Pushing the envelope, that’s what 3 Legged Thing has done with tripods, and now the company introduces the most radical departure from conventional tripod design ever developed: Legends.
Make no mistake, this is a family of tripods that both photographers and videographers will be able to use. In fact, it is the first time 3 Legged Thing has introduced products designed for both photo and video. Legends, presented as the the most radical departure from conventional tripod design ever developed, will be equally useful for video makers or landscape photographers. Let’s look at the whole picture, though, to better understand the reasoning behind these new 3-legged friends.
Modern cameras with higher ISOs give users the – wrong – impression they can leave their tripods behind, but wise photographers know better. Videographers already know that a tripod is essential, but if you’re a photographer trusting the power – and lie – of high ISOs, remember that some of the most iconic images from photographers all around the world have only been possible, because a tripod was used. So, next time you travel, take a tripod with you.
Tripods from British company 3 Legged Thing are traveler friendly, and you’ll find a whole series of solutions waiting for you to choose the one most adequate to your needs. Now, there is a new option, with the Legends series, designed and engineered in Stagsden, England, a family of the new products delivering, says the company, “unbelievable strength, maximum versatility, and incredible build quality.”
The inspiration for Legends
3 Legged Thing tripods usually take their names from famous people. Punks Brian tripod took its name from the 1979 Monty Python’s film The Life of Brian, as Iggy and The Cradle took its name from rock star Iggy Pop. Similarly, the monopod Alan took its name from Alan Turing, the man behind the techniques that allowed the British and Allies to break the German Enigma code. The Legends name takes its inspiration, says the company, from skateboarder, musician, photographer, and 3LT Pro Team member, Ray Barbee, the ethos of the Legends range is innovation, outstanding performance, and creativity.
3 Legged Thing’s CEO and Founder Danny Lenihan explains: “With every incarnation of tripods, we bring new and exciting technological advances, and upgrades to existing design and engineering. Legends is a back-to-the-drawing-board look at how we use and need tripods in modern photography and videography, with ideas dating back five years that we had previously left undeveloped. With emphasis on workflow and user-friendliness, we’ve simultaneously lowered the weight, and increased the load-to-weight ratio, without compromising stability or rigidity. We’ve added advanced functionality, the likes of which have never been seen before, and made major aesthetic changes for our most incredible tripod range to date.”
Meet Mike and Jay
Danny continues: “When I first saw Ray Barbee, as a teenager, making his Bones Brigade debut in the Powell-Peralta film, Public Domain, my perception of skateboarding instantly changed. Here was this kid, who had defied normal conventions of neon and garish 80s fashion, and replaced them with a tee, jeans, Vans and a baseball cap. His style was smooth, inimitable, flowing and utterly effortless, and it was this that inspired me most. The parallels between Ray Barbee’s ethos and creativity, and the ideas forming in my head were tangible and quantifiable. I wanted to bring this new range to life, with fluid workflow, effortless movements, and unbounded style. When I mentioned to Ray that we’d like to name a tripod as a tribute to him, he was incredibly modest and humble. I knew then that it was exactly the right thing to do. Whilst the Ray tripod isn’t the first in the range to launch, it is important to understand that the influence and inspiration for the rest of the range, and the three debut products, all stem from Ray Barbee’s commitment to the arts, and I look forward to launching his signature product in 2020.”
The first two tripods in the range are Mike and Jay, 3 Legged Thing’s first levelling-base, hybrid photo/video tripods. Equally useful for video makers or landscape photographers, levelling base systems enable smooth and fast set-ups on challenging terrain. Mike is a full size carbon fibre tripod, designed for incredible stability in any conditions, whilst Jay features shorter carbon fibre legs with more sections, creating a travel-friendly video option, the first of its kind.
Not one, but three detachable legs
Mike is named after one of the original Bones Brigade skateboarders, Mike McGill. Inventor of the McTwist (arguably the most iconic trick ever invented), Mike is one of the most famous skateboarders in the world, and a professional for over 30 years. Jay is named for the late Jay Adams, the Dogtown skateboarder, whose style was inspired by surfing, influencing a whole new generation of skaters.
Similarly, the tripods in the Legends range share this DNA of innovation. These tripods have not one but three detachable legs, adding a level of versatility rarely seen in a tripod system. The legs can be used as a monopod; as boom arms for lights or microphones, or both!
With the legs removed the tripod can be used on table-tops or at ground level by joining a set of 3LT’s tripod footwear to the leg hinges. This enables both Mike and Jay to be used for macro work, bringing photographers a varied range of perspectives from which to shoot. With the addition of 3LT footwear, the levelling base can also be used as a foot stabiliser for a monopod leg, adding an extra level of versatility to the products.
Made of Japanese carbon fibre
The tripods are constructed from 8 layers of 100% pure Japanese carbon fibre, and aerospace-grade, anodised magnesium alloy, providing incredible strength, rigidity, and durability.
The new tripods have 3 Legged Thing’s new Rapid Latch, a hardwearing anodised mag-alloy latch with auto-engage lock, which is used to open and position the legs. The Rapid Latch has been specifically designed to make adjusting the legs quick and simple, even if the user is wearing thick gloves. Rapid Latch is also designed to be friendly to those with disabilities or hand injuries, enabling them to easily change the leg angles without complication or fuss.
Each of the legs can be used at three optimal angles creating different shooting heights, and can be positioned independently for use on uneven ground. The tripods come with removable rubber Bootz, which can be replaced with one of four varieties of alternative footwear, to increase stability on even the most challenging surfaces.
The Legends range tripod leg locks have new external designs with raised O-Pads for improved, grip, leverage and water displacement. Internally, the locks have been engineered with a new design of Chicken Lips (shims) which give the locks greater strength and grip, and formidable anti-rotation.
The AirHed Cine
Mike and Jay’s levelling base has a friction control that enables users to finely-adjust the positioning. Both tripods are also available in kits with 3 Legged Thing’s stunning new video head, the AirHed Cine.
Precision milled from aerospace-grade magnesium alloy, and featuring a distinctive spiderweb design, the AirHed Cine has an adjustable, fluid-motion, tilt mechanism that offers smooth movement and can be controlled directly, or with the included panning arm. The arm can be fitted to either side of the head for right or left-handed operation. The AirHed Cine is available with a choice of standard video clamp and plate, or an Arca-Swiss compatible clamp and plate, and features a ¼”-20 thread for externally mounted devices such as articulated arms.
The first two tripods in the Legends range are expected to be in stores in early December. Mike’s suggested retail price is $549.99 for tripod only, with tripod kit including AirHed Cine SRP of $849.99. Jay’s SRP is $479.99 tripod only, and $779.99 for Jay Kit with AirHed Cine. The AirHed Cine is available separately with a suggested retail price of $349.99.