his Tripod is the Series 1 Traveler 5-section GK1555T by Gitzo and is aimed at the top end of the market, to say the least. Pricewise, the tripod is at the top end of the market meaning that everything should be (and is) made of premium components, materials, and sturdy enough to last a lifetime. At least that’s what I want I am paying top dollar for any given tripod.
The Gitzo GT1555T is classed as a travel tripod, meaning that it is compact in size and weight, but that doesn’t mean it cannot handle any kit you would use in the studio supporting some heavyweight cameras and lenses.
When it comes to buying tripods, stands, or anything that supports expensive camera equipment, it’s wise to buy quality gear in the first place. Cheaper gear will not last as long or work as well and will end up frustrating you to the point where you will have to eventually buy quality products which will last years and you just have the peace of mind they work every time.
The Gitzo GT1555T being a travel tripod, won’t stretch out to be as tall as some other models, but it’s definitely adequate. The maximum height with the column extended is 138cm, without 121cm, tall enough for a six-foot photographer on level ground. The minimum height is 20cm and it can be folded to 35.5cm. The total weight of the tripod is 1.03kg. Total load capacity is weighted at 10kg/22lbs, but in reality, for a quality tripod like this one, it can take much more.
The tallest height of the tripod in reality could do with a few more inches, but it is in the Traveler tripod category, which means compact size impacts ultimate height. The shortest height is very useful, but you have to replace the center column with a shorter version. Weight wise, it’s probably the same as a decent quality zoom lens with the tripod folding down to a very compact size. The leg diameter is also quite narrow to maintain the compact size with the top leg being 25.4mm in diameter and the fifth leg measuring 11.2mm in diameter.
It’s immediately apparent that everything on the frame feels rock solid. Magnesium has been used for the chassis, with a wide range of motion for each leg allowing the tripod to be sat in awkward positions on any terrain. The top of the tripod sits a ball head and all the connecting joints are smoothly designed.
Columns and Legs
The center column on the tripod dictates its minimum height, but it can be replaced with a shorter version. The center column can also be reversed to place a camera under the tripod, giving lots of room for move-ability. The legs and central column are made of carbon fiber, giving an immediate feel of quality. The top plate is quite narrow, the ball head gives plenty of maneuverability and quick alignment.
There are two stop angles at 25° and 70° which are sufficient, but it would have been nice to have a 90-degree angle included.
The inclusion of carbon fiber in the column and legs gives many advantages over traditional aluminum. Carbon fiber can dampen vibrations better, is generally lighter, less susceptible to weather, but ultimately costs a lot more than aluminum equivalent tripods. Take the cost out of the equation and carbon fiber is the way to go.
Twist lock or flip-locks are usually the two choices of clamping in place the legs on a tripod. both have their advantages and disadvantages, but which you choose usually comes down to personal preference. Some say twist locks are faster to adjust, but in many ways, it’s really down to the system your most used to. With a twist lock on each leg of this tripod, all that is needed is a slight turn to release and lock, adjust leg height and you’re ready to go. Putting a modicum of bodyweight on the tripod once locked in place and set up holds still very well, showing how rigid each leg can be. The other advantage of a twist lock is that it’s completely silent in operation, which may be a factor in certain shooting conditions. Gitzo clearly favors the twist lock system on all their tripods.
Once in place and locked, the legs do not move or rotate, each one feeling very sturdy. The rubber feet hold traction extremely well, being slightly angled to fit most surfaces and nicely shaped to be easily cleaned.
With a tripod, you don’t want any, good or bad no matter what the Beach Boys say. With the tripod fully extended to its full height, holding a DSLR and heavy zoom lens takes around two seconds to settle. The carbon fiber construction absorbs vibrations very well, but it is probably advisable to not have the tripod with the legs and columns at full reach ideally unless the situation dictates otherwise.
The solid build, carbon fiber and sturdy leg locks make this a very usable and reliable tripod and will take the most heavyweight of camera setups.
|Gitzo GT1555T||Gitzo GT0545T|
This is a quality tripod made out of premium materials which is compact and flexible enough to be used in many applications, although optimized for travel preferences. It’s light enough to be packed alongside a bigger tripod and will take the bumps and knocks of everyday shooting life.
You clearly have to pay a premium amount for the build quality, but in return, you are getting a tripod which in theory will outlast any other piece of camera gear you may own and keep on working. One of the big questions is if you prefer the twist locks over flip locks, but in regard to the tripod being able to sit at many different position angles, being highly robust and take on everyday photo duties especially for traveling, then it definitely fits the bill.
There are clearly cheaper variations on the market, mostly aluminum variations, but when it comes to tripods it’s definitely worth investing in something that you know you can rely on consistently and with a complete carbon fiber frame, the GT1555T is definitely in this category.