Look in the gear pack or in the studio of the top photographers in the world and you will often find a Gitzo tripod. The reason is simple, Gitzo makes some of the best tripods in the world. As these tripods are so sough after, I decided to round up some of the best Gitzo tripods for serious photographers!
Whatever type of photographer you, there is a Gitzo for you.
Why Is Gitzo Considered the Best Tripod Brand?
Since 1917, Gitzo has been a brand name associated with extremely high quality. Both in design and in construction. Tripods were introduced into the Gitzo brand name in the late 1940s. Using their extensive experience in making military support systems, they applied those things learned to photographic products.
Only the highest quality items would pass out the factory doors. Although being a leader in innovation, finding and implementing the most elegant and simple solution is a trademark of the brand. Even if that means using premium materials, or a more demanding manufacturing procedure.
Manfrotto acquired the Gitzo company in the 1990s and has maintained the same high quality reputation. Manfrotto is a manufacturer of premium photographic themselves, making the transition virtually unnoticed by the photographic market.
A good reputation in the photographic industry is not easy to get and maintain. That Gitzo has been a top line brand for decades speaks to the quality of their products. If they weren’t good, then discerning, particular photographers would not continue to see them as worth buying.
How I found the best Gitzo Tripods
- Size/Weight – A smaller tripod is easier to take with you, so you might be more inclined to use it. A larger or heavy tripod will be more stable with heavier camera equipment. Gitzo has some fantastic choices.
- Stability – Size and weight can be directly related to stability, though a tripod can be both stable and portable. Aluminum and carbon fiber are two materials Gitzo uses to make stable tripods lighter in weight, thus easier to transport. Stability is important for long telephoto lenses, close up work, HDR photography, panoramas, astro-photography, and most videography.
- Heads – Gitzo makes wonderful tripod heads, too. Pan and tilt heads, ball heads, 3D heads, and several gimbal heads. Fluid and geared heads for video or motion pictures are also available.
- Precise adjustments and movements – One of the hallmarks of the Gitzo brand has always been precision. The movements and controls of the legs and heads should be as smooth and precise as possible.
- As with essential tools in any field of work, a tripod that gets used a lot needs to be able to stand up to possible rough use. This applies to studio and on location usage.
Top 5 Best Gitzo Tripods For Serious Photographers!
1. Gitzo GK1555T-82TQD Series 1 Traveler Kit with GT1555T 5 Section Tripod & Head Review
Coming in first on my list is a a strong and solid, yet lightweight and portable tripod. This travel tripod achieves that by using carbon fiber legs and by using multiple legs sections.
From the compact travel length of 14 inches, with the head folded up between the legs, this 3 pound tripod extends all the way up to 58 ½ inches. This is accomplished in a couple of ways. The legs are in 5 sections, so they can collapse down quite a bit. Also, the center column reverses to nestle the head between the legs for transport.
Leg tubes are released and locked with the G-Lock, a type of ring lock twisting mechanism that is easy to operate and locks securely. Since the leg sections lock so securely, this tripod is not plagued by the leg flexing issues we’ve seen in other travel tripods with multiple sections.
The legs can swing out independently to around 80 degrees each, allowing for easy, secure placement on uneven ground. A short tube center column is included for very low level use with the legs all spread out.
A ball and socket head is included that has smooth movement and tightens down solidly. The tripod and head can handle camera loads of up to 22 pounds. This head is sized and shaped especially for this series of travel tripods, fitting in between the closed legs of the tripod for an extremely compact profile.
A carrying strap is included. Tripod and head together costs a little more than an good consumer level DSLR with a two lens kit. Overall a great pick and comes highly recommended!
2. Gitzo GT2542 Mountaineer Tripod Series 2 Carbon 4 Sections Review
Next up is a larger tripod, these legs alone are close to the price of the travel kit above. Any number of different heads can be attached. I chose the Gitzo Series 3 ball and socket head. Gitzo fluid heads would be good choices if using this tripod for video and motion picture. Adding one of these quality heads raises the price by $300 to $400.
