Gitzo Traveler Tripod Review

This is a review of the Gitzo Traveler Tripod (GT1542T Series 1, 6x Carbon Fiber, 4-Section), a very lightweight tripod designed specifically for hiking and traveling purposes. Choosing a tripod for photography needs can be a rather frustrating experience, given how many different tripods are available on the market today. Depending on what you shoot and your budget, there are literally hundreds of different choices available – from compact “GorillaPod” to heavy duty tripod systems designed for super telephoto lenses. In this review I will write about Gitzo, a brand name that has truly become one of the most recognized among photographers, thanks to their high quality support systems designed for life-long use.

Gitzo Traveler Tripod

Without a doubt, Gitzo tripods have been reputable among photographers due to their high quality build, excellent stability, great ergonomics, durability and reliability – all while being lightweight and easy to carry. At the same time, Gitzo is also known to be a premium brand with a high price tag, with many of its products offered above $500. If you are just getting into photography, that number will surely sound scary for something that is supposed to simply hold a camera. I remember the first time when I saw a Gitzo tripod at a local camera store. Priced roughly at $800 USD, it seemed not only way out of reach of my budget, but it left me wondering why anyone would ever spend that much money on tripod legs alone, when my Nikon DSLR kit cost me a little over a thousand. Little did I know then, that I would spend more than that over the next year, going from one tripod system to another.

When it comes to tripods, you almost always get what you pay for. Cheap tripods can not only ruin your pictures, but they can also ruin your equipment. The very first cheap tripod that I bought from Best Buy broke in less than a week. I replaced it with a more expensive tripod that lasted a few months before I threw it away – it almost cost me my camera. The plastic mount broke while I was trying to position the setup, which sent the camera down. Thankfully, the camera fell on the grass and nothing was broken. At the time, I was just getting into wildlife photography and having bought my first telephoto Nikon 300mm f/4 AF-S lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, I knew that I needed something more stable. That’s how I got my next tripod, which I spent several hundred of dollars on with a pan/tilt head. The tripod worked great for general photography, but shooting birds in flight was close to impossible with it and my frustration with blurry pictures was just driving me nuts. Finally, after so many failures, I decided to get a Gitzo Systematic tripod with an Arca-Swiss ballhead. I have been using the same setup for over 6 years now and I have used all kinds of gear on it, including some of the heaviest Nikon super telephoto lenses like the Nikon 400mm f/2.8G VR.

While I will be reviewing my trusty Gitzo Systematic tripod separately later, this review is for the much smaller and more compact version of the tripod that I bought specifically for travel and hiking purposes. The Gitzo Series 1 Traveler tripods are designed to be small and lightweight for portability purposes – exactly why I decided to get one for my photography needs. Since I travel by air quite a bit, taking the bulky Systematic series tripod was just not working out for me. Not only was it painful to squeeze it into a carry-on size bag, but it was also taking half of the space, leaving practically no room for my clothes for short trips. In addition, since I have been doing mostly landscape photography lately, I decided to get a lighter setup with a smaller ballhead. Hiking with the tripod and heavy metal ballhead was getting painful and I found myself leaving the tripod behind more and more, only to regret that I did not have a tripod with me later.

1) Product Specifications and Features

General
Load Capacity15.43 lb (7 kg)
Head Attachment Fitting1/4″-20 & 3/8″-16 (reversible stud)
Maximum Height58.66″ (149.0 cm)
Maximum Height w/o Column Extended45.87″ (116.5 cm)
Minimum Height8.66″ (22.0 cm)
Folded Length16.73″ (42.5 cm)
Weight2.2 lb (1 kg)
Legs
Material6x Carbon Fiber
Leg Stages/Sections3/4
Leg Lock TypeTwist lock
Independent Leg SpreadYes
Spiked/Retractable FeetNo
Center BraceNo
Center Column
Center Column TypeRapid
Center Column Sections1

Description of Main Features:

