Alternative to a Tripod
Review by Steve Baczewski
3 Legged Thing is a British company that manufactures camera gear, including a monopod named Alan and a tabletop tripod with a ballhead named the DocZ2. Although they can be used separately, they come as a kit and they’re best when used in combination.
The dark gray carbon fiber monopod has a thick rubber grip at the top and four tactile rubberized locks for extending or collapsing the monopod. It mounts to the DocZ2 via a 1/4″ screw. With its legs folded out, the DocZ2 acts as a tripod/stabilizer, letting the monopod stand on its own. Their combined weight is 2.4 lbs.; the combined length when folded up is 23″, and when fully extended is 60″. These dimensions make it an appealing alternative to a conventional tripod for travel. The monopod incorporates a unique threaded screw at its top for mounting cameras. At first glance, it appears to have a 3/8″ thread, but the screw’s outer surface slips down and away to reveal a 1/4″ thread that fits into your camera’s tripod mount.
As a tabletop tripod, the DocZ2 is sturdy, but has no height adjustment of its own; its only adjustment is its built-in ballhead. The three legs have a rubberized tread for gripping the ground. The combination works well until the monopod is fully extended: at this point, the DocZ2 isn’t as effective at stabilizing a camera. Additionally, when the monopod is fully extended, using the ballhead is awkward because you have to bend down to the ground to tighten it, and you’ll probably lose your composition. I used my foot to help steady the DocZ2 when the monopod was fully extended. The monopod and DocZ2 stabilizer worked best when partially extended, with the camera and lens squared off with the ground and used with a remote shutter release, and perhaps a 2–5-second shutter delay.
I like the idea of a light, compact, stabilized monopod. I think 3 Legged Thing is onto something and, for some situations, the Alan monopod/DocZ2 kit worked well. I hope there will be more iterations. ■