3 Legged Thing Winston Tripod

160824FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSSILCE-7RM2144-2
3LT Winston

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.

160824FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSSILCE-7RM2144-9

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 My former tripod has now been replaced by the Winston.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.

150526FE 28mm F2ILCE-7S-22
Oneonta Falls: That’s my wife casually sitting on the most dangerous pile of logs I’ve ever experienced.

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).

160824FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSSILCE-7RM2144-5

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.

Problem solved.

160824FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G OSSILCE-7RM2144-14


This has now become my favorite tripod. It’s such a perfect match for my type of photography. It is beautiful with the right amount of bling without looking like a highlighter (I’m looking at you, MeFoto). It is light and stable where it counts, and weighty where it matters. So if you’re reading this and you haven’t purchased a tripod yet…you now know what to get.

A camera and a smartphone.

ORG_DSC07347-03

One humongous reason I have shifted all my shooting to mirrorless cameras is because I wanted smaller devices that were still as fully featured (if not more so) than my larger SLT cameras. Saving weight is nice and all, but I did it so that I can actually fit more gear into my bag.

One thing I couldn’t quite shed, though, was my computing system. I always had to bring a laptop (and it’s large power supply), a mouse, and an external backup hard drive. That meant I had no choice but to also carry another bag that housed my computational needs.

This was inefficient. In the past five years, my photo gear has managed to shrink by about a third, but my laptop has remained the same size. When I discovered a wireless SD-card capable external drive that was compatible with my mobile phone, it dawned on me that I could leave the laptop at home and just use my smaller phone and tablet.

But I wanted to take it further. I wanted to see if I could leverage my android devices to not only backup my media every night, but to also edit the images to a degree near what I could do at home.

DSC07034-01 DSC06843-01 ORG_DSC07619-02ORG_DSC08022-02 DSC08240-01 DSC06806-01 ORG_DSC07329-02 DSC06873-01 So I packed up my camera gear, my android phone (with the Snapseed mobile application), and wireless SD card 2TB hard drive and set forth to photograph the changing colors of the North Eastern part of the country.

This is what I was able to do–all from my cameras and editing on my phone.

 

What did I learn?

DSC06798-01

I could definiately do it. Barely making a change to my workflow (in fact, improving it slightly), I was able to take pictures with my camera like I normally would do, wirelessly transfer select jpeg images to my mobile device for editing and sharing, and archive my photos and videos at the end of the day at the hotel while I brushed my teeth and got ready for bed (the wireless hard drive can automatically backup my SD cards upon inserting the card in the hard drive slot).

DSC08077-01

The output of the imagery could even be printed and published–it’s that good. Now there are some things that I couldn’t do. For instance, my desktop computer at home has some sophisticated software for editing RAW software. That way I can really leverage all my dynamic range and push my shadows and highlights–far more than I can with the normal jpeg. But for the majority of my other images, this newly found mobile solution suited me fine.

DSC06988-02

No need to bring the proprietary charger for my laptop, I was able to charge my hard drives and mobile devices with the same ubiquitous micro usb charger I also use to charge my cameras!

DSC06870-01

Snapseed is one insanely sweet mobile application. I find myself using it like a simpler touch-friendly Adobe Lightroom-like program that can edit jpeg images that come out of my Sony A7R II and have a degree of latitude in editing thanks to the dynamic range of the camera. I could even clean up specks from a dirty sensor.

ORG_DSC07445-01

The word “impressed” was inadequate to describe how I felt.

DSC08268-01

Less cables, less power requirements, less baggage, lighter luggage, a simpler infrastructure, smoother traveling and the ability to edit images while waiting for my sandwich to arrive.

DSC06636-01

Photo nirvana.

Note: every image here was taken on my Sony A7R II, edited on my Nexus 6 phone. I am writing this article on my phone on the flight back home.