3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0 Review

A tripod with the power to transform

3LT Winston 2.0 review
Review

Price when reviewed

£379

$479

Our Verdict

The Winston 2.0 has a feature set that reflects the demands of today's photographers, quality solid build, lightweight and with value-added features that enable this tripod to adapt to almost any situation. Featuring three detachable legs the Winston 2.0 quickly transforms into a monopod, mic boom or desktop tripod with the addition of the new VANZ footwear. At this price, there are few other tripods that offer so much and what's more the anodised metalwork and carbon legs look great.

For

  • Full Height
  • Decent monopod conversion
  • Ability to convert to desktop triod

Against

  • No accessories thread on the crown

What is the 3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0?

3 Legged Thing is a company that listens to the feedback from its user base, and the Winston 2.0 is a true testament to this.

Designed as the ultimate every day, every occasion tripod, the Winston 2.0 offers superb stability and is packed with features. These features include three detachable legs so with the addition of the VANZ footwear the tripod converts from full-size support down to a tabletop tripod.

While the Winston 2.0 is packed with features, it maintains a simple and sleek design that makes it one of the most versatile tripods available today.

Info

Full Height Tripod / 3leggedthing.com / £379 / $479 at time of review

Intro

The original Winston was distinguishable by its simple design that masked a hidden depth and features that made it a reliable and popular choice.

The old Winston has now been retired and after a refresh has come back anew. The new Winston 2.0 follows the family line with similar minimalistic looks, but packs in all-new features that will appeal to many photographers and videographers.

3LT Winston 2.0 review

Aimed at enthusiast and professional photographers, the Winston 2.0 is a full-height tripod ideally suited to studio portraiture, landscape or any photographic discipline where stability is paramount.

As ever innovation is at the heart of the 3 Legged Thing tripods and this is demonstrated by the three detachable legs.

This new tripod is a full height, desktop, monopod, allrounder, but is that really possible and where’s the catch?

Features

Standing at 1.94m maximum height with the AIRHED PRO and centre column fully extended or 1.5m with the centre column down, the Winston 2.0 should meet the hight requirements of all but the tallest photographer.

Lower to its minimum height and Winston 2.0 stands at 71.5cm off the ground, and as ever the three 3-section legs have three angles of adjustment which gives plenty of flexibility.

A feature common with 3LT tripods is the ability to reduce the minimum height further. Remove the centre column so that the tripod can then be lowered to just 23.1cm off the ground, perfect for some low angled shots.

Another use for the removable centre column is that it can be flipped and reinserted under the tripod to enable an ideal set-up for macro photography.

3LT Winston 2.0 review

Weight-wise the Winston 2.0 can support a maximum payload of 40kg, this is more than enough for almost any camera body and lens combo you can think of.

Ensuring that the Winston 2.0 is as portable as possible once packed down, it measures in at 61.2cm and weighs 1.73kg.

Usually, that pretty much sums up the tripod feature set, but this 3 Legged Thing has one more feature.

We’re all used to seeing the single monopod leg, it’s become a standard feature of most tripods and can be seen on almost the entire 3 Legged thing range.

What makes the Winston 2.0 different is that 3LT has made all three legs detachable. Why?

Well, there are a few reasons:

The first is of course that one can be used as a monopod, and this isn’t one of those underwhelming tripod monopod legs that you usually see. This is a 2.02m full height proper monopod.

Essentially it’s one leg, and the centre column bolted together with the AirHed Pro topping it off. It’s a solid outfit and as good as any monopod you could wish to use.

Another option is to use the monopod as a mic boom, a 2.02m that’s quite a reach and ideal for the present COVID-19 social distancing.

But there’s more – each of the legs can be bolted together, in essence, giving you a substantial 4.85m boom.

3LT Winston 2.0 review

There are probably countless other uses for the three detachable legs, but rather than a gimmick it seems like a sensible idea.

These, however, are secondary to the advertised reason for the three legs being removable. Essentially with the new VANZ footwear, the legs can be removed, and the VANZ can be attached.

This converts your full height tripod into a convenient desktop tripod.

Build and Handling

Checking over the Winston 2.0 and comparing it with the original and it’s evident that the new tripod is a refinement of the original.

It may initially look very similar, but taking a closer look and you can see certain flourishes to the machine work and more intricate design in the main construction.