  1. Rapid Center Column – the center-column locking collar above the tripod chassis makes it easier to adjust the column quickly. A grooved design prevents rotation of the column and improves system stability
  2. Ground Level Set – the center column is removable so that you can shoot closer to the ground. Without using any tools, you can remove the center column and secure the upper disc directly to the upper casting using the center column hook
  3. Reversible Center Column – for even lower-level shooting or for macro work, the center column is also reversible for easy inversion
  4. Counterweight Hook – The built-in hook at the bottom of the center column allows you to hang a weight (such as a sandbag or full camera bag) in order to provide additional stability when you’re operating with heavy loads, on uneven ground, or in windy conditions
  5. Anti Leg Rotation – a redesigned Anti Leg Rotation system means the tripod can be opened in less than 15 seconds. With a single twist of your wrist, you can loosen all three twist locks on a leg at the same time, then pull the leg down and tighten the locks individually
  6. Gitzo 6x Carbon Fiber – Gitzo 6x guarantees structural strength, flexion rigidity, and great vibration absorption properties. The performance of this multilayer design is unique and inimitable thanks to the advanced aerospace production technology and the exclusive inner structure. It is the highest-density tube that’s 100% made of top-quality ultra-thin (7μm) carbon fibers – a 28mm tube contains 1.5 million carbon fibers

2) Packaging, Assembly and Use

The Gitzo Traveler comes packaged nicely in a black Gitzo box:

Gitzo Traveler GT1542T Box

Inside the box you will find the tripod in a black dust bag, along with a plastic bag containing the product manual, two L wrenches and tripod head grease. The L wrenches are for adjusting the tripod legs, while the head grease is used when disassembling the legs and cleaning them. Here is the Traveler (left) compared to the Systematic (right) when fully collapsed:

Gitzo Traveler vs Systematic

The twist lock system is very easy and convenient to use. Rotate it counter-clockwise to loosen the legs, extend them to desired size and rotate them clock wise to tighten the legs. While it might be faster to use a flip lock system, I find the latter to be less stable in general, especially when enough pressure is applied to one of the legs. With a twist lock system, once you lock it and tighten it, it sits dead on.

I personally stay away from center columns, because they generally de-stabilize the setup. However, Gitzo does a really good job with how it designs the center column – once extended and tightened, it does not wobble at all.

Gitzo Traveler GT1542T Center Column

And if that’s not enough, you can easily remove the center column without any tools:

Gitzo Traveler GT1542T Vertical No Center Column

Keep in mind that the tripod only extends to 46″ without it though, so if you do not want to sit on your knees or bend your neck too much, I would leave it there. Here it is extended without the center column, compared to the Gitzo Systematic:

Gitzo Traveler vs Systematic Height

With the center column fully extended, the tripod can reach 59″, which is higher than what the Gitzo Systematic can do:

Gitzo Traveler vs Systematic Height Extended

I would not extend it all the way up though, since it will surely make the system less stable.

The center post has a hook on the bottom for additional stabilization, so you can hang a light bag or some light weight on it.

3) Build Quality

It is a Gitzo, so it is nothing less than “excellent” in terms of build quality. Gitzo tripods were originally made in France, then once the company was bought by Vitec Group, all manufacturing was eventually moved to Italy. Gitzo products get tested by very demanding professionals, so you will see very few badly designed or defective products on the market.

I think of Gitzo as a life-long investment. You buy one tripod and it will last for many many years…

4) Conclusion

I bought this Gitzo Traveler tripod for hiking and traveling light. While it is not designed to handle heavy super telephoto lenses like the Gitzo Systematic series, it is good enough to handle a pro-level DSLRs like Nikon D4 and heavy lenses like the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G. Coupled with a reliable quick-release ballhead (I bought the BH-30 from RRS), the Gitzo Traveler series tripod can be a great lightweight solution, particularly for landscape and urban photography needs. Overall, I am very pleased with this tripod. It nicely compliments my Gitzo Systematic series tripod that I now only use exclusively when mounting heavy super telephoto lenses for wildlife photography.

5) Pricing and Where to Buy

The Gitzo GT1542T Series 1 Traveler Tripod is available at B&H for $679.89 (as of 06/21/2012). A tripod head must be purchased separately.

If you only use a tripod occasionally, then it might not be worth investing on a Gitzo Traveler tripod. If you are looking for a good tripod to start with, check out the Oben AC-1410 tripod that I reviewed earlier – it only costs around $120 and it comes with a ballhead.

