Sir Winston Churchill–one of the most respected men in modern history. He helped lead a nation to victory through World War II. His famous quote “we shall never surrender” sums up his determination to succeed no matter the heavy burden it carries. Not only did he maintain his unwavering trajectory, he looked good while doing it.
It’s a well-known fact that he left a design for a tripod that carried his virtues, but the technology was just not there yet.
Sir Winston Churchill was way ahead of his time.
So now I have the 3 Legged Thing Winston tripod in my hands. Does it live up to this *possibly true* intro I just gave it?
So I’ve owned a few tripods throughout my life. If the 2016 Spencer could tell the budding, younger Spencer one thing to guide his life as a professional photographer, it would be to select an awesome tripod right from the beginning and to not waste money on all the tripods that would end up failing for one reason or another. I would tell young Spencer to just buy the 3 Legged Thing Winston.
So–yes–the tripod does live up to the namesake.
Let’s start with the build quality and appearances. Oh, yes. The build quality. The feel of the matte carbon fiber legs–with all the carbon fiber that present intended for support and none of the fake carbon fiber weave which exists purely for aesthetics. But just because this tripod does not have the gimmicky pattern does in no-way take away from the beauty. From the awesome anodization of the metal pieces to the active capture of the twist mechanism that gives me a very confident feeling of being locked–this tripod is quality. Cleaning the legs are also wicked easy–without tools!
I have a few tripods that I currently use based on the task at hand. I have a tripod for when I travel by plane and need something light and portable. I have a tripod for when I need to be very incognito and fit a tripod INSIDE a bag. Then I have a tripod for everything else–that’s astrophotography, studio photography, road trips, landscapes and long exposure shots. For those tasks, I usually use the same tripod. I want something stable and quick to deploy. I usually go for something with the fewest leg sections. Weight is less of a concern because I am not worrying about it going in the overhead compartment. That tripod is my most used tripod. My former tripod has now been replaced by the Winston.
So what does this tripod do that is outside of the norm? For a tripod that gets this tall, it’s amazingly compact in its folded form. Also, the minimum height comes in at around half a foot. That is just enough for it to hold my Sony cameras for some very tight macros. Add to that one of the legs turns into a monopod! And if you prefer that your ballhead mount directly to the crown and not a center column…you’ve got that. And these last features are things that happen on the entire Equinox line at 3 Legged Thing.
Wow. Just. Wow.
So what can 3LT improve on with this tripod? Not much, actually.
Some back story…
I am a heavy user of the Peak Design Capture clip. That device is seriously disruptive (in a positive way) to my shooting workflow. I can “wear” my gear comfortably on my backpack when I am hiking and be able to take a picture at a moment’s notice (without opening my bag). This has been useful, for instance, when I hiked Oneonta Gorge in Oregon. If you are not familiar with that chasm, it involves maneuvering over a large log jam that is so dangerous, it actually can be fatal. As such, it involves using your hands and feet to climb over slippery logs to continue on the hike (picture above with my lovely wife).
Being able to safely climb AND take a photo at a so seamlessly is something that I could do only with the Capture Clip. It securely holds my gear and then allows me go directly onto any arca-swiss compatible clamp. The only disadvantage is that the Peak Design implementation of the arca-swiss standard makes it difficult to put a fail-safe pin that can hold the camera should the screw on the clamp loosen.
It would be gut-wrenching to have your expensive equipment come crashing down due to a slipped arca clamp. So my workaround is to use another Peak Design product, the Cuff, to clip onto the camera. It’s not made for this purpose, but using it as such gives me enough confidence to hold the camera in case it does come loose. It would be nice if the clamp on this tripod had a lever that would ensure a complete lock–that’s all.
One last thing I wish I had (for purely sentimental reasons) is soft padding on the legs. I got used to having something to grip when my hands get slippery or when I am out photographing in the cold. My solution is to wrap a leg with a chainstay protector I purchased from a bike shop.