3 Legged Thing Bucky Review

3 Legged Thing Bucky review
Review
Website: 3 Legged Thing

Price when reviewed

£379.99

$399.99
Check current price

Our Verdict

Bucky is the larger of two new premium travel tripods from 3LT. Like the Mike and Jay video tripods, this new model shows a real evolution in the 3LT design, with greater design refinement and CNC workmanship. It's instantly apparent that build and design quality has taken a step-up to a new level compared with past models; all metal knurled knobs and some clever machining around the canopy and leg releases. As a travel tripod, Bucky is well balanced, packing down small, staying lightweight, yet still managing to reach full height when required. The Bucky packs in a tonne of features, more than I can squeeze into this brief verdict, but suffice to say it's one of the best true travel tripods I've used.

For

  • A full-height tripod that packs down small
  • Removable legs for great versatility
  • Great build quality

Against

  • No accessory connector on the side, just the base of the centre column
What is the 3 Legged Thing Bucky?

Bucky is one of two new tripods launched into 3 Legged Things Legends range. Designed as a travel tripod, it’s launched alongside the Ray and joins the Mike and Jay video tripods that were launched earlier this year.

Designed to be lightweight while still providing you with full-height support, Bucky packs in the features. It also features a new AirHed VU which has a small window that gives you a view into the heads inner workings.

3 Legged Thing Bucky review

 

As with 3LT’s other recent releases, the tripod is packed with features including three removable legs, interchangeable feet, a removable centre column and so much more.

Bucky is the result of everything that 3LT has learnt and observed over the years and it’s apparent that the companies design team has worked hard with existing user feedback, as well as their own experiences to develop a high-quality travel tripod.

The machining is the first design feature to strikes you, it’s a level up from what we had seen before.

Then there are all the additional extras, clever use of materials and design quirks such as the window in the VU head.

From the outset, Bucky seems to be a well-balanced tripod; built to last, lightweight with features and options that enable you to develop and customise it to perfectly fit in with your way of working.

It certainly looks and feels the part, but is this all more looks than function?

Read our review of 3 Legged Thing Ray

You can order the 3 Legged Thing from Wex Photo Video in the UK and B&H Photo Video in the US

View Review

Specification

  • Product type: Tripod
  • Announced: 4th August 2020
  • Construction: Carbon fibre tubes, hard anodised aerospace-grade magnesium alloy fixings
  • Max Height: 179.2cm
  • Minimum height: 110mm
  • Leg sections: 5
  • Centre column sections: 3
  • Folded length: 41cm
  • Leg angles: 23º, 55º, 80º
  • Load capacity: 30kg / 66lb at 23º, 20Kg / 44lb at 55º, 10Kg /33lb at 80º
  • Max tube diameter: 26mm
  • Weight: 1.52kg
3 Legged Thing Bucky review
Features

Bucky is an all-new compact travel tripod with a maximum height of 1.89cm, with the centre column fully extended, and a minimum height of 11cm, once centre column removed.

Weight and packed length is an important feature for any travel tripod and here the Bucky weighs in at 1.52kg and has a packed length of 41cm.

3 Legged Thing Bucky review

The centre column consists of three sections giving the photographer plenty of versatility.

The five-section legs are made from 8 layers of 100% Japanese carbon fibre and aerospace-grade anodised magnesium alloy.

Each of the legs is removable so the tripod can quickly be converted into a tabletop tripod, with the addition of the 3LT Vanz footwear.

The legs can also be used as boom arms, mic and lighting stands or connected to the centre column and used as a monopod.

The twist locks have had a complete makeover, with O pads for improved grip. The internal shims have also been redesigned to improve strength and stability.

The leg angle adjusters are a new rapid sprung design that makes them exceptionally easy to use in all conditions, even when wearing bulky gloves. Angle choices of 23º, 55º and 80º give a good amount of flexibility.

A new feature to make its debut on this and the 3LT Ray tripod is the new AirHed VU; this ball head includes a small portal window so that you can see the inner workings.

As well as an overall smoothing of the aesthetics other aspects of the design have been enhanced including contoured cutouts in the clamp to accommodate the security pins on the base of the new QR Octra quick release plate.