Gitzo Traveler Tripod Review4.9Nasim Mansurov2012-06-21 23:34:23This is a review of the Gitzo Traveler Tripod (GT1542T Series 1, 6x Carbon Fiber, 4-Section), a very lightweight tripod designed specifically for hik…
Build Quality
Handling
Value
Size and Weight
Packaging and Manual
Photography Life Overall Rating

Avatar of Nasim Mansurov About Nasim Mansurov

is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Gegeti

    Nasim,
    Thanks for that review, and all the others what I look at with large interest.
    Do you think that Tripod could carry the D4 – 70/200 with the ballhead in vertical position, without vibration.
    Regards

    • 2
      ) Don

      Gegeti,

      There are probably very few tripods in the world that can carry that load (I have a D4 as well and the Nikon Triniy lenses) without vibration. The moment you set the tripod up and a slight breeze blows, you will introduce vibration into the equation. You need to make sure you have weight pulling down from the center of the tripod to act as a stabilizing effect. I have two tripods that I use for different things. One is a Fotopro Carbon Fiber, mounted with a Benro ballhead. which is very light and can introduce vibration based on its weight. I travel with this one, while the other is a Manfrotto 458B, mounted with a Manfrotto Hydrostatic head. Much heavier and more stable. Regardless, vibration is always an issue with whatever you use as long as you are outside shooting…

    • Gegeti, it can certainly handle the D4 with the 70-200mm, as I have already pointed out in my review. Obviously it won’t be as stable as the heavier tripods in terms of vibration, but I find it to be good enough for typical use. Make sure to use the tripod mount on the 70-200mm, not on the camera (the lens is too heavy).

  2. 3
    ) Tony Padua

    Hi Nasim,

    Very interesting tripod recommendation, you wrote:

    “When it comes to tripods, you almost always get what you pay for. Cheap tripods can not only ruin your pictures, but they can also ruin your equipment. The very first cheap tripod that I bought from Best Buy broke in less than a week.”

    Nasim, while I was on vacation in California, I shopped for a tripod in the upscale town of Pleasant Hill. At a camera shop the cheapest looking tripod cost $200. That sent me to Best Buy, where I bought a very well made Dynex tripod for something less than $40. I’m very careful when positioning my cameras, my D3100, and my $1,200 Panasonic High Definition video camcorder, everything is screwed down tightly. The job of a tripod is pretty basic, hold the camera still.

    With all due respect to you as a professional photographer, Nasim, paying $40 for a piece of equipment that simple is a good call for me.

    • Tony, there is nothing wrong with using a cheap tripod, if it works out for you. If I only used a tripod occasionally, I would not buy anything expensive…I guess it all depends on how often you use it, for what purpose and what you mount on it. That’s why I always recommend to start out with a cheap tripod first – you will know pretty quickly how often you will be truly using it…

  3. 4
    ) Gegeti

    HI,
    In m’y opinion, Gitzo sturdy tripod start only with the 3º serie, all the others are compromise.

    • Gegeti, I agree, however, those are also bulky and heavy in comparison… so it is always a compromise.

  4. 5
    ) deana

    This is slightly off-topic Nasim, but I am looking for a head(an arm, actually) for a tripod that can shoot down… that might involve a new tripod as well. I’m not even sure what it is called. I’d love your help!
    As always, your advice is spectacular.

    • 6
      ) Don

      Look at the Benro Panhead series… I have one and it is great.

    • Deana, most tripod heads can be configured to look down. You can use a ballhead or a pan/tilt head like the Benro Panhead that Don mentioned above.

    • 28
      ) Davis Chen

      Gitzo’s Explorer series tripod has a column that can be oriented in just about any direction that you like, including straight down. I wouldn’t recommend mounting anything too heavy on it when the column is straight out to the side though, and also be prepared to have some sort of counterweight (sand bag, camera bag, assistant?) on the leg opposite the direction of the center column. Search online for a review, I believe Luminous Landscape has a review of an older unit (before the Gitzo 6X carbon fiber came out) and has some good photos illustrating the unique “center” column on this tripod (the column isn’t actually centered but is offset slightly). This actually was my first tripod because I wanted something versatile and thought I might get into macro photography, and though the center column isn’t centered it is still quite sturdy and I haven’t found its design to detract from its use as a traditional tripod.

  5. 7
    ) Johny Wong

    Hi Nasim & everyone who read this article,
    I believe buying a tripod is a long term investment, so I try to buy the best tripod that I can afford. I’ve already known about Gitzo and carbon fiber tripod, but my budget is limited, so I bought Manfrotto aluminum with pan & tilt head. The weight is around 2.5kg and I find it quite uncomfortable to carry it around.

    If I’m just a hobbyist who has a plan to buy a full frame nikon with trinity lens and only rarely using tripod. Do you think buying a Gitzo will be useful for me ?

    FYI, There isn’t many tripod brand in my country, so buying Oben or RRS isn’t my option.
    Thank you for your always useful info and review.

