Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Travel Tripod // Review

Gitzo Traveler Tripods have been staples of my kit for a while. Here's why.

I used the Gitzo GT1542T Traveler on this shot of the Milky Way from the Simba Campground on top of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The camera was a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24m f/1.4 attached, a combination that weighs about 3.4 pounds.

I used the Gitzo GT1542T Traveler on this shot of the Milky Way from the Simba Campground on top of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The camera was a Nikon D800 with a Nikon 24m f/1.4 attached. It’s a fairly heavy camera and lense, weighing a combined 3.4 pounds, but it’s well under the rated capacity of the tripod of about 17.6 pounds.

Since this review was originally posted, Gitzo has a newer model with minor tweaks. It’s the GT1544T and has a slightly higher maximum load capacity and is a shade lighter. You can find it here.

gzgt1542t

The Gitzo GT1542T gets my vote for the best tripod for travel with a DSLR. The older version, the Gitzo GT1541T quickly became my go-to tripod. It’s light, stable, and astonishingly compact. It cost more than I was originally planning to spend, but it has most definitely been worth it.

The newer version is ever-so-slightly tweaked. The differences between them are minor–the newer model has slightly strengthened stress points, G-locks on all four sections rather than just three, and it extends to provide an extra three inches of maximum height. Both have going for them the winning trifecta of a travel tripod: they’re small, light, and stable. While there are cheaper tripods available, I’ve not found one that is as good overall as this one.

The best travel tripod is the one that you don’t leave at home because it’s too much of a pain to take with you.The Gitzo GT1542T is much less hassle to lug around, and because of that I end up taking it with me far more often. It used to be that tripods that were small and light were inevitably flimsy. That’s still the case for the bottom end of the market, but from the middle of the market on up, new materials like metal alloys and carbon fiber have made great strides to creating a winning combination of small, light, and sturdy.

That’s not to say that a 2-pound carbon fiber tripod is going to be anything like a 16-pound monster, especially in a stiff breeze, but they’re pretty darn good. I use it very comfortably with full-size DSLRs like the Nikon D800 with solid, weighty lenses like the Nikon 70-200mm f2.8, although I don’t use with something like the 17-pound Nikon 200-400mm f4 lens; there’s no way to get around using a heftier tripod for something like that.

Traveling With the Gitzo GT1542T

One of the things I love about the GT1542T is just how remarkably compact it is when folded up. It fits comfortably in my carry-on Think Thank Airport International even in a tripod case. Travel enough with checked luggage and you’re going to have times your luggage is delayed or even lost. After putting my tripod in checked baggage and having it delayed a few too many times, I decided I needed something that I could carry on with me so that I could be sure to have it available the first night or two I arrived in a destination.

And when I’m really traveling light, I’ve found that it’ll comfortably strap to the side of my backpack without making the backpack too bulky for crowded trains or sidewalks.

Walking around with it is easy, especially if you attach a strap for the bare-bones approach or put it in a small tripod case. There are several small tripod bags that will fit it comfortably, like the Promaster SystemPro TB-1, which has a handy little pocket on the side that just happens to be the perfect size for a Nodal Ninja panoramic tripod head. There’s also a dedicated Gitzo case.

This shot, taken at about 15,000 feet on Tanzania's Mt Kilimanjaro, was using the Gitzo GT1542T and the Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler ballhead. Size and weight was a very real issue on a climb like that. At altitude, you definitely don't want to be carrying more weight than you have to. And the thick African dust that gets in everything didn't pose a problem with the locking mechanisms on the legs.

This shot, taken at about 15,000 feet on Tanzania’s Mt Kilimanjaro, was using the Gitzo GT1542T and the Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler ballhead. Size and weight was a very real issue on a climb like that. At altitude, you definitely don’t want to be carrying more weight than you have to. And the thick African dust that gets in everything didn’t pose a problem with the locking mechanisms on the legs.

Main Features & Construction

The construction is of carbon fiber, which helps keep the weight down while maximizing strength (and also explains why it’s not the cheapest on the market). One of the great innovations of it is that it folds in over itself, which keeps the overall length to a bare minimum, and if you get the right ballhead for it, it’ll fold up nicely.

The legs extend quickly and lock very solidly–the rotating locks are easy and I’ve never had one slip. Like most tripods, it’s not impervious to water or sand, but it doesn’t require any more care than you would normally take. (If you really need something more rugged, take a look at the Gitzo Ocean Traveler, which is specifically designed to fend off the elements.)

http://vimeo.com/8947146

Adding a Tripod Head

You’ll want a great tripod head to go along with those legs–something compact and sturdy. The GT1542T is more flexible than the GT1541T when it comes to choosing a tripod head. The central column of the GT1542T is a couple of inches longer than the older model, so that it extends beyond the legs. Because the central column was shorter on the GT1541T’s, it meant that only slim profile heads would allow you to take advantage of the innovative way the GT1541T folds up so compactly. But the GT1542T’s central column is longer, extending beyond the legs. So a wider profile head won’t stop the legs from folding up. I use mainly the Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler on mine (don’t forget the camera plate!), an especially compact yet strong ballhead. The combination works beautifully.

