In hindsight it seems like the most obvious way to design a folding tripod's center support column, but Giottos' new Silk Road YTL series are actually the first to use a clever three-way, Y-shaped post making the whole package about 30 percent more compact when collapsed.

Compared to the traditional design which simply uses a round tube, the new Y-shaped column lets the tripod's legs hug a little closer when folded away. And the new design doesn't compromise the tripod's stability or strength either—it's win-win all the way around, particularly for photographers looking to slim down their kit. Giottos will start rolling out the redesign in January, with the low-end aluminum models starting at around $160, and the lighter carbon fiber models starting at $350. [Giottos via DPReview]