Peak Design products continues to be a leader when it comes to industrial design and functionality in the photography space. Their photography accessories are always designed with a photographer’s eye and thought process. Now, after four years of research and development, Peak Design believes its Travel Tripod is the tripod all photographers will love.
Optimal design and functionality
Typical tripods tend to take up quite a bit of room in a camera bag–even those that claim to be travel-friendly. Often, the legs retract and fold up to a smaller form factor, but it still feels like it takes up more than the allotted space a backpack pouch offers.
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Then there’s the functionality part. Yes, there are some good tripods on the market that securely hold your camera in place for steady shots, but sometimes it takes quite a bit of effort to get the tripod ready for your shoot. Some come with retractable legs you have to unscrew to get extension. Some come with pan heads. Others come with ball heads. Some of the ball heads have proprietary mounts that must be attached to your camera. In short, some tripods are quite a bit of work when it comes to setting up a shot.
Peak Design has taken existing tripod functionality and design into consideration and re-engineered it to make tripod use more effective, efficient, and truly travel-friendly. Starting with the actual design, you’ll notice there is no negative space with the Travel Tripod when it’s folded away in your camera bag. The legs fold in snug and secure in harmony with the center column and ball head attachment. Most leading tripods today fold for stowing but never fold completely together, which requires a few more inches in storage. The Peak Design Travel Tripod folds to reach the diameter of 3.25-inches, which is roughly the same diameter of a bottle of water.
The ball head attachment continues to show off intuitive and minimalist design as it uses an Arca Swiss attachment for the camera to connect as well as continues to have compatibility with existing Peak Design Capture Clips. Peak Design opted to remove the extra knobs found on existing tripods that can sometimes confuse a photographer during set up. (I know I’ve almost dropped my camera from my tripods in the past because I turned the wrong knob in an attempt to adjust my framing of a shot.) Based on other images I’ve seen of the Travel Tripod, I’m glad that Peak Design went with clamps to hold the tripod legs in place versus screw-on couplings. Clamps are more intuitive and alleviates the chance of accidents because you actually know if the legs are properly secured at the height you desire instead of guessing if the couplings are torqued tight enough.
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Don’t forget your smartphone
The adage that the best camera–even a smartphone camera–is the one you have with you still stands true today, and Peak Design knows this, too. It includes an integrated clamp to mount your trusty smartphone to the tripod (Figure A) . Smartphones make capturing time lapse footage extremely easy, but the best results come from a securely mounted smartphone. The Travel Tripod allows a quick and easy change from your DSLR or mirrorless camera to a smartphone within a few seconds.
The Travel Tripod will be available in December 2019, but in typical (and successful) Peak Design fashion you can secure an early bird price via Kickstarter. Else, two versions will be available. The carbon fiber option will retail for $599. The aluminum alloy will be available for $349. If I can get my hands on a review unit from the team, I’ll report back with my thoughts on this new product. I look forward to seeing this in person as well as see how the competition responds.