3 Legged Thing Tripod Reviews: Ray and Bucky Legends Range Tripods

Two new tripods in the famed Legends range from 3 Legged Thing were just announced and I got my hands on them for a review. It’s almost unbelievable the way the folks at 3 Legged Thing keep refining perfection in their tripods, but somehow they do. The latest additions to their Legends series of tripods honor Ray Barbee and Bucky Lasek.

Read my early look review of the new Ray and Bucky tripods from 3 Legged Thing below.

If you’re a fan of 3 Legged Thing, you’re familiar with the unusual (but completely logical) product naming system of this award-winning British tripod company. If not you may want to skip down to the section below labeled 3 Legged Thing Primer and then read the rest of this review.

If tripod options and nomenclature puzzle you but you think you probably need one, read our Tripod Buying Guide. (And BTW, you DO need a tripod.)

All of the tripods in 3 Legged Thing’s Legends range are named after pro skateboarders. The first two Legends, Mike and Jay, were introduced last December. The Mike and Jay tripods are named after Mike McGill and Jay Adams respectively.

The latest additions to their Legends range, honoring Ray Barbee and Bucky Lasek, are the Ray and Bucky tripod models.

Bucky is named after Bucky Lasek, vertical skateboarder and multiple X Games gold medalist. He was also a professional RallyX driver for several years.

Ray Barbee is a skateboarder, musician and photographer.  He’s famous for his freestyle/flatland tricks.

Ray the tripod is an ultra compact travel model with five-section legs and a two-section column. Bucky is a travel tripod with five-section legs, a three-section column and a maximum height of over 6 feet.

Both tripods can be purchased with 3LT’s awesome new ballhead, the AirHed Vu. It’s the first of its kind with a window in the casing to allow you to see the internal mechanism. They also have three detachable legs that can be used as monopods or boom arms. Boasting potent versatility, they can be converted for tabletop use via 3 Legged Thing’s optional tripod footwear.

Both Ray and Bucky are up to 20% lighter than the equivalent tripods in 3 Legged Thing’s Pro Range, without sacrificing any of the strength or stability. Load capacity for both units is 66 pounds (30kg). Color choices for either are Earth Bronze (with Blue AirHed Vu) or Metallic Slate Grey (with Slate Grey AirHed Vu).

Ray and Bucky both feature the Airflow Canopy. Made of aerospace-grade magnesium alloy, the canopy has contoured cutouts to reduce weight while maintaining strength and integrity. Carbon fiber legs are constructed from eight layers of 100% pure carbon fiber and aerospace grade magnesium alloy.

All 3 Legged Thing tripods have interchangeable footwear that allows them to be used across a variety of surfaces and as a tabletop tripod. The Heelz, Stilettoz and Clawz offer varying degrees of ground-gripping capability. The Vanz are designed to be used in place of tripod legs to convert Legends and Pro Range 2.0 tripods for table-top use. These are very functional and flexible options not seen elsewhere.

The new 3 Legged Thing Legends Ray and Bucky will be available by mid-August. Pricing is planned as follows: Ray with AirHed Vu $429 (Ray legs only $329). Bucky with AirHed Vu $499 (Bucky legs only $399). AirHed Vu alone, in your choice of Ocean Blue or Metallic Slate Grey, $169.

The Pro Range Leo tripod from Three Legged Things.

3 Legged Thing Primer
Here’s a quick catch-up on some of what 3 Legged Things is all about. You can read my words, but frankly speaking, checking out their website might be more expedient. I’ve included links for each key category. All 3 Legged Thing products can be ordered from Amazon.

3 Legged Thing offers four camera support products in the Pro Range, including three tripods. They are named Albert, Winston, Leo and Alan. Albert (Einstein), my favorite, extends to 71.6 inches (182.1 cm). Price of the 3 Legged Thing Albert 2.0 Carbon Fiber Tripod System with AirHed Pro ballhead starts around $449 and can be ordered from Amazon.

Check out the other original artwork on 3LT’s website.

In the Punks Range, there are six products, Trent (a monopod) and five tripods (Corey, Travis, Billy, Brian and Patti). 3 Legged Thing Punks Anarchy Patti with airhead  is available for $119 from Amazon and features four section legs and a load capacity of 22 pounds (10kg).

Three Legged Thing’s Legends Range Jay tripod, named to honor Jay Adams.

The Legends Range, before the introduction of the two new models we are detailing today, consisted of two tripods: Jay (named after American skateboarder Jay Adams) and Mike (for Mike McGill, skateboarder and inventor of the McTwist maneuver). Jay is a carbon fiber tripod designed for photo and video and features five section legs which can be folded flat for travel. 3 Legged Thing Legends Jay Carbon Fiber Travel Tripod (without ballhead) is available from Amazon. Cost is $479.


3 Legged Thing also manufactures an outstanding selection of camera brackets and tripod accessories. My personal favorite 3LT camera bracket is the Ellie universal L-bracket we reviewed last year. It’s available from Amazon for $69.

Tripods are like lifejackets—when you need one, you need one. And no one wants to be worried about whether or not it’s going to perform as promised. And, as I have written many, many times, a tripod is the only accessory that can improve every single picture you take.

Tripods, camera brackets and accessories from 3 Legged Thing are all extremely high quality and magnificently engineered. The legs extend quickly and lock securely, and the center column is fast and true.

In particular I like the O-pads on the leg section locks. The O-pads provide a solid grip and remind me of the suction cups on octopus legs. The locks contain anti-rotation shims (3LT calls them Chicken Lips) that prevent the leg tube from twisting and either a) becoming jammed, b) failing under a load, c) refusing to open or close, or d) making a grinding sound that makes you think that one of the above aggravations is about the happen.

Cosmetically, the Legends, Punks and Pro Range of 3 Legged Thing tripods stand head and shoulders (ballhead?) above competitors. Yes, there are other colorful tripods out there, but by-and-large tripods are a dark gray or black with sparse accents here and there. On the other hand, 3LT products are richly colored and not the least gaudy.

The AirHed Vu ballhead is also a winner. It rotates smoothly through 360° and the color-coded knobs are large and solid and lock tightly in position. It’s beautifully made and the view window in the casing is cool.

The included QR-Octa octagonal Arca-Swiss compatible quick release plate can be detached from the head and used directly on Ray or Bucky’s Tri-Mount plate, meaning that the camera can be mounted without the ballhead if required. It also has a spirit level (there’s one on the tripod body, too).

I recommend 3 Legged Thing tripods, brackets and tripod accessories without hesitation.

—Jon Sienkiewicz


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