Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Started 2 months ago | Questions
Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 174
Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Hello all,

I currently own a nice large Manfrotto tripod (folded length 24") but now that I am restricted to a wheelchair it is very cumbersome to transport it when I want to shoot outside. For this reason I am now looking at getting a small light travel tripod.

I was looking at the Gitzo GIGT1555T Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod and a Gitzo 3-Way Fluid Head but I have a few concerns about it.  My first concern was that the centre column does not appear to have a hook to add extra weight.  After a little research it looks like you have to purchase this hook separately (Gitzo D104214 Hook).
The other concern I have doesn't just apply to this Gitzo but from the looks of things, many travel tripods.  With my current tripod there is a little screw that I can tighten which prevents the tripod head from becoming loose.  Is this common with all travel tripods or is there some other way they prevent the heads from becoming loose/unscrewing?
Anyone have any other recommendations for tripods I should consider?  My requirements (below) are pretty minimal but I wish to get one that folds down compact and is lightweight. 
Requirements:
Has a removable head
Supports at least 6lb load
Would be good if centre column is reversible but not required.

ANSWER:
This question has not been answered yet.
BBbuilder467 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,591
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Colin Creevey wrote:

Hello all,

I currently own a nice large Manfrotto tripod (folded length 24") but now that I am restricted to a wheelchair it is very cumbersome to transport it when I want to shoot outside. For this reason I am now looking at getting a small light travel tripod.

I was looking at the Gitzo GIGT1555T Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod and a Gitzo 3-Way Fluid Head but I have a few concerns about it. My first concern was that the centre column does not appear to have a hook to add extra weight. After a little research it looks like you have to purchase this hook separately (Gitzo D104214 Hook).
The other concern I have doesn't just apply to this Gitzo but from the looks of things, many travel tripods. With my current tripod there is a little screw that I can tighten which prevents the tripod head from becoming loose. Is this common with all travel tripods or is there some other way they prevent the heads from becoming loose/unscrewing?
Anyone have any other recommendations for tripods I should consider? My requirements (below) are pretty minimal but I wish to get one that folds down compact and is lightweight.
Requirements:
Has a removable head
Supports at least 6lb load
Would be good if centre column is reversible but not required.

Are you sure a monopod with a tilt-head wouldn't work to your advantage? If you aren't doing long exposures, you could just drop it between your legs in the chair.

3dwag
3dwag Veteran Member • Posts: 4,467
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?
1

Colin Creevey wrote:

Hello all,

I currently own a nice large Manfrotto tripod (folded length 24") but now that I am restricted to a wheelchair it is very cumbersome to transport it when I want to shoot outside. For this reason I am now looking at getting a small light travel tripod.

I was looking at the Gitzo GIGT1555T Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod

If you are OK with slightly longer folded length, the Gitzo GT1545T (4 sections instead of 5 sections) is a sturdier and more convenient travel tripod, IMO the best compromise you can get right now for all the considerations for portability/ extended height/ , stiffness, vibration damping, and deployment. The Gitzo GT1545T extends a few inches taller than its GT1555T sibling, and has higher stiffness and damping; in my case I can simultaneously loosen all three twist locks on a leg at once, can't do that with the GT1555T.

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1328231-REG/gitzo_gt1545tus_traveler_tripod_ser_1_4s.html

and a Gitzo 3-Way Fluid Head

That seems like a poorly matched head for a travel tripod. It weighs nearly as much as the tripod itself, making your rig very top heavy, and will be bulky for packing.

What kind of shooting do you plan to do this this travel rig? A much more appropriate general purpose travel head would be the ball head type. The two heads I mostly use on my Gitzo GT1545T are

1) RRS BH-25 (the lightest, most compact but very sturdy)

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1301100-REG/really_right_stuff_bh_25_pro_bh_25_ballhead_with_mini.html

and 2) FLM CP-32F (adds separate horizontal panning feature, a bit heavier duty with tension adjustment and fine, precision lock down).

https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1265737-REG/flm_12_32_940_cb_32_f_ball_head.html

The Center Column is an excellent resource who do empirical stiffness and damping tests; I have now or have owed in the past several tripods on their full range list, and their relative stiffness measurements (sort the summary table by the stiffness column) pretty much fall in line with my own personal subjective/ crude testing experience in terms of relative stiffness ranking and damping measurements.

