Peak Design has been changing the way people think about camera accessories for a long time. You’ve probably already seen some of their other products on the market, which are also very innovative.
Well, they have been working on the Peak Design Travel Tripod, which seems to be their most innovative, impressive, and complicated product to date, in secret for a long time.
These people didn’t just slap their logo on a copycat tripod design that almost every new brand has been using for years. Instead, they made this travel tripod from scratch.
I’ve never seen anything like it. I don’t remember the last time I asked myself so many times, “What the heck? This is so smart!”
When I first heard that I would be getting another travel tripod to review, I groaned. I’ve broken so many cheap tripods over the years that I’ve stopped keeping track. Especially travel tripods are usually way too short, very unstable, and not even light.
For most tripod makers, the word “travel” seems to mean only one thing: the length of the tripod when it is folded up. But I’m not going to carry a tripod up a mountain if it’s short even when it’s fully extended, very shaky, and kind of heavy.
So, did I make a mistake when I rolled my eyes at the thought of yet another tiny travel tripod? In fact, this one is very small. I was very, very wrong, too.
It might seem simple and easy to review a tripod. Does it work well? How does it feel? Is it pricey or can you afford it? In fact, there’s much more to it…
To make a long story short, I’ve used so many tripods that seemed stable at first, did their job, and were cheap that I’ve lost track. Still, they broke in 6–12 months, sometimes in a very bad way.
“Catastrophic failure” is not a phrase you want to hear if you have never put your expensive camera and lens on a tripod.
So, now that I have your attention, I’ll tell you what I’ve learned to look for in a tripod’s design and what to test thoroughly in the field to know for sure if it’s a good product or not.
I’m impressed right away by how strong and stable the Travel Tripod feels. It looks small, but it’s not. It’s made well and has some weight for being so small.
That’s probably because, unlike most other tripods, there is almost no empty space between the legs or the head. It is the very definition of a space-saving design!
But don’t be fooled by the word “heft.” Including its head, the Peak Design Tripod weighs just under 3.5 pounds (1.5 kg), which is well within the range of “lightweight.”
Really, it’s the sight of something so small that throws you off. When the Travel Tripod is fully open or extended, looking at it while holding it gives you the exact opposite feeling: this tripod feels like it doesn’t weigh much at all.
I can’t say it’s the most “ultralight” option, though, because there are tripods that weigh less than 2 pounds. But most of those tripods are bad, so you should stay away from them.
Only a few ultralight tripods are worth the money, and those that are are either very expensive, much bigger, or make big sacrifices in terms of height and/or stiffness.
Its materials and craftsmanship are definitely better than all of the other generic brands that sell the same basic tripod design in different packages.
Not only do the Peak Design Tripod’s legs, base, and center column have a unique shape that makes it so small, but the leg angle stem and the ball head, which are the most noticeable parts of the design, are brilliant.
How high can a tripod safely and steadily hold your camera? When buying a tripod, that’s a very important question that some new photographers forget to ask.
All that matters about a travel tripod are that it’s light and easy to carry, right? Wrong.
Because if you have to bend over to look through your viewfinder or even to get your face close to the LCD on the back of the camera, that can be a problem. It’s never a good thing to have bad posture.
Even though the Peak Design Tripod is one of the smallest tripods I’ve ever used, I was surprised by how tall it was. It goes up to 60 inches (150 cm), which is impressive for a tripod that folds up to 15.4 inches (39 cm).
As someone who is 188 cm tall (74 inches), I can’t quite put my eye to the viewfinder. Still, most travel tripods aren’t like that. Most cameras now have LCDs that can be moved, so 60′′ is a good height for most people.