    • Johny, don’t forget that both Gitzo and Manfrotto are owned by the same company :)

      If I were you, I would wait until you have the cameras and lenses that you want to buy. Use your Manfrotto and see how often you truly use it. If you find yourself wanting to take it with you all the time, then get the Gitzo Traveler. Otherwise, why spend the extra money?

  6. Thanks for that Nasim
    Quite expensive for a second tripod (for me)
    You do not detail the minimum folded/collapsed length
    I have a manfrotto 190CXPro4 tripod, but mounted on my Lowepro AW400 bag even with the pistol grip ball head removed, it swings around and endangers family and friends. A compact folded length is essential for backpack stability / safety.
    Would love to know your thoughts.
    Chris

    • Chris, the “folded length” is 16″, as shown under “Product Specifications and Features”. I hike with this tripod on my back, also attached to a LowePro backpack. I have the legs and the top secured, so there is no swinging taking place. I leave the ballhead on though and it does not seem to be an issue.

      • 24
        ) Chris Cullen

        Oh Dear – I’m so blind!!! – sorry!

    • 33
      ) Mark

      MUCH CHEAPER: Manfrotto Traveller Tripod MKC3-P01

      weight: 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
      minimal length: 16.93 inch (43 cm)
      maximal length: 96.96 inch (165cm) => thats much better than the Gitzo and important if you are a tall!
      material: Aluminium
      load capacity: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) => I pushed down on the tripod with about 22 lbs and its still very okay
      price: 59.89$

      Save the 620$ and enjoy your holidays!

      http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=mkc3-p01&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ta

      • 34
        ) Chris Cullen

        thanks for that!! – much better value!
        will take a look
        got a D700 with 16-35 / 24-120 and both combos weight more than the nominal 1.5kg
        chris

        • 35
          ) Don

          Hi Chris,

          Maybe I’ve been carrying a D3S and now D4 too long, but a D700 is not heavy at all. I have the 24-120mm and when on my D4 I do not mind it at all. Try lugging around a Nikon 300mm, f2.8. Your rig is pretty much light enough for any decently priced tripod…

        • 38
          ) Mark

          I have it and I am very happy with it. Its a really good tripod, perfect for excursions and travellings. With the saved 620$ you can extend your holidays in South America, South Africa or India for 3 weeks :) Or skiing in Switzerland: One week more ;)

          But for long travelings, if you are a backpacker, I would even go for a monopad/unipad: Thats again lighter, more comfortable and cheaper.

          I can’t name you a good monopod, but here you can search for one:

          http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/buy/Monopods-Unipods/ci/397/N/4099918779

  7. 9
    ) William (Bill) Creech

    Hi Nasim,

    Thank you for the review. I can agree with all you stated.

    I have used the Gitzo Traveler Tripod for a few years. It has traveled with me many times including a trip to Israel in 2010. I am afraid I repeated the mistake of many others, thinking $500 USD for a tripod was too much and I bought many cheaper tripods thinking that they would be good enough. None were good enough.

    My advise, Learn from the mistakes of others and save the money you would spend on several cheap tripods and buy one good travel tripod and one good studio tripod. The cheap tripods are actually expensive. A good tripod will make you a better photographer and will last you for years.

    Blessings and Cheers, Bill Creech

    • Bill, thank you for your feedback! Yes, buying cheap tripods is expensive in the long run, you said it perfectly!

      • 32
        ) Mark

        http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=mkc3-p01&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ta

        Buy this one and extend your holidays by a week. The load capacity is much more than the written 3.3 lbs

        • 45
          ) Don

          I just looked at your “link” and you have to be kidding right? A five section tripod that you expect people to trust their multiple thousand dollar equipment on? Get real… There is no way I would trust my D4 + 70-200mm up there or any other piece of equipment for that matter. Your holidays must be cheap by the way…

  8. 10
    ) John Richardson

    When it comes to tripods, it is true you get what you pay for. As a Manfrotto fan myself, I carry around a 055CXPRO4 ($350). The Arca-Swiss type ball head a Sunwayfoto DB-52 LR ($300) on top of a Sunwayfoto DYH-66x ($100) Leveling base. And L-brackets for my cameras and foot clamps for my long lenses.

    Heavy? Yes. It is rock solid and the ball head is fluid smooth. I have literally beat this combo to death and it is still like new. I have got my money’s worth and more. Is the whole set up a pain to carry? Yep. But when the chips are down and I need security and a tripod/ball head for the job. I got it.

