Peak Design Travel Tripod: a new take on tripods
For many years, Peak Design has maintained a pioneering spirit in the photography market. If you are an avid photographer, then you have probably come across the innovative products of the American brand.
And yes, over the years they have been working long and hard to create a progressive, spectacular and non-trivial accessory — the Peak Design Travel Tripod.
Instead of going down the beaten path and opting for a classic and hackneyed tripod design, the brand has completely redefined the approach to this type of camera equipment, starting development from scratch.
And now, seeing the results of years of effort in the form of the Peak Design Travel Tripod, we can safely say that the tripod is truly amazing.
We will review the tripod in the following four categories:
- Assembly / disassembly of the tripod
- Rigidity and stability of the structure
- Dimensions — height, weight and portability
- Value for money
Before delving into a detailed review, let’s get acquainted with the main characteristics:
- Price: Aluminum — 28990 rubles, Carbon Fiber — 49990 rubles
- Maximum height — 152 cm
- Minimum height (without B-pillar) – 10 cm
- Packed height — 40 cm
- Holds up to 9.1 kg
Let’s just say we’re impressed with how strong and durable the tripod is. Its size is deceptive — the accessory is based on a rigid structure, and it feels quite weighty.
It’s probably because, unlike most similar tripods, the Peak Design Travel Tripod doesn’t have a useless empty space between the legs and the head — that’s the reason why a tripod can be called ergonomic.
A little higher we said that the tripod is heavy — in fact, it is so when folded. The mass of the accessory is 1.5 kg, including the head part. The number is really confusing, but when the Travel Tripod is fully opened, in some incredible way it becomes weightless — both visually and when working with it.
Let’s be honest — this is not the easiest tripod we know of. But believe me — other, less heavy options lose to the Peak Design Travel Tripod in many ways, including in terms of price-quality ratio and structural rigidity. In other words, this tripod strikes a balance between weight, compactness and strength.
The level of materials from which the Peak Design Travel Tripod is made, and the quality of the accessory’s workmanship, are superior to tripods from other brands that serve up years of design under their own name.
Peak Design Travel Tripod is a tripod with an original idea. Not only are the tripod legs, base and center post uniquely shaped to keep the overall compactness, but the design elements that stand out the most from the overall outline — the locks on the legs and the head — do not have a destructive effect on the minimalism of the accessory.
How high should a tripod be to hold the camera safely and steadily? This is an important issue that all photographers take into account when buying an accessory.
A tripod that is meant to be used for travel should just be portable and lightweight, right? Not so simple. If you have to stoop to look through the camera’s viewfinder, that’s a problem. Poor posture is not very good for health.
Luckily, the Peak Design Travel Tripod, being one of the smallest assembled tripods, has an impressive height. It extends to 152 cm — impressive for an accessory that, when folded, does not exceed a length of 40 cm.
For people with a height of about 180 cm, the tripod is not high enough. But this problem is typical for all tripods. Although with on-camera monitors, which are present on almost all devices, a tripod height of 152 cm becomes comfortable.
Locks and «joints» on the legs
We must admit that in the photos published prior to the release of the product, we were concerned about the locks and connections on the tripod legs.
The Peak Design Travel Tripod is equipped with five sections — there are four locks per leg, which are locked with levers, not twist locks. Accustomed to classic locking mechanisms, photographers are doubly concerned.
To our surprise, the legs are stiff and durable, and the locks are malleable, easy to use and close tightly. Their wide design, which is based on a lever mechanism, provides easy locking / unlocking of all sections at once in any form.
The locks may loosen a bit over time, but they can be tightened with a hex wrench. By the way, you can find this tool in a secret pocket on the case.
An important feature of not only the connections of the leg sections, but also the lock levers is their invisibility. All these elements are harmoniously combined with the overall contours of the tripod — this is also the portability of the accessory. It is hardly convenient to work with a tripod, some places of which protrude carelessly.
Another clever and unique feature tucked away in the center stand is the smartphone mount for the tripod head.
For photographers who take selfies or take time lapses or long exposure night photos to quickly share on social media, this is a useful feature. At the same time, the installation of the mount is very simple — you need to turn the hook located at the base of the central pillar and pull it out. This is the mount, which you then install on the head.
In this feature, the non-standard and comprehensive thinking of the designers is manifested — they made sure that photographers could not think about buying a smartphone mount, which is so ingeniously hidden in the central column.
