It can be a frustrating situation: You're on the trail, attempting to photograph yourself in front of a backcountry waterfall, but there's no good place to position your camera. The only available log is too low, and your attempt to use a slumping daypack fails repeatedly. But, if you're packing the Joby Gorillapod, and there is a nearby tree, all is not lost.
One of the most clever camera accessories we've tested, the Gorillapod has flexible legs that can be wrapped around tree limbs, rocks or whatever Mother Nature has to offer. (Heck, we've even wrapped it around a thick shoot of bamboo.) Rubber rings and feet on the legs allow the Gorillapod to grip smooth surfaces, while the stem that attaches to the camera is also flexible, allowing you to cant the camera body at the desired angle.
A member of the SNEWS® testing crew used a Gorillapod over the course of a year and a half while working on a guidebook and found that it was one of the most important pieces of equipment he carried. Because he was hiking solo most of the time, he didn't have another person available to take pictures when there was no obvious platform for a camera. In many situations, had he not been able to strap a camera to a tree branch, he just wouldn't have been able to capture certain images.
He tested the original, smallest version of the Gorillapod, which measures about 5 inches long, weighs 1.6 ounces and has a standard 1/4-inch tripod screw. Designed to hold cameras weighing up to 9.7 ounces, this Gorillapod functioned well with a small Canon PowerShot camera. Though the tripod legs were very flexible, they were stiff enough to hold the camera body at odd angles without bending under its weight. One of the most notable aspects of the tripod is that the flexible, ball-and-socket joints do not weaken and lose their stiffness over time as we had suspected they might.
Joby also offers the Gorillapod SLR, which can hold a camera up to 1.75 pounds, and the Gorillapod SLR Zoom that works with cameras up to 6.6 pounds. A clip accessory allows you to attach a remote flash to the Gorillapod.
Dayhikers, or anyone who wishes to carry a light load, will find that the lightweight, compact Gorillapod is a good alternative to a large, unwieldy tripod. And best of all, this simple device allows you to capture images in seemingly impossible situations.
SNEWS® Rating: 5 hands clapping (1 to 5 hands clapping possible, with 5 clapping hands representing functional and design perfection)
Suggested Retail: Gorillapod Original $24.95; Gorillapod SLR $44.95; Gorillapod SLR Zoom $54.95.
For more information:www.joby.com