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Review: Gitzo Traveler Tripod

by Mitch Russo on 04/04/2012

The Gitzo Traveler

Cheap tripods litter the marketplace and most sub-$200 models won’t support a descent SLR and a 200mm lens. But if you want to make one investment in a tripod and never need to replace it, Gitzo is a great choice. This is the Gitzo Traveler GT1542T and is the perfect choice for assignments since it fits easily in most carry-on luggage and is light enough to hardly notice when you’re on the go.

How many years should go by before you wear one out? That’s hard to know since this reviewer has had the same Gitzo tripod since 1988. Amazingly, the newest version is even better than mine. If there were an odometer on my tripod it would probably read over 150,000 miles. How many products in general have you kept that long and still use? 

Testing Gear

Product Specs

From B&H Photo’s Site

Load Capacity
15.43 lb (7 kg)
Head Attachment Fitting
1/4"-20 & 3/8"-16 (reversible stud)
Maximum Height
58.66" (149.0 cm)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended
45.87" (116.5 cm)
Minimum Height
8.66" (22.0 cm)
Folded Length
16.73" (42.5 cm)
Weight
2.2 lb (1 kg)
Legs
Material
6x carbon fiber
Leg Stages/Sections
3/4
Leg Lock Type
Twist lock
Independent Leg Spread
Yes
Spiked/Retractable Feet
No
Center Brace
No
Center Column
Center Column Type
Rapid
Center Column Sections
1

In Use

Using the Gitzo Traveler is best shown by demonstrating the controls. Each function has been designed to be simple, quick and intuitive to use. Everything is one single short-throw action to get the tripod into the exact position you need without a lot of time or thought.

In this image, you can see the twist lock for extending the leg. Notice how much grip is available, easy for most anyone to grab and twist with one wrist action. In about 20 seconds, you can have the whole tripod opened and set up. Closing down is equally easy, just close from the top, twist-lock down to the bottom and the tripod is secure. In contrast to other tripods which use clips to open and close the legs, the Gitzo Traveler as shown here is easier on hands and fingers. After a Two week excursion of snapping clips back and forth you will be glad you have the Gitzo. The legs are locked with their revolutionary “G” Lock system which actually makes the tripod more secure with additional weight.

This next image shows how you extend the center column and lock it down.  Notice the choice of Tabs for locking and unlocking the center column.

Column Extension Control

Instead of using the knurled ribbing as a grip, Gitzo thoughtfully made the tabs easy to reach and to use. It’s obvious how to unlock the column, and notice the column can move circularly as well as up and down. This saves adjusting the tripod head to make this circular movement if you find it disturbs your setup.

Gitzo tripods have an ingenious feature which expels water from the interior of the legs when closed, allowing the locking mechanism to dry completely. Almost “self-cleaning”, you can run it under tap water and it will flush out anything stuck inside the leg casings. From the sands of the Sahara Desert to the freezing ice lagoon in Iceland, this Gitzo has performed year after year, trip after trip with nothing more than a quick bolt adjustment.

Slide This Out to Free the Leg Angle

Another useful feature is to open the tripod nearly flat for low height work. This control allows that to happen in one quick movement. Just snap it open and the leg extends. Another important element of how this works is that you can extend only one or two legs without having to extend all three.

Showing How The Angle of the Legs Can Be Increased for Low Stability

The brilliance of this Gitzo Traveler design is that nothing can wear out, there are no clips to break and no welds, rivets or screws. Spun as high quality carbon fiber tubing over-built to sustain decades of punishment, coupled with an aircraft-grade aluminum chasis which is enamel coated for protection against the elements, this Gitzo should require virtually no service or adjustments for many years. Only the bolts that hold the legs to the chassis can be user-adjusted. Each tripod is hand made in Italy, the original pre-Manfrotto version you see here was hand-built in France.

CanonT2i and the Rokanon 8mm Fisheye Lens coupled with a ReallyRightStuff BH-40 Head and Quick Release L Bracket

 

Fully Folded and Ready to Travel

At just under 17 inches and about 2.2 pounds, the Gitzo Traveler makes it easy to pack without sacrificing quality in the field. Able to support over 15 pounds of gear, there’s no need for a bigger, heavier tripod.

The Gitzo Traveler at Full Height with the ReallyRightStuff BH-40 Head, L Bracket and Canon T2i with Rokanon 8mm Fisheye

Conclusion

The Gitzo Traveler GT 1542T delivers with simplicity and grace what other brands can only hope to duplicate.  One of the finest examples of genius-level engineering and high quality materials meticulously assembled makes this jewel of a tripod worth the premium price. There are very few companies building tripods with the Reputation of Gitzo. It’s the best combination of weight, height and durability compared to anything else in this price range. And yes, they are expensive….but worth every shekel and then some.

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