3 Legged Thing Punks Billy Snap Verdict
The Punks Billy looks great and not just because it’s in the Camera Jabber colours. The anodised finish and carbon legs give you a real sense of quality, but it’s only when you start to use it in earnest you realise just how good it is. It’s not a travel tripod although the slender profile and weight might suggest this.
Billy is a full height everyday model that builds on the groundwork provided by the excellent Punks Travis. Suffice to say that the Punks Billy comes as close to perfection as can be when it comes to a tripod since it arrived it has rarely if ever not by my side; it’s lightweight, sturdy and reliable.
If you need a versatile full height tripod that challenges that need for any other support, then that’s the Billy, and at £250 it’s a tripod that will last you a lifetime.
For Punks Billy
- Light weight
- 165 max heigh
- Low profile
Against Punks Billy
- No accessories port
When I reviewed the 3 Legged Thing Punks Travis last year, I was blown away by just how good it was.
It was the first tripod of its type, price and weight that provided me with full height support but without the bulk. It was also simple yet feature packed, and ultimately it felt built to last. Almost a year on with almost daily use it’s still going strong.
It did everything I wanted from a tripod, and the only real upgrade that I wanted to see was a carbon version.
Now we have it with the Punks Billy, identical in almost every way other than the legs are now carbon.
When I say that the Billy is identical to the Travis in all but the materials used for the legs I mean it, same twist locks, same AirHead Neo just lighter and of course with new stickers, but this is no bad thing.
3 Legged Thing pride themselves on the quality of their carbon fibre, there’s no glitzy carbon weave to the finish it’s just pure good quality carbon.
Let’s run through the features; firstly it packs down to just 46cm, compares that with the Benro FTA29V1 Travel Angel (Again a great tripod) and that measures 59.5cm.
The Punks Billy adopts the legs around the centre column design when packed down; this is now favoured by many manufacturers as it enables a small pack down size.
Unfolded there’s a maximum height of 137cm which extends to 165cm with the centre column extended, perfect for a full height tripod.
Weight wise the Billy comes in at 1.38Kg that’s 220g lighter than the Punks Travis, that’s not a great deal, but any weight saving helps. The Benro weighs in at 1.86Kg for comparison.
As with Punks Travis, we have the same AirHed Neo, and this will support a weight of 18Kg, by any measure that’s some weight.
To put it into context it will happily hold a 5D Mark II with a 100 to 400mm attached.
The 4-section carbon legs are secured using twist locks which hold everything in place firmly and as ever you have three leg angles to choose from 23º, 55º and 80º.
Unlike other manufacturers who have devised clever, quick release mechanisms to drop the tripod down to ground level the approach adopted by 3 Legged Thing is a little more hands on.
If you want to drop the height of the tripod down to ground level, then you remove the bag hook at the base of the centre column, release the centre column twist lock and remove the column from the crown.
Then it’s a case of unscrewing the tri-plate and screwing this directly on to the crown of the tripod. All quick and easy enough to do.
Once set the tripod can then be dropped to ground level with a height of 100mm.
Every part of the tripod has a design use, so around the tri-plate crown, there are three slots so a strap can be quickly attached.
As already mentioned there is a hook at the bottom of the centre column, anodised in orange, and this is perfect for quickly hooking on a bag to add more weight if needed for stability.
Some manufacturers are now marketing waterproof tripods, but here it’s not necessary as the seal between the carbon tubes and twist locks is nice and tight, and if you do get crud or dirty water into the legs then it’s easy enough to dismantle, clean and re-assembled.
An essential feature of any tripod is the ability to swap feet, and at the bottom of each leg the feet can be removed and replaced with Heelz, Stilettoz or Clawz.
These additional feet are widely available, and they don’t cost a fortune with replacement Bootz replacements setting you back £15 and the CLAWZ and Stilettoz costing £50.
Ensuring you always get a level base there are a scattering of bubble levels around the tripod with one built into the tripod crown and a further two featuring on the AirHed Neo.
Around the top of one leg is an orange band which highlights that the leg can be removed with a twist. This can then be bolted directly to the centre column or AirHed Neo to create a monopod with a maximum height of 1.71m.
3 Legged Thing makes a point that their tripods are built to last, and there’s a good amount of spares if needed. Servicing of the tripod is also exceptionally easy.