The photo here is the actual tripod I have owned since 2007. Despite owning and using this heavy duty camera tripod for 13 years now, it remains in absolutely excellent shape. Admittedly it has been lightly used over these years yet I have traveled with it , carried, and used it outdoors. These days it goes into and out of my vehicle’s trunk several times per week.
The GT2530 legs are made of 6X (layered) carbon fiber. The tripod has a rated load capacity of 26.4 pounds. The heaviest gear I have been able to load on it only weighs about 8-9 pounds. And frankly, one of the heaviest Nikkor lenses, the AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens weighs about 10 lbs. Add to this any of the Nikon Pro DSLRs and the total load won’t exceed 15 pounds.
In practical use the two things that are adjusted are the twist-lock leg sections (there are three of them on this tripod, other models have four sections) and the leg angle selectors (the black tab with the GITZO nameplate). These pull out allowing the leg section to rotate on its hinge to any desired angle. For maximum stability there are three stop positions on the collar at a (nominal) 20 degree, 50, and 80 degree angle from vertical.
While its completely OK to use any intermediate angle for “normal” camera loads. The hinge movement is, fitted with friction bushings, pretty tight and will hold firm in whatever position you set. However, if you are using heavy glass such as a zoom or prime telephoto lens, locking the leg angle in one of the notched positions is recommended. Completely independent of the twist-lock nuts that extend each leg section, the combination of leg angle and extension of each leg section (full or partially extended and locked) gives a flexible way of adjusting your camera height to where you want it to be with the legs arranged in the most stable position your situation demands.
Other features of this tripod that I like is a spring-loaded J-hook beneath the head plate behind the leg joints. A very nice addition, this hook functions as a stabilizer when additional gear (like a shoulder bag) is hung from it. You can safely add about 10 pounds on this hook and it will help anchor the tripod wherever you set it.
In this photo I show the top plate of the tripod with the ball head and head baseplate removed. (I will review those in another article.) Frankly I don’t recall ever using a center tube with this tripod, and I don’t even know where it is if I still have it somewhere. This is just my biased opinion: raising a mounting head above the apex of a tripod on a center tube decreases stability with every inch of added height. It just defeats one of the main purposes that a tripod is designed for.
Another feature worthy of mention, that many different tripods offer, are interchangable feet. I have only used the standard rubber feet, included with the tripod at purchase, but they are easily removed by unscrewing them. Specialty feet such as claws and spikes are available for situations of outdoor photography in different terrain.This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I would definitely recommend this tripod to anyone contemplating this brand and model level in the product line. This particular model has been superseded by the GT2532, that has been upgraded to 8 layers of carbon fiber and has a slightly higher maximum load rating. This tripod has served me very well for 13 years and I anticipate that it will last at least another 15 to 20 years.