We Review Gitzo’s 100-Year Anniversary Edition Tripod – Is It Worth $1500?
In 2017, Gitzo celebrated its 100th anniversary, and the centennial event inspired them to create two limited edition tripods; The extremely exclusive Arsène Gitzhoven Edition (with only 100 pieces available), and The 100 Year Anniversary Edition for $1499.88, which, if you can believe it, is the cheaper of the two. For the latter model, they made only 1917 tripods. The 1917 Anniversary Edition tripods are made of magnesium bodies, which are extraordinarily light and solid. Each of them comes marked with the limited edition number engraved on the carbon tripod’s leg. Each tripod from the 100 Year Anniversary Edition comes in special and beautifully designed packaging.
These tripods were built around their Traveler Series (which already has a price point of $800-$950), and Gitzo says this editions boasts a “high-appeal look and feel with a distinctive design” with its brand new magnesium spider, leg angle selectors, and locking collars.
The refined, branded chest and leather-covered box contains the following:
- The tripod’s handwritten certificate of origin and authenticity
- A dedicated emotional customer booklet
- An ergonomic genuine Italian leather strap
- Dedicated tripod accessories & tools
- User’s manual and warranty
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Product Highlights & Specifications
- Priced at $1,499.88
- Authentication Certificate
- Arca-Type Quick Release Plate
- Tripod Strap
- Limited-edition, magnesium-alloy and carbon fiber traveler tripod built to commemorate Gitzo’s 2017 centennial
- Only 1,917 100-Year Anniversary Edition tripods will be produced as well as engraved with its production number
- Anniversary booklet, plus a hang-tag identifying the Gitzo craftsperson who assembled the tripod
- Supports up to 22.0 lb
- Push-and-pull center column for rapid camera, lens, or sport optic positioning
- Can be set to a height of 16.73″ to a maximum height of 55.5″ or 64.96″ with its push-and-pull, rapid center column fully raised
- Secondary, short center column included for low-angle photography, enabling a height of 9.25″
- Legs each feature four sections, an independent spread, and a twist lock for rapid deployment
- Legs can be locked at 25° or 82° angles
- Rubber feet help to enhance stability on a wide variety of surfaces
- Weighs 3.0 lb, measures 16.9″ when legs are reversed 180° and folded
- Ball head is engraved in celebration of Gitzo’s 100-year anniversary, provides up to a 90° tilt for portrait orientation, 360° of independent rotation, and can be locked into place along its range of movement
- Removable ballast hook
- Hex key and torx keys to adjust miscellaneous component screws
This limited-edition, magnesium-alloy and carbon fiber Anniversary Edition Tripod commemorates Gitzo’s 2017 centennial. Only 1,917 100-Year Anniversary Edition Tripods will be produced, in honor of 1917, the year Gitzo was founded. A testament to Gitzo’s longevity, each 100-Year Anniversary Edition Tripod is engraved with its production number on one of its legs.
[Related Reading: The Best Tripods Of 2018 According To SLR Lounge]
Initial Impressions & Usage Thoughts
Not even out of the box, you could tell the team at Gitzo put an absolute TON of effort into the design and presentation of this tripod. It felt more like a display piece or a work of art rather than a utilitarian tool I was going to support my camera gear on while trekking through hiking trails. I’m not going to lie. I actually felt a bit guilty when I went to the beach to give this thing its first real-world test.
As a kid, did you ever have someone tell you that something you wanted to play with should be looked at and not touched? That’s kind of how it felt, but I digress. The first thing I noticed was just how easy the leg lock and unlock mechanism was to get open and closed for setup. And even when fully extended there was very little “wobble” compared to some other travel tripods of similar design. The Gitzo almost felt like it was weather sealed at each joint. It technically isn’t, but the construction is so precise that after some hefty testing the only maintenance needed was to slightly dust off and wipe down the legs. It’s not water or sand proof, but you really don’t need to put much effort into keeping it clean. So my worries and initial guilt about taking it out of the box were pretty quickly put to rest.
Once I got over that, I realized just how lightweight the tripod was compared to pretty much every other tripod I’ve ever used or held. My tiny travel tripod from Manfrotto is 4.5lbs without even having any head attached to it! The closest comparison I could get was the 3 Legged Thing Brian.
