Gitzo

Gitzo GH3382QD Series 3 Center Ball Head

Regular price Sale price R 6,599.00

This is the largest model in Gitzo’s new line up of ball heads and almost identical in size and specifications to the Kirk BH1. It features an impressive 18kg load rating, yet weighs only 770g. 

  • This head is ideal for heavy setups that involve lenses like a 200-400mm, 500mm, 600mm and larger. It can handle such loads with ease thanks to a 18kg load rating. 
  • It is important to note that ball heads are not made for tracking fast-moving animals. If you want to photograph birds in flight then you should consider a carbon fiber gimbal head like the SIRUI PH20

This head is a perfect match for Gitzo Series 3, 4 and 5 Systematic tripods.

New Gitzo Ball Heads

This new range of ball heads from Gitzo is one the most exciting products to hit the tripod market in years, especially for South Africa. Gitzo is well known as the best tripod leg brand in SA, but it is with good reason that until now, we’ve never sold any of their heads. They always wanted to do something different and the products available were odd, to say the least.

With these heads, they have finally jumped on the bandwagon and conformed to the standard arca-swiss compatible ball head design. Why is it exciting for yet another manufacturer to be making the same ball head that 50 other companies do? Because Gitzo does things better than all 50 of the other companies.

These heads are made from different materials than everything else on the market. Almost all the manufacturers use aluminium for both the cup and the ball and the cup is usually a single piece of machined aliminium, but Gitzo have taken a different route here. Firstly, their cup consists of two pieces made from two different materials - a lower section consisting of the same cast magnesium alloy that the apex of their legs are made from and a top section made from a very intricately piece of machined aluminium. The ball is made from a material you’ve likely never heard of – Tungsten Disulfide. This is one of the ultimate low-friction alloys known to man and upon playing around with one of these heads, you realise why they chose this product and what makes these heads different to the rest of the market.

This low-friction material makes it easy to tighten the head to a level that holds your composition, but still allows adjustment thereof. The main locking knob also functions more gracefully than on any other head we’ve ever used. Completely locking the ball requires almost no force and this prevents sore hands and fingers when shooting frequently.

The best part? These heads are substantially cheaper than their closest competitor – Kirk. In the USA these heads are substantially more expensive than the Kirk counterparts, but in SA they are cheaper. 

Specifications

  • Weight: 770g
  • Load rating: 18kg
  • Height: 12.6cm

Included in the box

  • Polyester dust bag                        
  • Tools for adjustment                        
  • 2-year warranty card

Do you have the item in stock? 

Each product has one of the following stock indicators

  • In stock: We have stock at our local warehouse
  • Out of stock: We do not have stock, but there is more on the way. You can get in touch with the chat app or contact form for an ETA.

Delivery options and what they cost

We pride ourselves on FREE lightning fast shipping. Apart from large f-stop gear orders, most of our items ship overnight and the daily cutoff is 14:00. You can read more on the deliveries page or get in touch for a confirmed delivery date and time. 

Can I collect my parcel? 

Yes, you can collect your order from our office in Bosman's Crossing, Stellenbosch (09:00 - 17:00). Just choose the collection option at checkout- we'll follow up with the specifics. Please note that we are very strict about payment if collecting. We will not release any goods if we are not 100% comfortable about payment. We accept the following as payment confirmation in order to release the goods. Please call or message Rudolph on 061 468 1931 if you have any questions.

  • Payfast Card Payment (any customers, new or returning)
  • EFT from FNB to FNB, pending fund clearance (any customers, new or returning)
  • Normal EFT from other banks to FNB (return customers only)
  • Instant EFT from other banks to FNB, pending fund clearance (Any customers, new or returning) 
  • Cash (any customers, new or returning)

What payment options are available?  

  • EFT
  • EFT via Payfast
  • Credit card: VISA & Mastercard

What is your policy on returns and or exchanges?

We are more than happy to exchange any product for something else or a full refund* if you feel that the item you chose isn’t quite right for you. See our Return Policy page for more. 

*If paying with any card, 4.5% of the transaction value goes to the credit card payment facilitation company. "Full Refund" means that we will return the full amount we received after the credit card service fees. If you are at all unsure that what you're buying is ideal for you, rather opt for EFT payment to be safe. 

Where is my order? How can I track my order?

You will receive an email with your tracking number once your order has been collected by our couriers. You can also find tracking number for your orders under "My account" 

You can shop NiSi Filters at the following retailers. 

Orms Bellville
Victorian Towers, 2 Palm St, Bellville, Cape Town

Fritz, 021 910 1380

Kameraz
Rosebank Mall, 50 Bath Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg

Martin Wright, 011 880 2885

Photoquip
28 Pearce St, Berea, East London

Damien, 083 574 9134

Katz
66 17th Ave, Broadwood, Port Elizabeth
Lascel, 041 367 4401

Lime Photo
Kloof, Durban
Emil, 084 484 9959

Photo Freedom
Ballito, Durban
Graham, 032 586 1212

DPC
Pretoria
Danie, 072 608 3345

Choosing Gitzo

1. Model naming

Understanding the model naming is key to choosing the right product.

2. Understanding the Models

Systematic

Systematic tripods have a flat apex and are available only in medium to large sizes (3-,4-,5-Series).

Mountaineer

Mountaineer tripods feature a center column, non-reversible legs and are available in small to medium sizes (1- and 3- Series)

Traveler

Traveler tripods feature a center column and reversible legs and are available only in small sizes (1-, 2- Series)

Choosing Gitzo

3. Number of Leg Sections

Many tripods are available in both 3-section and 4-section models, which are suited to different needs

They are designed to reach more or less the same extended height, but as the one does so with 4 sections, the folded size is shorter than the one with the 3 sections. In theory, more sections means less rigidity, but Gitzo's carbon tubing and joints are so well made that 4-section models perform the same as 3-section models in vibration absorption testing. 4-Section models are more popular with people who travel, whereas 3-section models are more popular with those who never have to get on a plane with their tripod.

