This is the photo that broke my new Gitzo tripod! I was out photographing some landscapes yesterday evening in the cold Wisconsin weather (about 20 degrees). I was setting up the tripod for the above composition when one of the magnesium alloy arms that connects the legs of the tripods to the tripod base snapped off. Determined to get my photos, I was able to lean the tripod on the broken leg and still get the above photo and a few other variations.
Sadly, the Gitzo tripod was brand new and I owned it for only 2 weeks. I’m assuming there was a defect in the magnesium which caused the connector arm to break. Ironically, this tripod was a replacement for my 7 year old Manfrotto tripod which has never given me a problem but was to heavy to take on a long photo trip. This stuff happens…thank goodness for lifetime warranties!
March 12, 2010 Update: I finally heard back on the status of my tripod…and I’m a bit upset. Back on January 4th, 2010, I took my broken Gitzo tripod back to Camera West in Walnut Creek where I purchased it. They were amazed to see how the tripod failed, indicating that they never saw anything like that before. Camera West’s customer support was great by ship the tripod back to Bogen for me for warranty service (Bogen handles Gitzo’s North American warranty service).
Well, after two months of no word on the status of the warranty repair, I finally had Camera West call Bogen to find out what’s going on. (customer service failure #1: no communication back to customer on status of a repair/warranty service) Bogen is claiming it will cost me about $150 to repair the tripod! A tripod that failed in the first two weeks of usage…with no adjustments made to tripod after purchase from their retailer…and when the tripod carries a 5 year warranty. A quote from the warranty:
Gitzo warrants, to the original purchaser only, that this product will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal and proper usage for an extra 5 year period above and beyond the standard period imposed by the law in the country where the product was sold. Gitzo’s obligation in this 5 year warranty extension is limited to replacing or repairing, at Gitzo’s discretion, products or parts determined by Gitzo to be defective in materials or workmanship.
(customer service failure #2: not honoring the warranty)
Well, I’m currently working through Camera West to push back on Bogen/Gitzo to honor their warranty. We’ll see what happens….
April 12th Update: Three and a half months after breaking the tripod, and still no word on the repair status. I recently stopped in at Camera West to see if they have heard anything. They did talk to Bogen and indicated to them that the repair should be performed under warranty. According to the person from Camera West who deals with Bogen this is not unusual…luckily that wasn’t my only tripod, the Manfrotto is still going strong.
April 23rd Update: Well, I finally have my Gitzo tripod back in hand…and fixed! I actually got a call from Camera West 10 days ago that the tripod was in, I just couldn’t pick it up before my trip to Bermuda. Everything was repaired and the tripod is back to original working order; thought I don’t remember seeing as many scratches on the 2 week old legs when I sent it back to Gitzo… Apparently after the confusion at Bogen about this being a warranty repair, they fixed it and sent it back.
All in all, I’m glad that Gitzo stood by their warranty. I’m still shocked that the tripod failed like it did. And I’m even more frustrated with the atrocious customers service that was provided during this process, Gitzo/Bogen need to focus on improving their customer communication processes. (Guess my opinion is slightly jaded from my years of personally providing exceptional customer service to my clients and for marrying a Nordstrom Alumni…)