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.
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.
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