Pineta Peak Tripod Reviewed: Big, Versatile, and a Great Value

Pineta Peak Tripod Reviewed: Big, Versatile, and a Great Value

Tripods can run the gamut from tiny tabletop-style tripods to hefty production-grade setups. The Pineta Peak system from YC Onion sits towards the bigger end of the spectrum but blends smart use of materials and features to make it a reasonable purchase for many photographers and videographers. In this review, I’ll take a look at the system and give some context for why you might want to add this tripod to your kit.

Pineta Peak Specifications

The Pineta Peak tripod is definitely on the larger side, especially if you’re more familiar with typical photography tripods. As a quick refresher, tripods all make a tradeoff between the number of leg segments, the size of these segments, and the corresponding max height and stability. You can have a travel-style tripod with 5 or 6 skinny leg segments, but this will have a correspondingly greater tendency to shake and wobble.

Meanwhile, the largest tripods will have larger, fewer segments, often designed with bracing in mind. These won’t be nearly as portable as they don’t collapse as small, but they can be rock solid even with a heavy kit on top. The Pineta Peak has 3 sections, with a solid diameter of 39, 34, and 29mm. This puts it among the biggest photography tripods I've seen, outside of some specialized versions. For videography, it's in the medium range for a "videography" tripod and feels smaller with the bracing accessories and spreader removed.

The Pineta Peak, when folded down, measures 30.8 inches and weighs 7.7 lbs (78cm and 3.5kg, respectively). As such, it’s the biggest tripod in my kit, edging out my Gitzo legs that were previously my benchmark for stability when shooting long exposures and landscapes.

While having that large of a minimum for the leg segments could translate to a less flexible tripod, YC Onion integrated adjustable angles at 22, 52, and 82 degrees. This lets you splay the legs out to various degrees, driving the minimum height to just 6.3 inches (16cm), albeit at a wider footprint.

What the thick legs, very durable carbon fiber, and metal construction all add up to is a huge payload capacity. YC Onion rates the capacity at 77.2 lbs (35kg) when using the bowl head, and while I don’t have a kit that even gets close to that weight, demanding applications like high magnification macro or super-telephoto lenses present absolutely no problems. Even heavy video rigs would be hard-pressed to get to that weight capacity.

The bowl head itself is very well built, with metal throughout, bubble levels, set screws, and fine-tuning of drag. For photographers who might not be familiar, a bowl head allows for quick and easy leveling of the camera, even if your legs aren’t precisely level. While most commonly used for video work, I’ve still found this helpful for photography, particularly when shooting panoramas or other applications where nailing the horizon is important.

The bowl head can also be swapped out, with YC Onion identifying cross-compatibility with popular bowl heads including the Sachtler aktiv6, aktiv8, and aktiv8T.

The feet as currently shipping are dual-use: rubber pads that are removable, facilitating a quick reveal of spikes for sandy or icy surfaces. Also present on the tripod are 1/4” and 3/8” threaded holes for installing magic arms or mounting gear.

The Pineta Peak In Use

One of the biggest factors in using a tripod is how easy it is to deploy. The Pineta Peak uses YC Onion’s FEISO release system. This system uses a single locking lever at the top of the tripod to release or lock all the sections of a leg with a single flip. It’s almost ridiculous how much faster this is compared to individual leg locks, even considering “good” implementations, like Gitzo’s G-Lock, particularly when deploying the tripod from a fully stowed position.

To deploy, spread the legs, flip the locks, and lift to your desired height. Flip the locks back and it’s in place, all in about two motions. Collapsing can be slightly more finicky, as you might need to give one leg a little wiggle to prevent sticking if you aren’t dropping it straight down. Even still, this is absolutely the easiest setup and teardown I’ve had with a tripod. Modifying the deployment is equally easy, as you can target single legs and adjust the entire length with a single flip. No longer having to “revise” the lengths of each leg segment just to get things dialed in!

As previously mentioned, this tripod is both capable of supporting great heights and great weights. With the bowl head, you can hold up to 77.2 lbs at a max height of 61 inches, while the central shaft option can push that 72.8 inches high (albeit at a drastically reduced 3.1 lbs payload capacity). Combined with the minimum of 6.3 inches, you can really get your camera into just about any position you can imagine and hold it there with precision.

I particularly enjoyed combining the bowl head with a gimbal-style or panorama-style head. For more methodical workflows, like multi-row panoramas, the great stability was so helpful and reduced the sting of the size and weight penalty of this whole setup. I'd also love to run this with a 3-axis or cube head for the ultimate in precision when photographing architecture.

Just like many creators' workflows these days, the Pineta Peak is designed for both photography and videography. Kits are available with a fluid head, spreader, and support for video-style bowl heads, meaning the Pineta Peak would make a great option for video production at a more affordable price point compared to some of the big names in video tripods.

For photographers, dual-use feet and the included bowl head, along with support for multi-angle shooting, make this a very capable tripod for stills photography of all kinds. I’d find it particularly useful for workflows that demand the highest level of stabilizing performance: use with long lenses, studio workflows, product photography, macro, and modern PixelShift-style shooting can all make use of a truly rock-solid setup.

While this won’t be the first tripod I reach for when going on a long hike, I still think it’s a very well-diversified piece of kit. There are a number of very useful features, most prominently in the FEISO release system, but also things like the swappable feet and including mounting points, that I’d love to see come to a slightly smaller system—perhaps a 4-section version with just support for a regular photography tripod head and shorter overall length.

Still, if your workflow can make use of the features, size, and stability, I think this tripod is an excellent value. A basic kit, including the tripod and bowl head, is available for $749 from Amazon, which is a significant savings compared to other tripods with a similar size or feature set.

What I Liked

  • FEISO leg releases make setup and teardown easier than every other tripod I’ve tried
  • Very durable build makes for a very stable tripod in use
  • A great blend of photography- and videography-friendly features make this a single tripod solution for creators of all genres who aren't overly concerned with size or weight
  • A nice selection of available accessories, like feet, a spreader, a bag, and more, make this a well-supported setup

What Could Be Improved

  • It comes in a single large size, and many creators won’t make use of all the size and capacity
  • Availability from common US vendors has fluctuated, so consider looking for a kit that includes everything you’d want
Alex Coleman's picture

Alex Coleman is a travel and landscape photographer. He teaches workshops in the American Southwest, with an emphasis on blending the artistic and technical sides of photography.

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