Up close & personal - macro tripod review part IV

Gitzo Explorer GT2540 EX $649.95 (£490) + GH2750 off-centre ball £137

SPEC PANEL (exc ball-head)

Max Height (column down): 135cm
Max Height (column up): 164cm
Min Height: 3cm
Leg Sections: 4cm
Closed Length: 57cm
Weight: 1.8kg
Load capacity: 12kg

Quality 5/5
Features & Design 5/5
Value for Money 3/5
Overall 4/5

The Gitzo Explorer range all feature the must-have tilting centre-column and the GT2540 EX is the top-of-the-range model with 4-section carbon-fibre legs and column and magnesium alloy castings for low weight. There are just two knobs to operate; one for the column, and another for tilt and pan, making it one of the easiest and quickest to adjust.

Unlike other models from Gitzo, and some of those on test, the Explorer dispenses with the usual three-position catch for adjusting the leg spread. Instead it has a large clamp providing variable adjustment for each leg. While this means the legs can be adjusted a full 90 degrees from vertical to horizontal, permitting incredible flexibility for precise positioning, I found it difficult to set the legs evenly to level off. Be that as it may, it’s not a show-stopper for macro work.

To prevent splaying, the leg clamps are quite stiff for one-handed operation but the overall rigidity means the GT2540 can carry a load far greater than some of the heavier and bulkier tripods on test. The small size and low weight make it ideal for traveling plus the huge range of adjustments available make it a real winner for macro work but it all comes at a price.

Check back tomorrow for part V of the round-up.

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UPDATE 26/05/09 - Please note this tripod has since been upgraded slightly and is now known as the Explorer GT2541 EX.


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