Reader James S reports:
Lloyd, just a quick comment on your Gitzo failure— I bought a Gitzo Ocean Traveler (the $1600, super-rugged, ultracompact tripod designed to be used in mud, sand, and filth) and it broke before the two week B&H return period was up. It broke before the RRS clamp I'd bought at the same time as the tripod arrived!
One leg section developed a terrible grinding sound when extended and one of the hinges loosened itself so far that the tripod leg flopped around wildly, and when tightened would shriek terribly when I used it. At least, it would shriek for two or three setups, then the leg would be back to flopping around uselessly. I took the tripod into the field a couple times, and I loved it for its incredibly small folded size, but returned it because I didn't trust it.
I replaced it with one of the Manfrotto fiberglass (sorry "Basalt Fiber") tripods, and that tripod had one of the feet come out in my hand twice, just like yours. However, both times the foot came off, it was when I'd loosened the leg locks to set up the tripod, and the bottom leg segment fall back INTO the larger segment, so I had to shake the tripod and poke around inside it with a stick to try to work the leg back out. The failures happened after the two week return period, but within a month of purchase. B&H accepted the return without complaint.
I'm currently without a tripod. Maybe I'll give the RRS TVC33 a try (love their BH55 and macro rails) when I've saved up enough scratch.
Reader John M reports:
I use the Markins product for my Gitzo 3541xls and find these spikes and rubber shoes to be great, however, at a price. The rubber plugs are firm enough to stay on, but easy enough to pull off.