X1.1 Brian Evolution 2

3 Legged Thing Brian review

3 Legged thing (3LT) is a British tripod company, based in Stagsden just a bit north west of London. 3LT is a pretty new company, but they have already put quite a mark on the tripod market with their well thought designs, awesome quality and quirky/cool image. Their "Rock Legend" range of tripods, monopods and multipods all have names coming from English and American guitar legends such as X1 Brian (May), X2 Eddie (Van Halen) and X4 Eric (Clapton).

And the one I've had for a bit more than a year now is the X1.1 Brian Evolution 2 Carbon Fiber Tripod System which is a travel tripod and also the first and original model they made (it's been modified and refined a bit from the first version). Brian is extremely versatile and can extend from only 125mm above ground up until 2040mm (2,04 meters). These are the specifications directly from 3LT's website:

Tripod specifications:

Kit Weight:     1605g
Tripod Weight:     1325g
Monopod Weight:     278g
Monopod min Height:     377mm
Monopod max Height:     1310mm
Tripod Min Height:     120mm
Tripod Max Height with column removed:     1265mm
Tripod Max Height with column retracted:     1342mm
Tripod Max Height with column fully extended:     2000mm
Folded Height:     420mm
Load Capacity:     8kg
Maximum Leg Tubing Diameter:     26mm
Leg Sections:     5 - (26, 23, 20, 17 & 14mm)
Leg Angles:     23°, 55° & 80°
Column Sections:     3 - (26, 23 & 20mm)
Leg Locking Mechanism:     Evo 2 Double-Break Friction Dial

Ballhead specifications:

Ballhead Control:     Pan, Lock & Clutch
Ballhead Height:      87mm
Base Width:          48mm
Ball Diameter:           37mm
Ballhead Weight:      336g
Load Capacity:         35kg
Plate Size:        52mm x 50mm
Plate Weight:        46g

To put it very short, Brian is awesome. The tripod can be very compact while folded, though I have taken away the centre column which means that it can't be double folded and therefor it's a bit longer, but still compact. And very light, but at the same time sturdy, much sturdier than I ever thought. Though obviously a travel tripod of about 1,5 kilos can never be as sturdy as a tripod weighing in at 4-4,5 kilos, I don't think that has to be said, still this tripod is really sturdy. I've had it out in rather windy conditions with no problems. Brian is a delight to carry around while hiking anywhere thanks to it weighing in at around 1,5 kilos and being really compact, and now I don't hesitate to bring it anywhere with me, which I did with my old Manfrotto (which was great, but big and heavy). Though I have to add that I will eventually buy Frank, the biggest model in the whole range for when I just walk from a car down to a really windy beach and where the extra weight and sturdyness of that one will be even better for long exposures. But back to Brian.

The legs can be set in different angles, depending on if it's macro photography or landscape or anything in between. The leg section locking mechanism is really good, it's the twist type and after having other types before, I much more prefer this type. It's fast and easy and does not need much of a turn to loosen/tighten. The center column are also in sections which is great if you need it to be really tall if you want to use the tripod as a lighting stand, but for photography I don't need it and that's why I've taken it out (saves a little bit of weight), which is really easy.

One of the legs can be taken off and be used together with the ballhead as a monopod, which can be really handy. I've never used it yet, but I'm sure I'm gonna do it at some point. And then we come to the actual AirHed1 ballhead. It is smooth while moving it around and also sturdy (since it can hold 35 kilos) and it's compatible with the Arca-Swiss standard of quick release plates. I use a Sunwayfoto L-bracket on my Canon EOS 5D MkIII and it works like a charm with the AirHed1.

Brian comes in a nice padded bag, with some cool stickers and I can only come up with one thing that is not that good. And it's that they're always out of stock and hard to get your hands on. That says something about how wanted these tripods are. I got mine very quickly but I know that they have some problems with stock (just like f-stop). I just have one more thing to add, and that is that if you're out for a new tripod, try and get your hands on a 3LT, you're not gonna regret it.