As I mentioned in an earlier post I was trying out a new piece of equipment on last weekend’s photowalk, the Joby Gorillapod Focus. How did it work? Let’s consider the pros and cons.
I didn’t really mind the extra weight with my SLR kit
- Adaptive to multiple surfaces
I was able to use it on a sloped top of a wall. It worked great on any surface.
- Capable of Low Heights
This HDR photo was taken on the Gorillapod with the legs splayed wide apart. It was so low I had trouble looking through the viewfinder
- Easy To Switch Between Vertical and Horizontal
By using a Quick Release clamp with my L-Bracket it was very easy to take off when not needed and to attach in the correct orientation. Jeff Revell had a Trekpod that used an easy magnet mount. I think my setup was just as easy to use.
This does not replace a full tripod. The legs tend to creep if used at too wide an angle. This can be addressed through technique. I suspect this will get worst over time as the leg joint loosen.
- Support for Vertical Orientation
Without an L-Bracket this will be very hard to use for vertical shots. A ball head that allows the camera to swing to the side will shift the center of gravity too much for this solution. This is just another reason if you shoot any percentage of vertical shots you should have an L-Bracket.
- Needs a Better Carrying Solution
I have a loop on the side of my camera bag that I put one of the legs through. This turned out to be a real pain in the neck. I think I will figure out a different solution.
I knew this was a limitation. The Gorillapod is short and any eye level shots require another surface.
So what is my overall verdict. The Gorillapod Focus is a solid support system for times when you are on the go. It is not a capable as a full-sized tripod but I often do not want to take the full tripod, too heavy, too bulky, … The other comparison I can make is to a beanbag. It is more capable than a beanbag but also more expensive.
The bottom line is I am keeping it in my equipment bag and will use it. It’s much more portable than a tripod and more capable than a beanbag. A good compromise.