra plates for quick release function. You can attach different heads on each of these plates and remove them altogether for changing heads quickly.
- Leveling Base: Uses a screw to level the top plate for perfectly balanced shots
- Central Rapid Column: Common central column to extend the overall height of the system.
- Geared Column: It has a lever to raise the central column.
You can also add a flex arm, flash adapter, monitors, magic arms and the list continues to grow. Using a magic arm allows you to attach two cameras at the same time. These attachments are pretty expensive so make sure you get the one that suits your model, in this case, the GT5543L. This tripod comes in a dust-proof carrying case which should be a must when you are out there in the field.
The Gitzo GT5543L is a perfect companion for a serious wildlife photographer. As I mentioned before you can avail so many benefits and features for a price which justifies it. Wildlife photography does not necessarily require large investments but you will feel the urge to expand your horizons that’s when you will need to upgrade your equipment and in my opinion, you won’t get a better tripod for wildlife photography than the Gitzo GT5543L in the current market.
I hope you enjoyed reading this review of the Gitzo GT5543L. Feel free to leave any comments, doubts or queries in the comments section below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.
Tripods For All
Wildlife photography is something I look to embark in sometime down the road, and with it, I’m one who isn’t afraid to make investments in top gear. May as well dive in 100% or not dive in at all, right! While the GITZO might come off as pricey, I’ll also state it’s the crazy durable to withstand both time and the elements, especially if they can withstand things like raging rivers. It’d be a hot buy for anyone looking to go pro in wildlife photography.
You are absolutely correct Todd! Either do it or don’t. I’m gladd you found it helpful. Keep checking for more!
I enjoyed reading your review! Gitzo GT5543L is an important piece for everyone to have, especially when you have kids that they are involved in many activities, and you need to capture all the important moment without missing anything. I would like to invest and buy it because it will help me capture the entire games for my kids without missing any moment.
Thank you for sharing your great review.
You are welcome 🙂
Photography is a beautiful word and being a photographer is a beautiful job
I’ve suggested your website to a friend who’s been a photographer for many years, he will look and share his opinions.
It is well done, and can be read and see everything you’re interested in.
Well, good for you. I have shared your website with my friend.
I learned a lot from this review on the GT5543L tripod. I know that a good tripod is worth its weight in gold when it comes to allowing the photographer to capture the perfect shot. I assume it could also be used for a video camera for marketers looking to create videos for YouTube? This is where I see the true value of owning a tripod. I see that you included several accessories that would compliment the tripod set up for various applications. This makes owning this tripod a no-brainer.
Glad you like it 🙂
I enjoyed reading your review. The GITZO systematic tripods appears to be top of the line product that anyone would be happy with. Blurry and shaky shots are poison in a photographer’s eyes. And this products looks to alleviate those issue also should be handle the rough terrain when out in the wilderness. Thank you for the review I will be sure to keep this product on my watch list for a future purchase.
Glad you like it.
Thanks a lot for sharing this post on Tripod for Wildlife Photography.
I’ve been looking for a tripod since I need to use it for my next project.
Your review caught my attention since you highlight all the best features in it.
I’m going to get this GITZO GT5543L Systematic Tripod since it is a perfect match for me to use in my coming project.
Thanks a lot for putting all these together.
You are welcome and thanks for stopping by 🙂
Hi Shashwat, I know absolutely nothing about cameras or camera equipment. I had an expensive camera one time ( don’t know where it is now ) and I never used it to my full ability. I guess what I’m saying is I’m a good reader for your post. After reading your post I have a pretty good idea what The Gitzo GT5543L tripod is all about.
You obviously come across as an authority about camera tripods and I’m sure serious wildlife photographers will find this post most useful. You broke this device down into every angle you could think of and used a nice video as well.
Thanks a lot!
You have come up yet again with the comprehensive review of GITZO GT5543L Tripod.
The weight carrying capacity of 40Kg is exceptional and ideal for cameras with heavy glasses.
Though it is a premium product, does Gitzo offers some buyback offer or loyalty discount?
My daughter is undergoing professional photography course and she may need it in the near future.
Thanks for the insight on the latest model of Gitzo Tripod.
Thanks! Glad you like it
Hi! I appreciate you have decoded the names model. This is interesting and it will help me from here on when ever I see diferent tripod models. If I would have known that that initial 5 meant how strong the tripod was, I wouldn’t have lost a great deal recently of acquiring a second hand tripod.
I now need a resistant tripod and I appreciate your suggestion. Thank you very much!
You are most welcome!
Hey, I really love this review. This tripod seems to be a little bit expensive, however I think, as you mentioned, you do not need to invest that much on the start. There are a lot of tripods (not only for wildlife), that are very suitable for starters. Although, I have one question, Is it possible to go on a safari and not get your camera dirty? Are there any utensils or accesories, in that case, for the camera?
You can cover your tripod with plastic bags or PVC covers in the wild. Just make sure not to cover the grips and the feet cause that would be disastrous. You can check this link for beginner’s tripods. Also, you can get back to me whenever you need.
I don’t know if you can help me here.
I’ve got a nice old tripod that I can’t use but would like to!
It was perfect about 15-18 years ago for one of the first digital camcorders, one by Canon.
Now, I’d like to replace the adaptor on top of the tripod so as to use it with an iPad or iPhone.
I wonder if you can point me out to adaptor parts that would do the trick. If it helps, I can send you the model for my tripod, or a picture of the current adaptor and how it fits in place.
I can help you only if you would let me know the model of the tripod. These things can vary like the head dimensions, etc.
I would be more than happy to help you.
Hi, I have recently gotten into photography but only for my eldest sons rugby team and all the other parents have made me the “Official” photographer, lol
I have just bought a Canon EOS 750D camera which I love but I can’t quite get the action shots from a far distance properly without a tripod so I thought I would look around online and found your website
Is the GITZO GT5543L camera tripod only for taking photos of still animals etc or do you think it would work for my son’s rugby matches?
Haha, Matthew, for you I won’t recommend this because its really not needed. You can go in for Manfrotto or a SLIK ( 700dx), check here.
I hope you find it helpful.
Sometimes quality is just that, quality. I’ve been looking around, incognito, for a ‘useful’ gift. It may sound weird but here’s why. My son has just finished his first year at University, during that time he has developed a real interest in photography. To the extent that he researched and bought his own Canon DSLR. One of the areas he is really keen on, is ‘time-lapse.’ Although, for the most part, he is using his phone, although I know he has struggled with keeping it ‘static’, as it were. I know this first hand when we went to collect him at the end of the year, trying to find a place to ‘lodge’ the phone proved difficult. I think a tripod might be a solution ,if not right now, then definitely for in the future. I think you’re right, it would probably be better to look lower down the list but if he keeps the interest up then it’s more of an investment.
Glad you like it. Be sure to check out my post on beginners’s tripod.
Like!! Thank you for publishing this awesome article.