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05-02-2015, 03:47 PM   #1
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GorillaPod

Has anyone used one of those small flexible tripods, like the GorillaPod? I have a good full size tripod, but it will not allow me to get down close to the ground. I am thinking of something like the GorillaPod for this, and also just to carry when I don't want to carry a full size tripod. There are several manufacturers of this type of tripod, here is a link to this one JOBY flexible camera tripods for DSLR/SLR cameras and point-and-shoots

05-02-2015, 04:16 PM   #2
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Depends what you mean by "small". I have been using a Gorillapod Focus with ballhead for nearly three years now (genuine Joby model). Although it often takes a bit of fiddling to wrap its legs tightly around railings etc so it doesn't slip, it holds my K5 securely in most situations and has been a boon travelling overseas when I'm always trying to minimise luggage volume. At home, I also find it very useful for macro studies close to the ground. In fact if I think about it, my G 'pod is used more often than my "main" tripod.
05-02-2015, 04:44 PM   #3
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Original Gorillapod no mount

Following your link I believe the version I bought about 6-7 years ago is the SLR zoom version.

I've never tried it with one of the heads, it might be better that way, but I've always just screwed it directly into the base of the camera. When I do so I take the battery pack off my K5 to further reduce the size and weight when using it. I also limit the size of lenses, so the Limited primes are the best option to keep the weight down and close to the camera body. These are important points when using the Gorillapod.

To be honest if you want to get closer to the ground the right rigid tripod and head (I use a geared head) is my recommendation. You could probably get lower with the Gorillapod, but I find them annoyingly fiddly at times. I took mine away last year to reduce the load I travelled with, but once there I found it compromised positioning for one or two shots to the detriment of the image I was trying to capture. So like a lot of kit, you need to consider the compromises it represents and if they outweigh the benefits. In this case it was only an issue with a couple of shots, and it helped me stabilise the camera in low light for a number of others. So it was handy, but not always so.

I think the best things about the Gorillapods is when compared to a larger rigid tripod, they are inexpensive and small. So I reckon buy one if it you think it will give you what you seek as it won't cost you a lot and really might be all you're seeking. I would however suggest that when your full size tripod needs replacing you look at the options for one that has a reversible centre stem, or one that will allow the centre stem to rotate 90%. Both of these will get get you close to the ground but provide better stability and control.

Tas

PS (two responses from Newcastle Australia. Pentax is alive and well here)
05-02-2015, 04:46 PM   #4
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I have one of these (Joby). It is important that you choose the model for what you need: that is, for the weight that you intend to apply. Your camera but also your lens. If you intend to use a heavy lens, consider the focus model (for ful-frame). Otherwise the slr zoom will be fine.

I like the design that allow to grasp any shape. It works very well IMHO and I can recommend it very strongly.

Hope that the comment will help.

05-02-2015, 05:00 PM   #5
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I would heartily recommend the Gorillapod Focus for Pentax + 55mm or wider lenses. But any long lens will be problematic based on my tests which you can read here: MAGNAchrom: Gorillapod Focus - Evaluation: The Alternative Journal of Medium and Large Format Photography. My daughter, a pro photographer only uses them for flashes.

YMMV

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05-02-2015, 05:22 PM   #6
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Recommended for Travel

I have one of the larger models and I've used it for years. I use it as a travel tripod when my mode of travel causes me to leave the full size tripod at home, which is most of the time. It's light and pretty versatile. It's not always suitable for the shot I want, but it serves the purpose about 95% of the time. The legs are very configurable so you can position them as desired to better handle the weight distribution of the camera and lens. I'll frequently use it instead of asking a stranger to take a shot of my wife and I in front of a scenic view. I trust my ability with the GorillaPod more than I trust a stranger's ability. Now if I saw a stranger with Pentax gear, that would totally change my approach. I would recommend the GorillaPod for the type of use I have described.
05-02-2015, 07:54 PM   #7
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I have the Focus + Ballhead X and the SLR zoom. If I just want to get really low to the ground, the SLR zoom with no ballhead works well, but a modest beanbag can also work here. Aiming is fiddly as mentioned though, so the focus + ballhead is my preference if I don't need to go quite so low. They work well on branches and poles (ballhead also preferred for this use), but even then I do prefer something like a superclamp + ballhead for more stability.

They're definitely top notch for holding remote flashes in strange places.

05-02-2015, 08:53 PM   #8
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You could also consider the Manfrotto Pixi. What you lose in bendy legs you gain in stability low to the ground or on a table top.
05-03-2015, 09:09 AM - 3 Likes   #9
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There are plenty of conventional tripods with a removable center column that will go flat on the ground, but if you ONLY want something for the ground I use a big metal pot lid with a ballhead attached. I wanted something I could put on the beach or in muddy areas to get ground-level shots of shorebirds and things like that. I saw DIY suggestions for using a frying pan with a hole drilled in the middle (to mount a head) as a ground pod you could slide around in the sand or muck. So I went to Goodwill to find something like that but instead I found these large lids that already had holes in the middle and realized that was much easier. ($5 for the 2 lids.)

I found a rigid one with a bit of an peak to it in the middle which I use right-side up to hold the head. I use a thumbscrew off of an old flash bracket to secure the head (with a rubber washer on top because the surface is curved) -- didn't even have to modify the hole on the lid, just took its original knob/handle off. This one works well on any level hard surface, and any soft surface I can just jam the edges into the dirt/sand. (Won't work on a hard but unlevel surface.) It is incredibly stable (the lid is thick and strong and cannot be bent)-- I can even put the gimbal head on it with a 10lb big lens set-up. And then I found a lightweight aluminum lid (much flimsier) that fits outside of that one upside down if I want to make the whole thing a slider (I sealed the hole in the middle). This works fine as long as the weight is centered and used on soft surfaces (a bit wobbly on something hard).

In the pics I have a leveling base and a ballhead attached, which is usually how I have it but you could lose either of them to make it even lower. The lower it is of course the harder it is to actually operate -- you have to lie on the ground yourself.

The lids only weigh a pound or so together, and easily fit into my backpack (it has a laptop sleeve). The set-up is much handier than I anticipated and is actually much more stable than any of the small pods you can buy.
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Last edited by vonBaloney; 05-03-2015 at 10:08 AM.
05-03-2015, 04:03 PM   #10
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Thank you all for the information. The model I was looking to get is the SLR zoom model, in case I want to use my 70-200mm lens. And I would be using a ball head with it. But I really like the ideal that vonBaloney has, Not sure if I should have used the lid off my wife's favorite pot though (just kidding).
05-05-2015, 02:41 PM   #11
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I prefer to use the largest model with one leg over the shoulder and two resting on my chest. Far more stable then any sort of gun stock style support I've used it'sand much more portable and flexible in use than a tripod.

After one leg separated from the 'pod I use a short neck strap to tether and support two legs resting on my chest and found that bi-pod configuration even more convenient - take up any slack in the strap with the left thumb.
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