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3 Legged Thing Mike Tripod With AirHed Cine Arca Swiss Head Review

The 3 Legged Thing Mike Tripod With AirHed Cine is part of 3 Legged Thing's 'Legends' range, and is designed to be a sturdy base for both film and stills photography. Here, we take a look at how it performs.

|  Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A in Tripods, Monopods and Other Supports
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Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A


Quick Verdict

The 3 Legged Thing Mike tripod is a great option for those that want true versatility in a tripod. Shoot video or stills, as a full-sized tripod or a tabletop model - you can do it all with this tripod. All 3 of the legs can be removed for use in other applications, such as boom arms. The tripod is extremely well made and features a trendy design.

+ Pros

  • Complete versatility for all photography disciplines
  • Extremely well made
  • Smooth movements
  • Good maximum height
  • Trendy design

- Cons

  • It's a fair investment
  • Heavy to be carrying long distances
  • Not very compact when folded


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A


The 3 Legged Thing Mike is one half of a pair of hybrid tripods that 3 Legged Thing launched in November 2019. They're designed to be equally good at both photo and video use and feature a levelling base system - a disk that can be adjusted by loosening a lever to make adjustments to how the camera sits on the tripod when used on uneven surfaces.

Mike is an all carbon-fibre model with long legs and 3 leg sections, while Jay is a more compact model with 5 leg sections making it more travel-friendly. Here we're focusing in on Mike, which comes complete with an AirHed Cine Arca Swiss in a kit with a retail price of £729.99. Mike on his own without the head retails for £499.99. Here, we find out how Mike and the AirHed perform. 


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3 Legged Thing Mike + AirHed Cine Arca Swiss Features

The Mike tripod is named after Mike McGill, the inventor of the iconic skateboard trick the McTwist. 3LT worked closely with Pro team member Ray Barbee for the range, who's a skateboarder, musician and photographer. 

It's an extremely versatile model - in a way that we've not seen before. There are new layers of versatility, not least the fact that right from the start it's designed for use in both video and stills situations equally. 


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A
Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A


All 3, yes all 3 of its legs can be unscrewed from the body and used as either monopods, or boom arms for various kit such as microphones or lighting. This then allows the base to be fitted with table-top legs (sold separately), so it can still function while you use its full-sized legs for a variety of things. 

Like other 3 Legged Thing ranges, the feet can be unscrewed and replaced with different terrain alternatives, including metal claws and spikes, again all sold separately. You can also use different heads with the tripod if the AirHed isn't your thing. 


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A

The legs have 3 angles that they can be set at - 23 degrees, 55 degrees and 80 degrees. When fully extended, the tripod stands at an impressive 147.5cm and can hold a whopping 14kg of weight. Weighing 1.65KG, this gives it an amazing 8.5:1 load to weight ratio. 

The tripod isn't the most compact when folded down, with a length of 66.7cm, but this is why the more compact Jay model comes into play, with a 40.5cm folded down length, although it does sacrifice some maximum height, with a maximum of 111.2cm.


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A

Mike is constructed from 8-layer 100% pure Japanese carbon fibre for the legs, and hard anodised aerospace-grade magnesium alloy for the joints. There are also 'nylon anti-rotation chicken lips' on the leg joints, to help stop the twist-lock legs coming loose. 

At the top is the levelling base, with a lever to adjust the friction, lock it to achieve the ideal level angle. 


Mike is a very versatile model - ideal for both photo and video use, with 3 detachable legs and interchangeable feet.


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A


AirHed Cine Arca Swiss

This fluid motion, spring balanced head allows for smooth movements when video recording. It's available with or without the Arca Swiss compatibility and looks quite intimidating, to begin with.

The handle can be attached to either side of the head, and there are several lever screws which alter various elements of the setup. There's one in the centre of the spider-web like design which alters the amount of friction on the tilt, ultimately locking it for stills. There's one below this that alters the pan.


Key Features

  • 8-layer carbon fibre leg build
  • Aerospace magnesium alloy joints
  • 3 removable legs 
  • 3 leg sections
  • 14kg max weight capacity 
  • Twist leg locks with 'easy-grip octo pads
  • Contoured levelling plate
  • Ideal for both video and stills use
  • Can convert into a tabletop tripod
  • Fluid-action levelling cine head 
  • 3 Leg angles
  • Buy now on Amazon UK, Amazon USA


3 Legged Thing Mike + AirHed Cine Arca Swiss Performance

As you'd expect from a 3 Legged Thing Tripod, Mike feels very well built. The controls are ergonomic and the tripod has a very cool design, featuring metallic green metalwork and copper baseplate/accents. 

