As a lightweight, compact travel tripod, the Gitzo GT1541T has to be one of the best out there. Let me explain why:
The GT1541T tripod replaces the very popular GT1540T and has a number of improvements that will appeal to all those looking for a sturdy, yet compact and lightweight tripod ideal for taking on safari or most other travel adventures.
Compact as well as Tall!
This Gitzo tripod is ultra compact when folded (41.0cm/16.14in), which means that you should easily be able to fit it in with your luggage or camera bag. But what I do really do like is that when extended it can get to a maximum height of 140.0cm (55.12in) with the centre column up or 113cm (44.49in) with it down, which is pretty good for a tripod in this class and should be fine for most people under 6 foot.
What is more is their “patented 180-degree folding mechanism” make it possible to accommodate the head inside the folded tripod legs, and makes this the smallest folded tripod for its open size and number of sections. Basically what this means is that the tripod legs on the GT1541T can fold over backwards over the center column further decreasing the size of the tripod by a good two to three inches when the legs are contracted. This makes the total length of this Gitzo tripod WITH the ballhead from bottom to top about 16 inches!
Sturdy and Lightweight Tripod
Next on the wish list of any good travel tripod is it’s weight and again the GT1541T Traveller Tripod does not disappoint, made from carbon fibre the tripod weighs just less than a kilogram (0.97kg/2.14 lbs).
Having a lightweight tripod often means sacrificing some sort of stability and often the lightest tripods can’t carry heavier DSLR cameras and large telephoto lenses that are often used on safari. Gitzo Traveler tripods, now also have a new upper disc in a safe lock material that cuts vibrations, and improves the grip between tripod and head. The upper disc can also be fixed directly to the tripod top casting, thus eliminating the center column. This new feature is called “Ground Level Set”, and allows for low shooting positions and further weight savings.
Improved Load Capacity
The now discontinued GT1540T travel tripod had a recommended maximum load capacity of 9.9lbs which was just enough for most people. For example I sometimes use a Canon EOS 5D with a 70-200 f/2.8 IS telephoto lens. The combined weight of this is around 9lbs, meaning it was approaching the limit and I sometimes had to make a few work rounds to get a completely stable setup (keeping about 1 inch of each leg section not extended and avoiding use of the bottom leg section completely when possible).
The newest GT1541T on the other hand now has a load capacity of 8kg (17.64lbs) meaning that it can easily handle most peoples camcorders and SLR setups, with the exception of the giant zoom lenses. Which is confirmed by Gitzo themselves who say that the “Traveler is ideal for 135mm lens, and can be used with lenses up to 200mm. Series 1 offers an excellent maximum load capacity with good torsional rigidity at a very low weight.”
Leg Sections – Fast Setup
Like the GT1540T tripod before it, the legs of the GT1541T have four sections but now they feature what Gitzo call their G-lock system. This allows all three locks to be grabbed together with one hand so they can all be released simultaneously with a quarter turn ensuring that setting up the tripod is as quick as possible.
This may not sound important, but I find it a very useful feature. If you use a tripod a lot out in the field, you will know that setting it up and taking it down often can be a real hassle as well as time consuming. This is because with normal tripods, you will need to untwist each individual leg section, a process that can take anywhere between 15 to 30 seconds. If you are photographing wildlife or birds, this “hassle” can often mean missing the shot all together.
The Anti Leg Rotation system on the Gitzo GT1541T, makes the tripod easy to open in less than 15 seconds. You simply loosen all the twist locks on each leg at the same time, then pull the leg down and tighten the locks individually.
Cost & Where to Buy
This is a high end, professional grade tripod and as such it does not come cheap – around £360 / $550. But in my opinion this is one of the very best travel tripod available and well worth the money. However, if this price is above your budget consider a cheaper aluminium version like the Giotto GTMT 9340B – 4 Section Pro Aluminium travel Tripod With Two-Way Column that costs under £100 / $150:
Amazon have a wide range of compact travel tripods available including the Gitzo GT1541T:
- Very lightweight. Weights only 0.97kg/2.14 lbs
- Ultra-compact. Only 41.0cm/16.14in when folded
- Convenient. Stands 140.0cm (55.12in) tall
- Quick. Tripod legs can be opened in seconds
- Max Weight Load. 8kg (17.64lbs)
The GT1541T Traveller Tripod also comes with a convenient anti-dust bag for storage and packing.