Gitzo S.A. is a manufacturer of photographic accessories, including bags, but specialising in tripods and supports.

Gitzo logo


Gitzo was founded in France by Arsène Gitzhoven in 1917,[1] initially producing wooden and metal cassette filmbacks, and later expanding to include a line of cameras, shutters, and cable releases.[2] Between 1942 and 1944 during World War II, the company produced military support systems.[2]

Gitzo aluminum series 2 'Reporter Performance' tripod with 4-section legs, in 'noir décor' powdercoat finish c.1980s

During the late 1940s, tripods and tripod heads were introduced into their product range, and shortly after, Gitzhoven retired in 1960, succeeded by his daughter, Yvonne Plieger,[2] who also modeled in early Gitzo advertising photographs.[3] She and her husband became more and more dedicated to creating a range of high quality photographic tripods.[4]

In 1992, Gitzo became part of the Vitec group (now Vinten), which also owns Manfrotto. Vitec are described in corporate literature as "a multinational holding company specialised in supporting professional photographers, broadcasters and filmmakers."[5] 1992 also marked the discontinuance of products outside camera support systems, including tripods, monopods, and tripod heads.[2]

Gitzo introduced the first professional carbon fiber tripod and monopod at Photokina in 1994.[2] The Gitzo factory in Paris was expanded in 1996 to 6,200 m2 (67,000 sq ft).[2]

In 2005, Gitzo completed their transfer of production from France to Italy, a process which began in 2001.[5]


In August 1999, Gitzo unveiled their revised "Mk2" aluminum tripod range, eliminating the rivets in the joint connecting the leg to the shoulder and repositioning the center column lock on rapid models to above the 'spider'.[6]

Gitzo 1541T Traveler tripod with reversible legs.

A number of different designs have been introduced under Vitec:

  • Explorer (2000) – legs may be locked at any intermediate position between 0° and 90°, and the center column may be inclined relative to the 'spider' where the tripod legs come together, allowing flexibility for close-up and macro photography similar to the movements afforded by the Benbo/Uni-loc tripod range.[7][8]
  • Traveler (2004) – legs may be swiveled up by 180° to nest the head within the legs for a more compact fold when traveling.
  • Leveling (2004) – center column may adjust by up to 12° from vertical to allow rapid leveling of camera.[9]
  • Ocean (2009) – stainless steel casting and sealed leg locks to minimize intrusion of corrosive environments, such as salt water.[10][11] Discontinued by 2015.[12]


Modern Gitzo GT3541L with '6X' carbon fiber legs

Gitzo have used a variety of materials. Early Gitzo tripods and monopods were manufactured from aluminum alloys, finished in the characteristic 'noir décor' hammered grey powder coating process developed in the 1970s.[12] In 1994, carbon fiber legs were introduced into the range.[2] In 2004, Gitzo introduced a new "basalt" series with tubes manufactured from silica fibers drawn from crushed and melted basalt rock, touting its vibration-damping properties.[5][13][14] By 2015, carbon fiber was the sole leg material offered.[12]

Today, most cast parts (such as the 'spider' where the legs are joined together) are made from magnesium, replacing the aluminum alloys previously used, although Gitzo have made limited production items with more exotic 'spider' materials, such as titanium (to mark their 90th anniversary) and carbon fiber (to mark their 100th anniversary).[15][16]


Gitzo used a series of names interchangeably with the current "series" notation:

Gitzo naming conventions[17][18]
Series Name Top tube diameter Maximum load Notes
00 Loisir or Table 16 mm
0.63 in
2.5 kg
5.5 lb
Loisir (French for 'leisure')
0 Weekend 20 mm
0.79 in
2.5 kg
5.5 lb
"MonoTrek" combination monopod/walking stick with integrated ball head has a 20mm diameter top tube.[19]
1 Total or Sport 24 mm
0.94 in
4.5 kg
9.9 lb
Sometimes written as 'Tatalux'
2 Reporter 28 mm
1.1 in
6.0 kg
13.2 lb
3 Studex 32 mm
1.3 in
9.0 kg
19.8 lb
Monopods offered up to "Studex" (32mm) diameter.
Inter Pro Studex 10.0 kg
22.0 lb
Compared to Studex, includes wing lock-offs on top tube and platform interchange system instead of center column, in common with Series 4 and 5.
4 Super Studex 37 mm
1.5 in
12.0 kg
26.5 lb
In the 1987 catalogue, no wing locks and fixed leg spread (non-Performance).
Pro Studex In the 1987 catalogue, no wing locks and Performance variable leg spread. Later, wing locks were added to all Series 4.
5 Tele Studex 41 mm
1.6 in
20.0 kg
44.1 lb

