For most of the last year I have been using the Gitzo GT2542 tripod, and today I thought I share with you my thoughts on this carbon fiber tripod.
Gitzo GT2542 is a 4 section carbon fiber tripod from the Mountanier series. It’s 56 cm in length, with minimum height of 15 cm and maximum height of 139cm with the column down and 167 with the center column up. I chosen this one, as I needed something more sturdy and higher, than the Manfrotto 190XproB that I used for years. One should have a tripod that is so hight, that you can put the camera at your eye level, and this one fit the requirement.
The tripod is very sturdy. It’s of course even better if you are using a lighter camera, like the Sony a7r. The manufacturers declares that the tripod is recommended for up to 200mm lenses (with a maximum of 300mm), and it my use, with the Canon 70-200mm f2.8, I did have few problems with keeping it perfectly stable at 200mm, especially for long exposures. Even weaker wind sometimes resulted in a blurry images. I had no issues with shorter focal lengths.
The leg locking mechanisms are easy to use, but they require a bit of getting used to, if you are changing from a different type, for instance the Manfrotto locks. It’s very easy to just grab all the locks at once (if your hands are bigger :)) and unlock them with one move. Of course since there are 9 locks in total, it takes a few more moves to lock them all in place. I miss that there is no way to tell, just by quickly looking, to tell if the leg is locked or not. Since there are 9 of them, it happened to me, that I missed one, and it’s hard to see which one until your tripod starts dipping under the weight. I actually thought about painting the inner side of the lock mechanisms, with some bright color, too see when they are closed, but haven’t gotten to that yet :)
The opening of tripod legs is a bit tougher, than other tripods I seen, but I actually prefer it that way. Like this, even if the leg is not locked in a position, it usually just stays as it is. You can open the tripod legs so it lays almost completely flat on the ground, with a total height of only 15cm. For that you have to remove the middle column first, as it would be in the way.
The middle column can be removed or completely inverted, to place the camera under the tripod. The lock is easy to open and the movement if fine. Same with removing it, but you will need both hands to do so. Forget about doing it one handed or with the camera attached. It’s just to many things to rotate and to hold. You can’t rotate the middle column by 90 degrees as by some tripods. Also of note is, that when you remove the middle column, the tripod is a bit awkward to carry when collapsed, as there is nothing in the middle to keep it in a proper shape.
The tripod stood up quite well to my usage. I don’t tend to be very gentle with my tripods, so it acquired quite a few scratches all over. Still, as this material is not painted, you will not see the scratches that much.
A bit disappointing here is the hook on the bottom side of the middle column. As that is a painted metal, and quite soft also, it almost immediately acquired deep scratches and bumps. It also should have a small rubber band around it. This band should protect the tripod legs from hitting the middle column, when you close the tripod. But as it was not glued in the place, mine got lost within the first week of use. So now, I got quite deep scratches from the inside of the legs.
The locking mechanism of the legs and all other moving parts withstood my use wonderfully, all is as it was on the first day. I noticed no degradation, or any of the parts getting loose or anything similar.
Overall, this is a great tripod. It very sturdy, very durable, very easy to use. It’s also very pricey. Compared to my last tripod, it was more than 5 times pricier. It of course is not 5 times better. The difference is much smaller. You can think of it as a Ferrari of tripods. It looks great, it works great, but you don’t really need it. Still, if you use a tripod all the time, and you want that will last you for years, Gitzo will fit that perfectly.
For the exact specifications, please visit the manufacturer website here www.gitzo.com.