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Is the YC Onion Pineta Peak Tripod a Sachtler Flowtech KILLER? A Video Review

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A fresh take on quickly deployable, lightweight video camera support, and a very well-thought-out product – here’s our review of the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod. How does it stack up to the Sachtler Flowtech? I tried to find out …

Quick and easy-to-deploy tripods are all the rage these days. I reviewed version 2 of the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod, which we originally reported about with a gear news video from IBC in 2022, after which it was refined and updated in 2023 (another video here). Now, we have the production version of this here for review. I tested the carbon fiber tripod; the aluminum version was discontinued. 

One-clutch design – pioneered by Sachtler with the Flowtech

The one-clutch design at the top of the legs was made popular with the Flowtech by Sachtlerhere’s our hands-on video. I’ve also reviewed the SIRUI SVT75 tripod, which uses a similar design but seems to be discontinued because it’s not available online anymore. However, viewers have asked us to review the YC Onion Pineta Peak and compare it to the Flowtech.

two tripods next to each other, Pineta Peak from YC Onion and Sachtler Flowtech
YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod next to the Sachtler Flowtech tripod legs. Image credit: CineD

YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod – first impressions

First impressions of the YC Onion Pineta Peak: This is a refined product! You can tell from all the details that they’ve done their homework thinking about what really matters on a tripod in the field. Materials are high quality; there is nothing that makes me immediately think, “This will break at some point.” It’s also very lightweight, with 3.5 kilograms or 7.7 pounds. Interestingly, the maximum payload of the legs is a whopping 35 kilograms or 77 pounds, so exactly 10 times the weight of the tripod itself. 

That is the same weight as the Sachtler Flowtech, but somehow, subjectively, it feels lighter to me – that might be because of the leg profile, which is a more traditional round telescopic shape rather than the wide shape of the Flowtech legs. The round legs are a bit easier to grab. 

Easy to carry: the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod review
Easy to carry: the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod. Image credit: CineD

Clutch design for fast deployment – does it work well?

The clutches on top of each leg are very easy to open and close – which is important because you do end up opening all of them at once in order to change the height of the tripod. YC Onion calls this the Feiso release system, and like the Sachtler solution, this is also a patented design, so it seems to work in a different way. Also, because the clutches are next to each other, you can even balance the tripod just by adjusting all three legs at once if you want, in case you are not using a ball head, and that works fairly well – so it’s basically adjusting the height of your tripod and leveling it all at once if you want. For that reason, there is also a bubble level indicator directly on the legs next to the bowl. Despite the fact that the clutches are easy to open and close, there is really no drift in those legs. I can almost hang onto the tripod and it won’t collapse any of the feet, which is really great. 

Convenient leveling: included Coconut bowl head

Let’s stick with the subject of leveling. The Pineta Peak tripod from YC Onion comes with the so-called Coconut bowl head by default. It’s a simple leveler with a 3/8 inch thread to attach a flat mount head on top, and it has a separate bubble level. Plus, the way it’s locked and unlocked is extremely convenient – just a little lever on the side. You only need to unscrew the bottom to remove it altogether. And then you can, of course, use most other standard 75mm heads with these tripod legs. YC Onion offers their own FH75 fluid head as an option, which can be directly attached to the Coconut bowl. It’s a very basic head without any counterbalance adjustment, but it’s also quite inexpensive if you need an additional head for a locked-off tripod shot. A neat feature on this head is the ability to switch between the standard Sachtler-type plate to the DJI RS2/RS3/RS4 plate if you are at a shoot working on a gimbal and need to switch back and forth to a tripod from time to time. Another thing is the way the handle extends, which feels almost magical and is extremely practical. 

Coconut bowl head on the Pineta Peak tripod – easy to balance. Image credit: CineD

Central shaft accessory

Talking about optional accessories, YC Onion also offers a central shaft that is 50 centimeters or 1.6 feet long. It attaches inside the bowl using a one-lever system, and the other lever can then be used to release or lock it. What’s cool is that the column can also be mounted upside-down if you want low-angle shots with your camera. Now, here’s a little caveat: we tried to use the center shaft setup of the tripod with a motorized slider, and it did end up moving quite a bit toward the end of that movement. Carbon fiber can flex quite a bit; this is a known issue, so if you want more stability, I recommend using the standard setup with a bowl head instead of the center column. 

Center shaft accessory of the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod, mounted upside down. Image credit: CineD

Lock buttons on legs – do we need them?

