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Joby Gorillapod review

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Joby Gorillapod
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  • gorillapod SLR-ZOOM Heavy-Duty Tripod

Summary

Our Score:

9

A tripod is an essential accessory for anyone who cares about their photography. It's the only thing that can totally eliminate camera shake, even on very long exposures, and as I've noted before the action of setting up a camera and tripod has the effect of forcing you to think about your shot more, which usually results in better pictures. Unfortunately good quality tripods also tend to be heavy, and even expensive lightweight carbon fibre tripods are somewhat unwieldy to carry about, especially if you're travelling light.

One excellent alternative to a full-size tripod is the ingenious Joby Gorillapod, a strange-looking but amazingly effective flexible tripod which can support your camera in virtually any position by clinging to available objects such as furniture, tree branches, car wing mirrors and so on. It can also stand on its own legs like a conventional tripod.

Gorillapods are available in four sizes. The smallest is the pocket-sized Original (the smaller one shown above) which is designed to support compact cameras up to a weight of 325g, is available in a wide range of colours and costs £19.95. Slightly larger is the Gorillapod SLR, which costs around £39.95. As the name suggests it is designed to support a DSLR weighing up to 800g, which includes all current APS or Four Thirds cameras with a normal-sized zoom lens. For heavier cameras there is the Gorillapod SLR-ZOOM, which can support up to 3kg and costs £49.95, while for full-frame professional DLSRs and pro video cameras there is the Gorillapod Focus, also shown here, which can support up to 5kg and costs £119.95.

Although it looks very similar and works in exactly the same way, the Gorillapod Focus is somewhat different from the smaller models. It is far more robustly made, and the sockets of its leg joints are made from machined aluminium rather than plastic. It is also considerably heavier, weighing approximately 320g. Used as a stand-alone tripod it is exceptionally rigid and stable, far more so than one might expect from the look of the thing, while wrapping its legs around a convenient piece of scaffolding tube provides a secure platform for even the largest still camera. Consider that a Canon EOS 1Ds Mk3 with a 100-400mm lens weighs about 2.6kg, which is well within the Focus's weight limit.

lifethroughalens

April 14, 2009, 6:42 pm

"well worth the money"...





Funny that, when I saw the price my jaw dropped. That's a joke. I had the SLR version...which I found next to useless since it would slip all the time and it was very hard to get precise & accurate framing and to adjust, and that was just with a 5D and 24-105. (not to mention it kept on pinching my skin..ouch!)





㿱.99 seems like a much more realistic price to me, but i'd still steer clear and spend the money on a decent tripod / head instead. Other than that, improvise with what's around :)

smc8788

April 14, 2009, 6:51 pm

You must be psychic, Cliff. I was looking at getting a Gorillapod SLR yesterday to go with my new FZ28 (an Easter treat to myself!), but read some mixed reviews about it on a couple of sites (which I don't trust as much as this one). I think I'll go ahead and get one now, though, so thanks for the review (also, it's only 㿅 on Amazon for anyone interested).

lensmann

April 14, 2009, 7:14 pm

The Gorillapod Focus costs $109.95 in the US, and 𧴰 here? These price differentials are starting to get ridiculous.

lifethroughalens

April 14, 2009, 7:35 pm

"The Gorillapod Focus costs $109.95 in the US, and 𧴰 here? These price differentials are starting to get ridiculous"





@lensmann - 12 months ago you would be right, but these days with the exchange rate being what it is, add on VAT and that's more or less equal.





@smc8788 - 㿅 on ebay? Are you sure it's the same model?!

piesforyou

April 14, 2009, 8:32 pm

Just a comment about the smallest original version, I gave one as a present to a friend and when they returned from tavelling, the locking ring had brocken at one of the joints. It's nothing that a dab of super glue can't fix but it does show that this could be a weak link. Since there's nothing actually holding the locking ring in place, it could have easily been lost. Otherwise, top class product.

AndyR

April 14, 2009, 11:32 pm

Had one of the original Gorillapods for our compact for about 3 years now and its still going strong!





Brought myself the SLR Zoom model last year along with a Manfrotto 484RC2 Ballhead for my Sony A200 DSLR and its the perfect combination! Plus, you can crunch it up enough that it goes nicely in a my small carry bag for trips out. Great product!

lensmann

April 15, 2009, 4:39 am

@lifethroughalens: The pound isn't at parity with the dollar (yet), it's still hovering between 1.4 and 1.5, so with VAT at 15%, the Focus should be closer to 䀆 or so. Or am I missing something?

lifethroughalens

April 15, 2009, 5:22 pm

@ lensmann - yes, you're right...I had become fuddled up with the Euro and the Dollar! There will come a time soon when we'll all be on parity, I suspect - the end of the Pound?!





Anyway yes, we're getting ripped off :)

Cub

April 15, 2009, 5:57 pm

Gorillapods are amazing pieces of kit. As much as I've always enjoyed photography, I've never wanted to have to lug a tripod around with me because of the extra weight when hiking up a mountain, or the extra time and effort involved in getting ready for a shot, it can lead to spending too much of your time behind a lens and not enough appreciating what's in front of you with your own eyes.





The Gorilla pod (I have the SLR version) eliminates this, regardless of which camera I have with me at the time, SLR or compact, it's legs wrap perfectly around the strap of the camera case meaning there's no effort involved in taking it anywhere you go, and is easily detached and quickly set up when needed. I've had it for about 3 years and there's hardly any noticable wear and tear on the rubber and the quick release still works perfectly. It's limbs still work like they did on the day I brought it.





I've given these as presents to most people I know who own a digital camera and have been thanked for the improvement in their photos.





Cannot recommend them enough!

Splogbust

April 15, 2009, 11:50 pm

Many thanks for this review - I've been wondering about these for a while.


I have 3 tripods - from a v. small 'compact' to a full sized one, and have long ago given up carrying them around with me.


This one sounds more practical.





Up until now I've tended to lodge the camera on a solid surface, a rock wall or whatever, which is one of the advantages of a fat zoom lens flush with the bottom of the camera. Should the ability to do this with a particular camera / camera pus lens be part of your reviews?

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