I've long been a fan of Gitzo Traveler tripods. The GT1542 and GT1541 have been staples of my bag for a while and have accompanied me up Kilimanjaro and down to Antarctica, amongst other places. They've taken a beating but are holding up beautifully.
I pair my Gitzo legs with a Markins ballhead, but Gitzo also has kit versions in its Series 1 and Series 2 ranges that include legs and a head.
The Series 1 kit is smaller and lighter than the Series 2. But it also has a lower limit for the weight it can support (approx 12 lbs vs 15.4 lbs).
I recently tested the Gitzo Series 2 Traveler Kit (model GK2580TQD). The whole package weighs 4.19 lbs. It supports up to 15.4 lbs. And it folds down to under 17 inches.
Gitzo pioneered the system where the legs fold back over the center column to make the folded package very small and compact, and this tripod puts that innovation to use once again. It's an approach that other manufacturers have copied in their own travel tripods. Fully collapsed, it folds down to a touch under 17 inches (43 cm).
The legs extend in 4 sections. The locking mechanism used on the legs and center column is the standard Gitzo rotating twist lock system. I've found them to be very reliable and to lock tight. Like most of the locking mechanism systems, they're susceptible to dust and dirt getting in, but it's not such a problem that it's a major concern under normal use and with some reasonable care. One of the things I like about it is that it can easily be done with one hand, which means it's easy to fold or unfold the tripod while walking.
There are two settings for the leg angles, (a normal stance of 25° and a wider, lower stance at 70°). If you need to get even lower, you have two options. One is to remove the center column and set the tripod very low to the ground, which not only gives you a lower perspective but increases the stability by broadening the spread of the base. And in a nice touch, the center column is reversible, which is another way to get the camera down low in a normal stance. That feature would come in very useful for doing field macro work on, say, wildflowers or anything else on the ground.
The leg joints, or hips, if you will, are solidly made and lock in place well. Gitzo calls its locking system G-lock, and it's designed to lock tighter as loads increase.
The feet are removable, so you can replace with dedicated ice or snow feet or attach to a heavier duty platform if you like.
The head that comes with the Gitzo Traveler Kit is a ballhead that's designed to hold a maximum weight of 15.43 lbs (7 kg).
The hybrid quick release attachment is designed to accept most Arca-style plates as well as Gitzo C profile plates.
Built into the head is both a horizontal and a vertical spirit level.
It's hard to fault the quality and thoughtfulness that has gone into the Gitzo Traveler Kit Series 2. It's stable, the legs are rigid, it has a good max load limit, and it performs very well. Gitzo has another winning combination and again sets the standard for traveler tripods.
But it's not inexpensive at about $1099. Whether to go with the Gitzo or something like the MeFOTO Globetrotter ($369) and have enough left over for another good lens (or replace the MeFOTO Globetrotter twice over) isn't a slam dunk decision.
Model Number: GK2580TQD
Max Height: 60.63 in
Min length folded: 16.93 in
Weight: 4.19 lbs
Max Load: 15.43 lbs
Travel Case Included?: No (B&H offers its own kit that includes the bag (you pay for it))
Detailed spec sheet
|Gitzo Traveler Kit (Series 2)||Gitzo GT1542T||MeFOTO Globetrotter||Manfrotto BeFree||Induro Grand Turismo CGT114||Sirui T-2205X||Benro GoTravel 2||Benro C1682TV1 Travel Angel II||3 Legged Thing Leo||3 Legged Thing Brian||3 Legged Thing Rick||3 Legged Thing Roger||Oben CT-3581||Sirui T-1024XL||Varavon Baby T3||Kirk Mini||MeFOTO Globetrotter Air|
|Model No.||GK2580TQD||GT1542T||C2350Q2T||MKBFRC4-BH||CGT114||T-2205X||GC269TB2||C1682TV1||3LLEOKIT||E3BRIAN||3PKRICK||E3ROGERBL||CT-3581||SUT1204XL||BABY T3||TT-1||GTAIRBLK|
|Made of||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Alloy||Carbon fiber||Carbon fiber||Aluminum||Aluminum/Stainless Steel||Aluminum Alloy|
|Leg Sections||4||4||5||4||4||5||5||4 (also version with 5)||5||5||5||5||5||4||3||1||5|
|Folded length||16.9 in|
|14.6 in |
|Max height||60.6 in|
|Max load||15.4 lb|
|< 66 lb|
< 30 kg
|< 66 lb|
< 29.9 kg
|< 44 lb|
< 20 kg
|< 66 lb|
< 29.9 kg
|Available w/Head?||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes (not removable)||No||Yes (not removable)|