The panoramic and ball control knobs are now all metal and feature knurling for addition grip and longevity.

Alongside the head, the ergonomics of the tri-plate is been developed, with a design that’s better suited to accessory attachment.

Build and Handling

Bucky is a new breed of 3LT tripod, it’s refined, and shows the 3LT design teams experience.

There’s an attention to detail that can only come through iterative design. There are small design flares, such as the rapid release leg angle adjusters which are a world apart from the old push-pull locks of the past.

3 Legged Thing Bucky review

These leg locks leap forward, they’re just simple to use. Then there’s the legs sections; there’s no need for sequencing when releasing and locking.

The machine work is the big feature here, 3LT has taken their tripods to the next level, and they look great.

I’m a big fan of the 3LT Punks Billy and Travis. Both relatively simple tripods, and here we have a tripod that meets that same design quality and usability.

Out in the field, the legs angle out with a reassuring click as they find their groove. One hand can easily grip all four leg locks to release the sections before the tripod is set level on the ground with guidance from the bubble level on the canopy.

From being packed down, to folded out with the legs released to full length, this small travel tripod reaches full height. Not something that you can usually see for this style of a tripod.

That full height is with just one of the centre column sections extended, extend the other two and the tripod reaches well above head level.

As ever with a 3LT tripod there’s plenty of scope for customising to suit your shooting needs, and as I’ve come to expect all threads are smooth. Releasing and flipping the centre column, removing all legs or adjusting in any way, all was easy and fluid.

It may not have the mechanical centre column that quickly flips that you see on some other tripods, instead it takes unbolting, screwing and reconfiguring to flip or remove the centre column. Once you’ve done it a few times you realise it doesn’t take long, but it is still a little more faffy than some others.

Out in the field, the small size and weight mean that Bucky easily resides in a backpack, and once released everything works well, and most important all feels good and sturdy ready to provide you with a steady base.

Performance

The job of a tripod is to hold your camera still while you take the shot, providing a good firm steady base. The job of a travel tripod is to provide that steady base on your travels, in places where carrying a large tripod wouldn’t be possible.

Bucky folded and packed inside or strapped to a backpack proves that it’s a perfect size and weight. It’s an ideal choice when out for a walk, hike, multiday adventure or trip somewhere more exotic when restrictions allow.

3 Legged Thing Bucky review

Buck is flexible in use, and offers plenty that will appeal to all levels of photographer. I like the flexibility and multi-use approach. It’s a full-height tripod, tabletop tripod, lighting stand and even a mic boom when needed for social distancing. What I like is that one tripod fits many uses and these days that’s definitely what’s required.

The build and quality have proven itself through this test, the Bucky is far more than just great looks, the functions and features are there to be used.

The AirHed Vu will be something of a talking point; it resembles a knight helmet with the visor. Through that visor, you can see the small mechanism work inside which is fascinating. It also reveals why there’s no need for friction control with this style of head.

The performance of Bucky is solid, fast to erect, easy to adjust and all with a good working height and payload. If there were one thing that I would like to have seen that would have been an easily accessible accessories port on the side.

On this point again it is possible to attach an accessory by simply removing the D ring at the base of the centre column. A friction control arm can then be fitted as required.

You can order the 3 Legged Thing from Wex Photo Video in the UK and B&H Photo Video in the US

Verdict

3 Legged Thing is known for their bold colour choices, use of materials and loud graphics. Now, with the Legends range the company has upped the game with a premium line of tripods that see greater design detail and finesse.

Bucky is a testament to the work that the 3LT design team has done. That design and research as well as taking on board user feedback over the years have really paid off, and in use, that experience really shows with a tripod that betters much of the travel tripod competition.

3 Legged Thing Bucky review

The height goes beyond many travel tripods, yet still packs down small while keeping the weight down to just over a kilo and a half.

Features such as removable legs, flexibility to transform and manipulate as you need, and the addition of all the feet options all add to the desirability of the Bucky.

As tripods go, the Bucky is as versatile as you get, looks great and has the build quality and design finesse that enables it to stand out well beyond the bright colours and loud graphics.

Bucky is a superb tripod for travel, every day, and as the tripod you can reach for in almost any situation.

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