The extra length in the central column helps increase the range of heads that it’ll work with, but it also makes the whole package just a little longer if you keep the head on.

Here are a couple of photos to illustrate the difference. Both are with the same Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler head.

GT1542T with Markins Q-3 ballhead

Gitzo GT1542T with Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler. With the central column a couple of inches longer, the legs don't wrap around the head like they did with the previous model.

GT1541T with Markins Q-3 ballhead

Gitzo GT1541T with Markins Q-Ball Q3 Traveler. The slim profile Q3 was a good fit, but most bulkier heads stopped the legs from folding up snugly.

GT1542T

  • Weight (without head): 2.2 lbs
  • Closed Length: 16.73 in
  • Load Capacity: 15.43 lbs
  • Maximum Height: 58.66 in
  • Minimum Height: 8.66 in
  • Leg Sections: 4

Gitzo GT1541T

  • Weight (without head): 2.14 lbs
  • Closed Length: 16.14 in
  • Maximum Height: 55.12 in
  • Minimum Height: 6.89 in
  • Leg Sections: 4

Available At

Amazon | B&H Photo

There is also a newer model, the GT1544T, which is available from Amazon.

Compared To

 Gitzo Traveler Kit (Series 2)MeFOTO GlobetrotterManfrotto BeFreeGitzo GT1542TInduro Grand Turismo CGT114Benro C1682TV1 Travel Angel II3 Legged Thing Evolution 3 Rick3 Legged Thing Evolution 3 Roger3 Legged Thing Evolution 3 Brian
Gitzo Traveler2mefoto globetrottermanfrotto befreeGitzo GT1542T Travel Tripodinduro-grand-turismo-tripodbenro travel angel tripod3 Legged Thing Rick3 legged thing roger3 legged thing brian
ReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReviewReview
Model No.GK2580TQDC2350Q2TMKBFRC4-BHGT1542TCGT114C1682TV13PKRICKE3ROGERBLE3BRIAN
Made ofCarbon fiberCarbon fiberCarbon fiberCarbon fiberCarbon fiberCarbon fiberCarbon fiberAlloyCarbon fiber
Leg Sections454444 (also version with 5)555
Folded length16.9 in
43 cm
16.1 in
41 cm
15.8 in
40 cm
16.7 in
42.5 cm
17.3 in
44 cm
17.7 in
45 cm
12.6 in
32 cm
15.75 in
40 cm
15.75 in
40 cm
Weight4.19 lb
1.9 kg
3.7 lb
1.7 kg
2.4 lb
1.1 kg
2.2 lb
1 kg
3.5 lb
1.6 kg
3.5 lb
1.6 kg
2.7 lb
1.2 kg
4.5 lb
2 kg
4.1 lb
1.9 kg
Max height60.6 in
154 cm
64.2 in
163 cm
56.7 in
144 cm
58.66 in
149 cm
62.6 in
159 cm
63 in
160 cm
56.7 in
144 cm
68.6 in
174.2 cm
76.4 in
194 cm
Max load15.4 lb
7 kg
26.5 lb
12 kg
8.8 lb
4 kg
17.6 lb
8 kg
32 lb
14.5 kg
30.8 lb
14 kg
< 44 lb
< 20 kg
< 66 lb
< 29.9 kg
< 66 lb
< 29.9 kg
Available w/Head?YesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYes
Monopod?NoYesNoNoNoYesYesYesYes
List Price$1,099$399$350$756$490$419$249$369
$499

Comments

  1. says

    Nice write up and very informative! Fantastic photos of Ngrongoro and Kili! I visited both February 2014. I only brought a Gorilla Pod to save space and weight. I’m trying to decide on a good tripod to take on an Everest Base Camp Trek. A bit pricey but this may be the one. Saving on weight is critical.

    Curious – what did you use as a daypack on Kilimanjaro? I had a Lowepro Rover 45L but found it to be a bit too heavy (very comfortable though). So, I’m looking to get a new daypack.

    Thanks again for the info!

    • says

      I used a Mammut Trion Guide 35+7 pack with MountainSmith Kit Cubes for camera gear, my go-to setup for non-urban travel. It’s light, comfortable, deals with weather well, and is very flexible in how you pack it, especially with quick side access to the entire pack. And because it’s made for climbing, it’s narrow to preserve freedom of movement and packs close to your back, which helps with heavy camera gear. That particular model isn’t made anymore, but the Mammut Trion Pro 35 is very similar. While there are some great packs available for camera gear specifically–and LowePro and F-Stop are ones I’ve been particularly impressed with–I haven’t yet found one that I like as much as my Mammut.

      • says

        Hi David,

        Thanks for the recommendation! I will check it out. I’ve been looking at F-Stop packs (Loka UL or Ajna).

        As for tripod – I’m looking at getting the Feisol CT-3441T. I’m 6’2″ and the extra height of this tripod would be a big benefit. I’ve seen the Photo Clam PC-40NS recommended as a ball head. So many options!

        Cheers,
        Adam

Comment