Moving on to the ball head, I was impressed with just how ridgid the thing was. When locked, there was absolutely no give to it at all. I’d likely have hurt myself before making it budge in the slightest. The release wheels were pretty standard; however, I felt like was there was no “medium” zone like a lot of other ball heads, where you can loosen the grip and make some minor adjustments with a little grip still on there so you didn’t have to worry too too much about accidental drift. With this ball head, it was basically completely wide open or completely locked tight. I gather that a lot of people prefer this, but to me it was a little off-putting and it added a few extra seconds to my shot adjustments.
The next thing I noticed after some conversation and examinations with peers, was that unlike a lot of other tripods that have a locking pin in the head to keep it from spinning off or disconnecting and drifting, this one doesn’t have that at all. It’s not necessarily a breaking point as this particular unit seems to be designed to be able to remove the head and give you 360 degree access. I’m also not sure if this is a pro or a con, but it definitely caught my attention.
The arca-swiss style plate and head was incredibly easy to get on and off of the ball head. When mounted to my various cameras, again, it was incredibly sturdy even in high wind and on sand! The thing I found most appealing though was the quick release mechanisms for adjusting the leg angles. The operation was smooth, fast, and very sturdy. Again, I was impressed.
I Loaded up a variety of camera rigs on it, ranging from a small Fujifilm X-T100 (see my review of that here), to my Nikon D800 with a Sigma 70-200mm telephoto lens attached. I also included a battery grip and a bunch of random led/shotgun mic accessories for the sake of adding weight to test the stability and wobble. I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I still was when I found the Gitzo behaved like a tank and just didn’t budge!
Overall, the Gitzo 100-Year Anniversary Edition Tripod was incredibly lightweight, sturdy, and easy to use, and small enough that I could even tuck it into my ThinkTank Vision 15 shoulder bag.
What I Liked
- Incredible design – The look and feel of this tripod was great and it even made me feel more important just carrying it!
- Solid and sturdy ball head
- Quick and easy-to-use arca-swiss mount
- Easy-to-use quick release leg locks
- Even easier-to-use leg angle locks
- Probably the lightest tripod I’ve ever used
- Very small footprint when fully collapsed/packed up
What I Didn’t Like
- The price tag – Despite my knowing that this $1500 price tag was definitely worth it, it still made me cringe when thinking about the other things i could invest in with that money. After using it for a short while, that bad-taste I started with dissipated, but it still lingered in the back of my mind.
- The lack of a locking pin for the ball head – Again, this is barely a con. I just felt it was worth adding since that’s really the only other thing negative I could say about it.
Who Is This For?
That’s the million dollar question, or in this instance, the $1499.88 question. Clearly, the Gitzo is an incredibly premium product as well as it being absolutely a collector’s edition. If the Gitzo reputation still applies to the new tripod, you can count on it being in your collection for decades to come. This anniversary edition is incredibly lightweight, best suited for travelers and adventure types.
Gitzo started making tripods (under the brand name) in the late 1940‘s, applying their extensive experience in making military support systems into the photographic products. Seeing as Gitzo has been considered one of the top line names for several decades, the name speaks to the quality of their products. The true test is to look at some of your favorite LONG time photographers and older photo studios. You could place a good bet that that world-renowned photographers or studios have at least one Gitzo tripod tucked away somewhere.
A lot of people will use a car analogy when comparing brands, and the phrase thrown around a lot is that Gitzo is the “Rolls Royce” of the tripod world. If you know your cars, you’ll know that a Rolls costs a LOT more than say, a Chevy. Both get you from point A to B, but the Rolls costs a lot more for good reason.
The question here is, is that reason worth the extra money to you? If a lower price is your primary shopping concern when looking for a tripod, the Gitzo brand is probably one you’re skipping over entirely anyway. If you’re looking to make an investment that’ll likely last you a lifetime, then maybe upping the ante to the Gitzo line is for you.
The 100 Year Anniversary Edition Tripod from Gitzo, even at the $1499.88 price point, is really one of the best tripods I’ve ever gotten my hands on. If you’re looking to invest in to a quality lightweight travel tripod that will likely be with you for the length of your career, as well as act as sort of a status symbol, then this is the rig for you. Considering the model that this was built from is already nearly a $1000 tripod, for just $500 more you get an incredibly well designed collectors item along with the quality and reputation that Gitzo is known for. So yes, in our opinion, it’s definitely worth the price tag.
What are your thoughts? Are you a Gitzo user? Have you experienced anything (positive or negative) with the brand you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments below!