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3 Legged Thing Leo Travel Tripod and AirHed Switch

Today I’m really excited to tell you about the 3 Legged Thing Leo and AirHed Switch.

I had the opportunity to go to CES 2017 and I ended up meeting Danny, the founder of 3 Legged Thing. I then proceeded to watch a 15 minute presentation about the 3LT’s newest travel tripod the LEO as well as the AirHed Switch which is a great ballhead mount. And I’ll tell you what, I was blown away. I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on one of these and see if what Danny was showing me translated when I actually used the tripod.

I want to start off by saying that this is a beautiful piece of kit. Every part of this tripod looks fantastic and feels extremely solid and well made. Let’s start with some basics: The LEO weighs in at 3.18 lbs and measures at 13.5 inches in length. It has a load capacity of 66 lbs and comes with counterfold legs.

Carbon fiber looks different, you’ll notice that they don’t glue stripes on it to make it look pretty. They use a very high quality Japanese carbon fiber that doesn’t degrade or stress under load and it doesn’t delaminate in water like some lower end options. This carbon fiber is porous but 3LT soaks it in kerosene prior to packaging to help give the legs a repellant quality and to stop them from being damaged by salt water.

3LT uses parallel twist locks which have a machined magnesium alloy leg lock with 3M rubber pads glued into it. Which both looks awesome and is better for grip especially when they are wet or cold. These parallel twist locks are a bit larger than others we’ve seen which actually help with the stability of the tripod. There is more tube above each section of the leg which means additional overlap between the sections and results in an overall more sturdy construction.

I saw some video online where someone did a review of the LEO and they mentioned that they had problems with locking the legs. They said that they couldn’t figure out how to lock the legs once they were retracted and the legs kept coming out. I really don’t know what they are talking about. I actually tried to figure out what they were doing that would have resulted in that happening and couldn’t. All you have to do is unlock the locks, retract the legs and then lock the twist locks. I’ll do it again, unlock, extend, lock. Unlock, retract, lock. I’ve been using this tripod for a few months now and I’ve never had an issue.

The legs can lock in 3 different positions and the center column has 2 sections. At it’s highest position the LEO is 52” tall and 56” with the AirHed switch. At it’s lowest leg position, the tripod base is practically flat on the ground. If you want to get even lower, you can remove the center column, and unscrew the tri-mount plate. You can then screw the Tri Mount plate directly to the tripod base and now your camera will essentially be right on the ground.

INVERTED COLUMN FOR MACRO WORK

If you like to do macro work, a lot of times your subject is really low to the ground and it’s difficult to get the camera to that height with a traditional tripod. The LEO has an inverted column design which lets you remove the center column and then remount it in an “inverted” (shocker) position and then mount your camera upside down. You can extend the legs to get more room to work with. And because the other end of the center column is also threaded, you can add a tether table and then just work directly from your laptop or ipad so you’re not even messing around with the camera anymore.

ADDITIONAL STABILITY

If you’re shooting a lot in inclement weather and you require some additional stability, 3LT came out with a few accessories. Stilettoz Heelz which can be mounted to the end of each leg and then pressed into softer terrain. ,Or with an inverted center column you can attach one of them to the bottom, then anchor the tripod that way. This way you have a super stable platform.

You can also use the travel bag and fill it up with rocks, then clip it to the D ring at the bottom of the center column using the Toolz multi-tool.

TOOLZ

The Toolz. It includes coin key, which is essentially a flathead screwdriver, that can be used to tighten and release the quick release plate from the camera. It also has a hex key that can be used to tighten and loosen the legs, and then finally a bottle opener so that you can crack open a beer.

AirHed Switch

The AirHed Switch is a beautifully machined ballhead mount that has an arca swiss clamp with an easy switch release. 3LT uses Peak design capture compatible plates. They offer different size quick release plates both with and without the security pins prevent the quick release plate from sliding off the of the tripod. Once you lock the switch, the camera is not going anywhere. To release the plate, you pull this latch forward and then you pull the switch back.

Monopod Leg

So you think you’re only getting a tripod but guess what, there’s more. You can unscrew one of the legs and use it as a monopod. On it’s own, it can be used as a small monopod my mounting the AirHed directly to the leg. But if you need additional height, you can remove the center column from the tripod and attach it to the monopod leg. And for even more height, you can extend the additional center column section and now you have a monopod at a great height. Of course this isn’t a 7 foot monopod, but remember it’s actually a part of a travel tripod.

You can also remove the foot and then you’ll have a ¼ 20 on one end and a ⅜ thread on the other so it can be used as a mic boom or a selfie stick.

TRI MOUNT PLATE

The tri-mount plate is a 3LT patent and has several uses. You can use it to keep your Toolz mounted on it so that you don’t lose it, which is what I do.

You can use these rings to store anything you may want to keep handy by clipping it right to the Tri Mount Plate. Also, it’s nice that the plate extends outside of the diameter of the of the head, it makes it much easier to remove the head. Sometimes when the mounting plate is round, and you try to unscrew the head, they both come off, and that’s not the case here because you can brace the plate and make sure you’re only unscrewing the head.

VIDEO RIG

If I want to shoot video, the LEO can transform into a makeshift video rig. I can extend one of the legs down to use as my anchor and then extend the center column to get the camera up to eye level. Now I mount the camera and level it using the AirHed. At this point, the sky is the limit. I can remove the monopod leg and mount an external monitor, I can extend the other leg and mount a light. I can use the 2 legs to direct the camera like I would on a video rig and I find that I can get pretty stable footage. I can even lean the camera against my shoulder for additional stability.

This isn’t a setup that I saw endorsed by 3LT. Danny actually showed me a similar setup that was a little lower but more stable. But I was just playing around one day and the system is so modular and versatile that it made sense and definitely worked with a DSLR.

CONCLUSION

This video probably ended up being longer than I expected and that was simply due to the fact that this travel tripod, I’m actually going to just call it a travel tripod system, can do so much. I can really see how much thought went into the design and development of this tripod.

I seriously can’t over emphasize how impressed I am with the build quality. I put both a 5DMKIII with a 24-70 and a C100MKII with a 70-200 on it, and the LEO performed great with both.

If you’re in the market for a new travel tripod I would very highly recommend that you check out the LEO from 3LT. There are cheaper options out there but you know what I always say, buy it nice or buy it twice. I’m confident that this tripod system will serve me well for years and I think it’s definitely worth the price.

If you have any questions about the 3LT LEO, AirHed Switch or any of the accessories I reviewed today, please put them in the comment section below. If this video was useful please help support our channel by giving it a like and subscribing. Remember to check us out on Twitter and Instagram @techgeartalk.

See you soon.

For more information, please visit the 3 Legged Thing website.

Leo Travel Tripod:
https://www.3leggedthing.com/equinox/leo-carbon-fibre-tripod-system-airhed-switch?acc=1afa34a7f984eeabdbb0a7d494132ee5

AirHed Switch:
https://www.3leggedthing.com/airheds/airhed-switch-grey?acc=1afa34a7f984eeabdbb0a7d494132ee5

Tripod Accessories:
https://www.3leggedthing.com/accessories?acc=1afa34a7f984eeabdbb0a7d494132ee5

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