As useful as they are, most of us avoid carrying a tripod if we can. Mini tripods, however, take up very little space in a bag so you can carry one ‘just in case’. The only problem is that some of them lack in the build quality stakes and when you come to use it, it’s not really up to the job unless you’re using a very lightweight camera.
At around £189/$199.99, the price of the Gitzo Mini Traveler suggests that it’s one of the better-specified mini tripods. And indeed it is. It looks and feels like a high-quality product.
For start, its head and spider are made from aluminium while the legs have carbon fibre eXact tubes. What’s more, when the legs are at the widest of their two angles, the Mini Traveler can support a payload of up to 3Kg.
That’s more than enough for most camera set-ups. However, Gitzo recommends that the Mini Traveler is used to support cameras with small lenses. Which makes sense given that it’s only 22cm long and could topple over with a long front-heavy load.
If you need it to bear more weight, the head can be detached and the legs attached directly to a camera. This boosts the payload to 25Kg. Alternatively, the Mini Traveler is compatible with the Gitzo GH1382TQD Series 1 Centre Ball Head. In this configuration, it can hold loads of up to 10Kg.
- Material: Carbon fibre and aluminium
- Safe Payload Weight: 3 kg
- Min Height: 12.5 cm
- Maximum Height: 17.5 cm
- Closed Length: 22 cm
- Head Type: Ball head
- Number of leg sections: 1
- Leg angles: 50°, 75°
- Weight: 265g
- Read our Gitzo Traveler A Review
At 265g the Gitzo Mini Traveler slips almost unnoticed into a side pocket of my camera bag.
Aside from the size, another feature that tends to distinguish mini tripods from their standard counterparts is that the head usually screws directly on to the camera. That means there’s no quick release plate. Consequently, you have to attach and detach the tripod between each use. This is a bit annoying if you’re used to using a standard tripod and it makes adding a Gitzo GH1382TQD Series 1 Centre Ball Head appealing.
Another issue is that when you attach the Mini Traveler to a camera, the mounting plate doesn’t always sit square underneath it. In fairness, the tripod still supports the camera well but it just doesn’t seem right to have the supporting plate slightly skew-whiff.
Minor grumbles aside, the Gitzo Mini Traveler does a good job. In fact, despite Gitzo’s usage recommendations, I managed to get sharp images at slow shutter speeds when using it to support a Sony A7 III with a 70-200mm f/2.8.
The included ball head is locked and released using a dial or collar near its base. This is very easy to use and it locks good and tight. However, it’s hard to release it just enough to move the camera smoothly, you really either have it lose or locked.
As I mentioned earlier, the Mini Traveler’s legs can be used at two angles. It couldn’t be easier to select the angle, you just pull the leg downwards and then tip it to the other angle.
Rubber tips on the end of the legs give them a firm base with a decent grip. That said, the angle of these boots looks odd to me as they don’t put the maximum surface area on the ground at either leg angle.
The Gitzo Mini Traveler is a lovely little tripod. I’d go as far as saying that it’s the nicest mini tripod that I’ve ever used. And it does everything you hope a mini tripod would do. Most notably, it holds a heavy camera and lens combo steady and locks firmly.
My only niggle is the lack of a quick release plate. If it were a sub-£50/$50 mini tripod it wouldn’t cross my mind, but it’s not.
If I could afford it, I’d use the Mini Traveler with the Gitzo GH1382TQD Series 1 Centre Ball Head. That would make it a truly lovely mini tripod, but adding that head takes the overall price up to over £450/$450. I’d probably carry it everywhere and use it at the drop of a hat, but the thought of spending that much on a mini tripod makes me hyperventilate. But how I’d love it!