Photography / Hands-on Review

Giottos VGR Tripods are Inspired by the Golden Ratio of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man


Inspired by the artistic and scientific balance of Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, Giottos VGR tripods offer the kind of proportion and support you would expect from a tripod designed according to the Golden Ratio. Historically, the Golden Ratio has been thought to yield a structure that is considered both aesthetically pleasing and functionally sound, and those same terms would apply perfectly to the Giottos classic line of aluminum and carbon fiber tripods.

As a photographer, the weight of your gear is important, which is why sometimes you just want to be able to use a reliable tripod that can easily double as a monopod when you want that extra height but don't have the space or the time to set all the legs of your tripod. Giottos low-weight aluminum and carbon fiber tripods feature Arca-compatible ball heads with bubble levels on strong bodies that have the proper amount of load capacity to secure your gear and ensure that you get the right shot without missing the moment to adjust their legs. 

The Golden Ratio in an Aluminum Body

Giottos’ VGR9264-M2CVGR9265-M2C, VGR9254-S2C, and VGR9255-S2N are standard aluminum tripods with twist-leg locks. As with all of the Vitruvian-inspired tripods discussed here, the center column can be used with one of the legs for a full-sized monopod, giving you a few inches of extra reach while also eliminating the need to carry both a monopod and a tripod on your shoots. All four models feature Arca-compatible quick-release ballheads with bubble levels and have rubber feet; three of which have retractable metal spikes while the VGR9255-S2N has removable feet in order to accept other accessory feet.

The VGR9264-M2C is a 4-section model that folds down to 17.7 inches (45cm). It has a maximum height of 65 inches (1.65m) when used as a tripod and 67.2 inches (1.7m) when used as a monopod. It includes a Giottos MH646 50mm Quick Release Plate. If you carry it with you out on the field or on a hike, it will add just 4.3 pounds (1.95kg) to your gear weight, and can support up to a 13 pound (5.9kg) load. The VGR9265-M2C model also weighs just 4.3 pounds (1.95kg) and can support the same maximum load of 13 pounds (5.9kg). This tripod provides a maximum height of 66.6 inches (1.7m) when used as a tripod and can extend up to 69.3 inches (1.8m) when used solely as a monopod. Its legs have five sections and the included ball head also includes the MH646 50mm QR plate.

The VGR9254-S2C and VGR9255-S2N are the lightest of these four tripods, weighing just 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) but both are able to support a maximum load of 8.8 pounds (4kg). The VGR9354-S2C folds down to just 16.5 inches (41.9cm) and can be extended to 60.5 inches (1.5m) as a tripod or 63 inches (1.6m) as a monopod. This 4-section tripod is the smallest and lightest among these aluminum VGR models. The VGR9255-S2N is a 5-section aluminum tripod with a minimum height of just 10.6 inches (26.9cm) and a maximum tripod height of 65 inches (1.65m). When used with a leg attached to the center column, the maximum length of the monopod is 67 inches (1.7m).

The Convenience of Lightweight Carbon Fiber

Among the Giottos VGR line you’ll also find the lightweight and sturdy VGR8255-S2N and VGR8265-M2C carbon fiber tripods. Just like the standard aluminum tripods above, these 5-section models feature Arca-compatible ball heads with bubble levels, and can easily be converted from a tripod to a monopod just by attaching a leg to the center column. 

The VGR8255-S2N is the lightest of these two carbon fiber tripods, weighing just 2.8 pounds (1.3kg) and with a load capacity of 8.8 pounds (4kg). As soon as you get your hands on it, you’ll want to take it out and use it for your next assignment or last-minute hike. If you’re heading out to make some macro photos of small wildflowers, you’ll appreciate the convenience of a minimum working height of just 10.6 inches (26.9cm). When you consider that the maximum height is 65 inches (1.65m) as tripod or 67 inches (1.7m) as a monopod, you’ll see that the VGR255-S2N is an ideal support to add to your gear, particularly given its easy quick-twist lock design and the spiked feet that keep it steady when the terrain is less than ideal. It includes a Giottos 40mm MH645 Quick Release Plate.

If you need a slightly larger carbon fiber tripod, you’ll find that the VGR8265-M2C has a maximum height of 66.6 inches (1.7m) with all three legs in use. It also weighs a bit more than the VGR8255-S2N, but those 3.7 pounds (1.7kg) also mean a greater load capacity of 13pounds (5.9kg). This Vitruvian-inspired support has a minimum height of 16.1 inches (40.9 cm), and can also be used as a 69.3-inch (1.8m) monopod.  This model comes with a 50mm Quick Release Plate

All of these tripods have 3-position legs that fold up to 180° to protect the center column and ball head. They also feature removable retractable hooks.