Here is the summary ranking table for the travel tripods which he has tested:

https://thecentercolumn.com/rankings/travel-tripod-rankings/

Be sure and select the "stiffness" column to see relative performance. He has in-depth write ups of many of these, and excellent explanations of test setups and what the data actually means.

Also has quite a few tripod heads tested as well -- the stiffness of the head coupled with the stiffness of the tripod creates a system with less overall stiffness than the strongest component (he shows how to calculate that, and how to determine good matches of heads to tripods).

but I have a few concerns about it. My first concern was that the centre column does not appear to have a hook to add extra weight. After a little research it looks like you have to purchase this hook separately (Gitzo D104214 Hook).

You could purchase that hook, not expensive and bearing in mind that these Gitzo travel tripods have come down a good bit in price compared to a few years ago, so that is a small extra price to pay for the quality of tripod you get.

I personally don't use these hooks much, finding the tripod "hammocks" do a better job of stiffening up and improving the vibration damping of your rig: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1038289-REG/oben_stb_10_stone_bag_for_tripods.html

The other concern I have doesn't just apply to this Gitzo but from the looks of things, many travel tripods. With my current tripod there is a little screw that I can tighten which prevents the tripod head from becoming loose. Is this common with all travel tripods or is there some other way they prevent the heads from becoming loose/unscrewing?

I don't consider the lack of these screws necessarily a big deal. In fact, in some usage cases tightening these screws bypass some of the benefit of damping pads which some tripod head platforms have, coupling more of the tripod vibration into the head. There are two different schools of thought on this, as it is a complex vibration/ damping system formed by the sum of the parts and depending on exact setup and usage one might prefer having such set screws, or not.

Some of my tripods have these, and sometimes I use them, depending. I prefer that my travel tripod does not, so don't miss them on the Gitzo. I just occasionally double-check that the head is firmly attached as I am setting up or folding down.

Anyone have any other recommendations for tripods I should consider? My requirements (below) are pretty minimal but I wish to get one that folds down compact and is lightweight.
Requirements:
Has a removable head
Supports at least 6lb load
Would be good if centre column is reversible but not required.

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Fazal Majid
Fazal Majid Senior Member • Posts: 2,059
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Have you considered getting a Manfrotto Magic Arm and clamping it to your wheelchair instead?

https://blog.majid.info/galleries/tripods/#&gid=1&pid=13

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OP Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Will be using it for long exposure/time lapse.

OP Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Thanks for the detailed response.

3dwag wrote:
If you are OK with slightly longer folded length, the Gitzo GT1545T (4 sections instead of 5 sections)

Had not considered this tripod but given the Gitzo bag I would buy would also fit this tripod I would consider it.

and a Gitzo 3-Way Fluid Head

That seems like a poorly matched head for a travel tripod. It weighs nearly as much as the tripod itself, making your rig very top heavy, and will be bulky for packing.

What kind of shooting do you plan to do this this travel rig?

Long exposure/timelapse/landscape.  Currently own the Manfrotto 327RC2 Ball Head and the Manfrotto XPRO 3-Way (pretty sure it is this one) so was basing my preference off what I currently liked to use.  I did see the pan/tilt head was a heavier option.

The Center Column is an excellent resource who do empirical stiffness and damping tests;

Resource looks good, thanks.

I personally don't use these hooks much, finding the tripod "hammocks" do a better job of stiffening up and improving the vibration damping of your rig: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1038289-REG/oben_stb_10_stone_bag_for_tripods.html

Had not considered a hammock like this but it may be better suited to use to hold my bag.

OP Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

A tog did recommend me this although his recommendation was in a different context.  Given that one of my use cases would be timelapse I don't think it would be well suited.

3dwag
3dwag Veteran Member • Posts: 4,467
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?
1

Colin Creevey wrote:

Thanks for the detailed response.

You are quite welcome.

