Stiffness vs Center Column Height for GT1545T

In a previous post, I looked at the stiffness vs center column height for the Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer.  Here, I am going to do the same thing for the Gitzo GT1545T Traveler.  The amount of stiffness lost by raising the center column should vary between tripods, most notably with the diameter of the center column.  Because the added torsion of the center column reduces the overall stiffness of the system, we should expect larger diameter center columns to have a less detrimental effect.  I will be testing center column stiffness in the manner of this post sporadically as it is time consuming, and would be inefficient to do so for every tripod.

As usual, I am simply raising the center column to various heights and testing the stiffness.  The tripod then gains height over its base height shown in the graph.  Here is the data for the GT1545T:

These results are similar to the GT2542.  The GT1545T loses a little over half of its stiffness about both the axial (horizontal motions) and radial (vertical motions) axes.  Center columns can be incredibly useful, but if you want a tripod to shoot 100% of the time at a particular height, you are better off just getting one whose apex is at that height.

2 thoughts on “Stiffness vs Center Column Height for GT1545T

  1. Thank you for this analysis. I was especially interested in your counter weight conclusions–apparently,
    adding a counter weight hook to a tripod is marginal at best and not a good use of $30 for the 1545t.

    This analysis did have me wonder how much the aluminum short center column included with the 1545t
    would improve the stability? I did notice the two RRS travel tripod models perform differently with the only
    difference being a center column. Could that solely be do to the mechanism that holds the center column or
    does the length and mass of the center column contribute to the (in)stability? Based on your analysis of the
    difference between aluminum and carbon fiber center columns, could the fact the short column is aluminum
    improve performance? Naturally, the short center column will give me a lighter tripod, the goal of purchasing
    the 1545t in the first place. I think my assumption for using a short center column will give better performance
    base on your analyses is a good one. It looks like I will give up 10″ of extra height for more stability and less
    weight.

    Thank you very much for all your work. I have just found your site. It is very valuable not only for specific
    tripod information, but also on more general factors in tripod stability. Being evidenced based makes this a
    rare place indeed.

    1. I suspect the difference in stability from a center column is solely due to the mechanism that holds the center column. It doesn’t take much to cause a 10% loss in overall stiffness. There may be some benefit in the locking mechanism engaging with the harder aluminum surface rather than the carbon fiber one.

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