Review Giottos GB 1060 Travel Tripod

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From: www.wildaboutlife.net/wp/archives/122

I am a firm member of the buy cheap, buy twice club and so bought the best tripod in my price range, the Manfrotto 055PROB and the 804 RC2 3 way head a couple of years ago. This has been my workhorse ever since, and has served me well. However with the sturdiness and height it brings, it also brings weight, the combination of legs and head weighs in at a hefty 3.2kg and a minimum length of 75cm. This is fine for day trips and short distance walking/cycling trips or car trips but a real pain for travelling further afield. With this in mind, I decided to look for a smaller tripod that would suit my needs of being sturdy yet small and light for my (then) upcoming multi day walking trips and foreign travel. The draft was something that would fold down to around 30-40cm and weigh less than 1kg, for a budget of no more than around £70... People told me this was impossible, and I was starting to believe them, as the main company that sold tripods of that would suit my specifications (Gitzo) is renowned for very expensive kit, way out of my price range. However after much searching I stumbled across a small tripod by Giottos (another company not exactly renowned for cheap tripods) that looked like it met my specifications very well, all for ... £25!

Specifications


Height (Max) – 58cm
Height (stable) – 45cm
Folded length – 33cm
Minimum height – 14cm
Weight - 0.7kg
Max Weight – 2.5kg
Looks and Build Quality


The Giottos GB 1060 Travel Tripod looks very well made, especially for the price paid, it consists of three(!! :p) two section legs, held in place by a quick release grip twists, capped at one end with rubber feet and the other to the head attachment. Each section extends out to around 20cm, making the overall leg length 44cm, the upper section consists of 20mm aluminium tubing, with the bottom section made of 15mm.

(Stable middle angle setup)
The twist mechanism is pretty strong, and there appears to be almost no movement between the sections, and is also pretty quick, I almost prefer it to Giottos own lever quick release and Manfrottos lever quick release systems.

The legs can be adjusted to three set angles, done by pulling out a little clip (doesn't physically come off, just moves out, see photo below) and moving the leg in or out to the next "step". This actually works quite well, and I prefer it to the Manfrotto way (pulling up a clip and moving the leg out) due to it not being sprung (although this does mean you need to push it back in...) The top section of each leg has a section of foam on it, protecting the legs and I presume designed to make it easy to handle in the cold.

There is a small centre column (20cm long) made of sturdy 20mm aluminium tubing that can be adjusted by twisting a bit of plastic just above the leg platform, it's quick and simple and seems to hold the centre column very well. On the bottom of the column there is a small screw in rubber stopper that can be removed if you want to take the column out. It also has a hole in, and looks like you may be able to get a hook to screw in it so you can weigh the tripod down a bit if needed. At the top of the centre column is the head attachment.



Giottos helpfully provide a double ended thread/bolt, with one end 3/8" (the standard tripod thread size) and the other 1/4" (the standard camera thread size), so if you don't want to use a head you can attach your camera straight to the tripod by just turning the bolt over (with the provided tool).

Accessories


As well as the tripod in the box, Giottos also included a tripod bag (and strap) and a couple of tools in a little case. The bag is nicely padded and made of tough weaved material, and is big enough to fit the tripod with ball head attached, with plenty of spare space. Inside the bag is a small pocket, which contained the bag/tripod strap (neither of which I have used, TBH I can't see the point of tripod bags, especially for a small lightweight travel 'pod, which will either be in a bag or attached to the side, however I guess it could be good for storage).

Also in the pocket was the small tool holder (a small pouch of the same material) which contained a small Allen key and a spanner to tighten and adjust the threads for head/camera.

In Use


After having used if for a few days so far on my multi day walking trips) I found it pretty good, it was light enough to traipse around with all day (along with camping stuff and lenses) yet sturdy enough. I paired it with a Manfrotto 484 RC2 Mini ball head, which is quite light (300g) yet still able to hold a reasonable weight (4kg, although it needs to be tightened up well if used in portrait with a 400D and Sigma 24-70 f/2.8). The only issue I had was the height of the tripod, it really could do with being a bit taller, when using it you need to compose knowing you are going to be almost on the floor with it, to the point of kneeling down. This is compounded by the lack of stability when the legs are at their smallest angle (highest setting), however once moved out to the middle setting the tripod is perfectly stable, and doesn't seem to move at all. The centre column is very sturdy (probably due to the short nature of it, meaning there is little leverage on it) and I have no issue using that as a way of getting the camera higher, in fact my standard setup is the legs fully extended, on the middle setting, with the centre column raised.

Summary

If you want a small tripod that is light yet (mostly) sturdy AND very cheap then look no further than the Giotto GB 1060, as long as you realise it has shortcomings, mainly the lack of height. Initial impressions indicate the tripod is very sturdy when set up right (although the real test will be when I try some star trails in a bit of a breeze), well built and likely to last a while.

If I were Giotto I would adjust the design slightly, and make a setting between the steepest and middle angle setting, or even widen out the steepest angle. This would reduce the maximum height, but it would make a very useable shorter maximum height (at the moment I would only trust using the tripod at maximum extension with a light compact and at most a started DSLR with the kit lens).

After all that the bottom line is I will be keeping the tripod and head combination as my main travel solution until I have a couple of hundred pounds for a taller Gitzo I think. :)
 
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Ben
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#2
Nice, ordered one of these last week as it happens, just waiting for Amazon to deliver it and then partner it with a 486RC2 head I've got knocking around.
 
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