Pretty much every photographer has more than one tripod, one for travel or maybe one for studio work, etc, and choosing one to work alongside your workload is never an easy task. When asked which tripod would be best recommended, the answer is always the same, depending on what you need from a tripod.
However, the 3Pod Everest T3 seems to tick many boxes and looks genuinely versatile, maybe with a couple of exceptions which will be explained shortly.
Weight (without ball head) Ball Head: 3.2 lbs (1.45kg)
Load Capacity: 53.34'' (1355mm)(without center column) Min: 13.4" (340mm)(without center column) Max: 64.17'' (1630mm) (with center column) 33 lbs (15kg)
Head Mount Type: 1/4" and 3/8" auto switch camera screw
3 Leg Angle Positions: 23 Degree / 55 Degree / 83 Degree
The construction of the tripod is meant to be strong with 10x carbon fiber which makes up the majority of the three legs, sans twist lock mechanism. The carbon build is aimed at those looking at a strong tripod and maybe a bit more than a simple travel tripod for the hobbyist. Certainly, 3Pod has aimed at the travel and adventure photographer (maybe the name Everest suggests that) of which I fall into that category.
Also, the legs are equipped with 3 twist and lock sections, plus a screw “foot” that can be either a rubber-gripped dome or a reasonably long spike both supplied. The legs allow for super low-angle shooting, and the legs can be shifted into various leg stop positions at the top.
The center column, when fully extended, adds about 11 inches of height. It also has an interesting triangular design to it, which seems to add some stability to the column.
Build & Handling
My current workhorse is a “Manfrotto Befree GT” which has been with me for many years and despite a few niggles with the leg locks it's been very good for my travel, adventure, and bear viewing in Alaska. It's taken a hell of a beating.
The build of the 3Pod Everest is very similar with a few notable differences. The legs are thicker, and have really nice rubber grips on 2 of the legs, handy for when it's wet or when you need to handle it with gloves on.
The leg stance on the 3Pod Everest is wider by 2-3 inches giving a leg span of around 14 inches when working in extreme environments I really don’t want to be faffing about with leg width, the wider the better, and the 3Pod certainly delivers with a sturdy frame without having to tweak or push out the legs any further than they have to slow you down.
The ball head is terrific, the tension knob sticks out sideways rather than just sticking out the front of the ball head which I like, really good for handling. The Arca swiss head locks in with a quick-release lever, similar to what you would find on a mountain bike, and thankfully works really well. The spirit level is easy to see and also a very small one on the side for when you're shooting vertically is a nice touch although it's VERY small.
It's also very smooth and you really get a jolt-free experience with the ball head on this tripod, very happy with the way it's designed, grips the plate, and rotates.
A couple of nice touches with the packaging, the bag actually has an extended section for the ball head attached, something other brands seem to forget and the tripod fits in snugly with the 3Pod head included. If the ball head you have is bigger than 3 1/2 inches high (9cm), you might not fit your gear into the supplied bag.
Overall the tripod performed well, holding my Nikon Z9 and 100-400mm lens and when attached to the F to Z converter and holding a 500mm f4 it had no change in my confidence levels.
The extra width in the leg stance really made the camera and lens feel super secure, which in my line of work is really important. In some ways, it was much better than my daily driver, the Manfrotto Befree GT as that feels like it could flex with my super heavy kit on top, no such issues here with the 3Pod.
Extending the legs is very easy, I wish there was a little more resistance to them as they pop out fast and make a bit of a clunk in the process if you don’t catch it or extend the legs with any care. Shrinking them back into the leg section above makes even more noise, which for wildlife work you will have to be super careful with in case you disturb your subjects.
The only other gripe I have, (considering I'm an old man) and I guess it's the payoff for all the extra sturdiness, is the weight. With the ball head attached, the rubber feet and tripod in total weigh in at 2.026kg / 4lbs 7oz which is over 1lb heavier than my current workhorse. Saying that 3Pod should be commended for making such a strong tripod, so small and easy to carry.
The height of this system is great, topping out at 5ft 3in. Perfect for many applications, any more height would have killed off the portability benefit making the 3Pod a little difficult to maneuver, which kind of ruins the point of it being an “everywhere for everything” package.
3Pod has made a complete package for many types of photography, the Everest is strong and versatile which is pretty much 80% of what you want when looking for a great tripod in the sub $500 range (or sub $600 with the ball head).
For short trips and assignments, I will be reaching for the 3Pod Everest pretty much every time from now on with the exception of the few caveats mentioned before. The weight and sound dampening might be an issue for me personally when working for long periods in the wilderness but I am very thankful for the strength, stability, and height this system offers.
For general outdoor photography such as landscapes, sport, travel, etc the 3Pod Everest tripod and ball head does excel, especially at the price point.
If there is ever a V2 that is lighter, I'll be at the front of the queue.