Of the tripods that I was fortunate enough to review for this mini-series, this is the one that I lust for the most. The reason why is simple – the best tripod is the one you have with you, and this one is so wonderfully lightweight, yet sturdy, that you have no excuse not bring it with you for any trip where tripods are allowed.
Here’s an example of it attached to my favorite backpack, the Think Tank Photo Streetwalker Pro:
It easily attaches to small backpacks like my favorite
the Think Tank Photo Streetwalker Pro
Now the problem with some hiking tripods is that they are just light, but they aren’t very good tripods. I’m happy to say that in practical use this tripod proved to be rock solid. I as also very pleased at how high I could raise this tripod given its extremely compact size. Here’s a shot of this tripod in its maximum height position next to me (I’m 6’ 1”) which puts it at the perfect height for normal shooting conditions:
The center column extends high, but it can also be removed as shown below:
This allows this tripod to get super low. The specifications at B&H say this tripod will go to a low of 6.7” (17cm), but according to my ruler with this center column removed I got it down to 4 inches (10cm) – that’s low!
Of course it’s cool that this tripod can go low, but what if that still isn’t enough? Well this baby can go lower than your mamma’s ever seen it in her lifetime when you reverse the center column (with or without the extension) as shown here with my Canon 1D Mark IV pro body and 100mm macro lens:
That’s pretty impressive if you ask me. And this is all for a tripod that is a fraction of the size and weight of your average tripods as you can see below:
I will buy this tripod. Not today for financial reasons, but sometime in the very near future. I absolutely love it and I am amazed that something so fragile looking is so rock solid. Its strength comes from carbon fiber, so this gives incredible strength (supports 17.6lbs/8KG) at a light weight (2.5lbs / 1.1kg). This tripod also features a stabilizing counterweight hook for added stability. However, what’s really great is that thanks to Gitzo’s Anti-Rotation Leg (ALR) system, you can unlock all of the rings at once for a 15 second setup and the super strong G-Lock design offers maximum rigidity that improves the more you add weight to the legs.
I’ll admit that the optimal stability should probably include the fourth segment of legs retracted, but given the way I use tripods that’s fine by me. I also have had it suggested that the BH-40 head by Really Right Stuff or others might be a better choice as the BH-55 weighs as much as the tripod itself, but its my preferred head.
Is it the perfect tripod? No. I wish it had a built-in level and an angle adjustable rapid column option like the GT2531EX, and it’ll never be as rock solid as the larger tripods like the GT3530LS. That said my lust meter for this tripod is off the charts because it’s small enough to carry just about anywhere. If Hershel & Yechiel of B&H lost the paperwork on this tripod and I was forced to keep it, I wouldn’t complain one big (not gonna happen, but hey wishful thinking right?).
For a cheaper alternative, consider the Induro CT014.
B&H has provided me with the tripods featured in this series on a loaner basis. I do not get to keep them and will be returning them back to B&H if I choose not to buy them.
Gitzo had nothing to do with this article and as of the time of this writing, time I’ve never spoken to anyone from Gitzo. I do not have a relationship with Really Right Stuff (RRS) and I DO NOT make a commission if you purchase any RRS products.
If you purchase using the links in the article from B&H, I may get a commission. Thank you for supporting this blog by using my links when you make your purchase.