Move over Alan 2.0, here comes Alana!

Published On: October 3rd, 2023By Categories: Blog, ReviewViews: 2738
3 Legged Thing Alana Monopod

It’s no secret I am a strong advocate of using monopods for wildlife photography and film work. I’ve talked about it many times on blogs on my website and also over on our African Photography Safaris Podcast. My current monopod, which is as much a constant addition to my kitbag as my camera, is was the Alan 2.0 by 3 Legged Thing.  Now we have the sequel… Alana!

Generally speaking, telephoto lenses favoured by wildlife photographers are larger and heavier than lenses used for other photographic genres. Even for just a short period of time, when you’re perhaps waiting for a preferred composition or for your subject to appear or display some specific behaviour, lenses can become uncomfortable to handhold.

I’ve always preferred to have some support for my lenses, but I’ve found a tripod and tripod head to be limiting in many ways. Firstly, to provide the required support and movement for heavy lenses, the tripod and head is often rather large, bulky and heavy. I’ve also found tripods to be a hinderence. They can make changes to your own position slow and limiting, especially when changing height and ensuring your camera and lens remains level.

Travelling on flights with a tripod can also be a hassle as they may not be welcomed in to the cabin with your camera bag and they can take up a significant amount of room (and weight!) in your hold baggage.

Over the last few years I’ve favoured using a monopod instead of a tripod. They’re much lighter and more compact for travelling and also when moving around with your camera.

When your composition can be improved by changing the background with small changes in the height of the camera, it’s much easier with a monopod than adjusting three tripod legs.

I also find a monopod to be a very useful option when I am photographing wildlife from a vehicle in places like the Maasai Mara and Greater Kruger. I would often find myself composed on a subject and awaiting some action or behaviour and sure enough after a minute or so, my arms began to get tired and muscle shake would set in! Tripods aren’t really a viable option given the lack of space but a monopod takes up such little room when it is in use.

You can read my review of the 3 Legged Thing Alan 2.0 monopod here!

White-headed bee-eater and red-billed quelea © Alan Hewitt Photography

White-headed bee-eater and red-billed quelea – Fujifilm X-H2Ss & XF150-600mm. My 3 Legged Thing monopod kept my lens in position as each species quickly and continuously arrived and departed.

Timbavati Leopard © Alan Hewitt Photography

My monopod took the strain as we sat for a few minutes watching this leopard and waiting for it to lift its head.

MAKE WAY FOR ALANA!

The new Alana monopod is essentially an update to Alan 2.0. So, what’s new and what’s different?

Immediately noticeable is the addition of a new rotating and adjustable wrist strap which is useful for extra security. Gone is the ‘tri-mount’ plate which could be helpful for cable management, but since the transition to full size ‘Type A’ HDMI, I feel the feature is pretty much redundant. Losing this chunky tri-mount plate makes the monopod less intrusive if you hold and support it using this area.

The useful spring-loaded combination screw which enables 3/8″ and 1/4″ screw threads is maintained and at the other end of the monopod we have a slightly more substantial sized foot which increases grip and stability. But it is what is in between which I think is the most noticeable difference. The rubber grips on the Alan 2.0 twist locks were very good to use, and with gloves too. But these have been improved again with deep ‘O’ shaped rubber grips providing even more grip which is more re-assuring with thick gloves, in inclement weather and also when adjusting in a hurry.

Alana is a little taller too standing at 1.58cm compared to Alan 2.0 at 148cm. This extra 10cm comes at a cost of just 0.8cm at the minimum height which is another winner. Let’s have a look at the rest of the specs…

Alana Alan 2.0
Max Height 1.58m 1.48m
Min Height 44.8cm 44cm
Load Capacity 60kg 60kg
Weight 643g 615g
Max Tube Diameter 32mm 32mm

There is a tiny weight increase but given the extra height, chunkier grips and larger foot I can certainly live with this, especially as the grips don’t increase the overall diameter.

Like Alan 2.0, Alana is compatible with the Docz stabiliser which increases the height further to 1.63m. As well as adding stability, Docz also provides 360° rotation and 30° tilting.  Docz in itself is also an incredibly effective and useful table top tripod and also for lens support in bird hides where there is a shelf making monopod use difficult.

What’s not to like? Well, nothing really! If I was to be very fussy I would say that it would have been nice to be able to remove and re-attach the wrist strap as necessary but this really is a minor gripe.

Alana is a fantastic upgrade to Alan 2.0. As a travelling wildlife photographer it really is ideal, small at its shortest size yet extending tall, extremely strong weight load and still reasonably light with very physically tactile rubber grips on the twist locks.  It offers everything we need from a monopod!

Available now from 3 Legged Thing!

3 Legged Thing Alana and Alan 2.0 monopod smoother top section

 New 3 Legged Thing Alana (right) smoother top section & wrist strap compared.

3 Legged Thing Alana and Alan 2.0 monopod larger foot

 New 3 Legged Thing Alana (left) larger foot.

3 Legged Thing Alana and Alan 2.0 chunkier twist grips

 New 3 Legged Thing Alana (left) chunkier and deeper rubber ‘O’ grips on the twist locks.

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