The 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod is part of 3 Legged Thing's ‘Punks’ range that, despite capitalizing on a slightly hackneyed British ‘Punk’ vibe brand image (besides Brian, other models include Mike, Tommy and Nicky) this travel tripod also incorporates some pretty solid British engineering design.
Material: Carbon fibre
Leg sections: 5
Weight: 3.1 lbs
Max load: 30 lbs
Folded height: 16.14 inches
Ball head or pan/tilt head: Ball head
It’s simultaneously one of the tallest tripods we’ve tested for our best tripods guide (opens in new tab), yet also one of the most compact once folded away. While it’s not the lightest of the travel tripods available at 3.1 lbs, it’s certainly something that isn’t too cumbersome to carry around with you for a day (or night!). It has a premium feel to it and a more premium price tag than its nearest competitors but, overall, we think it’s worth it.
3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod: Design
- Carbon fiber construction
- Tactile bubble grips
- Folds down to 16 inches
The 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod is made from eight layers of 100% pure pre-preg carbon fiber which makes it both light enough for everyday use as well as extremely stable. It folds down to an impressive 16 inches and comes with a tough nylon drawstring carrying bag.
In order to fold down into something so compact, the construction incorporates five leg sections that twist and untwist into place with a handy click that lets you know you’ve untwisted far enough to elongate the section. All the knobs and leg twists have been finished off with a tactile bubble grip which not only makes it better for all-weather use but has a much more premium feel than others we’ve tested.
The center column twists into a fixed position rather than with a knob; this is because it has another great design feature in that it can also function as a detachable monopod which the manufacturers have suggested but it can also be used for microphone boom or even a selfie stick.
The feet are made from durable rubber and 3 Legged Thing also make a range of ‘footwear (opens in new tab)’ for different terrains that include spikes (‘heelz’), elevated spikes (’stilettoz’) and claws (‘clawz’), among others.
The connector plate uses a hex key to fasten it which is fine if you never take it off but annoying if you want to switch between cameras. They give you a handy tool (‘Toolz’ as it’s called) with it that clips onto the tripod under the ball head using a carabiner. The other tools in the kit include a coin key, a keyring, and, strangely (but surprisingly handily) a bottle opener.
3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod: Functionality
- Easy to carry
- Slight ‘falling into place’ with longer lenses
- Multiple leg positions
The 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod is very compact at just over 16 inches when folded down, which makes it extremely easy to pack into your luggage or carry around all day. It comes in a tough nylon drawstring bag with an adjustable shoulder strap and even a microfibre bag in which to store the Airhed attachment. This diminutive package means the tripod has five leg sections that twist/untwist into place so while you’re saving on space it’s a tiny bit more time-consuming to put up and take down. But it’s worth it.
The legs use a twisting mechanism that has a handy little click when they’re unscrewed enough to elongate or retract though we did find that they needed to be screwed in a bit tighter than it first seemed – just requiring a second twist for absolute tightness.
The legs can splay out and lock in at 23º, 55º and 80º from the center column which means the minimum height from the ground is around 16 inches. At the other end of the spectrum, it can extend to a maximum height of 74 inches, which is great for the taller amongst us.
The manufacturers claim that the 3 Legged Things PUNKS Brian Tripod can support weights of almost 10 times its own, and this was certainly in evidence when we tried him with the heaviest DSLR and zoom lens we own. The camera was easily fixed into position and remained stable throughout the 30-second exposures. Curiously, however, the mirrorless camera with a 70–300mm long lens had to ‘fall’ into position by a few millimeters before staying still for long exposures which proved rather annoying when trying to compose a shot. But it did, however, manage to stay still for the 30-second exposures once it had managed to rest into place. We can only assume it’s about weight distribution rather than total weight. The tripod coped well with 20mph side winds with exposures of up to 20 seconds and it was also remarkably stable on a pebble beach.
We’ve already covered how great the 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod is for both the mirrorless and DSLR systems but it’s also a great option for phone photographers as 3 Legged Thing offers a range of universal bracket systems. There's a three-cornered plate with holes in it that sits just beneath the ball head which gets in the way a little bit when trying to maneuver the head into position. It didn’t really seem to have any other function besides being the hook for the tool carabiner.
Should you buy the 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod?
The 3 Legged Thing PUNKS Brian Tripod is at the higher end of the travel tripod price spectrum but we do think it’s worth it. For that premium price tag, you get an exceptionally constructed piece of kit that’s versatile enough for night photography shoots. The hex-key-enabled connector plate is a bit annoying but once you get used to it, or even leave it on your camera, it won’t be a problem.
If this product isn’t for you
If the price tag is a little too dear but you want something similar, the Manfrotto Be Free (opens in new tab) is an excellent choice. It also incorporates solid build quality but without quite such attention to the tactility of the knob detailing.
If you’re a DSLR user and need something that will carry the extra weight of bigger lenses, the Vanguard Alta Pro 263AB (opens in new tab) can take up to 5.4 lbs.
If you’re just starting out with astrophotography and are looking for something solid and dependable but at the lower price end of the spectrum, the Joby GorillaPod 5k does the job, if you can find something to secure it to for those all-important long exposures. But if you’re looking for a full-size tripod, the Benro Slim is a great starter tripod.