Seriously tripod. Seriously light. Seriously Gitzo.*
The travel tripod is a major division of the photo accessory world - thank goodness. People have recognised that they need the sort of support that a tripod brings to their architecture, travel, and landscape shots. Even with the mind-boggling stabilisation systems on board modern cameras (Ask the Fujifilm, Nikon, and Olympus reps about this next time they have a demonstration day in the shop, but be prepared for a full lecture...).
People still need the tripod for the 1/2 second to 1/2 hour exposure. And if they are going overseas they need to take something light to do it with.
The Gitzo tripod you see in these pictures is probably the best light tripod in the world. It has positive twist locks on the carbon fibre legs. Also reversible legs, an extendable centre column, and two position stops on the legs. The head is probably the slickest casting you have ever seen and the ball that revolves in it is freely adjustable for friction - but when it is released from constraint it is the smoothest turning one I have ever felt.
There is a wealth of good thinking as well. The triangular shape of the quick release platform is not just an attempt at art deco Gallic style - it is shaped that way to allow the legs to fold in tight when it is closed into travel configuration. Some other tripods from some other manufacturers fail in this area - I know because I own one - and the legs tend to jam out when you try to put it into a bag.
The finish and fit on the head is also of such a high standard as to suggest art as well as utility. Go for utility by all means but please your eye at the same time...
* The bottom line is that it is expensive. If you are pinching pennies pass further down the car. This tripod is intended for the people who need or want the best and can afford it. They pay now and never have to buy it again.
Note: I used a Gitzo Studex IV tripod to take the pictures of the Gitzo travel tripod. I'll never buy another because I simply can neither fault it nor wear it out. At my age, it has prettier legs than I do.
See the full Gitzo range on the Camera Electronic website here.