    I can not stress enough, no matter what anyone tells you, that you can’t spend too much on a tripod and a good ball head. I spent only $700 and then added the dang shipping and VAT to Ukraine, it worked out to slightly over $1000. My L-brackets are From Sunway, Fittest and B&H, those aren’t cheap either, but also totally worth it.

    • John, Manfrotto and Gitzo are owned by the same company, so the quality of their products is superb. Looks like you have a great setup!

  9. 11
    ) George

    About getting what you pay for, I’ve found an exception.

    Search for Ravelli APGL4 on Amazon. It’s an all metal tripod (even the locks are metallic) that includes a ball head and a second, smaller tripod. All for ~100$.

    So far, the only disadvantage is that it is somewhat heavy, but that’s a good thing for time lapse/long exposure shots because it makes the tripod sturdier.

    • George, thank you for the info. The Ravelli looks like a great tripod, but it weighs 10 pounds? Not exactly a travel tripod :) But I agree – for regular use, it looks like a great and stable setup. Manfrotto, Giottos, Induro and others also make good tripods that do not cost as much as Gitzo…again, it all depends on how much you use it, for what purpose and what you mount on it.

  10. I’ve found that for video, time lapse, and large panorama photography, heavier is better. The old heavy metal (haha) stuff works better when you need something to stay absolutely still with no vibrations over an extended period of time, and finding them used is considerably cheaper than the new carbon fiber equipment. Of course, it would not be my choice when traveling or hiking. If you need to carry it any distance, certainly get the new and expensive carbon fiber gear or you won’t bother bringing it at all!

    I’m amazed at the quality of some of the aluminum tripods between $100 and $200 from Giottos, Oben, and a few from Induro for lighter gear. Get something like that for starters or go all the way with carbon fiber from Really Right Stuff or Gitzo, but skip all the crap in between and for sure don’t get anything cheaper or you’re wasting your money! And I haven’t found a ballhead less than RRS’ BH-40 that I’ve been happy with. That just my 2¢–which won’t buy much today… :-D

    • Aaron, I have seen a guy at night use a video tripod with three section legs on each leg. It was a beast to carry, but the guy was happy with it, so I can see why it would be important for those kinds of situations.

      Induro is a great alternative to Gitzo – I agree. They have some great CF tripods that cost half of what Gitzo does. I am planning to review some Induro support systems in the future as well, great value. RRS is also excellent, but very very expensive.

  11. 23
    ) Don

    Hi Nasim,

    Here is the Manfrotto that I mentioned: http://www.manfrotto.com/neotec-pro-photo-tripod

    There is not a faster tripod in the world (my opinion) to set up and get going. It is great. A bit heavy but man is it stable… Hold my D4 + 70-200mm…

    • Thank you for the link Don – it looks impressive!

  12. 26
    ) Gerry

    Hello Nasim,

    Thanks again for a great writeup! It’s funny how I (and many others) had the same experience as you when “climbing” the tripod tree! IOW, starting with a cheapo tripod, then getting a “better” one (when you can’t believe you just spent over $150 on a set of tripod legs), outgrowing that one and then just getting the good stuff.

    I’ve just moved up from a Nikon D300 to a D800, and decided to move up from the “better” tripod/ball head combo to one that should meet my needs for many years to come. But first, here’s what I did with the older tripod. I’ve just started to shoot tethered with my 15.4-inch MacBook Pro, so I paired up my 5 year-old aluminum Induro (can’t remember the model #) with a Calumet Tripod Support Platform (http://www.calumetphoto.com/eng/product/calumet_tripod_support_platform/ck7030) — and that combo is where the MacBook Pro sits perfectly, next to the new tripod/ball head. The ball head was a Manfrotto 488RC0, and it’s now happily retired. :-)

    Oh, the new combo is a Gitzo Systematic GT3542LS and Markins Q-Ball Q20. I’ve only had this combo for a very short time, but WOW can you tell the difference vs. the old Induro/Manfrotto combo! Sure, a 3-section tripod would have been more stable than the 4-section one that I bought, but the tripod/ball head combo fits in my carry-on suitcase. ATM, the plan is to detach the ball head, and pack clothes all around & in between the legs. As far as carrying this Gitzo/Markins combo around… I have a 11-day trip to Maui in 3 weeks, so guess I’ll find out soon how much of a hassle carrying this will be (5.5 lbs total).

    Just as I typed the last sentence, this Gitzo Series 1/RRS combo is looking very inviting… Hmmm, I *do* have 3 weeks before I leave. ;-) Thank you again!