Maximum height without head is 66 inches. The four section legs collapse to 22 inches. Weight is 4 pounds. Four pounds is pretty light for a tall tripod, this one has carbon fiber legs to keep weight down while maintaining strength.
Very large diameter legs release and lock with he G-Lock mechanism. That mechanism operates like a cross between the durability of knurled knobs and the speed of levers. Only a quarter turn is needed to open or close the leg section locks. Like a knurled knob twist ring, they self adjust with wear. And they are as quick to operate as levers.
Mountaineer in the name makes me envision trekking through the snow to find the perfect mountain vista. Carbon fiber construction is very comfortable for use in weather extremes, either hot or freezing. Also, that carbon fiber keeps weight down without sacrificing strength and stability.
3. Gitzo GT0532 Mountaineer Tripod Ser.0 3S Review
Smaller and lighter than the previous Mountaineer, this tripod extends to 52 inches and closes down to 21 inches. Three leg sections and a reversible center column with hook keep this tripod usable in many situations.
Its leg sections have a thick diameter, contributing to stability. Again, since the legs are carbon fiber, that large diameter does not come a weight penalty. For situations necessitating extra weight, such as a heavy telephoto lens or blustery winds, a hook on the center column can hold sand bags or other weights. Sometimes simply hanging your gear bag on the hook is enough.
Priced about $200 less than the GT2542, you will still need to attach a head of some sort to it. I opted for a Gitzo fluid head and shot some video. A very stable platform, the carbon fiber legs transmitted no vibration at all even when I panned. That’s one of the other advantages of carbon fiber, vibration control.
Completely at home in the great outdoors, I found this to also be a great studio tripod. Depending on the quality of the head you attach, camera rigs of over 20 pounds are usable on this fine tripod.
4. Gitzo GT3542 Mountaineer Tripod Ser.3 4S Review
The largest and priciest Gitzo I tested this week is the four leg section carbon fiber GT3542 Mountaineer. Without head, it raises all the way up to 64 inches and will set you back a cool grand. That’s $1000. I tested this with the Gitzo gimbal head and some very long telephoto lenses.
Don’t have a gimbal head? Get one! Well, especially if you tend to use long lenses for wildlife photography. Besides the inherent stability of the thick carbon fiber legs, using a gimbal head increases the number of usable images you are likely to capture in that kind of photographic situation.
Back to the tripod. Gitzo has managed to make a tall, steady, fairly light tripod. Worthy of the Mountaineer label. I also found this to be a great studio tripod, since it can hold 46 pounds of gear. Wow! That’s a lot of weight. If I had a 45 pound camera, I would need to hire an assistant for transporting it from by bag to the table.
Compared to the 40 year old aluminum Gitzo sitting on display at a buddy’s photo studio, this tripod is much lighter but just as capable. The Gitzo heritage is apparent as well.
As for my long lens test, that turned out rather well. No vibration I could detect, and I got a high percentage of usable images. This is easily one of the best Gitzo tripods you can get!
5. Gitzo lightweight Traveler Series 1 Carbon Fiber Tripod Review
GT1545 is a compact travel tripod with legs that fold around the center column and optional tripod head. Adding a Gitzo ball and socket head brings this tripod into the around $1000 or so price point. Without head, it is a bit over $750.
The claim to fame for this tripod is the 60 inch maximum height and reverse folding legs that allow it to fold down to 17 inches. Those foldable legs also give you added versatility in tripod placement. You can basically but the legs in any position you need.
Carbon fiber construction and Gitzo quality creates a very nice travel tripod that can actually be used for a wide variety of jobs. With the included short center column installed, the tripod can get down to 8 ½ inches for macro or low angle shooting. A carrying strap is also included.
Gitzo has been a quality brand for over 100 years.
Next time you’re at an older photo studio, or you meet a world renown nature photographer, look at their tripods. I would bet good money that at least one of them is going to be a Gitzo. So hopefully this guide on the best Gitzo tripods has steered you in the right direction. You can also check out my guide on the best camera holsters which is great for taking photos from the hip! Thanks for reading.