Peak Design II (with video)

Back in 2012, I began looking for another way to connect my camera to camera straps, wrist straps, and tripods.  The problem was this, if there was a strap to keep the camera safe from accidental dropping, it almost always interfered with the tripod plate.  It pd3almost always involved having to unscrew something, connect something else, then redo it all over again when done.  There was nothing that seamlessly linked my wrist cuff, strap, and tripod plate, they all seemed to work against each other and not together. That’s when I discovered Peak Design gear, it appeared to solve all this.  If it worked as advertised, it would mean no more fumbling around with equipment and no more straps that didn’t work with other products.  I checked in to it and my love affair with them began.  While I’ve used many of Peak Design products over the years, mostly camera bags and rain covers; however, pd4it’s the products that I’ve used almost daily since 2012 that I’m writing about today.  Peak Design does make some excellent bags but after back surgery, my frame is a little touchy about what is hung on it for long periods.  I’ve found something that works better for my needs, but if my back could handle it I’d still be using their Everyday Messenger Bag as it’s probably the best all around bag I’ve ever had and only camera bag I’ve ever missed.

Back to today’s topic, this is gear I’ve been using practically every day for the last seven years.  I wrote about these products in a blog entry on June 27, 2016 called Peak Design.  In that article I said, “I can’t see myself walking out of the house to shoot without a piece of Peak Design gear on me,” that still holds true today!  However, looking back at that article, it seemed that a video might do a better job explaining how these work.  So here’s an attempt at better explaining these products, hopefully….

 

The attempted fun aside, in about a minute and a half the camera went from a shoulder carry strap, to a wrist cuff, then two separate tripod mounts, to a backpack carry using the Peak Design Capture, and ending up back on the tripod.  Admittedly, there was help from my personal assistant and daughter, but that was only to avoid dead time between swaps.  The goal wasn’t to show how fast it could be done but how versatile the gear integrates.  As the video demonstrates, everything centers around Peak Design’s Anchors and the Dual Plate, which also allows the connection.  The Anchors can be placed anywhere on camera that allows for carrying and also on the Dual Plate itself.  Using a Dual Plate means there is never a thought about how to carry the camera and as shown in the video, it works on Manfrotto and Arca-type tripod heads.  It simply doesn’t matter if the camera is carried on a wrist cuff, sling, backpack, and you decide to put the camera on a tripod because it’s all integrated.  Back in 2012, Peak Design appeared to be the only company doing this.  Their gear is so much a part of my photography life I can’t see myself without these.  Using the Sling, Cuff, and Dual Plate with Capture means less time screwing around and more time shooting. Frankly, these items are as important to me as a camera bag.  I say this because of how much time previously spent connecting a camera to various straps and tripods.  You’ll find a Sling and Cuff in each of my bags and, although they haven’t gone bad, I keep an extra Anchor or two in there too (I replace them yearly).  There are also Dual Plates on both cameras making everything easy peasy lemon squeezy.

It’s not unusual to get looks or be approached by other photographers when I’m seen wearing a camera on a backpack harness.  Most seem skeptical till I tell them it’s worked for years and I’ve got 100% confidence in it.  I’m not some uber rich guy who can afford to drop a camera or two…  I’ve seen plenty of doubters online as well, then someone says “that looks like Peak Design” and explains it.  So the word is getting out on this well built gear.  My original Dual Plate and Capture were purchased in 2012 and still work perfectly.  Yes, this gear isn’t cheap but buy it once and you won’t be spending money again for a long time!  Currently, the Capture sells for $49.95 and the Dual Plate for $24.95.  If you don’t use a tripod and have no need for the Dual Plate, you can buy the Capture with an Arca plate combination for $69.95.  Click [HERE] to visit their various straps and cuffs.  Below are some photos of the Dual Plate and Capture attached to backpacks and bags, it doesn’t get any better.  Lastly, as stated in the video, there is no affiliation between myself and Peak Design, I get absolutely nothing if you purchase their products.  However, if you do make the leap, I’m pretty sure you won’t regret it.

 

Geekoto X25 Defender Review

When the folks at Geekoto approached me about testing a tripod, at first I was flattered. However, later I was actually a little scared because I wondered what I would do if it just wasn’t very good?  Then what?  I decided that if it wasn’t very good I’d send it back with a polite, “thanks but no thanks.”  Fortunately, that wasn’t the case as this tripod was quickly a pleasant surprise!  Out of the box, the Geekoto X25 Defender tripod appeared to be a very sturdy aluminum alloy construction and surprisingly well-built considering it cost much less than my currentScreen Shot 2019-03-06 at 15.48.13 tripod.  I had everything needed to get started including a tripod plate, an allen wrench to tighten down parts, and even a decent carrying bag.  Immediately, everything on the X25 Defender was easy to understand; if you’ve used any name brand tripod you’ll understand every feature instantly from the leveling bubble to securing the legs; everything makes sense.  My attention was draw to features and quality that scream this thing should cost more than $150!  All the moving parts are smooth and everything locks down well with no drift in the ball head when you clamp it down for a shot.  Even the plastic on X25 doesn’t seem cheaply built!  While I’ve only had it for a few weeks, it does look like it will stand the test of time.  These are just my initial observations, everything about this tripod looks very promising. 