  13. Ah, the tripod tree! Been there done that. Have you any comments on susceptibility to highish frequency vibrations, such as wind, waves against the jetty, water in a stream, for folks like me without VR?
    Allan

  14. 29
    ) Christian

    Dear Nasim,

    I use the Gitzo Traveler Tripod in combination with the Gitzo Center Ball Head, GH1780QR, and I am very satisfied with this lightweight solution. I do know that I would not take along a sturdier, heavier tripod. My tripod easily masters the D700 with the Nikon 70-200mm lens, not to speak of lighter combinations. That’s enough for my needs.

    Thus, I can fully support the conclusion you drew.

    Best, Christian

  15. 30
    ) Mark

    MUCH CHEAPER: Manfrotto Traveller Tripod MKC3-P01

    weight: 2.2 lbs (1 kg)
    minimal length: 16.93 inch (43 cm)
    maximal length: 96.96 inch (165cm) => thats much better than the Gitzo and important if you are a tall!
    material: Aluminium
    load capacity: 3.3 lbs (1.5 kg) => thats a lot less than the Gitzos, but as a test I gave a lot of pressure/body weight on the top where the camera is supposed to be, till the Alu-Legs of the tripod flexed a little bit outward. I dont know exactly how much weight it was, but I guess I was pushing down with at least 22 lbs (10 kg) and the tripod is still very okay. Alu is a good and stable material.
    price at B&H: 59.89$ => 620$ less than the Gitzo

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=mkc3-p01&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ta

    • 31
      ) Mark

      With the saved 620$ you can extend your holiday by a week :)

      • 36
        ) Steve

        You do seem obsessed with pushing this tripod and I am sure it is not bad especially if you are on a budget or do not wish to pay a ridiculous cost of a Gitzo.
        However, if you read the reviews on the page you link to it is a pretty mixed bag. Many reviewers criticizing it for being flimsy.
        Whereas on reviews for the Gitzo traveler on the same site you will struggle to find any negative comments and not one that states it is not sturdy.
        At the end of the day we all have our own priorities but if portability and sturdiness alone are why you are buying then I would rather wait and buy the Gitzo especially if it is a second tripod even though I cringe at the price.

        • 37
          ) Mark

          When I wrote it i found that my comment could be an aswer from an earlier comment above — now its doubly and triply. There is no delete button ^^

          About the sturdiness: I see only 5 comments and they are all good. They say its compact and sturdy (if you dont photgraph vertical, that was the only issue — for me personally its not importan to shoot vertical). I dont know man … Consumer Society wants you allways to make belive that you have to spend A LOT OF MONEY to be happy. Thats not true. Spend 600 bucks for a traveller tripod or you will have only a second-rate equipment and therefore you will be not happy and not satisfied. And for all this money spending as a slave of consumer society you have to work a lot more, you see your family less, it goes on costs of your health, long holidays become rare ….

          I tell you something:
          Dont listen to the Consumer Society, swim against the tide, buy the good manfrotto for 60 bucks and dont think “its only second class”, think “its a good tripod” as all 5 people rated it, and you will be perfectly happy and even more with this saved 620 bucks on your bank account, this gives a good, deep sleep ;)

          Or maybe you want to spend that money on your travel holiday for having a real splendid time ;)

          • 39
            ) Steve

            Mark
            There are 16 reviews on that tripod, there are a fair few negative comments and not all about shooting portrait (vertical) which incidentally in my opinion is fairly important.
            There are also a fair few positive comments, perhaps 50/50.

          • 40
            ) Don

            What is it with you and this magical 620 dollars? You pay for a cheap tripod, you get cheap performance. Bottom line. You are to the point of being annoying and the constant droning on and on and on and on about 620 dollars. I spend this much on filters or memory cards. The tripod I purchased isn’t cheap but it performs. Give it a rest already will you….

            • 41
              ) Mark

              Its low priced and not cheap. And it is compact and sturdy. You won’t shoot that much better fotos when you spend 680 dollars for a high-end tripod. But you will enjoy your travel much more with 620$ more in your pocket!!

          • Mark, you are comparing a low-end aluminum tripod with a high-end carbon fiber tripod. Think of it as a Hyundai vs Mercedes. Yes, Hyundai has a great value, but you cannot really compare to the Mercedes. The latter has a better build, reliability and an excellent resale value.

