Peak Design Travel Tripod Reviews
Night photography requires a sturdy but light tripod. But a “travel tripod” like the Peak Design travel tripod? Well, yes – unless you live in a rural area, chances are you will have to travel far to escape light pollution and find a starry sky. Cue it Peak Design Travel Tripod, a travel tripod as compact as you are likely to find, and ideal for anyone considering wide-field astrophotography, or even any type of landscape photography. This even extends to shooting night landscapes with a smartphone, which is what the Peak Design Travel Tripod is also designed for.
Peak Design Travel Tripod: The Basics
Equipment: Aluminum / carbon fiber
Leg sections: 5
Weight: 3.44 lbs (aluminum) / 2.81 lbs (carbon fiber)
Maximum charge : 20 pounds
Folded height: 15.4 inch
Ball head or pan / tilt head: Spherical head
While the Peak Design Travel Tripod is very clearly designed for travel, that doesn’t necessarily make it the lightest possible product you can buy. The aluminum version we reviewed weighs 3.44 lbs, a shade more than the lightest travel tripods available, although Peak Design also makes a much more expensive carbon fiber version. This one weighs just 2.81 pounds, but we’re really not convinced that many are going to pay that kind of money for a tripod that’s only slightly lighter.
Either way, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is a hugely impressive product for astrophotographers looking for something highly mobile with quick set up and take down, great performance outdoors, and a compact size once. packed up.
Peak Design Travel Tripod Review: Design
- Narrow, space-saving design
- Integrated smartphone holder
- Compact ball head
The main physical feature of the Peak Design Travel Tripod is its exceptionally narrow design. Most tripods are bulky and somewhat awkwardly shaped to fit in luggage; We regularly stuff socks, food and whatever is in the interstices of most folded tripods when checking baggage, but this is not the case with the Peak Design Travel Tripod. It is super stylish, with its three legs and its kneecap that bends and collapses to meet without a gap.
With no wasted space, the tripod measures just 3.125 inches in diameter when packed. That, along with its height of 15.4 inches, makes it easy to store not only in luggage, but even inside some camera bags, which is also convenient when traveling. It comes in a soft, lightly padded case that’s a cut above the usual, complete with a waterproof zipper and three handles for carrying or tying it securely to the side of a camera bag.
However, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is not limited to its unique physical form. The cleanliness continues with its five-section feet, which are held in place by soft-closing cams that can be attached and released with one hand. When fully extended, including center column, it reaches 60 “/ 152.4 cm.
The way a camera is attached is more likely to split. At the top of a ball joint on this central column, the tripod plate takes a camera plate that attaches using a hex tool. The ball head is really compact, much more than on almost any other so-called travel tripod we’ve seen. The hex tool physically nestles in one of the tripod legs, but still… a tool-less D-ring plate would be easier.
Another hidden feature is the smartphone clamp of the Peak Design Travel Tripod. As with most travel tripods, there is a small hook at the bottom of the center column, which you can hang a bag on for extra stability. Twist the hook and pull out a bent, spring-loaded C-shaped device measuring 2.75 “/ 7cm that fits securely into the tripod plate, so even takes large smartphones
Peak Design Travel Tripod Review: Feature
- Not as high as some tripods
- Arca-Swiss Quick Release Tripod Plate
- Quick installation and dismantling
If there’s one downside with the shape of the Peak Design Travel Tripod, it’s its fully extended height. It is approximately 10 inches lower than the taller typical landscape photography tripods. You’ll never find a travel tripod that reaches its maximum size – it’s a size trade-off that must be made to reduce weight – but the nature of wide-field astrophotography means tall people can end up to have to stoop when using the Peak Design Travel Tripod. It is otherwise very versatile, able to sit on a table at 13.125 inches (and up to 22.5 inches with the center column raised) and it drops down to 5.5 inches.
The Arca-Swiss quick-release tripod plate that accepts a camera is pretty stable, but it takes a bit of getting used to. With the base plate attached to the tripod thread of a 1/4 inch camera using this hex tool, it is then necessary to clip it into the tripod plate. Once in place, it’s really stable, but it’s actually quite difficult to do in the dark, at least until you’ve spent some time with the product. Just be sure to have your camera strap around your neck as you learn how to secure your camera in place; it is easy to let it slide, and if it is carrying a heavy lens, it could fall.
One thing that disappointed us was the hex key. Its very appearance is slightly awkward but initially tempered by the fact that it nestles in a small clip that attaches to one of the tripod legs. However, after a few months of use, everything came loose; not only has the hex key been dropped several times – in the dark, in a field – but this clip itself has been knocked over several times. We ended up packing the hex wrench in our camera bag while cursing its existence, although the camera plate never slipped off during use… which sort of justifies its existence.
While most ball joints use levers and knobs that protrude, this one does not; this is another user-friendly feature for travel. Instead, a clockwise swivel of a lever secures the camera in place while the ball head can pivot to unlock or lock a camera in position. With this twist-lock done, the platform is really very stable. Even with the center column raised to its maximum, we were confident we would let a full frame DSLR shoot star trail for many hours in windy conditions.
In addition to stability, hard “feet” at the bottom of the three legs, which are sturdier than most tripods, and which hook onto the center column.
Finally, we loved the quick teardown. Setup is also quick, but the ability to unclip a camera and the soft-touch cameras effortlessly allows for hassle-free disassembly.
Should I buy the Peak Design Travel Tripod?
Peak Design’s is one of the best travel tripods for those who move around a lot and create a lot of wide-field astrophotography content. We’re not at all convinced that it’s worth investing in the carbon fiber version – the super high premium only saves 9.5 oz in weight compared to the aluminum version – and the weight of the tripod. Peak Design travel bag itself is not a problem. .
As well as being of excellent build quality, it is exceptionally narrow and neat when packed. Having to attach a baseplate to a camera using a hex wrench is slightly annoying, especially since it’s easy to lose, although it also means zero slip. It also takes some getting used to the way a camera sets up, but once you master the technique, the Peak Design Travel Tripod is a very stable tripod even with the center column fully extended. We also like the “hidden” smartphone mount, which, given the boom in smartphone astrophotography, could become more and more useful even for seasoned astrophotographers.
If this product is not for you
If you want to discover the competition, study the Manfrotto Befree Advanced Aluminum Travel Tripod. It’s slightly lighter at 3.28 lbs, although it reaches 59 inches lower when fully extended.
If you want something as light as possible for a compact mirrorless camera and don’t mind having a slightly shorter tripod, try the Vanguard VEO3GO235AB. It weighs just 2.7 lbs and reaches 53.5 inches, but only supports 8.8 lbs of equipment.
If casual smartphone astrophotography is your goal, try a good-quality, versatile little camera like the Handypod Joby. It accepts any smartphone clamp and its ball joint moves 360 °, although vertical positioning is limited.