Wednesday, April 9, 2014

GorillaPod Tripod Review

A recent re-posting of my earlier tripod article, Maximize Your Tripod, generated a lot of interest from readers who were not familiar with the GorillaPod line of flexible travel tripods. To that end, I thought it might be useful to provide a more in-depth review of the GorillaPod and some of the common scenarios for which it can prove quite useful.

GorillaPod Tripod Review | Boost Your Photography

What is a GorillaPod?

The GorillaPod is a line of tripods made by Joby that are constructed with flexible legs of multiple ball-shaped units that can be moved and manipulated in a variety of ways. There are several different varieties, so you want to be sure that you purchase one rated for your particular camera.

Joby GorillaPod GP3 Tripod Review | Boost Your Photography

The Joby GorillaPod original comes in several different colors and is rated for point-and-shoot cameras. The Joby GorillaPod grip tight has an adjustable grip stand to hold cell phones. The Joby GP3 GorillaPod is rated for DSLR cameras and is also available in a GP3 version with adjustable ball head. I have the basic version, which is what you will see pictured in the setup photographs, but I am strongly considering purchasing the adjustable ball head as an add-on (but more on why later). The heavier and bulkier Joby GP3 GorillaPod can also be used with point-and-shoot cameras, but I would not risk using a heavy DSLR camera on the lighter original version.

Portability and Ease of Use

The GorillaPod is very portable and easy to use. You simply screw the tripod into the tripod mount at the bottom of your camera. I find it easiest to hold my camera tightly upside-down and quickly rotate the GorillaPod around until it tightens. Because I generally wear my camera slung over one shoulder, I often leave the GorillaPod attached when moving from shot to shot, and it just hangs down underneath the camera. When not attached, even the larger Joby GP3 (at less than 10 inches long) fits easily into even a mid-range sized purse. (Add 2-3 inches for the version with the ball head.)

GorillaPod Tripod Review | Boost Your Photography

The legs are very easy to bend and manipulate, but at the same time, I have found that they are also quite solid and stable once you have finished adjusting them. You can pull the three legs apart and use the GorillaPod like a traditional tripod. You can use them to bend and wrap around something to hold the camera up or even suspended. You can even bend them down to nearly flat and allow you to aim and position your camera from down near ground level.

Compare GorillaPod and Full-Size Tripod | Boost Your Photography

The ability to set up your camera down near ground level is one of the most useful features of the GorillaPod. With a standard tripod, you are often limited in how low you can set up, as most heavy-duty full-scale tripods have a center pole that limits the minimum height of the tripod. The GorillaPod allows you to keep your camera close to the ground but also gives you the precision to adjust your aim and angle, which you don't have if you simply place your camera on the ground. This low viewpoint can give your photographs a unique perspective.

Joby GorilladPod Tripod Review | Boost Your Photography

My main complaint with my current GorillaPod, the Joby GP3, is that it is difficult to make minor adjustments to the position of the camera, such as those required to keep the camera perfectly level. Crooked horizons can frustrate any photographer, and they can be a particular problem with the GorillaPod (especially if you are shooting low at ground level and don't want to have to lie on your side to see through your viewfinder). This is where the adjustable ball head with level would come in extremely handy, as it would give you more minute precision and allow you to easily see whether your camera was aimed level.

GorillaPod Example Shots

These two photographs were taken from the same location, but the top version was shot from the minimum height of my full-scale tripod, and the bottom version was shot using the GorillaPod near ground level. I really like the wide-angle feel that the GorillaPod shot gives with the inclusion of the decking and the added context to the shot.

Motion Blur Merry-Go-Round Selfie Taken with GorillaPod | Boost Your Photography

This is my all-time favorite scenario for a GorillaPod and one of my all-time favorite selfies (it's even featured on my About page). Here, I used my GorillaPod to secure my camera onto the far pole of the merry-go-round. Then, I set the camera for a 10-second timer delay and had it shoot a series of six photographs at a time. All I had to do were choose my settings, set the focus, hit the shutter button, and start running!  Once I mentally had counted down to about 8, I jumped onto the merry-go-round and tried to keep smiling until the camera was done shooting the whole series.

GorillaPod Merry-Go-Round Setup | Boost Your Photography

Joby GorillaPod Conclusion

Overall, I strongly recommend the Joby line of GorillaPods. They are a fantastic option for a travel tripod, as even the heavy-duty versions are fairly small and portable, especially when compared to a full-scale tripod, and you can easily fit one in a purse, backpack, or camera case. If you have been looking for a tripod and are not sure that you want to make the jump to a full-size one, the GorillaPod is a great option. The flexible nature allows you to use it in a variety of common (and uncommon) situations, and it can really make a strong impact on your photography.

Boost Your Photography: Learn Your DSLR is now available from Amazon. Get the most out of your camera with practical advice about the technical and creative aspects of DSLR photography that will have you taking beautiful pictures right away.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...