Gitzo GT1542T Traveler 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.

Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod Review

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.

Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod Review

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.

Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod Review

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.

Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod Review

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




This is part of the series Travel Tripods


<< Travel Tripod Review / Gitzo Traveler Kit Series 2


Review Summary
Reviewer
David Coleman
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod
Author Rating
5Gitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod ReviewGitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod ReviewGitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod ReviewGitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod ReviewGitzo GT1542T Traveler Tripod Review

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