3dwag wrote:
If you are OK with slightly longer folded length, the Gitzo GT1545T (4 sections instead of 5 sections)

Had not considered this tripod but given the Gitzo bag I would buy would also fit this tripod I would consider it.

Which Gitzo bag are you considering? I'm asking because it would give me a better idea as to your maximum transport envelop for your tripod. There are some possibly larger (but heavier) tripods which may still fit in that bag but give better support for the 3-way type of head you prefer.

Also, besides my earlier concern that the large 3-way head might be a bit top heavy on the GT1545T Traveler tripod, the head mounting plate on the Traveler tripod is much smaller diameter than that 3-way head, and you would have to check the underside of that head to see if there would be a large enough flat area on the underside of that head to mate properly with the small diameter tripod head plate. Sometimes heads have factory assembly and setup access plates under there which may not give you enough flat area to make good tight contact with the tripod plate.

I understand that you are transporting this with you on your wheelchair, correct? But you may have in mind something that will fit in that tripod bag and then can be secured for transport on your chair, if I understand you correctly?

Now I have another concern for your intended usage... Do note that the folded length of the Gitzo GT1545T tripod is with the legs reverse-folded, otherwise you must add a few inches to it. However, also note that the head must be compact enough in order to reverse -fold the legs, otherwise you will have to remove the head in order to reverse-fold the legs -- and that Gitzo 3-Way is definitely way too big for the tripod legs to reverse-fold over.

On the other hand, if you intend to keep the head mounted to the tripod when you put it in the tripod bag for transport, then that must be a larger bag and perhaps you could go with a larger, heavier tripod like this Gitzo GT4553S Systematic: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1328238-REG/gitzo_gt4553sus_systematic_tripod_ser_4_5s.html/overview

It is a bit unusual, in that it is a larger diameter leg sections Series 4 tripod so it's girth will be quite a bit larger than the Series 1 Travelers, but it is a 5-section tripod so the leg sections are short and the retracted length is still somewhat short, in this case less than 19 inches (of course, it does not reverse-fold like a Traveler). Also, the apex plate on which you mount the head has those set screws like you were asking about to lock the head onto the apex plate, and the apex plate has a safety lock when it is installed on the tripod, and the head bottom diameter nicely about matches this larger tripod.

The GT4553S tripod is 2x as heavy as the GT1545T, but with all sections collapsed it's just under 19 inches tall, which is still 5 inches shorter than your large Manfrotto. It is also 2x as expensive as the Traveler. Total weight including that Gitzo 3-Way head is about 7 pounds, but still way lighter and more compact for transport than my old Manfrotto tripod and 3-way head I used for many many years, which might be similar to your present rig which you are trying to replace...mine weighed in at about 11 pounds, it was a beast but with my back problems I eventually had to replace it with a Gitzo carbon fiber tripod + Acratech ball head.

and a Gitzo 3-Way Fluid Head

That seems like a poorly matched head for a travel tripod. It weighs nearly as much as the tripod itself, making your rig very top heavy, and will be bulky for packing.

What kind of shooting do you plan to do this this travel rig?

Long exposure/timelapse/landscape. Currently own the Manfrotto 327RC2 Ball Head and the Manfrotto XPRO 3-Way (pretty sure it is this one) so was basing my preference off what I currently liked to use. I did see the pan/tilt head was a heavier option.

The Gitzo 3-way fluid head you linked to above is certainly a nice head, and I can understand if you have a preference for the 3-way style of head...the Arca-Swiss plate style and fluid capsules are very fine upgrades to your Manfrotto XPRO 3-Way for sure.

But as I mentioned above, there are some concerns I would have about if that head could be securely mounted to the much smaller diameter Traveler tripod plate, and earlier as I said that head might be top-heavy, plus in order to get the Traveler tripod folded up short you will have to remove that head (whereas the two ball heads I mentioned can stay permanently attached to the smaller tripod, even when reverse-folding the legs).

I could be wrong about a lot of this, these are just my concerns which personally I would want to investigate, but you may have already been considering these things and of course know your exact situation a lot better than I do from here.

The Center Column is an excellent resource who do empirical stiffness and damping tests;

Resource looks good, thanks.

