Is the Peak Design tripod worth it?

The peak design tripod is the best tripod for people who don’t like tripods.

Peak Design reinvented the wheel when they released their tripod in 2020. It may have been the only good news in 2020.

Today there is still not a competitor that has created a better tripod for the size. After using this tripod for the last two years, I can honestly say this is my favorite tripod.

Why I bought it?

Like many of you, I’ve watched every YouTube video and read every article there is on the peak design travel tripod. I read good reviews, bad reviews, and had a hard time deciding between the peak design and Manfrotto befree tripod.

I finally decided that the manfrotto tripod didn’t offer anything better than peak design. I couldn’t stop thinking about how I might regret buying the manfrotto.

A few months later, peak design finally released their tripod, and the reviews started to show up on YouTube. People seemed pretty honest about liking it or being annoyed by the head. Then my REI membership offered a 20% off discount, and that’s when I decided to just buy it. 

Opening it was like Christmas morning. I had never felt so much excitement for a tripod. Like few other purchases, this tripod made me want to get out of the house. 

The best tripod for people who don’t like tripods

Have you ever left a tripod at home and then kicked yourself later for not bringing it?

Have you ever packed up all your gear and then left the tripod in your car because your expensive camera has image stabilization and you decided you wouldn’t need a tripod? Then the sun sets and your trying to get the best shot of the evening with a camera balanced on a stump and some rocks shoved underneath it. 

The peak design tripod for the most part solves this problem by it’s design. I can fit it inside my backpack and quickly take it out. Or I can put it in the water bottle compartment and it doesn’t look odd.

This is the main thing I like about it. It’s easy to get to because of the small size. I know there are smaller tripods out there, but the girth of every other tripod just takes too much exterior space.

Also If you’re like me you don’t walk around in public places with a tripod because it’s embarrassing. I don’t like people to know that I’m a photographer. Having a tripod is an eye sore. It attracts attention, and also shows people that you have expensive gear.

This is why I don’t carry a camera bag that looks like a camera bag. 

Next, the feel of it. There is definitely a learning curve using the tripod head, but after a few hours it’s a piece of cake. Getting the camera locked in is as easy as the manfrotto system. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s secure. 

Why I chose aluminum

Well the aluminum version is $300 and that’s $300 less than the carbon fiber version. Secondly, I heard the carbon fiber tripod wasn’t all that stable, so I figured the only benefit would be to save a few ounces. For me, an extra $300 is worse than the few ounces I’d save with the carbon fiber.

The extra weight of the aluminum might even make it more stable, and if I need more stability the nice hook at the bottom will hold a heavy camera bag for even more stability.

I got the aluminum version, it feels light, and I don’t regret my decision.

Why everyone doesn’t like it

It seems like most people don’t like this tripod because they don’t like the ball head, the allen wrench screw, and they think it’s too expensive.

Some people don’t like the ball head, but I love it. There’s also ways to add a different head. You can even add a Pano head. See below.

The Allen screw for the camera mount is another concern, but it’s easily fixed by changing out the screw.

This tripod is expensive, but that’s why I bought it at 20% off. I think they really should have sold it at $269, but they’re covering the R&D so can you blame them?

Plus, they gave away a ton of money when the tripod launched to COVID-19 charities.

How to do panoramas using the Peak Design tripod head?

A lot of people are upset that you can’t do Panos with this tripod, but you can, and you don’t have to remove the ball head to do it. I actually wrote a full post about this here.

Isn’t a ball head the same as a leveling base?

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 ’til your heart is content. Now, I wouldn’t recommend this if all you do is panos or if you need a fluid head for most of your work, but for someone who does occasional panos this is a quick fix. 

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

Before I purchased this tripod I was worried about how I would shoot panos. I also was interested in the ifootage tripods that had an easy leveling base as used by Thomas Heaton.

The cheapest ifootage tripod goes for $150 and doesn’t include a tripod head. Those heads can easily go for $100 and up, and they are much heavier. For these reasons, I thought it would be more effective to go with the peak design tripod. 

How well does the peak design tripod work for astrophotography?

Thirty minutes after getting it in the mail, I was on my way to Big Sur for some photos of the night sky.

Surprisingly, it did a great job. It wasn’t extremely windy, and the tripod was able to stay steady with a star tracker (Moveshootmove) and a shutter speed of 4 minutes without any motion blur.

It also stayed balanced with my star tracker, tripod head, and camera/lens attached to it.


This is the best tripod for people who don’t like tripods because it’s small, quick to use, lightweight, and it just looks cool.

I honestly do not enjoy taking a tripod with me on location, but image stabilization will never give you as much stabilization as a tripod. I’m sure there are other great tripods out there, but for me the peak design has been the most enjoyable to use. 

Pros: Small, light, easy to use, easy to learn, Lifetime warranty

Cons: Expensive, magnetic tool slips off, not for full time panos

Purchase here