The head and legs both arrived last week. Some people don't seem to understand why I'd spend $1k on these bits, so I figured I'd take a couple pictures to show how it is different from my old $150 kit. Things like 'build quality', 'strength / stability', 'weight', 'speed of reset' are hard to take pictures of, so I had to pick a couple shots that seemed vaguely interesting.
Nothing too exciting in the first picture. My old Velbron is in the foreground, the new Gitzo + Really Right Stuff setup is in the back. The height difference isn't huge, since I deliberately bought that size. (the brown deck looking stuff is, surprisingly, the deck so you can kinda tell how tall they each are)
In this second pair of pictures you can see how the angled neck can be useful. The Gitzo legs allow me to position the camera several inches from the flower inside a planter, allowing for a nice focused closeup. You can also see how the lack of a 'thing that holds the tripod legs together' allows for the legs to be at different angles - that back leg is providing a counterweight to the camera. While it was stable in this position, I wouldn't want to leave it unattended like that without putting an actual weight on it. There is an extendable hook to hang something (people commonly use their camera bag as a counterweight). In the Velbron picture you can see the camera is much further from the flower. The legs can have their length adjusted, but since the legs are locked a fixed distance apart it quickly becomes unstable.
The next pair shows the failure of 'the thing that holds the legs together' again. Here I am demonstrating photography of something low to the ground (specifically some new growth on a Chocolate Mamosa tree). At several feet away you aren't going to get a great closeup with the lens I have. The Gitzo legs are free to stretch virtually parallel to the ground. It could actually go a little lower but I didn't want to get dirt and scratches on it since it is brand new!
And the last pair is a 'grounds eye view'. You can see that the Velbron fails at low angle photographs. In a slightly different configuration the camera can end up a milimeter above the ground for some crazy close up-shots. This position was only attainable because I have an L-bracket on my camera so the ball head can clamp to the side, otherwise the camera would end up upside down also, you'd have to rotate the picture, and it wouldn't be quite as low since you have flash/etc on the top of the camera).
Maybe not enough examples to help the non-believers accept the price tag, but I don't care!