If you're not already familiar with Manfrotto and/or Gitzo, the two companies are now part of the British Vitec Group and are well described and distinguished by their entrepreneur founders. Lino Manfrotto was a photographer in Bassano del Grappa, Italy, in the 1960s and began by designing lightweight, user-friendly equipment for himself and friends. Gitzo was founded in 1917 in France by Arsène Gitzhoven, who was a skilled inventor. Although the two companies are now housed in the same production facilities in Italy, they are purposefully kept separate and often compete in the market. The research and development teams especially, although they are friendly with each other, adhere to their own philosophies: Manfrotto's of working closely with photographers to give them what they want, and Gitzo's of listening to photographers and then inventing a product that serves their needs.