Review Peak Design Tripod

Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
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Spitfire Bluff, Velen
Finally bit on the PD Tripod (Aluminum). The quarantine has been fueling my GAS. I was never big on tripods until last year when I discovered the magic of stitched panos :D. Anyhoo, I thought I will share my initial impressions since I got nothing else to do.

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Excellent attention to detail. Of course it won't be a PD product without that but with tripod they have one upped themselves. See for yourself:

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The zipper on carry pouch is weather sealed. Little hook to mount PD anchors. They really want you to use those things! A tiny pouch which stores even tinier bushing removal tool. Notice the little hexagon icon to tell you what it is. This is inside the pouch. Y pattern on the ball-head matches their design detail on Everyday Messenger bags. I am a little bummed that the level bubble is a dull transparent variety rather than usual neon green. I am guessing they chose that to make it look coherent with rest of the tripod. I don't like it. Also notice tiny locking pins on either side. Supplied PD plate fits neatly between those pins.

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Mobile phones can be mounted on the tripod with supplied mount which neatly hides itself into center column. Galaxy S10e shown here but pretty much any, including massive pro phones, will fit in that mount. Notice the cute phone icon on the center column. In true PD fashion, there are magnets on both ends of the mount. The hook attaches to the mount with magnets. The mechanism of taking the mobile mount out is fidgety though. You need to lift and twist the little hook before you can pull it out. Same lift and twist action is needed to stow away that mount. Definitely not something you want to do in a jiffy, and if you are klutz like me - chances of losing one of those pieces.


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Somewhat surprising, super-glue holding the cladding to leg is visible on the underside of the legs. Loop to attach PD Anchor, of course. Knob to adjust center column can be pulled out for extra grip and then pushed back in. It has... a magnet, obviously.

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I was concerned about the whole ballhead and third party L bracket compatibility situation. Here is my EM1.2 with RRS L bracket mounted on it WITHOUT removing the little locking pins. PD suggests you should remove them before mounting an L bracket, but that might not be needed as long as your L bracket is not a flat metal plate.
The Chinese made L brackets without any grooves which have a flat plate on the bottom, won't fit without removing those pins.

Of note: latch to hold the camera in place is pretty strong as it is. Even without locking the ring, it will hold the camera. Definitely not suggested, but if you forget to lock the ring, camera won't fall off.

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Panasonic GM-1 with Sirui TY-C10 plate. Fits like a glove. Mighty D810 with a cheapo L bracket fits only when mounted on the bottom part of the L bracket. The vertical (L section) does NOT fit into for some reason. It is actually the exact same width as PD plate. Not sure what's going on there. A better L bracket like RRS or Kirk should fit. Of course, if L section doesn't fit you can always raise the ballhead and twist the whole thing 90 degrees.

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That's the lowest it can without reversing center column. Legs have only 2 levels of angle adjustment. Not a deal breaker, but most others have 3. Taking the center column involves removing fidgety and delicate feeling weight hook and mobile mount. The PD plate is exact same width as L bracket of D810 which does not fit. Little holder for hex key. Key is really well made and has beautiful finish. Unfortunately, it won't be long before its lost IMO. I wish it was held more securely. The plate costs $20, I guess that tool would be similarly priced.

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All in all, seemed pretty solid in my limited testing. Definitely sturdier than Leofoto, Sirui, Benro and Vanguard tripods (which were all Carbon fiber) I had before. This one probably won't beat RRS or Gitzo, but for the size, convenience and just pure cleverness, I think it is a very neat piece of gear. And this is still V1. I am sure the next iteration would be even more impressive.

The weak looking twig like center column is rather strong too despite its appearance. I was bummed initially by that column but after handling it briefly I am comfortable with it.

Other minor nag, the mobile mount is unlike rest of the product - its weak and doesn't feel high quality. I am however, glad they thought of it and included it as a standard equipment rather than charging extra. It must be noted that the aluminum model costs more than most other budget CF travel tripods so there's that.

Biggest issue that I see is as clever as that ball-head is, you can't do panning like on any other ball-head. Technically, you can still do panning but it won't be as foolproof as a regular BH. A panorama head/panning base like this should solve that problem at the cost of losing some of the incredible compactness. If I find one of these clamps at good price, I shall try and update this post.
 
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