The humble tripod. Whether you’re a lover or hater, photography just wouldn’t be the same without them. As with most things in life, a stable base is usually a good starting point; and when it comes to taking photos, this is just as important. I’m sure you will have fired off some shots in the past, only to flick through them at the end of the day and find some of them are blurry. I certainly have. This is where a tripod can be extremely useful and reduce some of the frustration.
As a very basic rule, the less your camera is able to move when taking a photo, the sharper your image will be. If you are hand-holding your camera then there is a strong possibility that you will move a little when you press the shutter down. Even the slightest vibrations can have an effect. Of course, raising your shutter speed and utilising any stabilisation hardware/software your camera/lens has to offer will improve things and may provide results you are more than happy with. When these options aren’t available though or the type of shot you want to take requires a very low shutter speed, guess what you could reach for… In my case, it’s Albert.
Albert is an offering from 3 Legged Things, a British tripod manufacturer, specialising in multi-functional, high-capability tripods and accessories. Albert provides a very strong platform on which to mount my camera and has a number of very useful features to match.
The first thing I noticed about him is the weight. At 5 lbs (2.24kg) you certainly do feel it. This, however, is quickly forgotten. Especially when you take a few seconds to appreciate the extremely impressive build quality. It feels like it’s built to last and I have absolutely no doubt that it will. The amount this tripod will hold is the next thing that will bowl you over. In it’s optimum state, it will hold an incredible 66lbs (30kg)*. Far more than you will ever need.
When folded, the tripod measures 16” (41cm). Still small enough to travel with. It comes with a lovely canvas carry bag with shoulder strap too which is a nice touch.
Each leg folds and extends seamlessly; and at it’s tallest, the tripod measures a staggering 74.5” (1.89m). It has a neat little trick up its sleeve for getting low too. In less than 30 seconds you can remove the centre column. This reduces its minimum height dramatically and allows you get as close as 5” (13cm) from the ground. This also saves a little weight too. I do tend to find that I carry it with the column in and just remove it if required.
Albert’s additional features don’t stop there. One of the legs is removable, allowing you to turn the tripod into a decent sized monopod with a maximum height of 54.5” (1.38m). I can’t say that I have ever used it but it can certainly imagine situations where it would come in handy.
The head that comes with this tripod is the Airhead 360. It’s beautifully balanced and ridiculously smooth. The aerospace grade aluminium ball certainly does its job. It’s also set up perfectly for panoramic photography because of the dual panning arrangement; base and top. These work independently, enabling level panning, whatever the surface or angle the legs are at. The degree measurements are a useful addition in this regard too.
The colour coded knobs make for easy identification when attaching your camera. The orange should be at the front under the lens to reduce any possible confusion. I particularly liked how little force was required to secure the ball in position. The locking knob provided me with plenty of confidence in its ability to keep everything in place.
The other great feature of this head is the base plate that is provided. The plate is designed for use with Peak Design Camera Clips and slots securely in. It means you can pay less for the clip because you already have the camera attachment,
For me, the camera clip is one of my most used accessories and I cannot recommend it enough.
At £399 Albert is certainly not the cheapest on the market. In terms of value though, you get an astonishing amount for your money. A good quality tripod like this one is something that will last you for years; likely far longer than any of the other camera equipment you own. You can use it with any camera you have now or anything else you chose to buy in the future too.
Albert comes in two colours, Equinox and Eclipse. Equinox is bronze and Eclipse slate grey. I much preferred the latter.
* 66lbs with legs at widest angles. Fully extended at the narrowest angles the tripod holds 33lbs (10kg).