The tripod weighs 1.65kg without the cine head, so it's a fairly hefty weight with the head on - just over 2kg. The head does disassemble for travel - you can remove the handle and base plate holder from the main body of it, enabling you to compact it down for travel fairly well. 


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A

The Mike + AirHed Cine come in padded cases - the AirHed has its own zipped circular case which is a nice touch. As discussed above, the tripod isn't the most compact model for taking long distances, but it's definitely a robust option that feels extremely solid when set up. The maximum height of the Mike is great, especially for taller photographers, and those seeking different viewpoints for film etc. 


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A

The levelling base is an interesting concept - this one feature enables you to make minute adjustments to the setup for stills photography and then lock it in position - but also gives you more scope for video allowing every possible angle to be covered. The D-ring underneath is also a friction control for the leveller as well as offering a hook for ballast. 

The AirHed Cine's fluid system makes for ultra-smooth panning and tilting, with the spring balanced element helping to keep everything steady. 

The leg joints are smooth in operation and the angle adjustment levers are chunky and ergonomic - simply pressing them with your thumb enables you to quickly change the angle. 

Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A

The leg locks are chunky, feel good to grip and don't take that much twisting to loosen or secure, which aids a quick setup. They look pretty cool and have some unique features. There are 'chicken lips' - a rather quirky term used to refer to shims that are used on the twist grips to give greater strength and grip to the twist grips as well as anti-rotation.

Raised 'O' pads with a bubble grip have been used to provide better grip, torque and water dispersement than any other leg lock, 3 Legged Thing proudly claim. 

The versatility of this tripod really does shine through in use - with a delicate balance between its weight and features to make it just as useful for video as it is for stills shooting. 


Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A

Value For Money

The 3 Legged Thing Mike is available on its own for £499.99 or as a kit with either the AirHed Cine Arca Swiss or AirHed Cine standard video plate for £729.99

This sounds expensive, however, when you consider that you could potentially purchase the tripod and use it for pretty much any discipline, this combined with its versatility could make it a tripod for life. You'll have a monopod, a tabletop tripod, two other multi-use legs and the levelling base at your disposal. It's also extremely well made and finished, as well as trendy, a trait we've seen in previous 3-Legged Thing models we've reviewed. 

It's difficult to find other models at a similar price point which are the same spec and offer the same range of features. One of the closest we've managed to find is the Manfrotto Nitrotech 608 fluid head, which is available on an aluminium twin leg tripod for £839.95. You'd pay more money for this model, it isn't as versatile and only has an 8kg payload. 

Not the right tripod for you? Find more options in our 'Best Tripods' roundup.  


3 Legged Thing Mike + AirHed Cine Arca Swiss Verdict

There aren't a lot of fully hybrid tripods on the market, at least not which have got the balance between the disciplines so right. The tripod weighs a little more than you'd expect for a stills tripod, but for its size, it's not too bad, and it's considerably lighter than other video tripods. 

For enthusiasts and professionals that practice both video and stills work, this tripod could be a saving grace and a breath of fresh air in terms of the features that it brings to the table. If you're looking for a more compact version, consider the Jay, a companion model in the Legends range. 

Extremely well built, and packing quality as well as useful versatility, it doesn't come cheap but once you have it, it could be your tripod for life.


3 Legged Thing Mike + AirHed Cine Arca Swiss Pros

  • Complete versatility for all photography disciplines
  • Extremely well made
  • Smooth movements
  • Good maximum height
  • Trendy design

3 Legged Thing Mike + AirHed Cine Arca Swiss Cons

  • It's a fair investment
  • Heavy to be carrying long distances
  • Not very compact when folded


Overall Verdict

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Three Legged Thing Mike Kit-A Specifications

ManufacturerThree Legged Thing
ConstructionCarbon fibre, magnesium alloy
Maximum Height148cm
Minimum Height14cm
Maximum Weight Capacity14kg
Number of Leg Sections3
HeadAirHed Cine
Box Contents
Box ContentsBag, Airhed Cine, Toolz
WidthNo Data

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martin.w Plus
20 616 29 United Kingdom
16 Jan 2020 5:53PM
Looks very much like the Gitzo Systematic range of tripods.

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