  16. 42
    ) Don

    @Mark,

    Does 620 dollars really make or break your vacation? Really? My God, I have never seen anyone harp on and on and on over something for no reason such as you. Give it a rest will you.

  17. 44
    ) Don

    Hi Nasim,

    You’ve done your duty for king and country in your review. It might be best just to close this thread. It seems to have served its purpose. Again thanks for the great work you do.

  18. 46
    ) francisco

    here’s a thought… when building a hi-fi stereo system it is usually recommended to spend 10-15% of the total system cost for interconnect cables or peripherals, likewise i use the same rule-of-thumb for DSLR peripherals like tripod, and i would say even up to 20% of your total cost to get a decent peripheral tripod/head system… if you have 10K camera/lens set-up, would you want it standing up there on a flimsy $100 so, so tripod?

    • 47
      ) Don

      Great idea Francisco… Everyone seems to get this point except Mark who is concerned only with 620 dollars. This leads me to conclude that he has no idea what he is talking about, or the value of his gear doesn’t warrant protection, or he simply does things on the cheap hoping that nothing will happen. Personally I would not take his advice on anything…

  19. 48
    ) Tom Darling

    Nasim, very good review. 30 years ago I bought a used Bogan 3050 mainly for studio work with Med. format film. It has served me well however it weights 17 pounds so I don’t take it out much in the field. I have missed a lot of opportunities. I recently stepped up and purchased a Gitzo Series 2 Traveler and feel it is the best accessory I have for my digital kit. This 17 inch 3 pound wonder is always close by. One of the best things about the Gitzo is it’s ease of use. It can be deployed in seconds and is rock solid. This last week end I purchased a Gitzo G2180 fluid head to try video with. Within 20 minutes I had captured the best video I have ever taken. It fully justified my purchase. The Gitzo is a joy to use.

  20. 49
    ) Teemu

    I use similar (but not T-traveler) Gitzo for my work full time as snowboarding video- and photographer. Gitzo seems to be one of the few brands that offer these small and light but still sturdy enough tripods for professional use. Still I am having problems with G1158 tripod and I disagree with you on build quality part.

    Legs break from the inside and twist locks don´t work as they are supposed to since the legs slide off because of broken tubes. Legs are also loosening from the joint and I already had to glue one back on, now another one is loose. I wrote a small post (with photos), check it out if you are interested: http://northlightpictures.com/2012/02/tripod-problems/

    Normal user might not have these problems but even Gitzos amazing quality won´t give you years of fail-safe use if you use your equipment heavily and full time.

    • 50
      ) Don

      Moi Teemu,

      Are you in the Kamera Seura in Helsinki????

      • 51
        ) Teemu

        No, sorry but I am not.. Currently living at the arctic circle, 900kms from Helsinki :)

        • 52
          ) Steve

          Teema
          You have an interesting website, but I find the light text difficult to read especially when it is against the background image.

  21. 53
    ) Doug

    Hey, Nasim:

    I have used the 1542T for several years and absolutely love it. However, one extremely frustrating problem is that, while you can remove the center column easily, you cannot replace the base with to allow a low working height, which is very frustrating. I have considered cutting the center column off, but that seems kind of drastic. I’d love it if you could get a short “stub” center column. Otherwise, this tripod is quite bad for macro work.

    I wanted to mention that newer models (do they even make the 1542T anymore??) do have a clever system where you can remove the column and keep the mounting plate like a normal tripod. This is MUCH better. I would not advise anybody to buy the 1542T at this point. I contacted Gitzo to see if they had a short column for the 1542T, but they do not.

    Also, I think your stated height of 8.66″ is not correct; that would be only without a center column, which means not mounting plate, so not too useful.

    Doug

    • 57
      ) Kevin

      I have a 1542T and can remove the center column using the tripod at very low angles without it. To do this I unscrew the bottom and top pieces, remove the column and then screw the bottom and top pieces together with the tripod leaving out the column.

      I also see that B&H sells a shorter column
      http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=orderHistory&A=details&Q=&sku=487632&is=REG

      BTW…….I wonder how much Mark spent on his motorcycle helmet ;-)

      • 58
        ) Doug

        Kevin — the short center piece only fits the newer model that replaced the 1542T (which is still called 1542T something or other). I have disassembled the post to see if there were any way to do what you described, and couldn’t figure it out. That is possibly a newer version feature as well. But I will try again when I get home and can try. Thanks for your comment!

        Doug

  22. 54
    ) David

    Great find thanks Nasim and I really enjoy reading your posts, BTW.

