Gitzo G1228 Mountaineer Reporter Carbon Fiber Tripod, copyright Douglas Stockdale
A number of years ago when I bent and broke for the last time my aluminum tubing heavy duty tripod, I decided to make an investment in a carbon fiber tripod. One of my many reasons for selecting the Gitzo G1228 as the tripod’s name implies it that it’s meant for backpacking and mountaineering; rugged and light weight. The carbon fiber materials were very much lighter than the beast that I had before and every bit as rigid and has held up very well over time which is the reason for this user report. By the way the current Gitzo model is the G1228 MK2.
My intent was to use if for my DSLR and medium format cameras with light to moderate weight lens. I understand from others that this tripod can probably handle a light weigh 4×5″ camera as well. I was also intending to travel with it on airline flights and when the ball head is removed, the tripod collapses and measures 20 1/2″ which is ideal for stuffing in an overhead bag that fits in the overhead bin. I have since carried this tripod with me on assignments all over the US, as well as to Europe and Asia. No issues.
The downside to this compact travel size tripod is that when the four section legs are fully extended as well as the column fully extended my camera is almost the right height for eye level viewing. The less you can extend the tripod legs usually the greater its stability, which is the whole reason for its use. So when I using this tripod with my camera rig, such as in both the photos, I try not to extend the column if the composition appears to work. I have also found that when the three legs are held together, the tripod can double as a monopod and provides just enough added stability when working with an active situation (perhaps looks a bit weird, but it works).
The legs are secured or extended after a quick twist of the heavy duty locking rings and I prefer this over the flip-tap type leg systems. It seems that the flip-tabs keep getting snagged (not great for packing with clothes) and are always in the wrong place. The leg sections always seem to extend quickly and smoothly.
Since I am a big fan of ball-heads to attach the camera to the tripod, having the option of a plate to attach the head design of your preference was a nice feature. This also allows a more compact size for travel when I remove the ball head.
The Gitzo is very stream line and robust and has done by me very well for the past five years.There was a hook that threaded on the bottom of the column, but I seemed to have lost that a while ago. If you can keep track of your hook, that is idea place to attach a bag or some other object to provide additional stability for the tripod, such as on a breezy day.
With a lot of my travel assignments now by car/SUV, I am considering a longer tripod. I would prefer that I do not need to extend the smallest legs and still have my cameras at eye level. I would also buy another Gitzo again when I am back in the market for another tripod; little pricey, but worth it.