If you take your photography seriously, the most useful accessory you can get is a good solid tripod, and they don't come any more solid than this remarkable piece of equipment from veteran Italian manufacturer Gitzo. The Traveller 2 is a lightweight tripod designed for outdoor use, with a unique design that makes it more compact in its folded form than any comparable tripod of its size. It is an ideal choice for wildlife and landscape photography, but you'll have to be a pretty dedicated photographer to choose it. The Traveller 2, sold as a kit complete with a GK2580TR ball head, costs a hefty £599.95, more than double the price of comparable products from other manufacturers, such as the Manfrotto 190CXPRO4.
Although that is unquestionably a lot of money for something that is essentially three legs and a few metal castings, when you handle the Traveller 2 you can see where the money goes. The sheer workmanship and build quality is immediately apparent and immensely impressive, and the ingenious design and attention to the smallest detail reflects decades of product development and refinement. Compared to a Gitzo most other tripods look like cheap toys.
The price is also reflected in the build quality. The four-section leg tubes and the centre column are made from a specially woven and technological advanced aerospace quality six-layer carbon fibre material that is unique to Gitzo, with greater strength, rigidity and vibration absorption properties than those of competing manufacturers. The head and pivots are cast from lightweight magnesium, while the ball and socket are coated with PTFE, for low friction and superior control. The finish of the components is superb, with scratch-resistant coatings on the metal parts and a smooth matt surface on the carbon fibre. I tested the Traveller 2 on holiday, using it extensively while shooting wildlife in Catalonia, and it came back without even a scratch.