It has come to my attention that recently a new brand (3 Legged Thing) is all the craze about tripods and how they have changed the perception of using one. I decided to have a look at their website (http://www.3leggedthing.com) and judge for myself. Afterall I would easily consider buying one if a brand lives up to their marketing.
First impression, fancy design, colorful, and looks light weight. But as I took a closer look, I could not believe how close it resembled my Fotopro tripod (http://www.fotopro.sg/c5-series-2in1.html). In fact, I would say it's practically identical.
1. Fotopro C-5
2. 3 Legged Thing 3LT
3. 3 Legged Thing 3LT with various user settings and ballhead.
I don't know what you guys think, but I would say they are almost exactly the same. Representatives from 3 Legged Thing claims that their design is original and that it looks nothing like the Fotopro. In fact I have posted this question regarding the two products' similarity in their Facebook Wall and someone replied that "You must be looking at someone else's products, because our tripods don't look anything like these..."
To be fair, I do find two different characteristics from the 3 Legged Thing tripod. the middle shaft connected to the ballhead does allow you to extend further than and thus have a longer reach than the fotopro. However, once I read the specs (listed below), I found both brands had their strengths and weakness making them pretty much equal when you look at their specs in general. While the Fotopro had a slightly longer minimum operating height (17cm vs. 13.5cm), it was also shorter in Max Extended Length buy about 5cm (156cm vs 20cm). The Fotopro however, was shorter in Folded Length (43cm vs. 50cm), which makes it easier to store or transport. Weight wise, both brands were equal at 1.5kg. Another difference, is the price. The Fotopro cost me about $860HKD, while the 3 Legged Thing is about $278USD (which works about $2140HKD). That is quite a big difference in price. If buy the top of the end tripod from both brands the Fotopro will cost you $1300HKD, where the 3 Legged Thing will cost approximately $4300HKD.
I don't speak for everyone but as a professional/consumer, I don't really care who copied who (and in this case its not really clear). All I know is that the Fotopro is doesn't look a bit dodgier than the 3 Legged Thing. Price wise it is a "no-brainer," and quality well the Fotopro brand offers 6 years of warranty, where the 3 Legged Thing comes with 5.
Here's an in depth look at each brand specs (I have chosen the two tripods that looks most similar to make this comparison)
3 Legged Thing
|Kit Weight (including head)
|Monopod min Height||360mm|
|Monopod max Height||1440mm|
|Tripod Min Height||135mm|
|Tripod Max Height with column removed||1430mm|
|Tripod Max Height with column extended||2060mm|
|Maximum Leg Tubing Diameter||26mm|
|Leg Sections||4 (26, 23, 20 & 17mm)
|Leg Angles||23°, 55° & 80°
|Column Sections||2 - (26 & 23mm)
|Leg Locking Mechanism||Friction Dial|
AirHed 1 Ballhead Specifications:
||Pan, Lock & Clutch
||52mm x 50mm|
Looking at both brands, I don't really see why I would go for one and not for the other in terms of quality and practicality. However, in terms of price, I would definitely go with the Fotopro. With most models, I could buy two Fotopros for the price of one 3 Legged thing. I'd say the same when comparing Gitzo tripods and Manfrottos, but then again I feel the quality difference with Gitzos.
What really bothers me, is how the people at 3 Legged Thing cannot see how similar their tripods look alike. Companies should really do some research before they market their products. From my understanding both Tripods came out about the same time. My theory is that there's a factory in China somewhere that does mass manufacturing of these products and different companies purchase them and add their brand label to them. I would not be surprise to see another company with similar design. I would be more than happy to apologize if the 3 Legged Company can show proof that their product was not manufactured in the China.
So as you can, not only are Chinese brands and manufacturers taking advantage of cheap chinese labours and copyright infringement in China, but same does overseas western companies. The question is whether you are willing to pay a hefty premium with a "Gweilo" logo, or pay for what it is worth. Don't get me wrong both Tripods should be really good and of great quality. Buying the 3 Legged Thing would be like buying a iPhone and paying a premium due to its brand recognition over other smartphones, but just that 3 Legged Thing is not an Apple or that most people have even heard of them. To charge such a price for Chinese manufacturing (correct me if I am wrong, but perhaps I should say "similar to chinese manufacturing") would be a very dumb move in terms of marketing because nowadays your average tech consumers are very smart and do incredible amounts of research before making a purchase, and if you think I am the only one that may have compared the 3 Legged Thing to a Fotopro, then you should think again.
Strong and Sturdy
Can also transform into a monopod
None for the money
3 Legged Thing 3LT
Strong and Sturdy
Can transform into a monopod
Would I recommend this product to a friend?
Definitely, have recommended it to a few already
3 Legged Thing 3LT
Definitely, but I don't have such friends with money to waste.