When I took it out shooting I noticed that my height of 5 foot 9 inches tall, this thing extends beyond my height out to 75 inches.  That said, like any tripod, the higher you extend it the less stable it becomes.  This tripod does as well as any other here, possibly better.  However, it’s more stable if Geeketo 2you extend the thinner legs last and go as high you can without raising the center.  On this day I wanted to see if the X25 Defender could handle a heavier load so I put a Tamron 150-600 G2 lens on my Canon 6D for a weight of about 6 pounds and extended everything out and it was surprisingly sturdy (photo at left)!  I wouldn’t recommend using this setup in extreme wind, but the point is that for every day use this tripod does a great job, but it can handle more.  If it can handle this bulky setup, I think it proves one aspect of its versatility.  One other feature worth discussing, the X25 Defender converts to a monopod as well!  When shooting I sometimes consider whether to bring a tripod or not, at times a monopod is just more practical so I then have decide tripod or monopod?  With this Geekoto tripod both options are readily available, very cool indeed! 

In my opinion, this Geekoto tripod is much better than most travel tripods I’ve owned.  When I’m at home I carry my carbon fiber tripod as it’s much more stable, however, it takes up way too much space when flying.  This tripod is somewhere between that tripod you have at home but can’t carry and the travel tripod you pack on trips because it fits in your luggage.Geeketo 1  The important item here, there’s not much compromising with this tripod, oh and it’s rated to hold 22 pounds!   This is a great entry-level tripod or an excellent travel tripod and frankly, I’ve paid more money for travel tripods that weren’t as nice as this one!  All in all, the Geekoto X25 Defender packs a lot of punch with a 360 degree panoramic ball joint combined with a center tube that also swivels 360 degrees allowing you to set this tripod up in just about any conceivable angle.  At the bottom of the center tube is a clip to hang a weight such as a camera bag, something my big name tripod doesn’t even have! Oh did I mention it has a monopod build in?  That’s bang for the bucks!

Like camera bags, no tripod is perfect, there were a couple of minor things that I personally wish were different but nothing that would be a deal break.  For instance, I prefer lever locks on the legs, it’s easier to visualize if they’re locked or not.  Also, the lockdown nut for the center tube at the base of the tripod, I’d prefer a screw type mechanism.  Neither of these are the end of the world, just a personal thing…  All in all I beleive this tripod should last a long time if properly cared for and not abused.  You can purchase your Geekoto Defender at Geekoto.com or Amazon.com for just $149.98, that’s about one quarter of what I spent my current tripod.  The Geekoto X25 Defender is a great bargain and solid tripod, I would gladly recommend this to anyone not wanting to spend a fortune yet wanting quality.  My plan is to keep using if for a while and maybe write more in the future.  Everything about using this tripod was a positive experience and I look forward to seeing Geekoto’s future offerings.  Thank you Geekoto for this great opportunity!

* Photos of me were taken by my daughters Amanda and Melinda Chizek.Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 18.21.20

Peak Design

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front):  I don’t ever tell people they NEED to get something, or want to convince someone to make purchases that may not be for them.  However, I have been using Peak Design gear since 2012 and am still wow’d by their products!  In fact, I can’t see myself walking out of the house to shoot without a piece of Peak Design gear on me.  They make durable gear that makes photography easier and once you use it you’ll wonder how you did without it.  They have a selection of products for numerous photography platforms including most camera brands including GoPros.  I’ve bought many pieces of gear from them but I’d like to write about the ones that have mattered to me, that made photography better, and life a little easier.  I use their Everyday Messenger Bag, a fairly major purchase for me, and I’ve already written about that a couple of weeks ago (Everyday Messenger, is the honeymoon over?).  Surprisingly, it is sometimes the little things that work the best over the long haul.  The image above is an example of those “little things” that make life easier.  In the above left photo is an anchor which connects to your camera, on the right is the capture plate which connects to the CapurePRO or your tripod.

I use the anchors to connect to the Peak Design Cuff (above left) & Sling (above right).  If I grab my camera from the bag, at a minimum, I’ve got the Cuff attached for protection against dropping. If I’m going to be out for a while and don’t want to change lenses, I’ll take the Slide which is a great camera strap.  The Anchors allow me to attach these wherever I want!  This allows the the Sling (camera strap) to sit comfortably in the manner YOU like.  I personally like the lens to hang down and not out, because I’m a klutz. As mentioned in my review of the Everyday Messenger, I want bang for my buck and this comes in the form of how much I’ll use the item vs. how much space the item takes in my bag.  The Anchors, Cuff, and Sling are used daily and take up minimal space.

The capture plate, on the bottom on the camera in the above left photo, allows your camera to connect to your tripod as well as Peak Design’s CapturePRO (photo above right).  The CapturePRO can connect to a belt via the ProPad, a backpack shoulder strap, or in my case the Everyday Messenger.  It makes for a sturdy platform to carry your camera, again where YOU want it, and in a safe manner.  That’s the important part, these products are versatile and allow you to set them up to your needs.  The below photos show my camera attached on my tripod at right and my bag using Peak Design products.

These Peak Design products have literally made my photography life much easier.  There is no thinking involved and I no longer have to plan how I’m going to carry my camera. I used to own straps, grips, and tripod plates that didn’t interconnect; for instance, the hand strap had to come off if I wanted to put the camera on a tripod.  Everything works together!  While I do carry other Peak Design items, these are the pieces of gear I use daily and I know how much they help me. Like I said in my BLUF, I’m not one to tell people to make purchases but I’m hopeful that I’ve made the case for how these products have helped me.