X1.1 Brian Evolution 2 Carbon Fibre Tripod System with Air-Hed 1 Blue
Having found the need for a travel tripod I did some research on what was available on the market at this time and found a British company that make what looks to be a good range of tripods. The company is called the 3 Legged Thing. Now if I can I will support British manufacturers if they make a good product and I had come across the name a few times but never really looked at the products so having found a good deal on the above item (this is not the latest version which is Evolution 3) I went ahead and purchased one.
For travel I made the decision last year to go with the Fuji system (the X series) as its compact and very light in comparison to the Canon which is a big plus as it is easier to carry and get onto aircraft. They also do a good range of lenses too. So I think that this tripod will work well with the setup. The proof will be in the field of course.
I have never used a travel tripod before as I have usually taken my Canon system with me on my travels and so packed my full size Manfrotto which was always a challenge. The thing that made me go for the 3 Legged Thing ‘Brian’, was that it had a good height range which some of the others didn’t. It extends at full extension to around 2.0 metres and the kit weighs in at just 1605g. Apparently its called ‘Brian’ after a certain rock guitarist – all the tripods in the range are named after guitarists.
When fully extended this tripod will put the camera at round my head height (I am about 6ft), so this was a good tick in the box for the selection.
In terms of design ….
The tripod legs actually fold back on themselves to save space; (see the image at the top of the post) this is common with most of the current range of available travel tripods, and in theory should make it easier to pack and transport, which was another reason for going for a travel tripod. The legs and central extension column lock in place with twist locks which seem to work well. They have a rubberised coating which is a nice feature and they are easy to use.
Again as with most of the units I short listed, you can unscrew one of the legs and with the head and centre column you then have a monopod, which may be useful – we shall see. There is also a zip-on neoprene cover on one of the legs, which may be useful in colder weather; this again is common on most of the other makes too.
I have tried out the tripod a couple of times and so far have found it steady enough with the Fuji set up (not tried the long lens yet) in normal conditions. How it will cope in windy conditions we will see but it is provided with a retractable hook (spring loaded) on the centre column from which you can hang a camera bag if you think that would help. I have not tried it out with all the legs and columns fully extended, this would put it well above my normal working height, but it is good to be able to go there if I need that bit of extra height. However this will make it a bit more susceptible to magnifying any movement as it uses the thinner sections of the central column.
The ball head supplied with this version of the ‘Brian’ is the Air-Hed 1 and it is well made and seems to work well once you get used to what each knob does. Again I need to use it more out on my travels to really get a feel for it.
There is a new version of this head (the Air Hed 3) which is what you will get if you buy the current model Evolution 3. I am not exactly sure what the design changes are but the pictures show that it has a slightly different shape and comes with a with detachable Pano-Clamp.
I have an L bracket plate–grip fitted to my camera and really like the design and slightly extra grip it gives you. It provides a bit more protection for the body and is quick mounting with its Arca Swiss groves. As the Air Hed comes with an Arca Swiss compatible release plate this was another tick in the box for me when I was deciding on which tripod to purchase.
When it arrived this was one of the first things I checked and it fitted perfectly. It does make using the camera and tripod together very easy and I would recommend it to any Fuji X users
The head is supplied with a plate but I have not used this as yet, so I am not able to comment on how well it secures the camera etc. You also get a tripod bag with handles and a carrying strap which is useful. The case is padded and of good quality and has hard ends. However this makes it a bit difficult to pack as you can’t flatten it if you need too. It also has a pocket in the end that opens and where you can keep your accessories like the supplied allen keys etc.
Overall my first impressions of this tripod have been good, and I am looking forward to using it soon. I will blog some results using it in the near future.