127 of 130 people found the following review helpful
Not a tripod replacement, but interesting addition to your kit,
This review is from: Joby Gorillapod for Canon 450D, 1000D,500D, Nikon D3000, D5000,D90, Sony Alpha DLSR Range, and Panasonic G1 Series - SLR Zoom (Electronics)At first glance gorillapod tripods seem like a genius idea - and in truth it's a smart design, but not without problems.
The basic gorillapod concept is simply a tripod, but with bendy, segmented legs which grip independently. This allows the tripod to be formed into just about any shape the photographer desires, wrapped round objects such as posts, trees or benches, or just placed on a flat surface as you would any tripod.
Originally launched as a mini compact tripod, Joby has produced several larger and more robust sizes, this being the SLR zoom - designed for larger cameras with bigger lens and rated up to 3kg load.
Construction wise, the gorillapod is well built, and feels like it will last. The light plastic finish is, in my opinion, a mistake. It marks quickly and easily and makes the gorillapod look shabby very fast.
I've no reason to doubt it's load capabilities, with it coping with a Nikon D300, with a 70-300 lens in table top use - although I was more nervous using it wrapped round a railing and would not have risked it without the camera strap round my neck as a precaution!
In use, it's a mixed bag. The length of the legs rules out just about anything other than table top use and for anything else, where you want the camera at eye level, you'll be wanting a proper full-size traditional tripod.
As a tabletop tripod it certainly is capable of doing the job. It's up to you what head you buy with the tripod (bear in mind it usually ships without a tripod head), but chances are you'll have some sort of micro, or small, ball head option mounted. This means you have good control of the camera, on top of those bendy legs which can be adjusted into just about any shape you like.
It's a double-edged sword however. The bendiness means you'll probably spend a little longer than with a standard fixed leg tripod getting the shape right for a solid and stable platform - and it's particularly difficult to make sure it's level without a head with a bubble level included (the Joby own ball head comes with a spirit level built into the mounting plate).
However, the flexibility does mean you have more control over the foot positions, making it easier for awkward spaces or uneven surfaces. It also means you can balance the camera in a different way. For example, of you're using a large zoom lens which makes the camera front heavy, or you're using the camera in portrait orientation you can bend the tripod to compensate for the weight shift.
The articulation also gives you options you'd never have with a traditional tripod. For example you can bend one, or more of the legs into "claws" which can hook over shelf edges, or car windows.
The articulated legs also are far less solid than simple one or two piece legs and therefore the tripod is likely to "bounce" or creep far more in use - especially with heavier cameras and lenses. For high-tolerance work, you're going to want to skip the gorillapod and go for something heavier and more solid.
Gorillapod's unique selling point is those articulated legs which can be wrapped round any handy solid object. The theory is that you don't need a full size tripod, because you can just use a handy tree, or lamppost, or bench etc.
Nice in theory, in practice it's perhaps not that good. Firstly, while the SLR zoom gorillapod's legs are longer than the other models, you're still limited on the maximum diameter you can wrap round.
It also can take some time to secure the pod in a configuration you're happy trusting your expensive camera with. And in certain situations it's very difficult to get the camera pointing the way you want, or in the correct orientation, due to how close it has to be to the support object you're using.
As you'll realise, you'll also need to have a handily placed solid object more or exactly where you want to take the photo from - or you'll be faced with placing the tripod directly on the ground and with it being so short, you'll need to lie down to operate the camera! The advantage all traditional tripods have over the gorillapod is they create the support and height you need exactly where you want it.
The Gorillapod SLR Zoom needs to be viewed as a lightweight bit of kit which is fairly easy to carry anywhere and therefore might be helpful in unexpected situations when you haven't brought a tripod, but would benefit from some support (and there is a handy railing/tree etc just where you want to take the shot!). It certainly shouldn't be considered as an alternative or replacement to a proper, solid, traditional tripod.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 28 May 2011 11:28:58 BDT
ron the dog says:
a better balanced review than many where the writers only seem to have attempted to use the gorillapod in traditional tripod pose, which is really not its' primary purpose. the gorillapod is designed to offer a solution in some situations where a traditional tripod cannot be used. they are like shoes and gloves, they do broadly the same job but are not generally interchangeable.
Posted on 3 Aug 2011 09:49:10 BDT
Mr. Ronald V. White says:
Thoughtful and useful review. Basically, the Gorillapod augments rather than replaces a conventional tripod. When travelling long haul that limits its usefulness as it then becomes yet another bit of kit to add to the camera gear which, with camera body, and maybe two or more lenses and a flash, starts to become weighty and cumbersome.
Posted on 4 Dec 2011 09:15:07 GMT
D. R. Marlow says:
Thank you for your review, very helpful and helped me re-consider my options as a traveller
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