Best tripod in 2023

The best lightweight tripod for panoramas – Peak Design

The new Peak Design Travel tripod is one of the most popular tripods today for its durability and small design. After owning this tripod for over a year, I use it for portraits, landscape photography, and astrophotography.

Some have been frustrated with this tripod because the tripod head isn’t able to do panoramas due to the ball head design.

If you’ve read the title of this post, you might be wondering how the peak design tripod is able to do panoramas without removing the head.

The Peak Design tripod is perfect for panoramas because it’s lightweight and sturdy.

Most people don’t think you can do panoramas with it, but panoramas can be done when using the peak design tripod head as a leveling base and mounting a separate panning head on top.

Let me explain.

What is a leveling base?

A leveling base is a device used between your ball head and your tripod head. It’s used to level your tripod head to make properly aligned images for landscape photography, architectural photography, or panning motions for video.

Leveling bases can be used to keep the horizon level. This works great for images with a horizon or aligning architectural designs.

Most tripods include a leveling base but don’t include a tripod head. That’s why the peak design tripod is similar to any other tripod you might purchase with a leveling base.

The ifootage tripod shown below is an example of a tripod with a leveling base that doesn’t require a tripod head.

How to use a leveling base?

A leveling base is also a quicker way to level a tripod than most standard methods. Here are few quick steps to level your tripod base.

  • Unlock the base
  • Align until the base is level
  • Lock the base
  • Attach camera to pan head

How to mount a panoramic head to the Peak Design Tripod?

The idea of using the ball head as a leveling base is just like any other panoramic tripod. The easiest way to do this is to use a Peak Design tripod mount.

This is what you will need


Buy a 1/4 to 3/8 Adapter to mount the peak design quick release to your panning head. Then level the peak design ball head and mount the panning head via the quick release that is attached to it. You can then pan and tilt as needed.

See images below

Peak design head mounted to pan head
1/4 to 3/8 Adapter threaded to tripod head and mounted to quick release
Peak Design tripod with pano head
Pano head mounted on Peak Design head

After mounting the peak design quick release to the Pan and tilt head, you can keep the extra head in your camera bag and attach it anytime you decide to do a panning shot.

Other Recommended Panoramic tripods and heads

If you want a tripod that’s a little heavier and less expensive, I would go with the ifootage line of tripods. They have both aluminum and carbon fiber options, but they are much larger in design compared to the peak design tripod.

The cheapest ifootage tripod goes for around $150 and doesn’t include a tripod head. If you mostly shoot panoramas, I would recommend going with ifootage tripods.

Ifootage also makes great pan and tilt heads. They are a bit heavy, but they have incredible performance if you shoot video.

Click on the link below to see the ifootage tripod pan and tilt head.

Thomas Heaton has a great video on the setup he uses for shooting Panos using the ifootage bowl tripod. You can watch his video here.


If you’re looking to use the peak design tripod for panoramas, it’s definitely possible. Think about this tripod as a leveling base and you’ll be able to easily attach another pan and tilt head whenever you need it.

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