Theres no doubt amongst photographers that Gitzo makes some of the best tripods known to man. Their product support however, has left a rather sour taste in my mouth that leaves me questioning if my next tripod will be a Gitzo. Really Right Stuff has emerged as a worthy contender among tripod makers, but for the price of entry, I’m not convinced their tripods are built better. Is RRS worth paying a higher premium for? Is their product support better? I couldn’t even find a product support section on the RRS website for ordering replacement parts.
If you’re like me and you use your tripod in conditions that expose it to a lot of dust, dirt, or sand, then you’re likely cleaning your tripod frequently. I always break down my tripod completely after every seascape shoot to scrub off the sand and salt water and to re-grease everything. It’s a pain in the butt process but salt water and sand will destroy your gear in a hurry.
Over time though, parts will inevitably break. The funny thing is, ordering a new gitzo tripod to replace your broken one couldn’t be easier. If you have to order replacement parts on the other hand, well, I wish you luck. It’s a painful process that’ll make you want to cry.
You will first need to go to this page here Gitzo Spare Parts. When you land on the spare parts page you’ll notice the instructions say:
Checking the availability and descriptions of every Gitzo spare part could not be easier.
Simply search by product code or find your product using the numerical listing by product code.
In actuality, all you can do is search for your product, there is no numerical listing. Since I have a Gitzo 3541LS tripod, I would search for 3541. Now here is where it gets fun. You then have to download a PDF document that illustrates a breakdown of every part your tripod is made of. Take a good guess at what you think the correct part number should be and then use the contact us form to email their support department. They will email you back an MS Word document order form that you have to fill out with the part number you need, the quantity, and your credit card number.
You should have zero expectation of your part being in stock. If it’s out of stock, you should also have zero expectation that their staff can tell you when the part will be re-stocked. At this point all you can do is hope for the best. If you’re a professional who relies on your tripod for paying assignments, there’s a good chance you’ll just have to purchase a new tripod or wait it out. I’m not joking.
I’m not too certain how such a leading name in the photography industry can find it acceptable to offer this level of support. Their ordering process is an experience that takes me straight back to the 1990’s. I can only hope someone from Gitzo happens to stumble upon this post and do something about it.
In Part 2 of this series I will illustrate how to tear down and rebuild your Gitzo tripod for cleaning purposes. Stay Tuned!