Quoted from another forum:
"I want to clarify one thing first and foremost - GITZO HAS NEVER CONSIDERED OUTSOURCING TO CHINA. While Gitzo is constantly bombarded from Far East manufacturers that offer to manufacture Gitzo, the brand is and has always been developed, designed, and manufactured in EUROPE. First, for over half a century in France, and now, since 2004, in ITALY - at a state of the art facility in Feltre.
Regarding the quality issues of Gitzo vs. Far East Imports - specifically Induro & Benro - by far the biggest difference is the manufacturing process of the tube. Gitzo uses a process known as pultrusion, in which long, very thin strands of carbon fibers are woven (no seams!) at precise angles and consistent thickness to maximize strength to weight ratio, and vibration dampening. Benro/Induro use a roll table method of production. They use a sheet of carbon fiber, a layer of glue, lay another sheet at a 90 degree angle, another layer of glue, etc. etc. (6, 8, 12 layers - it's irrelevant). The sheets are bound together and rolled, then seamed! This is a popular method for the manufacturing of fishing rods because it allows for the tube to be bent/whipped. The best fishing rods in the world are manufactured using the roll table method.
The 2nd most important factor in tube construction is the ratio of carbon fibers to resin used to make the tube. Gitzo uses a 65/35 blend of carbon fibers to resin - the highest ratio of carbon to resin in the industry. Benro is 55/45. More Glue = Less Strength + More Weight
Next, let's look at the casting. That's the collar of the tripod that holds the legs. Gitzo uses gravity fed aluminum castings to make their tripod mounts. Gravity fed castings require the molten aluminum to be poured into a die and it eliminates the possibility of air pockets and anomalies to form inside the castings - which is what happens when pressure castings are used (Benro/Induro). Pressure castings are much cheaper to manufacture, and can be made much faster than gravity castings.
Leg locks are a vital piece of the tripod puzzle. G-Lock is the latest and most technologically advanced leg lock on the market. There is not enough space here for an in-depth comparison of leg locks - you need to see the difference for yourself. There are enough G-Lock owners on naturescapes.net that will agree the difference between non-GLock Gitzo and G-Lock Gitzo is astounding and immediately noticeable.
As for price, there are always going to be those who pay more for quality. Gitzo is not a brand everyone can afford. It never will be. I'm not sure whether the folks questioning the "manufacturing costs" of a Gitzo tripod have any basis for their bottom line assumption. I don't think the comparison to the U.S. Auto market is fair, because my understanding is the U.S. automakers stopped making cars U.S. citizens wanted to purchase. I don't see many Japanese or Korean car manufacturers stealing designs from Ford, GM, etc. There is a high cost associated with the development of an idea, and the transformation of that idea into an end product for a consumer beyond simply "manufacturing cost." A Gitzo customer is paying for quality and innovation, not "look alike" and "seems good enough".
To the best of my knowledge, Gitzo is the only photographic tripod brand offering U.S. consumers a lifetime warranty. A warranty protects the consumer against manufacturer defect in workmanship and materials. Bogen Imaging stands behind that warranty in the U.S. Gitzo tripods go through quality controls at each step of the manufacturing and distribution process. We do not guarantee against destruction, wear and tear, damage, etc. There is some great information on this site and others for the best way to care & maintain your tripod.
I hope this post is informative. I love the passion and enthusiasm naturescapes.net users have not only for their craft, but also for their equipment. While you may agree to disagree on the price/performance index, I felt it prudent that I contribute factual information regarding the materials, processes, and intellectual foundations that go into the Gitzo brand.
Gitzo Product Manager
Bogen Imaging US"