The head mechanism of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is unique in the photography market in that it is fully integrated into the tripod. The American brand has completely rethought the status quo of the photography industry: «You can buy the head and legs separately.» But in Travel Tripod these two elements are very closely intertwined.
The central post is part of the head — its upper part ends with a platform for installing the camera, on which you can also see a locking mechanism that prevents the head from falling down. When folded, the center column fills the cavity between the legs, further confirming that the Peak Design Travel Tripod is compact and free of dead spaces.
But does the ball head really work decently? First, the clamp on the platform is very strong and ready to hold even a full-frame mirrorless camera with a large f/2.8 lens.
Of course, if the mass of the setup starts to approach the maximum allowable tripod limit, then you will have to put in a little more effort when working with the tripod. On the other hand, photographers are increasingly willing to use lightweight mirrorless cameras and shorter lenses, so they are unlikely to encounter the problem of exceeding the weight limit.
The only problem, perhaps, is the lack of a knob to adjust the head. The triangular shape of the B-pillar will not allow you to turn your head, even if you lower the column down and loosen it as much as possible.
But Peak Design thought about this moment too — the brand released a tripod adapter that allows you to install a third-party head, including a panning handle.
You can evaluate the performance of a tripod by answering a simple question: “Do the images look good?» or «Do photos come out clear at slow shutter speeds?»
Again, Peak Design has developed one of the toughest and most stable travel tripods around. Despite the unusual design of the legs and head, the verdict is simple: not only does the tripod hold the camera firmly, but the design of the head ensures clear images and ease of operation.
Let’s say, however, that the ball head still has its drawbacks. In addition to the absence of a dedicated panning knob, the locking mechanism itself creates minimal risk of inadvertently changing the composition of the frame when the head is secured.
In Peak Design’s favor, the head holds the camera firmly in the position you put it in, but the locking mechanism needs a little more attention than a traditional ball head.
In any case, when folded, the tripod is deceptive — it does not give the impression of a high and stable tripod. But when you open it, you feel all the delights of the Peak Design Travel Tripod in reality.
It’s definitely ready for full-frame DSLRs and standard professional lenses, and it’s also compact and portable enough to provide a solid platform for a lightweight mirrorless camera.
We remind you that the price for the Aluminum version is 28990 rubles, Carbon Fiber — 49990 rubles. So, how good are these tripods, given that you can find other tripods for half the price? Of course, you can buy others that will break very quickly, while the Peak Design Travel Tripod can last you a lifetime if you take care of it.
The Aluminum version weighs just 1.56kg – already quite light weight – while the Carbon Fiber version weighs 1.27kg. So you might really wonder if the carbon fiber version is worth the money.
We will take into account the shooting conditions and photo setup. Light wind? A carbon fiber tripod will resist small vibrations that can ruin image quality. Telephoto? Setting up a Carbon Fiber tripod takes a few seconds — even in windy conditions — so you can use a simple 2-3 second exposure delay mode (self-timer) to get sharp images at focal length.
Finally, if you often photograph in cold weather, holding a carbon fiber tripod is much more pleasant than an aluminum tripod.
Thus, both versions of the Peak Design Travel Tripod — both aluminum and carbon fiber — are attractive due to their overall high quality, amazing design, and ability to keep the camera perfectly stable even at a decent height.
If you don’t want to pay twice as much for carbon fiber, just ask yourself how often you need to use your tripod and how demanding you will be.
Will you shoot in extreme conditions with heavy telephoto lenses? If yes, then buying the Carbon Fiber version will be beneficial.
Or will you be shooting with a compact, easy setup at a normal focal length? Then both versions will suit you.
The main pros are that you’ll get sharper shots, a less frustrating shooting experience, and a much longer lifespan with the Peak Design Travel Tripod — both aluminum and carbon fiber.
Simply put, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is an efficient and compact travel tripod, especially if you value every inch of your bag space.
This tripod is a leader in portability. No other tripod is so modest when folded and so sturdy and tall when in working order. If you are traveling with a single tripod then the Peak Design Travel Tripod is the best choice.
Of course, the accessory is created not only for photography on trips. The portability means that the Travel Tripod is also an everyday tripod that you can put in your backpack that you carry on a daily basis.
It’s the perfect accessory for those photographers who don’t always use a tripod, and probably never would if it was too bulky.