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Gorillapods for Pros? Awesome!

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Ok, so I recently wrote up a review of Joby’s Gorillapods. Our kids use them with their point-n-shoot cameras. They’re great for that. But what about us? Those little Gorillapods can’t handle a Canon 5D Mk III with a long lens. So, we don’t get to join in the fun. Right? Wrong! Joby makes some serious gear for serious photographers. This is cool stuff!

Check out the fantastic system they sent us to try out! I was stunned by the solid construction and the strength of these things! They had no trouble holding my Canon 5D Mk III steady… even with a 70-200mm lens attached! And better yet… they even make a ball-head with a quick release clamp… That just happens to fit my acratech ball head clamp. So, I don’t have to switch clamps to go back and forth between my regular tripod and my Gorillapod. That’s just cool. (You should have seen my grin when I took a look at that ball head. Heck yes!)

All right. I hear you. You’re asking why I need a gorilla pod if I already have a perfectly good ( and rather expensive) tripod. Well, I love my tripod. No doubly about it. And I won’t be trading it in anytime soon. But there are times when it’s a liability. First and foremost – travel. Sometimes a big, bulky tripod is more trouble than it’s worth. It’s tough to fit them into carry-on bags, and their unwieldy on a plane. (I once knocked a guy upside the head with my tripod on a flight to Baltimore. Poor guy probably has brain damage! I felt terrible!) a Gorillapod will fit neatly into your carry-on bag. No problem.

Have you ever taken a trip where there’s a weight limit for your luggage? Or you only want to check one bag… Or want to avoid checking a bag altogether? Yeah. Me too. That’s where the Gorillapod comes in handy.

What if you want to visit the botanical gardens or some other place where tripods are forbidden? The Gorillapod is much more likely to make it past that over-zealous security guard at the front gate.its small enough to be discrete, but sturdy enough to do a great job… Just about anywhere.

All right. So that’s why I like having one. The real question is, does it work? And the answer is yes. Surprisingly well. The flexible legs let you hold your camera steady just about anywhere. At first, the legs seemed pretty stiff to me – but they loosened up just a little after a few bends. I don’t want them getting too loose, though. I need something strong enough to make me feel good about letting go of my camera so I can get a really sharp shot. As soon as I got comfortable bending those legs (no need to be gentle – they are sturdy as heck), I realized I could do more with it than I thought.

I set it on top of a fence post. I wrapped the legs around the post to keep it secure, and fired off a few shots. Sweet. Then, in order to capture a shot of a dandelion, I got down on the ground. I bring my tripod down low like that all the time (for macro shots, or images where I want to get really close to a foreground object that is close to the ground). My tripod goes pretty low – but lots of tripods don’t. This Gorillapod let’s me go as low as I want. So even if I bring along my regular tripod, I’ll have this one as backup in case I really need to get down there.

Rubber grips on each leg-segment keep it from slipping, and it locks tight no matter how you bend it. I recommend making sure your camera is really secure before taking your hands off it. The Gorillapod will do its job if you make sure it’s got a good grip – but it takes some getting used to.

Have you used a Joby Gorillapod? Tell us what you think! I’m sure there are others who would benefit from your comments. Thanks for sharing!

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9 replies
  1. Warren Huie
    Warren Huie says:

    I recently picked up the Gorillapod SLR and I love it. It’s come in handy on backpacking trips and bike trips. Yes, I take my DSLR on backpacking trips. Having the ball head definitely helps when trying to get a straight shot with the awkward angles.

    Reply
    • Varina Patel
      Varina Patel says:

      I completely agree, Warren. I love that little ball head. And the fact that the quick release works with my acratech bracket makes it easy for me to switch between tripods. Hooray! :)

      Reply
  2. Alex
    Alex says:

    Thank you for an idea – I was looking for a small tripod to carry in my bag on the trips.
    I found different models of Gorillapod on Amazon, from cheap to quite pricey. Which one do you use?

    Reply
  3. Malini
    Malini says:

    HI Varina,
    I was planning on getting one for my Alaska trip. I have Canon 60D and 17mm-55mm lens. Also, planning on renting a 100mm-400mm. Which model of the Gorillapods should I buy, so that there is a stability? Appreciate your immediate response.
    Thanks,
    Malini

    Reply
  4. Harold
    Harold says:

    Varina, a while back you guys mentioned you would start using a new tripod vt1113 and it’s ball head bhl1. I was wondering if you could comment on it? Good things, bad things about it?

    Reply
  5. Alice
    Alice says:

    This is just the info I needed, Varina. I’m a macro photographer (flower close-ups). I’d been working without a tripod for years but finally bought a so-called travel tripod. It’s a nice tripod but basically useless for me. I can’t use it around the city and, as you point out, I can’t take it to most public gardens.

    I’m so glad to find out that a pro like you uses a gorilla pod. I’m going to put the big one on craigslist now and use the money to buy a gorilla pod. Finally — no more camera shake! Thanks.

    Reply

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