Back to the legs! On top of the legs, there are lock buttons on the unit that I was provided with for review. When pressing these buttons, the legs will stay in place, and the entire tripod can be carried. YC Onion informed us that future models of the tripod will not have the locking buttons, and I understand why – because you can’t unlock the buttons without also unlocking the angle adjustment of each leg. In order to lock the angle in place, you push this area back in. Right now you can still order this version of the tripod with the lock buttons on their website, but they said because some users felt confused by how this works, they decided to remove it. With a mid-level or ground spreader attached, the legs will stay in place anyway when collapsed and put together. 

Lock buttons at the top of the legs. Image credit: CineD

The Pineta Peak also comes with a convenient carrying handle that is comfortable to hold. Using this handle is a smart choice because carrying it by one of the legs without engaging the locking button could cause the legs to spread.

The top section of the tripod also features quarter-inch and 3 over 8-inch threads to attach accessories, for example, with a Noga arm. It’s great that they also thought about adding ARRI locking pins so the arm itself doesn’t turn when attaching or moving it. 

YC Onion Pineta Peak goes very low – and quite high

The Pineta Peak is quite versatile when it comes to height adjustment – it can go as low as 16 centimeters or 6.3 inches and as high as 155 centimeters or 61 inches. With the optional central shaft accessory, you can reach up to 185 centimeters or 73 inches. 

The Pineta Peak tripod from YC Onion goes very low to the ground. Image credit: CineD

Mid- and ground-level spreaders: innovative implementation of an often-neglected accessory

There is both a mid-level spreader as well as a ground-level spreader for the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod available, so let’s take a look at the mid-level spreader first. The attachment system is quite smart and straightforward, it works by twisting and pulling back. Of course, there are the length adjustments, and in the middle, there is a moveable adjustment switch that lets you choose between three different angles. In the middle, it even features a retractable quarter-inch screw that can be used to attach accessories. You can also take the mid-level spreader itself and use it as a mini table tripod, which is a very smart additional use for it!

Mid-level spreader on the Pineta Peak tripod.
Mid-level spreader on the Pineta Peak tripod. Image credit: CineD

The ground-level spreader also features a very convenient quick-release design that works a little differently from the mid-level mechanism but is even easier to use – which, in my opinion, is quite important when working on the floor as you really want to be fast with this. To extend the three legs of the ground-level spreader, there is a push button on each one, and then you have several steps of adjustments. The ground-level spreader itself is made of carbon fiber, too, like the rest of the tripod and also the mid-level spreader – but on a ground spreader, this almost feels excessive since I am a bit worried about scratching or breaking it when working with it outside on gravel. Then again, ground-level spreaders are a better fit on even surfaces like inside a studio or on concrete, so you should be fine if you take good care of them. 

Rubber feet are attached magnetically

While we’re already on the floor, let’s talk about the feet. YC Onion has introduced new spikes in the second version of the Pineta Peak tripod, featuring magnetically attached rubber feet. This design is super convenient. You can only remove and attach the rubber feet when you angle them in as shown below, so there is no danger of actually losing them in the field. This makes them significantly easier to attach and remove than on other tripods. 

Smart attachment of the rubber feet on the Pineta Peak tripod.
Smart attachment of the rubber feet on the Pineta Peak tripod. Image credit: CineD

Conclusion

YC Onion introduced some really smart ideas with the Pineta Peak, and it’s nice to see that they are constantly enhancing the product – which might make it hard to see which version you have, but ultimately it’s good for the product. It’s a tripod that “just works,” and you will know your way around it quickly since it has a very intuitive build. I can see this tripod becoming a standard tripod for small to medium-sized camera setups, but I would recommend using it with a higher-end fluid head than the little add-on fluid head that YC Onion offers. 

And how does it stack up to the Sachtler Flowtech? It’s hard to tell which product works better for me since they are both well thought out, and the lever design on both of them works really well. However, the YC Onion Pineta Peak costs less than half of what the Flowtech costs, so YC Onion wins the price/performance competition. It’s fair to say that it’s time to look beyond the traditional tripod manufacturers these days as there’s lots of serious innovation in tripods coming out of Chinese companies, and YC Onion is leading the pack with their Pineta Peak tripod. 

YC Onion Pineta Peak and Sachtler Flowtech tripods next to each other.
YC Onion Pineta Peak and Sachtler Flowtech tripods next to each other. Image credit: CineD

What do you think about the YC Onion Pineta Peak tripod in comparison to the Sachtler Flowtech? Let us know in the comments below!

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