BMW doesn’t make a perfect car. While certain aspects may exceed those of other makers, those others oftentimes exceed that of BMW. Despite that, the Bavarian badge commands respect and with it comes an unmistakable allure for most when they see it. It’s a symbol of quality but not necessarily the best and certainly not with all products that display the marque. The Bavarian roundel holds cachet for many and that’s something very hard to quantify, an intangible factor that appeals to one’s emotion rather than objectivity.
Of course, the argument is that coveted, aspirational brands aren’t valued accurately and that their prices are inflated purely due to brand value. Apple is commonly accused of charging an “Apple Tax” as their prices tend to be higher than the competition. This accusation regularly fails to account for the extensive service and support network that aspirational brands include with the products although it’s difficult to put an agreeable price on something so subjective.
So here I am with two Gitzo tripods. After tearing them down to inspect and lubricate them, I find that they’re not perfect. There are some parts whose design could use an update or be designed more ruggedly. Yet there are other parts and flourishes that exceed that of the competition. And then there’s the marque, the Gitzo name that has endured for decades, long being a symbol of quality, durability, reliability and endurance. Those design flourishes and the badge make it instantly recognizable and it’s hard to avoid the allure of owning an aspirational, prestigious brand of tripods. They do their job but they do it with flair and are backed with a lifetime warranty. Say what you will and argue that Really Right Stuff makes a better tripod, but Gitzo still makes a great tripod that, to me, holds value even in the name alone. In the end, I find that they’re worth the money.
By the end of the month, I’ll be replacing my systematic style tripod with a Gitzo Series 3 GT3543LS. Maybe to you it’s a waste of money to replace a new tripod with another, especially an “overpriced” Gitzo, but to me it’s worth it. Using a tripod in this price range serves to remind me that I care enough about my photography to have invested the money. Once bought, these three Gitzo tripods will be the last tripods I ever buy.