Peak Design’s most up-to-date product is taking it into an entirely new class. It’s referred to as the Travel Tripod, and it may easily light a flame under the dormant tripod enterprise. It’s the first predominant rethinking of the classic three-legged digicam support gadget in many years, offering an extremely-compact layout that still gives balance worthy of large DSLRs.
If you’re a photographer, there’s an honest threat you’ve heard of Peak Design. The agency’s first product, the Capture digicam clip system, launched on Kickstarter in 2011 and earned a cool $360,000. The product, which permits photographers to attach a digicam to a belt or backpack strap, presented an easy technique to not unusual trouble, and the marketing campaign blew beyond expectancies. Then lightning struck twice. Then again, and once more, and once more…
By the time of its eighth Kickstarter campaign in July 2018, which released a line of tour baggage and add-ons, Peak Design become a family call amongst more than just photographers. That campaign raised over $five million from more than 13,000 backers.
It’s no marvel, then, that Peak Design back to Kickstarter to release the Travel Tripod. Billed as a “floor-up reexamination of digicam tripod design,” it claims to be the maximum volumetrically efficient tripod ever made, which can nevertheless guide considerable cameras and lenses.
But what should probably be so interesting, approximately a tripod? Well, more than you can recognize. I have spent a quick time with a preproduction version of the Travel Tripod, and at the same time, as a few things may additionally trade among now and the very last version, I am already very inspired with it. It is thinner, quicker to install, and plenty less complicated to carry (both in a bag or through hand) than my MeFoto BackPacker, which has served as my primary take-everywhere tripod for years. That this is Peak Design’s first tripod makes it all of the extra marvelous.
The Travel Tripod’s origins may be retraced to Peak Design CEO and founder Peter Dering’s frustration with the lack of an awesome lightweight tripod that didn’t absorb too much area in a bag. While improvements like reversible legs and carbon fiber had achieved their component to make tripods smaller and lighter, they all still had one big hassle: Four cylindrical tubes (3 legs, one center column) no longer collapse a green manner. No matter how you try and shove them collectively, there’s an excessive amount of unused terrible space left over.
Peak Design solved this problem in the maximum obvious manner: No longer making the tubes around. The Travel Tripod has a kind of triangular center column with a very slim diameter; the legs are molded to fit almost flush in opposition to it whilst closed. Not the simplest does this shop area, but it makes the tripod much extra at ease to hold on your hand.
Another issue Peak Design did change into getting rid of all of the knobs that typically jut out from a tripod head, opting rather for an unmarried locking dial that encircles the mounting plate and tightens or loosens the top onto the ball joint. Some photographers may discover the dearth of an independent pan manage to be a small difficulty, but Peak Design’s method has cleaned up the ball head significantly; about sliding the Travel Tripod into a tripod collar on a backpack, there are no tough factors to catch at the fabric or straps.
There is one knob that remains that’s used to elevate or lower the middle column. However, it can retract to lie nearly flush with the legs when the tripod is collapsed.
The quick launch mount is well-matched with famous Arca Swiss plates as well as the Peak Design Capture plate, so you can unclip your camera out of your backpack and snap it into the tripod without changing plates. The head can also be absolutely eliminated from the center column and mounted immediately to the legs for a “low boy” operation. Alternately, the middle column can definitely be inverted for low-angle or downward-going through pictures. Spread width is managed using spring-loaded locks at the pinnacle of the legs.
But the best innovation — if I do chortle at myself barely for saying this — is the standard cellphone mount that’s built into the center column. At the base of the column, you’ll find a counterweight hook; many tripods have those, but Peak designs are distinctive. Pull down on a spring-loaded collar around the hook, and you may rotate it, and dad is out of the vicinity. You’ll locate it’s connected to a magnet, which pulls what looks to be a simple black bar a pair inches lengthy out of the middle column. This bar unfolds right into a phone clamp that clips at once onto the tripod head.
As for real cameras, the Travel Tripod can help a payload of 33 kilos (that is a conservative estimate — as Peak Design explained to press at their flagship save in San Francisco, the center column gained’t clearly slip until eighty kilos, however “potential” is a relatively indistinct time period in the tripod global, determined with the aid of many elements). The carbon fiber version I tested weighs just three. Four pounds and measures 15.4 inches whilst collapsed. With the legs fully extended and the middle column raised, it is 60 inches tall.
The collapsed length is a chunk longer than some other journey tripods, but because Peak designs don’t depend on reversible legs, it may be deployed plenty greater speedy. It also uses lever locks compared to the slower twist locks, even though both camps have their supporters (because the Travel Tripod’s legs are not round, twist locks probably weren’t an alternative here).
While lightweight tripods will by no means replace heavy responsibility fashions for the most stressful studio programs, I became thrilled with the stableness and electricity of the Travel Tripod. The legs take a seat wide, and there may be little or no play among the sections, even fully extended. It is designed to guide full-frame DSLRs with telephoto lenses, and of route works outstanding for smaller mirrorless cameras, as properly.
The middle column does appear worryingly slender. However, I located it to be particularly stable and comfortable. It’s the name of the game to the Travel Tripod’s volumetric efficiency, and it doesn’t seem to have come at a value to balance.
CAN A TRIPOD REALLY BE EXCITING?
There is a purpose Peak Design’s bag campaigns have performed so well. People love luggage. Do we want functional baggage, stylish bags, travel baggage, new baggage, unfashionable luggage, small bags, huge luggage — but tripods? We tolerate them. We’d alternatively no longer convey one in any respect. A tripod exists because there are matters a digital camera can’t do without one, like lengthy-exposures and time-lapses. However, no one ever buys a tripod because it’s cool.