As I think about it, I’ve never reviewed a piece of equipment I’ve only shared recipes. So… here goes nothing!
On August 6th I was notified that I won an online contest! I enter photography related online contests about once every other week or so. Here are the series of tweets/facebook posts that made it my way:
I was dumbfounded.
First. Here’s a link to the tripod I’m reviewing: http://www.3leggedthing.com/2gen/brianblue.html It’s actually on sale when I’m writing this review. It is called the ‘Brian’ – and yes, that’s also my name.
I’ve read a few reviews. Most of them are four sections: Unboxing, Impressions, Pros, & Cons. So, here goes!
I admit it, I tracked this package several times. 3LeggedThing is based in the UK. The tripod shipped from the UK. TNT is the shipping company that took it across the ocean. I watched it sit in a storage warehouse in New York as it cleared customs (YES!). I got more and more excited until the blue and white box arrived at my house:
Pretty box yes?
I was bouncing out of my skin when it arrived. The part that blew me away (completely) is that the box printed weight was 6lbs. I knew (from my pre-arrival research) that this included the tripod, ball head, carrying case & any packaging materials. This is a LIGHT tripod!
This tripod is just plain fun. I actually was not the first person to open it & play with it. I let my fiancee do the honors. She loves building things. I wanted to see how easy it was to use this tripod. I had already watched youtube videos & read online reviews. She was able to set it up in no time flat.
The tripod came in a blue and black bag. Once you open it you are (warmly) greeted by the top of the head (end plate) and the legs. In the photo below you see my tripod feet have some dirt on them (I’ve been using this thing!)
When you look at the tripod like this (and first pull it out of the bag) it looks strange. But, then we quickly figured out that the legs are just folded over the center column. Very nifty design! Folded up the unit is a hair over 16 inches long. It weighs just under 3lbs.
Some basics about the tripod:
3 legs (imagine that) each one has 5 sections (4 of them are adjustable) with friction locks. The legs are a sleek matte(ish) black. The legs completely come apart (including locking mechanism) for cleaning or repair.
One of the legs came with a muffler of sorts (some sort of neoprene wrap) which signified that this is the leg that can unscrew to become a monopod. Yes, the monopod is included in the tripod! What a crazy idea!
The legs are adjustable with these neat latch things to 23, 55, and 80 degrees. You can (as with many tripods) adjust each of the legs independently. Also, the tripod ships with allen wrenches to adjust the stiffness of the legs – so they can open and close easier or harder.
The unit comes with rubber feet but can be replaced/upgraded to spikes if you are into that sort of thing.
The center column is where more amazing action is. The center column starts (bottom to top) with a hook where you can hang your heavy gear. This unscrews completely to help you reverse the tripod for upside down shots. The column extends from 11 or so up to 19 or so inches (without the extender piece that comes in the bag). The column is in two segments. Also controlled by friction dials.
Ball head is on top of this. Typical with ball heads, it has a ball. There are three dials. The one that matters the most is the one that holds the actual ball in place. This dial has a ‘locking’ mechanism on it that is pretty nifty. The head includes a dual bubble level on it.
The plate itself is pretty cool, too. Aside from having the nifty 3LT on it, the plate holder somehow has a magic way of making sure the plate will not slide out of the plate holder, while still allowing you to move it side to side! I have read that this is all part of a larger plate system that I know nothing about. So- just know that you can interchange this with something nifty. (read: more expensive than I can afford)
According to the 3LT website, ‘Brian’ fully extends (including center column fully extended & ball head on it) to 6 feet 7 inches. That’s taller than me (6’2″). I’ve only fully extended it once- just to see it done.
I have shot with the camera upside down. I was doing a neat time lapse video thing.
As you can tell, I love this tripod. I love how lightweight, durable, and intuitive the product is. I’m also thrilled that my fiancee thinks this is a fun toy to use (and so easy to put up and take down). She has used it almost more than I have!
- Easy to use
- I sometimes want to cuddle with it
- I’ve had two technical malfunctions – an O-ring at the base of the center column was all wacky when we opened the box and the 3LT (rubber letters) on the base plate fell off. Both times I contacted customer support and they responded quickly — even sent me a new O-ring & base plate!
- Price! While I got mine for free (from the contest) the cost on this thing is prohibitive for an amateur photographer, such as myself
In conclusion, if you are in the market for a pretty fantastic tripod (even labeled a “travel tripod”) this is a great unit. I am looking forward to owning it and using it for many years. Next up for us is to travel with it on an airplane! I’m thinking that the small size will be a HUGE pro!