Friday, 19 November 2010

Gorillapod SLR Zoom, Test & Review

We all know that using a tripod can improve our photos. A Tripod reduces blur from camera shake, no matter what shutter speed you’re using. But there’s another way in which a tripod can improve your photos and that’s by slowing you down. Now that might seem a strange thing to say but by taking a little bit of time to compose the shot you’ll often end up with better photos.

OK so everyone agrees that a tripod is a good thing in principle, but like many people I rarely use one. The simple reason for that is tripods are heavy and awkward to carry around especially when you’re travelling.

On my recent trip to Florence I knew I’d want to take some low light photos, so a tripod was going to be essential. I also knew I wanted to travel light so I opted for the Gorillapod SLR Zoom.

The Gorillapod has been around for many years now and comes in a variety of sizes. The SLR Zoom is the middle sized offering from Joby. They claim it can hold up to 3kg in weight so I packed a Canon 400D and fitted it with a Canon 24-105mm lens. Weighing in at around 1.5kg it seemed like a good match for the Gorillapod.

The Goillapod is an odd looking thing. Made up of lots of rubbery ball joints it’s about 12” in length and very light in weight. So from a travel point of view it was the ideal choice and was no trouble to carry around. The legs don’t extend so you might class it as a table top tripod, but they do bend.

Joby makes a big thing about these bendy legs. The idea is you can wrap the legs around any handy object like a pole, tree or fence and your camera will stay there. The reality is surprisingly close to the marketing hype. It takes a bit of time and practice to get right, but you can indeed attach the Gorillapod to fences.

Sadly there are some weaknesses. The Gorillapod SLR Zoom doesn’t come with a built in ball head so you’re limited to portrait format shooting only. A ball head and quick release plate are available, but that adds extra cost and weight. I also found the Gorillapod to be very bouncy, picking up vibrations and blurring some of the images on long exposure shots or when the lens was zoomed in.

You can watch my video review below.



Conclusion.
The Gorillapod SLR Zoom is a great gadget. Well made, light weight and does what it claims. The bendy legs are an endless source of fun, but care is needed to get the best photos when using it for challenging long exposure images.

Rating:
So did the gorilla pod click my tick? Nearly. It gets a respectable three out of five from me.

5 comments:

Andi said...

Hey Gavin,

Thanks for the review, great photo's as always.

Would you use this with a 70-200 2.8 IS , which is a pretty heavy lens.

Thanks,
Andi

Gavin Hoey Training said...

I'd try anything once Andi, but wouldn't hold out much hope at the 200 end. You'd really want the Gorillapod Focus for that.

Mark said...

Hey Gavin.....I have the exact same one. I put a small inexpensive ball head I purchased off Ebay for about 5 US dollars. That made level compostion alot easier. I shot many night shots in Las Vegas with beautiful results with exposures upto 10 seconds using a cable release. And for Andi...with this particular model it handled my 70-200 3.5 with no problem.

Mark

powernumpty said...

I bought that model and once past the "cool gadget" phase found it over rated. Managed to pull a leg off straightening them despite little and careful use. Not really something I'd expect to last. Bet the smaller ones are fine for compacts and larger metal ones possibly too but that size is too optimistically named "zoom" - your review and three stars looks fair to me.

FC said...

I have a smaller one that I use for my Canon SD870 IS. The legs snap off if bent too much. Did that ever happen to you? I am not sure whether I would trust hanging my dSLR on a pole with this thing...

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