Peak Design is one of those crazy successful companies that had its start on the crowd funding platform Kickstarter. Their success is no surprise when you check out their entire product line of photography accessories that solve real world shooting issues with simple, unique solutions.
Beginning with the Capture Camera Clip, Peak Design sought to solve a setback faced by almost every on-location photographer: where to put your camera when using a different body or just wanting to use both hands for something? The two part system uses a tripod-like mounting plate for the camera, and a matching quick release receiver that can be securely attached to your person or bag for the ability quickly transition between shooting and whatever else you might want to accomplish.
The crowd funding campaign was a runaway success, with the project eventually receiving thirty-six times more funding than the initial goal. Obviously the boffins at Peak Design were on to something.
Today, Peak Design has quite the catalog of must-have, cross-compatible products that makes photography on the go so much easier. We are going to look at a few products from Peak Design: the Capture Camera Clip version 2, PROpad, Leash, Cuff, Clutch, ARCAplate, and Micro Anchors.
Right from the start, we can see Peak Design is aiming for practical, durable, and compatible accessories. Let's get started from the heart of the beast and move our way out.
Capture Camera Clip
This is the second version of Peak Design's original product, and there's plenty to be said about it. One thing that might be said more often than not is, “Why didn't I think of that?” due to it's simplicity and ingenuity. The Capture system has two main pieces, the quick release receiver and the camera plate, and allows one's camera to be securely attached to your person using any kind of strap such as a belt or backpack straps.
Using Peak Design's PROpad, a neoprene and nylon pad that allows you to attach the clip to your belt horizontally, we tried on the Capture Clip. The clip itself has two parts that screw together, sandwiching whatever strap you want to attach it to. In this case, the PROpad slips over a belt or backpack strap and gives extra padding behind, and a secure attachment point for, the Capture Camera Clip.
In our tests, we attached the camera plate to a Canon 70D with an EF 24-105mm L series lens, not a light rig by any means. After hooking our camera mount into the Capture, I was surprised at how secure everything felt. I would be confident moving and walking around with this rig attached to my belt. Running and jumping would be precarious: I still have a camera and lens combo worth several thousand dollars attached to my hip with what amounts to a screw and a few layers of fabric. Jiggle could be an issue with significant movement. That being said, I could still use this setup regularly without worrying about my camera at all.
While the Capture camera clip comes with a basic camera plate, Peak Design has an entire line of more advanced camera plates. We received the ARCAplate, a camera plate that provides easy to use thumb screw for camera attachment, rubber coating for camera protection, four attachment points for anchors and other straps, as well as compatibility with the Capture clip and most ARCA-type tripod heads. The plate works exactly as intended, and attaches sturdily to our camera. We have been using this plate with the Clutch strap with no problems.
Peak Design has recently replaced the ARCAplate with their PROplate, which has additional features such as compatibility with Manfrotto's RC2 quick release system.
What's a good camera mount without a good camera strap to go with it? Peak Design has that based covered as well, with the Leash, Cuff, and Clutch. Before we get into strap specifics, lets first talk about the unique system that each of these straps implement to make cross compatibility a piece of cake. Peak Design created all of its products to be compatible with their Anchors, a uniform plastic disk and tie that can be attached to any strap point on your camera or mounting plate and adds quick release capabilities for compatible Peak Design products, including all of their straps and mounting plates.
The leash is the logical next step for utilizing the Anchor system: an anchor attachment point on both sides of an adjustable strap! The Leash comes with two Anchors and the leash itself, and works exactly how you expect. The Leash definitely adds a lot of functionality to the traditional camera strap by making it easier to attach and detach with the anchor system, and the adjustable cam works fine. But the strap itself is just that: a nylon strap. Using the strap for extended periods with anything larger than a point-and-shoot will likely cause strain on your neck or shoulders.
Like the Leash, but simpler! And shorter! The Cuff is essentially a cam-adjustable loop with an Anchor attachment point at the end. This is a great accessory if you don't necessarily want your camera to be strapped around your body, but you don't necessarily want someone to walk off with it either. Works exactly as intended, so…thumbs up!
The Clutch is Peak Design's hand grip for DSLR bodies. The strap attaches at the bottom using one of Peak Design's camera plates and Anchor, and the strap itself consists of an anchor quick release, hand pad, and adjusting metal cinch attached to a small strap that's compatible with most camera's strap attachment point. While the Clutch strap itself is very well made and comfortable, the operation of the cinch itself makes the product a pass. The cinch can be lifted for quickly loosening the strap, but the problem is this loosening action is dependent on the angle of the cinch itself. This would be fine for most functions, but since it's wrapped around a curved surface, oftentimes movement of the hand will actually cause the strap to immediately become loose, making the entire strap useless. I can't help but feel this doesn't pass muster for this caliber of product, and calls for a redesign of the adjustment system.
Peak Design's products all exude an air of high quality and and a professional aesthetic while providing some serious functionality for making photography that much easier. Products like the Capture clip and Anchor system products are sure to find a permanent home in the bags of many pro shooters.