I am a huge Gtizo fan. Without doubt my GT2542 tripod is the best I have ever owned and it certainly lives up the the old adage that you get what you pay for. I remember thinking long and hard before committing to buy it. It is not everyday that you spend over £1000 on a tripod and head, however it is one of the best purchases that I have ever made. Not only is it very light, the build quality is amazing and it strips down in minutes so I can give every part a good clean especially after spending time near the sea where the salt water can eat any tripod over a period of time. The ball head that it came with was also built like a tank and was so simple to use. It did, however in my opinion have one fatal flaw and that was the top plate that attaches to the camera. Supposedly it was Swiss Arca compatible and in a way it was. I was never really happy with how it attached though and when releasing the camera, it didn't have a failsafe device. I found this out to my cost one night when photographing the Aurora when my 5D Mark 3 and 16-35mm L f2.8 iii lens fell from the tripod, resulting in an expensive night out. Thankfully the 5D Mark 3 was undamaged but the lens ended up in 3 pieces. If you shoot Canon and haven't registered all of your gear with them and become a CPS member, which is free then I would strongly recommend you do this. Based on the equipment you own, there are different levels of service. My accident cost about £200 to have repaired. They arranged the courier there and back and the lens was away for 5 days in total. The lens came back brand new and I have not had a single issue with it. Certainly it was better paying £200 for the repair as opposed to £2000 for a new lens. I did find a solution for the top plate which was buying a Novoflex top plate that works brilliantly. It required a little bit of modification to fit but now I have a head that I have 100% confidence in.
I have been on the lookout for a 2nd carbon fibre tripod for a while but didn't want to shell out another £1000. When I do timelapse videos then I need 2 tripods to take the track that I use to add motion to the footage. As you can image, carrying 2 tripods, a track, the Syrp Genie and all of my camera gear, the weight soon adds up, so any savings I can find makes a huge difference.
I was therefore really interested when I saw a reply to a post on Facebook recently where someone had commented to the author that they were selling a G1325 along with a Really Right Stuff BH55 ball head and would take £400. That sounded too good to be true as the BH55 retails for £560 alone and is the ball head I have always craved. However I could never justify the cost. However after a few exchanges of messages and a phone call, I was pretty confident that the seller was genuine, especially as I asked him to send me specific photos which he did immediately. There was a genuine reason for sale and it was worth taking the risk. I also know that when I set up a new online banking transfer to a third party, that with the advent of open banking and the security measures that all banks have in place now that when I put the sort code and account number in, it would verify the sellers identity which matched. The tripod and head arrived on Tuesday and I was able to track the delivery progress all of the way.
Everything is perfect and I love the tripod. Not only is it immaculate but it offers me a couple of more options for my work. It stands about 45cm higher than the GT2542 when fully extended which will be really useful when extra hight in needed and as it doesn't have a centre column then it be lay almost flat to the ground. The GT2542 does too, but I have to remove the centre column. Again it is really light which is great news and the build quality is what you come to expect from Gitzo.
I have read lots of reviews on the Really Right Stuff BH55, all of which ended up saying the same thing, that it was amazing, the design just worked, only the best materials used and it was the best ball head ever made. Having used it for the first time yesterday morning I can confirm that. Its an amazing piece of kit. Could I have justified spending £560 on a new one, probably not and that's why I had never bought one. However now I have one, I can certainly see what all the fuss is about and yes if you are very serious about your photography, are out in the harshest of elements, and want a ball head that will stand the test of time, then it is worth the money.
Buying second had, especially from another photographer does come with some risks. I might be lucky as I have never had an issue. I am careful when buying from Ebay and will always do some research on the seller before committing to buy. The buyer protection that Ebay offers, does provide you with increased levels of protection. If you are buying from Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree then spend some time doing your research, ask lots of questions and ask for specific photos. If you can collect in person then do so. I have walked away from a number of purchases as something didn't feel right. The sellers may have been genuine but trust your instincts.