I bought another old Gitzo tripod a few months ago (a chap even in these days of in-camera stabilisation can never have too many tripods). It came with an off-centre Gitzo head (G1375M) which had an old-fashioned screw fitting to the camera. It must have been made after 2002 because it has the modern Gitzo logo.
Those major manufacturers Gitzo and Manfrotto make excellent tripods and heads but the constantly changing multiplicity of plates and closure mechanisms drove me to despair, to not a little annoyance and to the occasional literal wrap on the knuckles from those infernal spring-loaded devices that release the operating lever at great speed in the direction of flesh and bone. I came to prefer the Arca Swiss system and standard width of 38 mm for the plates that Chinese and other manufacturers adhere to. My various cameras now fit all my tripod heads without having to change the plate.
Although rather excessive in weight these early off-centre Gitzo heads work very well (I once had one of the same design (G1376) which had a proprietary quick release system. They can achieve all sorts of angles and they lock with little or no drift. I decided to hang on to the G1375M head but to convert it to take Arca Swiss style plates. Some people have been doing that for years with clamps made in the U.S.A. but prices were high. The entry of Chinese manufacturers selling under a plethora of brand names brought much lower prices for these simple devices.
I bought an Andoer CL-70N Quick Release Clamp (i.e 70 mm long) because instead of just using the single screw on the Gitzo head to hold it in place and on which it might work loose, I could fix it more securely by using two bolts screwed into the clamp. I keep a few steel ¼-20 UNC bolts, washers and nuts (i.e. for the standard camera tripod socket) on hand. I had to shorten the bolts to a thread length of 17 mm. I used Loctite Thread Locker as I tightened the bolts. From the various types of clamp available I see that only with the 70 mm models can two bolts be used; there is only one, central socket in those 50 mm long. I can of course use Arca Swiss style camera plates of all sizes in the clamp.
Total cost: £27.99 plus two bolts and a drop or two of glue.
|Before - with the fixing bolt removed|