The Gitzo  G1548
Serious support for serious lenses
Gitzo G1548
Gitzo 1548
The Gitzo Mountaineer G1548 tripod is the definitive wildlife photography support for big lenses. With a 600mm f4 lens this is pretty much the one to use for stability and ruggedness in the field. Having said that, you can go the Sachtler route if you really want the ultimate tripod.

The Mountaineer series includes many fine tripods but it is the 1548 that provided the most solid support. The 1548 is available in several forms including the extra tall G1548GT version, this is a 6 leg section tripod weighing 3.72kg that can place your camera well into the sky to almost 8ft ( 91 inches to be exact ).

For non Basketball players, the standard version that I use is fine. I am 6ft 4 inches tall and the camera viewfinder is at eye-level for myself when it is fully extended. I say fully extended but this is without the G1518 rapid column option. With the rapid column you can gain extra height but at a cost of both stability and the ability to get the tripod down to a low angle working height... the column will obviously also add extra weight
As you can see from the photograph, this tripod can get down very low, in fact even lower with a low profile head, unlike the Manfrotto - Bogen 393 that I am using here.

Although the Gitzo 1548 is of carbon fibre leg construction, even the bare bones version here weighs in at over 3kg, people often assume carbon fibre is used solely to make tripods lighter in weight, that is true to some extent but the real benefit to photographers is that good tripod manufacturers can utilise this lightweight material to incorporate thicker leg walls, creating more strength, stability, rigidity and vitally, mass to dissipate vibrations.
The Gitzo 1548 tripod has rubber covered twist leg locks. This may be off-putting to some, and I do know they can take time to get used to and have on or two drawbacks, but the fact that you can extend your tripod in silence far outweighs any negatives as far as I am concerned. One snap of the usual leg locks can often have all wildlife scurrying away, no more so than if you need to make some adjustments in your hide / blind.

For those with lenses of lesser weight than a 600mm f4, the Gitzo 1548 isn't entirely compulsory. I would always recommend it as the best solution for long lenses but it's likely that you can get away with something like the Gitzo 1325 or 1348 if you have a 500mm f4 lens with I.S. As previously mentioned, with a 600 f4 you should be looking at a Gitzo 1548 or a Sachtler (though the exotic Sachtler tripods can cost a fortune)
The huge top plate of the Gitzo 1548 gives great  platform for any head, interfacing over a large diameter to disperse any movement. Without the rapid column, this top plate gives the ultimate in stability, just a no nonsense design to do the best for the photographer.
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