Tripods are a particularly useful tool when taking long-exposure photographs or working with extreme angles, and Gitzo’s Mini Traveler is no exception. Its compact design is its most significant selling point. The lighter and smaller a piece of gear is, the more likely it is that you will bring it with you. Another thing to consider is that many public places now require permits to use a tripod. Some locations have even banned them outright. The small form factor of the Gitzo Mini Traveler tripod helps you remain inconspicuous, allowing you to capture the image you envision. We’ve been testing one out for the last few months: find out how it fared in real-world use after the jump.
Pros and Cons
- Robust, lightweight carbon fiber construction
- Can get really low to the ground for when you need to photograph from extremely low angles
- The compact footprint allows you to deploy the Gitzo Mini Traveler from unique vantage points traditional tripods can’t achieve
- Small form factor allows it to fit into just about any camera bag, even your back pocket
- Integrated rubber feet do a good job keeping the Mini Traveler in place
- Aluminum ball head can be very challenging to remove using the included Allen key
- The ball head’s mounting plate can unintentionally come loose
- Unable to support heavier cameras and lenses
We tested the Gitzo Mini Traveler Tripod with a variety of different analog and digital cameras from Leica, Nikon, and Sony.
Specs for the Gitzo Mini Traveler Tripod are taken from the Adorama product page.
- Only 265g, the lightest mini tripod kit on the market
- High-quality materials for great reliability and durability
- Machined Aluminum spider and head able to support till 3kg
- Two leg angles for maximum stability in every occasion
- Perfect interchangeability with Gitzo Traveler Ball Head
- Material: Made of Carbon Fiber
- Tripod Head: Ballhead
- Type: Tabletop/Mini
- Leg Sections: 1 Leg Sections
The design of the Gitzo Mini Traveler tripod is relatively straightforward, consisting of an aluminum ball head and the carbon fiber tripod legs. You can remove the included aluminum ball head and swap in another of your choosing. You’ll need a lot of elbow grease when using the included Allen key to remove the ball head though.
The included aluminum ball head features an integrated friction lock. Turning the friction ring to the left will loosen the ball head, allowing you to adjust it to the angle you desire. Turning it to the right locks the ball head securely in place.
Unlike the telescoping legs on most larger tripods, the carbon fiber legs of the Gitzo Mini Traveler consist of just a single section. They are held in place with friction. You can adjust the resistance by tightening or loosening the fasteners that keep the legs attached to the base of the tripod. The default friction did an excellent job of keeping the tripod and attached cameras in place, so we didn’t have to adjust it during our time with the tripod. In its default setting, each of the Gitzo Mini Traveler’s legs can swing out by 50 degrees.
If you want to bring the Gitzo Mini Traveler even lower to the ground, simply pull each of the legs away from the base to them out an additional 25 degrees. Unlike larger tripods, you don’t have to deal with any locking latches or rotating locks.
Gitzo includes a thread adapter as well as some Allen keys with the Mini Traveler. The thread adapter is designed to swap in Gitzo’s own Traveler ball head. The Allen keys are used to detach the included ball head as well as to adjust the resistance of each of the carbon fiber legs.
The Gitzo Mini Traveler tripod is sturdily built for the most part. The aluminum ball head and the carbon fiber legs maintained their friction throughout our tests. One issue we did encounter while testing the Gitzo Mini Traveler was that the mounting plate of the included ball head came loose. While we were able to twist the mounting plate back down to its original position, it didn’t take much force to twist and loosen the mounting plate again. We’re not sure how the mounting plate wound up twisting loose initially. This issue could have been avoided if the mounting plate and the ball head were constructed from one piece of metal. We’re hoping that Gitzo will address this in a future product revision.
Ease of Use
Anyone who has used a tripod before should have no trouble using the Gitzo Mini Traveler. Simply attach your camera to the Gitzo Mini Traveler, deploy the carbon fiber legs, and adjust the ball head’s angle as needed to frame your shot.
If you want to bring your camera even closer to the ground, simply pull the legs away from the base of the tripod to swing the legs out an additional 25 degrees.
The only real challenge you will run into when using the Gitzo Mini Traveler is if your camera and lens are on the heavier side. The Gitzo Mini Traveler can support up to 6.6 lbs (3 kg) with the included ball head attached, so keep that in mind in more precarious locations. The last thing you’ll want is for your camera and tripod to tip over. This puts bystanders as well as your equipment in jeopardy.
The Gitzo Mini Traveler allows you to photograph from some rather unique vantage points, such as really low off the ground or from ledges/banisters. Here are a few examples:
Aside from the two-piece construction of the ball head, the Gitzo Mini Traveler is sturdily built. The issue with the ball head mount is an easy fix that we’d like to see Gitzo address in a future product revision. The Mini Traveler’s carbon fiber and aluminum construction help keep the tripod’s weight down while maintaining stability. Its small size also makes it easy to transport in just about any camera bag on the market, or even fit it inside your back pocket. Photographers specializing in landscape and travel photography will get the most out of the Gitzo Mini Traveler. With that said, it’s important to keep in mind that the Mini Traveler isn’t designed to be your primary tripod. For most people and most use cases, a regular-sized tripod will continue to be their workhorse. The Gitzo Mini Traveler truly shines in situations where traditional, regular-sized tripods just won’t fit or if their use is otherwise verboten. It allows you to position your camera really low to the ground to give your images a unique point of view. You can also deploy it in locations that would otherwise limit or restrict the use of a regular-sized tripod due either to space or regulatory constraints.
The Gitzo Mini Traveler Tripod earns four out of five stars. You can pick one up for yourself over at Adorama in Black.