Gitzo also used the term "performance" to distinguish tripods which offered multiple leg angles of 24° and 55° (plus an additional 80° leg angle on Inter Pro Studex, Pro Studex, and Tele Studex models), compared with "standard" tripods that had a fixed leg opening angle of 24°.[20] "Mountaineer" tripods and monopods are manufactured with carbon fiber legs.[18][20] "Safari" tripods and monopods (now discontinued) featured an olive drab finish and reversed legs, where the largest-diameter section is on the bottom, to improve environmental sealing.[21]

When center columns are fitted to tripods, "rapid" columns are secured with a friction-based twist lock and "geared" or "crémaillère" use a rack-and-pinion mechanism to adjust column height coupled with a twist lock.[17] "Compact" and "geant" tripods feature more leg sections either for a more compact package when folded ("compact", typically four leg sections) or to reach greater heights ("geant", typically five leg sections).[22] "Compact" is also applied to special short rapid columns intended to allow the tripod to get closer to the ground.[23]

Model naming conventionsEdit

Products introduced after 2007 follow a standardized coding system:[5][11]: 69

Gitzo Type Series Material Leg sections Head type Release/Generation Features Family
G for Gitzo B Boom - Table[a]
16 mm
0.63 in
3 Aluminum 3 3 leg sections 2 2-way # Rev number[b] C Compact[c] EX Explorer[d]
  C Carrying
0 Weekend
20 mm
0.79 in
5 Carbon fiber 4 4 leg sections 3 3-way   GT Giant[f] F Safari[g]
H Head 1 Sport
24 mm
0.94 in
7 Magnesium 5 5 leg sections 5 Off-center ball L Long[h] LVL Leveling[i]
K Kit[j] 2 Reporter
28 mm
1.1 in
9 Basalt 6 6 leg sections 8 Center ball O Ocean[k] Q Quick Release[l]
M Monopod 3 Studex
32 mm
1.3 in
    XL Extra-long S Systematic[m][n]
S Accessory 4 Pro Studex
37 mm
1.5 in
  T Traveler[o]
T Tripod 5 Tele Studex
41 mm
1.6 in
  1. ^ series 00
  2. ^ starts from 0 and proceeds by integers
  3. ^ replaced by the Traveler designation
  4. ^ variable leg spread
  5. ^ bags, vests, etc.
  6. ^ typically fitted with five or more leg sections
  7. ^ olive drab finish variant
  8. ^ taller compared to other models with the same designation
  9. ^ platform or base to set head on horizontal level
  10. ^ combination of tripod legs and head
  11. ^ special materials, sealing, and other features to resist corrosion
  12. ^ for heads, two letters designate QR system:
    • QR Gitzo proprietary plate
    • QD compatible with Arca-Swiss dovetail plates
  13. ^ open spider allows interchangeable top support: rapid column, geared column, or platform
  14. ^ SV designates spider with built-in video bowl
  15. ^ 180° leg fold

For instance, GT3541L means the product is a Series 3 (studex) carbon fiber tripod with "long" four-section legs, release/generation 1.


  1. ^ "History". Manfrotto. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "About Gitzo". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 12 October 1997. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  3. ^ "Yvonne Plieger". flickr. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  4. ^ "Gitzo World". Manfrotto. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d "International Catalogue" (PDF). Gitzo. 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  6. ^ "Mk2 Classic Aluminum Tripods". Gitzo. 9 August 1999. Archived from the original on 23 May 2000. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  7. ^ "Discover the Explorer" (Press release). Gitzo. 12 October 2000. Archived from the original on 22 April 2004. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  8. ^ Davies, Adrian (2010). Close-Up and Macro Photography. Burlington, Massachusetts: Focal Press. ISBN 978-0-080-95904-7. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  9. ^ "leveling tripods". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 27 February 2005. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  10. ^ Arva-Toth, Zoltan (20 April 2009). "Gitzo Ocean Traveler". Photography Blog. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Gitzo Products Catalogue". Gitzo. 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b c "Gitzo Product Catalogue" (PDF). blende7. 2015. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  13. ^ Ross, Anne (August 2006). "Basalt Fibers: Alternative to Glass". CompositesWorld. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  14. ^ "Innovation: New materials". Popular Photography. April 2005. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Gitzo Limited Edition Titanium Traveler Tripod" (Press release). Photography Review. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  16. ^ Coleman, Tim (24 June 2017). "Arsène Gitzhoven Traveler Tripod marks 100 years of Gitzo". Photo Gear News. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Forty five Classic Aluminum Tripods". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 12 October 1997. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Monopods". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 12 October 1997. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  19. ^ "Monotrek®". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 12 October 1997. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Tripods". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 12 October 1997. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  21. ^ "Gitzo Safari Tripods (Karl Heitz)" (PDF). Gitzo SA. 1987. Retrieved 14 August 2017.
  22. ^ "36 Classic Tripods". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 15 September 2000. Retrieved 20 July 2017.
  23. ^ "Centre Columns". Gitzo. Archived from the original on 12 October 1997. Retrieved 20 July 2017.

External linksEdit