|Formerly a Gitzo tripod, relegated to a monopod.|
I spent the day at Mount Rainier National Park, snowshoeing up to Mazama Ridge and photographing the mountain above rolling mounds of snow and snow-covered trees. It was a fantastic setting in fresh powder snow.
Then it happened.
My tripod sank into the snow with the weight of my 5D MII camera, as one would expect. What I didn't expect was when I lifted it back out of the snow, again mostly powder, only two legs retracted from the snow. The third remained in the snow, having broken off of the centerpiece. There had been very little, if any, resistance when pulling the tripod out of the snow. This was fresh snow.
|Broken hinges on Gitzo tripod.|
I was as puzzled as I was disappointed. Fortunately I still had two legs left and could still compose pictures by sticking them in the snow, and then prop the third independent leg against the centerpiece for sturdiness.
|Failed hinges on Gitzo tripod.|
Now I was in complete disbelief. Again, no pressure applied to the legs or hinges to speak of. Could it be the cold temps? High for the day was forecast to be 32*F, and it was nearly noon. I would guess temps were in the mid to upper 20s when the failures happened.
As disappointed as I am in the failure, I am equally puzzled as to why. This is not the way I would expect a tripod to fail, especially with a trusted name like Gitzo.
I have absolutely loved my Gitzo tripod. It's the best tripod I have owned to date, this failure aside.
I hope to get valuable input from Gitzo. Have they seen this before? Is this an inherent problem with the leg hinge? Is it a weakness of the material used? (though the centerpiece is of magnesium construction, the hinge bushing is clearly of different material).
I will keep you posted of my findings. I also encourage anyone else who has experienced similar problems to comment, either publicly or privately.