Likewise, the quality of the legs, knurling, anodising has all been enhanced, giving an excellent robust and solid feel.

After a solid months worth of use, the Winston fared well as my main tripod, albeit with a little lighter use than usual due to the lock-down.

Still, out and about when able, I was impressed with the overall build quality. The legs extended and retracted smoothly and locked in tight when needed using the oversized twist grips. Overall it gave excellent support for my Sony A7 Mark III with whatever lens I chose to use at the time.

3LT Winston 2.0 review

You can really feel how 3 Legged Thing has honed in on some aspects of the design. For instance, the knurling of the knobs on the head and around the twist locks is superb both aesthetically and functionally.

When you look at the CNC machine work of the components, you can see many of the edges have been rounded, giving the tripod a more premium quality feel than it’s predecessor.

Performance

I started using the Winston 2.0 as my main stills tripod. The first thing that strikes you is that it feels light, the Benro Mach3 feels light, but the Winston 2.0 tips the scale at 100g less.

Although light the 29mm diameter legs give the tripod a good solid feel, and once set-up, it feels robust.

The Winston 2.0 might not be a travel tripod, but at this weight, it’s well worth taking with you if you can, the support that it can provide is far better than most travel tripods and essential when using ND filters.

In use, the AIRHED Pro is smooth and easy to position. The large knob lock and release the main ball enables easy adjustment. What I like is the huge size difference between the ball head adjustment and pan head knobs, there’s no way you can confuse the two.

The head utilises the ARCA Swiss style clamp, and once the camera is in place, the bright orange knob that clamps onto the cameras base plate sits snug beneath the lens. For the vast majority of the lens, this is an excellent feature as it puts the knob well out of harm’s way.

At the back, just in line with the cameras live view screen is the bubble level which helps to get things level quickly.

As I’ve found before the large twist locks on the legs are easy to grip, release and lock, and the legs after a good month or more use still felt smooth when retracting or extending each of the sections.

A feature that I like on my tripods is the ability to swap the feet; I don’t do it often but switching over to spikes when in the grass is quite often the only way to find a solid foundation.

As with previous 3LT tripods, the inverting centre column, monopod leg and dropping the tripod down to minimum height, all require a little disassembly.

However, as the quality of the components is good swapping from one configuration to another is a quick enough process and relatively painless.

More than just a tripod

I think like many people when I saw the three detachable legs I was a little reserved, but it does make good sense.

If I go on a job, I usually take at least three tripods. Something is bound to happen to one, or I’ll need additional support for a light, mic, reflector or something.

But more often than not, it’s the type of tripod rather than the amount, I may need my video tripod, but I’ll also need a boom, a desktop tripod etc.

OK, the Winston can’t provide me with all at the same time, but it can supply me with at least two options.

On a shoot, I used a Manfrotto video tripod with video head, and all the bits and pieces bolted in.

Recently I haven’t for safety reasons been able to attach the usual wireless mic set-up, or get close to an interviewee with a secondary camera and here’s where the Winson 2.0 came in.

A leg and centre column became the boom, and the rest of the tripod with the VANZ footwear transforms into a small desktop tripod. This can be placed just off the scene to get that all-important second camera angle.

Over the month, the Winston 2.0 has saved the day in countless situations, and the features have proven to be effective and easy to use.

When it comes to performance, the Winston 2.0 outperformed itself several times over.

Verdict

The Winston 2.0 is a tripod that reflects the demands of today’s photographers; it’s versatile and adaptable.

Let’s not mess around; the Winston 2.0 is one of the best and most versatile tripods on the market. It provides an excellent solid full height support and the outwardly simple design looks great and defies the depth of features.

There are a few small issues, like no standard accessory port on or near the crown that would be handy, but otherwise, the tripod is well supported in every other way.

The increase in the workmanship of the metalwork is a welcome addition to the aesthetics, but it’s the added functionality that makes this tripod stand out.

Don’t be fooled that the three detachable legs are just a gimmick, in today’s climate where you have to be a photographer, videographer and sound engineer in one, the Winston 2.0 can be there with you.

For me there are three standout features, it’s full height, the monopod leg and centre column can be used as a decent length mic boom and with the addition of VANZ you have a solid desktop tripod.

The 3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0 is an outstanding workhorse of a tripod, suitable for keen enthusiasts wanting a solid foundation for portraits and landscapes or professionals who need excellent reliable support.

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