The Giottos YTL9253 is part of the new Silk Road range, which come fitted with a revolutionary Y-shaped central column design. This allows the legs to fold much closer together, making the tripod more compact. At the shoulder, this tripod is only 7cm wide, which is significantly thinner than any of its competitors. This is a slightly deceptive figure though, as at the leg base the width is actually very similar to the others.
Weighing in at 1810g, this tripod is pretty light, with a respectable maximum height of 177cm and a competitive folded height for easy carrying. The Y-shaped central column has a hook to hold weights to give this lightweight tripod more stability if needed.
Like most of its competitors, the YTL9253 has three leg sections with quick-release levers. Uniquely, the lower leg sections have marked increments so you can easily set each leg to exactly the same height even when not fully extended. The levers can be tightened should the legs ever start to creep under heavier loads.
The legs have a built-in spirit level and can be set to four different angles for shooting on difficult terrain, though the mechanism isn’t quite as user-friendly as on some other tripods. All are fitted with foam grips for comfortable handling.
The MH7001-652 is a compact ball head, with a single lever controlling movement as well as panning action. Ideally, we’d prefer controlling these independently, especially for video and panoramics. The lever goes from loose to very tight with a quarter turn, so it is very quick and easy to compose your images. The metal plate is very secure in the head, and it has a well-designed quick-release lever with safety catch. The head has two spirit levels, so this tripod has three in all.
- RRP: £146
- Weight: 1810g
- Max load: 5kg
- Max height: 177cm
- Min height: 48cm
- Folded height: 59cm
- Folded width: 7cm
- Leg sections: 3
- Leg lock: Quick-release
- Spirit level: Yes (3)
- Horizontal column: No
- Reverse column: Yes
- Head type: Ball
- Head attachment: 1/4in & 3/8in
- Construction: Aluminium alloy
- Visit: www.giottos.com
This review was first published in the May 2013 issue of Practical Photography - download back issues here.