I had the pleasure of spending a lot of time and travel with the 3 Legged Thing tripod called “Eric”, and in this article I am going to share my thoughts on the product. This review will not be a general review of the tripod, but rather one specific to travel photography.
The tripod I received to review is the 3 Legged Thing “Eric” kit with the Airhed tripod head w/ foot spikes.
If you have been considering a 3 Legged Thing tripod, then this review is for you. It’s honest, blunt and right to the point. What makes this review even more interesting is that I’m a Really Right Stuff tripod user. Please note that this review will not be comparing the two tripods aside from size and weight.
Before I get started, here is my original unboxing video of the tripod.
Ok, time to dig in!
Eric is a pretty compact tripod with thin legs. While traveling, the legs fold up instead of down like most tripods. Doing so enables the tripod be smaller than it normally would. Here are some specs on the tripod:
- Carbon Fiber
- Kit Weight: 3.84 lb
- Folded Height: 19.69 inches
- Tripod Max Height with column retracted: 56.34 inches
- Tripod Max Height with column fully extended: 79.13 inches
- Load Capacity 17.64 lb
- Leg Sections: 4
- Column Sections: 2
This tripod is small as I mentioned, however not extremely small like the 3 Legged Thing “Brian”. In fact, my teaching tripod is a Promaster carbon fiber tripod and even that is smaller than “Eric”.
Take a look at this Instagram photo from my friend Gevon. The shorter tripod is the “Brian” tripod from 3 Legged Thing. While “Erick” is bigger when compact, it is also bigger when extended.
So that’s not to say this isn’t a good travel tripod. On the contrary, I believe it is! My Really Right Stuff TVC-24L is 3.75 lbs (lighter than “Eric”), holds 40lbs (more than “Eric”), is 23.25 inches when folded (bigger than “Erick”) and 66.75 inches when extended (without the center column it’s shorter than “Eric”). So comparing the size to my workhorse tripod, “Eric” is much easier to travel with than my Really Right Stuff tripod.
- Arca Swiss: The Airhed tripod heads are Arca Swiss mount style. That means that I can use the plate it comes with on a camera or use my Really Right Stuff L Bracket which is already on my camera.
- Monopod: One of the legs of the tripod can twist off and turn itself into a monopod. That means if you are shooting in a location where tripods are not permitted but monopods are (like the High Line in NYC) then you still have camera support on had.
- Leg Pad: The same leg that turns into a monopod has a zippered padding around it. That is useful for carrying the tripod over your shoulder and when holding the tripod in cold weather.
- Foot Spikes: The tripod doesn’t come with the foot spikes by default, but for a little more you can pick them up. They’re extremely useful for when photographing near water.
- Padded Case: The tripod comes with a really nice padded case and shoulder strap.
“Eric” is extremely easy to keep with me at all times. I can attach it to any camera bag and not add much weight or bulk. I can throw it in the back of my car and drive to a location. I can fit it in my suitcase when flying somewhere. You name it, “Eric” can get to where you’re going.
Being that the folds up into itself, the size is very small. However, that does make for a longer process of getting the tripod ready to shoot. I found that during the closing and opening of the tripod that sometimes the 2 center columns move which slow down the process even more. It’s not terrible, but it does happen.
As a long exposure photographer I found that the tripod is ok when the wind is calm and the center columns are not used. Once the wind picks up or I need more height, “Eric” could not take extended shutter speeds even with my Think Tank Photo bag hanging from the bottom. The movement is there and caused the photographs to be soft.
3 Legged Thing Conclusion
This tripod is without a doubt one that will be used on a regular basis, but not for everything. “Eric” will be stored in the trunk of my car so it is always with me shooting around New Jersey. However, it will not be my travel photography tripod when flying elsewhere. Why? Mainly because I photograph a lot of long exposure photographs and cannot risk shake when my shutter speeds are minutes long.
There is no perfect tripod out there that can fill the needs of both the traveler and the long exposure photographer. In order to get the precise stability from wind and height there must be trade-ups with the size of the product.
However, the tripod is perfect for grab and go situations, or when shooting anything that is not a long exposure. I will also be using “Eric” as a teaching tripod, replacing the Promaster tripod as the main student tripod.
If you are in need of a good travel tripod, then definitely check out this one. 3 Legged Thing did a fantastic job creating a versatile, lightweight and compact tripod that can go anywhere and do many things.
Thanks for reading and happy shooting,