Choosing Gitzo

4. Reversible Legs

Only the Traveler models have reversible legs. If folded size is one of your top priorities, then a Traveler is ideal.

Normal tripod legs only have a working angle of 90 degrees, whereas reversible legs can be flipped up 180 degrees. This allows the brace/neck of the column to be stowed between the legs, which shaves about 20% off the folded length of the tripod. If you have to get your tripod into a suitcase or strap it onto a camera bag, this feature goes a long way to saving space. 

Choosing Gitzo

5. Minimum Height

The worst possible trait in a tripod is if it is too short for you. Having to bend over leads to back pain and before long the tripod will be gathering dust and every cent spent on it will have been money down the drain.

Ideally, your tripod should be as tall as you are, so that you have spare length when shooting on slopes or uneven terrain.

At the very least, your tripod should reach up to 80% of your height. Remember that the camera and tripod head add about 20cm and your eyes aren't on top of your head, so generally your tripod needs to be your full length minus 30cm.  

Center columns shouldn't be used at their full height as the leverage on the neck joint (when fully extended) makes it unstable and prone to vibration. So when calculating the maximum usable height of a tripod with a column, use the halfway point between the height with and without the column. Example Below

Tip - All traveler tripods are too short for people taller than 185cm. You have to decide between bending over a bit, using the full height of the column or carrying around a larger tripod.

Choosing Gitzo

6. Weight Limitations

Gitzo tripods have very conservative weight ratings, so if you stay within the limits you'll be fine. With the Systematics there is no issue as the load rating is 25kg and a gimbal head and D5 with an 800mm isn't even 10kg. 

The 1- and 2-series Travelers have load ratings of 8kg and 10kg respectively, so a pro body with a super telephoto lens starts pushing the limits. We can gladly say that we have plenty of clients who use these kind of setups on their Travelers without any trouble, but please note that this should only be done out of essence. The people who do it either hike in search of birds and thus need to save weight, or they do fly-in safaris where luggage is an issue. If you don't have to save weight or space, super telephoto/gimbal setups should be used on a systematic tripod.

Choosing Gitzo

7. Column or No Column?

Gitzo offer tripods with and without a center column and each design has its pros and cons -

Systematic - A flat apex lowers the tripod's center of gravity by reducing the height of the camera by about 10cm in most models.

Systematic - For ground-level shooting, just flip the legs open and you can get that magical super low shot.

Systematic tripods have a wider foot radius as the legs are mounted further apart at the top.

Systematic - The apex plate can be replaced with a modular leveling base, which is indispensable for video and panorama shooting.

Systematic – The absence of a center column makes it easy to carry in hand as there is space between the legs. This is a highly underrated feature.

Mountaineer + Traveler - A center column offers more extended length without adding to the folded length of the tripod* (*see reversible legs).

Mountaineer + Traveler - A center column allows you to adjust the shooting height with only one joint. Without a center column, you have to adjust three leg joints to change the height.

Conclusion - If you want the very best stability for your camera or you're using heavy setups like a 400mm+ and a gimbal head, you should be looking at the Systematic range. If you want a light and compact tripod for hiking or travelling, you should look at the Traveler range. If you want a center-column in optimal stability and maximum length, look at the Mountaineer options.

Choosing Gitzo

8. Gitzo vs. SIRUI

Is Gitzo worth the price difference?

We believe that it is - Gitzo tripods have a higher standard of what we call manufacturing finesse. It is something that is difficult to communicate online, but if you see and feel the two next to each other, the difference is unmistakable.

That being said, if Gitzo is out of financial reach, then we believe SIRUI to be the next best option on the South African market. Their products are made from excellent materials, the designs are simplistic, the specs are great and very importantly - it is distributed in SA by a fantastic company. That means that if something goes wrong or missing, the problems gets sorted in the blink of an eye.

How did we arrive at these two brands? From years of day-to-day shooting with most of the tripod brands available in SA, by SA's most notable landscape photographers. We know from experience which tripods can endure years of seascape shooting and which are easy to clean and maintain. We also know which brands have overcomplicated designs, are difficult to maintain and are first to break. 

Choosing Gitzo

9. Gitzo vs. RRS

Really Right Stuff is an American tripod manufacturer that makes absolutely zero-compromise tripods.

RRS is an American tripod manufacturer that makes absolutely zero-compromise tripods. Where Gitzo uses a cast magnesium alloy for the apex, RRS use machined aluminium, which is stronger and more expensive. Have we ever seen a broken Gitzo apex? No - so it is difficult to justify the extra expense.

The Gitzo GT3543LS currently sells for R13499, which is already a stretch in South Africa's economic climate and money that very few people are willing to spend on a tripod. RRS's equivalent TVC34L sells for $1160 in the states x R14.5 + 15% VAT = R18000 - R20000 (add about R2000 for shipping) depending on what the rand is doing. Apart from the hefty pricetag, they have declined our offers to sell their product in SA.

We import and sell their leveling bases via another channel as we feel that theirs is far superior to Gitzo's offering and the price is thus justified, whereas it is difficult to justify the price difference between Gitzo and RRS legs.

If you are willing to pay the pricetag for RRS gear, we can import it for you from the USA. Get in touch via the contact page or chat app to find out more. 

Travel Light

LG ambassador Jacques Crafford capturing the Himalayas with his GT1542 Mountaineer. 

Shop the GT1542