I personally don't use these hooks much, finding the tripod "hammocks" do a better job of stiffening up and improving the vibration damping of your rig: https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1038289-REG/oben_stb_10_stone_bag_for_tripods.html

Had not considered a hammock like this but it may be better suited to use to hold my bag.

I first used those little hammocks years ago to place my a/v interface boxes and power bricks off the ground when shooting video. Very convenient for lots of things.

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OP Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

3dwag wrote:
Which Gitzo bag are you considering?

Probably either the Gitzo GC2202T Padded Traveler Tripod Bag Series 2 or Gitzo GC1202T Padded Traveler Tripod Bag Series 1.

I'm hesitant to go to a larger tripod just because the larger it is the less difference there is from my current.

casperghst42 Regular Member • Posts: 165
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

I got the GT2545T which is longer than the one you’re looking at, and you can change the feet. I’ve swapped the center column with one from a Gitzo Mountaineer (easier to make it short).

Everything Gitzo is expensive, but I find that I get what I pay for - cheaper than RRS (in Europe), and they in general works.

The issues (design) I got with the Traveler tripods, is that the legs only have two settings (normal and approx. 45 degree), there is no ~90 degree setting which makes it a bit wobbly for ground work. Also if you want to get close to ground you need to take the center column out and replace it with a stub (as I said I’m using the one which came with my Mountaineer).

As for tripod head; look at the Acratech Monoball p0 and add and RRS B2-40-LR - very good combination, though not that light.

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mujana Veteran Member • Posts: 7,039
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

casperghst42 wrote:

I got the GT2545T which is longer than the one you’re looking at, and you can change the feet. I’ve swapped the center column with one from a Gitzo Mountaineer (easier to make it short).

Everything Gitzo is expensive, but I find that I get what I pay for - cheaper than RRS (in Europe), and they in general works.

The issues (design) I got with the Traveler tripods, is that the legs only have two settings (normal and approx. 45 degree), there is no ~90 degree setting which makes it a bit wobbly for ground work. Also if you want to get close to ground you need to take the center column out and replace it with a stub (as I said I’m using the one which came with my Mountaineer).

As for tripod head; look at the Acratech Monoball p0

I think that you mean the Arca-Swiss Monoball P0? That’s what I ‘m using on my Gitzo GK100T tripod. Love both!

and add and RRS B2-40-LR - very good combination, though not that light.

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calson Forum Pro • Posts: 10,429
Feisol CT-2441T
1

I have owned a number of tripods from Gitzo, RRS, Manfrotto, and others and the ones that impress me the most are the ones from Feisol. I have there CT-3472 with its head adapters (flat plate, quick level base, center column kit) that change out in less than a minute. I also have the Feisol CT-2441T travel tripod that supports 44 lbs, has a 57" working height and also a center column for even more height, collapses down to less than 19 inches and weighs only 2.6 lbs, and comes with a very nice carry case unlike Gitzo and RRS where all I got was a cardboard box.

With the CT-3441T legs fully extended I can press down on the top of the tripod and not see any flexing of the legs. Most impressive tripod.

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Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,220
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?
1

Colin Creevey wrote:

Hello all,

Anyone have any other recommendations for tripods I should consider? My requirements (below) are pretty minimal but I wish to get one that folds down compact and is lightweight.

Requirements:
Has a removable head
Supports at least 6lb load
Would be good if centre column is reversible but not required.

Without knowing what sort of gear you want to hang off of it, it's hard to make a recommendation. Gitzo is a great choice if your budget permits, but the wrong Gitzo is still the wrong tripod.

"Supports at least a 6lb load" is a pretty meaningless claim. So too is a claim that a tripod can support 16 lbs or 66 lbs. I can prove this with gear I own.

  • Trekpod Go! -- Claims to support 9 lbs. In reality, this won't securely hold a prosumer dSLR with even a modest lens. It's okay for a Nikon 1 or modest m43 setup, though.
  • Benro C1182T -- Claims to support 17 lbs. This is a 4-section, "fold flat" 1-series model. Compared to the Gitzo, the fold flat feature takes away stability, but the 4-section design and lack (sort of) of a center column adds stability. With my D800, it's fine to use with shorter primes, a mid-range zoom, or a wide-angle zoom, but it's not optimal for longer lenses or a longer macro lens.  I paired mine with a Markins Q3 Emile.
  • 3 Legged Thing Leo --Claims to support 66 lbs. See the lowest-ranked travel tripod at thecentercolumn.com?  That one.  My dear wife bought this for me after I dragged my full-size tripod with us to photograph the eclipse with a 500mm lens.  Despite the weight claim, it's pretty, but meh.

