Giottos Silk Road YTL8354 3D Column, £225
This carbon fibre tripod reaches a respectable maximum height of 171cm at full extension, yet folds down the smallest in the group, at just 54cm. That said, the 3 Legged Thing has a slightly shorter carrying length once a head is attached. Even so, it's rather slimmer, thanks to the same Y-profile centre column that's used in the aluminium Giottos Silk Road tripod on test.
The reason that it folds down to a travel-friendly stowage length is that it has four sections in each leg, rather than the usual three. It's relatively light to carry as well, weighing 1.4kg and therefore shaving about 500g off the weight of the Giottos aluminium tripod. Again, the closeness of each clip lock means that you can still just about open and close each set of locks in one swipe, if you have big hands, as there are three per leg rather than two.
In its favour, the leg sections extend and contract much more smoothly than in the Giottos YTL9383 aluminium tripod. However, the extra set of clip locks required by the four-section leg design introduces a bit more unwanted flexing when all sections are extended. Coupled with the fact that the bottom sections are quite thin, the Giottos is a little lacking in outright rigidity at or near its maximum operating height.