Gorillapods aren’t new. Which is why I’m a little surprised that I don’t see more of these sensationally sturdy and flexible tripods out in the field and on the streets.
Introduced by Joby back in 2006, the Gorillapod design traded in traditional extendable tripod legs for a brawny but flexible trio that could be bent to fit around and cling securely to a variety of objects and at the same time easily adjusted to stand level on almost any terrain.
I got my SLR-Zoom model in 2012; it’s since been attached to small trees, bars, fences, and poles in more than 20 countries, and is no worse for the wear.
Each leg is comprised of 10 balls joined at bendable points; rubber rings on each ball provide the grip to whatever it is you choose to wrap the legs around.
At 25cm X 6 X 6 (9.8in X 2.4 X 2.4) and weighing in at just 0.19kg (6.7oz), it’s compact and very light, yet built to hold a max load of 3kg (6.6lb). I haven’t tested that limit, but found it more than adequate to support my Canon D60 SLR with an 18-135 zoom. Needless to say my Sony Handycam or GoPro2 won’t be testing its limits either.
It doesn’t replace traditional tripods, nor is it meant to; but it is a phenomenally versatile tool to have in your bag. Or on your desk. I’ll be using it to hold my webcam when I began hosting Hangouts on Air.
Wear and tear is the only concern: when the joints begin to loosen, the Gorillapod will obviously become less effective. I haven’t heard much about this though yet, making this little pod a great value for as little as $33.99 (amazon.com).
I have however heard about a few cheaper rip-off models. Unless you want to watch your $1,000 camera plunge to the ground, I wouldn’t recommend buying one of those.
Joby offers a wide range of shapes, models and sizes, and plenty of add-on accessories, too. Word to the wise: before wrapping your DSLR / zoom combo from a tree limb six feet off the ground or a fence on a bridge over a raging river, check out the handy how-to videos on the Joby site.