If you are looking to use the tripod regularly with a macro lens or a 200+mm tele of any kind, I'd suggest weighing (literally) the tradeoffs in a 2-series.  I like the Benro Travel Flat, but I'm not sure it's still in production.

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casperghst42 Regular Member • Posts: 165
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

mujana wrote:

casperghst42 wrote:

I got the GT2545T which is longer than the one you’re looking at, and you can change the feet. I’ve swapped the center column with one from a Gitzo Mountaineer (easier to make it short).

Everything Gitzo is expensive, but I find that I get what I pay for - cheaper than RRS (in Europe), and they in general works.

The issues (design) I got with the Traveler tripods, is that the legs only have two settings (normal and approx. 45 degree), there is no ~90 degree setting which makes it a bit wobbly for ground work. Also if you want to get close to ground you need to take the center column out and replace it with a stub (as I said I’m using the one which came with my Mountaineer).

As for tripod head; look at the Acratech Monoball p0

I think that you mean the Arca-Swiss Monoball P0? That’s what I ‘m using on my Gitzo GK100T tripod. Love both!

You’re absolutely right, thank you for catching that mistake.

I take a bit to get used to the ball head, but it’s brilliant when you get the idea.

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Mlkjh New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

I have the Gitzo GT1555T and I'm really happy with it.

I was going to buy the extra hook but at the end I use a heroclip and it works great!

You can see it in action here:

I use it with a leofoto head that has a panning function at the top that I was missing on the default head. The head is small enough that I can reverse-fold it as intended without gap and it fit in my carry-on.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate.

OP Colin Creevey Regular Member • Posts: 174
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Bit hard to see but I'm guessing you attach the heroclip directly onto the Gitzo? Between two of the legs is a hole (don't know how to describe it) and I'm guessing you are using that?

Also just confirming that with the Gitzo there is no screw on the legs to prevent the head from being removed without first loosening the screw?

Mlkjh New Member • Posts: 3
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

Colin Creevey wrote:

Bit hard to see but I'm guessing you attach the heroclip directly onto the Gitzo? Between two of the legs is a hole (don't know how to describe it) and I'm guessing you are using that?

Correct! Don't need to be precisely in the hole with the weight of the bag the clip hold tightly on the tripod.

Also just confirming that with the Gitzo there is no screw on the legs to prevent the head from being removed without first loosening the screw?

Exact

Revision1 Forum Member • Posts: 94
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?

MeFOTO RoadTrip Aluminum Travel Tripod Kit (Titanium) MFR # A1350Q1T
525 Reviews
Key Features

  • Load Capacity: 17.6 lb
  • Max Height: 61.6"
  • Min Height: 15.4"
  • Folded Length: 15.4"
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darinb Contributing Member • Posts: 694
Re: Travel Tripod advise: Gitzo or other?
2

Have you considered the Peak Design? I have the carbon fiber and my daughter has the aluminum--I think I prefer the aluminum, despite the small weight savings of the carbon fiber for a variety of reasons (mostly because the legs on my carbon fiber don't extend with gravity once the locks are loosened).

It checks all the boxes for a travel tripod--small, rigid, light, etc but I found it very fiddly. There's the leg issue, the small tools that go missing, minor but annoying issues with the head when pointing strongly up or down. Lots of little things.

But the bottom line is the its a good tripod, especially the aluminum.

I wrote up a review if you need more detail:

https://www.abiggercamera.com/2020/08/22/review-the-peak-design-travel-tripod-a-fiddly-evolution-in-camera-support/

You might also consider waiting for the RRS Ascend-14, which is a travel tripod with integrated head. It's been delayed since it first appears in their catalogue in January, no clue when it will be released.

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