    Until now I’ve been pretty happy with my Manfrotto 715SHB as my travel tripod (here is the specification: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/428996-REG/Manfrotto_715SHB_715SHB_Short_Digi_Black.html). It is also 2.2 pounds, but folds to only 14.4 inches so it fits nicely into my shoulder bag. The stated capacity is only 5.5 pounds, but I’ve loaded that with my D3x with a 24-70mm with no problems. Mostly, however, I use it when I travel with my Leica M series cameras which of course weigh nothing and in some sense are the ultimate travel camera. The Manfrotto 715SHB costed only $90 new and you can probably find it on eBay for less these days. I found it also helpful that it has an integrated ball head, so even less weight when compared against other tripods that need an attachment.

  23. 55
    ) James Wilkins

    I recently bought this same combination (Traveler GT1542T and RRS BH30) based on my own research. I really like the system except for one thing so far. The ball head wont stay screwed on. There doesn’t seem to be enough friction between the top plate of the column and the base of the ball head. I have tried cranking it down really hard to the point where I am afraid of damaging something but then I can very easily, with two fingers, unscrew it. When I have my camera on it, it is always coming loose when I am adjusting for the shot. I have never seen any thing like it. I talked to RRS and they suggested using
    Lock Tight on the threads which I suppose would work but would take away some of the versatility of being able to remove the ball head for travel, use on other tripods, etc. Any suggestions?

  24. 56
    ) Mike

    How tall are you? I am 6’1″ and trying to get a feel for how it would be to use this tripod. Center post halfway up + head + camera height to viewfinder is going to be around 60″ – definitely less than eye height when standing. Lots of use will not require looking through the view finder (time series, long exposures), but I’m curious about folks’ experience in the field using a shorter tripod. Thanks

  25. 59
    ) lSmith

    Hi
    I love my Gitzo traveler. I just removed the center post for low level photos and cannot get my Nikon mounted securely. I can get it screwed on but it very, very easily unscrews. Can you describe how i can mount it correctly?
    Thanks.

    • 60
      ) Jim

      I have the same problem and I haven’t found a good solution yet. I think it is the plastic on the platform. It doesn’t generate as much friction as the platform on my other Gitzo does. Gitzo recommended using Locktite on the threads and mounting the head semi-permanently but I don’t do that because I travel with it and I find being able to remove the ball head helps a lot in packing. I am a backpacker and find this tripod an excellent tool. I use it with a Mamiya 7II and it does very well. I sometimes weight load the tripod to increase stability in wind but that can be accomplished by pushing it into the ground firmly with your hand as the exposure is made. I haven’t had an incident where the ball head came unscrewed in use but I have to admit the ease of unscrewing it makes me a bit nervous and I check it often. There may be some substance that could be applied to the platform to make it “stickier” but I haven’ found it yet. If you come up with something, let me know.

      • 61
        ) LSmith

        Thanks for reply Jim,
        I ended up just ordering a short center post for low level photog. It should work just like the longer one and all should stay tight. Just did not want to spend the cash if i did not have to.

      • 62
        ) GerryC

        Hi Jim, I don’t have a Gitzo Traveler (just a heavier, but very sturdy, Systematic Series 3 tripod). If you can’t find something to make the ball head “stickier,” don’t be afraid about using Loctite as Gitzo recommends. IMPORTANT: Make sure you use a product like Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242. You can easily unscrew your ball head using blue threadlock formula by hand. DO NOT use the Red threadlock because you’ll need to head the parts that you want to separate — and I doubt you want to bring along a hand held blowtorch to help you unscrew your ball head. ;-) I’ve used the Blue 242 formula for many different projects and it’s worked just fine. Best of luck!

        • 63
          ) GerryC

          I meant “heat the parts that you want to separate” — not “head the parts…” Oops!

  26. 64
    ) Scoop

    I am considering the Gitzo 1542 traveler tripod. can you tell me what the folded diameter of the unit is? I returned a Feisol because it was too wide. The length and weight were great but it just took up too much space in my duffle and backpack.

  27. 65
    ) Tim

    Nasim – An avid backpacker, I am quite interested in dumping my heavy tripod for something light that takes up less volume. Three questions though:

    1) It appears from pictures that only a rubber foot is on this tripod. Can spiked feet be installed?

    2) Is there any option for using a snow basket on the feet for photography on snow?

    3) If there is no option to the rubber feet, what is your experience concerning stability of the feet for this device?

    Thanks in advance for your help here!

Leave a Comment

*