3 Legged Thing Charles 2.0 tripod review

The new 3 Legged Thing Charles 2.0 is tripod royalty. Maybe they should have skipped an iteration and called it Charles III

5 Star Rating
3 Legged Thing Charles 2.0
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

It’s perhaps a little hard to get excited about tripods. They’re often an unwanted burden that you feel you have to lug around when you don’t really want to. Every once in a while though, a new tripod comes along that goes above and beyond the call of duty, offering supreme versatility and flexibility (in a good way) while being robust, precision-engineered, beautifully finished and giving your photography rock-solid support. The Charles 2.0 is a classic case in point and more besides.


  • +

    Properly robust and rigid

  • +

    Really tall but folds down small

  • +

    Lots of clever tricks


  • -

    Naturally heavier than carbon fiber

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    No D-ring on the quick-release plate

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    No comfort padding on any of the legs

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The 3 Legged Thing Charles 2.0 is a full-sized tripod that features swing-up legs, more akin to a travel tripod, so the feet encircle the head when it’s folded down, reducing the carrying size. And then there’s the weight. Aluminum is often seen as the poor relation to carbon fiber when it comes to tripods, but the Charles 2.0 goes its own separate path, being made from aerospace-grade magnesium alloy. That’s actually a great choice for stability and lightweight construction.

Let’s play the numbers game for a moment. Magnesium alloy is actually 75 per cent lighter than steel, 50 per cent lighter than titanium, and 33 per cent lighter than aluminum. Better still, it has more damping capacity than any other structural metal, to soak up vibrations, while delivering a class-leading load capacity for its weight.

Read more: Is carbon fiber still for you? Find out the best options in our guide to the best carbon fiber tripods.

Essentially, the Charles 2.0 is a magnesium version of the 3 Legged Thing Winston 2.0 carbon fiber tripod, both being from the ‘Pro 2.0’ line-up. As such, it has the same feature set, dimensions and super-hefty load rating. It’s 0.39kg or 14 ounces heavier than its carbon sibling but shaves about £70/$100 off the purchase price.

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.