In Part 1 of this review I talked about my first impressions of the new Gitzo Traveler tripod and did an initial comparison with the previous model. I’ve since had the opportunity to use the tripod on my travels – most notably a weeklong trip to Berlin.
As you would expect, given the name, it is this sort of trip that the tripod was designed for. Its compact design and light weight means it can be packed in my checked suitcase without taking up too much space or vital kilogram allowance. Flying with camera gear can be a pain in the butt these days but well thought out equipment like the Gitzo tripod eases some of the hassles. I also packed it in the Gitzo padded case (model GC2202T) which gave added protection whilst going through baggage handling.
Thankfully (in spite of the baggage handlers best efforts I’m sure) the tripod survived and arrived in one piece.
The tripod comes with a supplied carrying strap but I used neither that or the padded case whilst on location. It’s just my preferred way of working but I like to keep the tripod in my hand so I can erect it very quickly when required. However I think in future I’ll use the carrying strap as its design does mean that the tripod can be quickly put into action when necessary (its use can be seen in this Gitzo video).
Given its small dimensions and lightweight I gladly carried the tripod around the city all day (not something I’d happily do with some of my other tripods). It was to hand when I needed it but didn’t get in the way when I went to a restaurant for lunch, a cafe for coffee or travelled in a crowded carriage on the U-Bahn system. My hesitation with using other tripods in cities is that they can become a real hazard to other people in such situations. I’ve lost count of the number of waiters and waitresses I’ve nearly tripped up with a large tripod laid down in a confined space. The Traveller posed no such problems.
I also decided to travel with a small backpack filled with my Olympus OMDs and prime lenses for the same reason. Moving around a city with bulky gear is not a pleasant experience and can cause problems in busy public spaces. Travelling light is always my preference. The Olympus kit and the Gitzo Traveller proved to be good companions.
The tripod fully met my requirements for a solid but lightweight support and is made to the high standards I’ve come to expect of Gitzo tripods. The legs are rigid when locked and there was no flex in the legs (often a problem I see on workshops when participants are using a cheap tripod and a heavy camera mounted on top). The new leg locks worked well in practice and I could erect the tripod very quickly when I was working against the fading light of an evening shoot. I also enjoyed the increased height (compared to the previous Traveller tripod). In one case I had to shoot the Oberbaum Bridge over the top of some metal railings at the side of the river. Fortunately the tripod had enough height to clear the obstruction in the foreground.
As I said in my Part 1 review I’m not normally a lover of ball & socket heads (preferring the control offered by geared heads) but the supplied GH1382TQD head performed well. I could easily manoeuvre the camera into the desired position and then fine tune the levelling to ensure that I avoided the dreaded sloping horizon. One real benefit of the ball & socket head is that putting the camera into vertical position and tilting the camera back at an angle can be done in seconds (not so true of my usual tripod head). In practice I didn’t miss my geared head at all. Although I haven’t tried them I think the larger heads with the friction control would make the geared head even less attractive by comparison.
I did use the Traveller tripod back in the UK with my Olympus OMD and the Olympus 40-150mm Pro f2.8 lens. By Micro Four Thirds standards this is a large lens (880g in weight). The tripod seemed stable enough with this combination and I’m sure around a city or in ‘normal’ conditions I would find it ideally suitable. However if I was photographing out in the landscape in the inclement weather I normally work in (wind and rain are not unusual) I’d personally prefer the increased weight of the System 2 model. But to be honest that’s probably more to do with my paranoia than any shortcomings associated with the tripod!
In conclusion I can only sing the praises of the new Gitzo Traveller. I was a great fan of the previous model and couldn’t really see how it could be improved whilst still retaining its main attractions of small size and weight combined with superb stability. Having now used the new model I can only say that the engineers at Gitzo have excelled themselves – this tripod is a fantastic piece of kit..
When I’m travelling overseas I have to know I can totally rely on my equipment to work effectively and faultlessly. The highest recommendation I can give therefore is to say that the Gitzo Traveller will accompany me on all of my future trips to various parts of the world.