This Christmas I was lucky enough to have many presents from my family. Two of the presents are directly related to photography and are hence mentioned on this site. They are both made by Joby and they are as follows:
- Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom with Joby Ball Head BH1 Kit
- Joby Ballhead X for GorillaPod Focus
I have talked about tripods, plates and ball-heads in in a previous entries you can read about here and here. In these posts I mention that the only truly universal (plate) system that is supported by all of the major manufacturers is the “Arca-Swiss” system.
So tripods are useful and when the occasion permits or warrants the use of a tripod I use my Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod or the Manfrotto Monopod. There are times where a tripod is required but the larger tripod/monopod is too large or not suitable, enter the Gorillapod:
The Gorillapods have been around for a few years now and they have expanded the range to cover all options, I added this to my Amazon wish-list and I picked this one as I wanted to make sure that it could hold a DLSR with a mid-range zoom lens if needed. Although all of my cameras are now of the compact/smaller variety I didn’t want to be limited if in the future a DSLR is added. The beauty of the Gorillapod is that the legs are multi-jointed and can be attached to or wrapped around just about anything if needed, they can also act as small table-top tripods. They also don’t take up much space when being transported to the relevant location.
What has stopped me using the Gorillapods in the past was that I like to use the Arca-Swiss system for attaching cameras and/or lenses to the tripod head, these heads are not cheap and can go into the hundreds of pounds; my Really Right Stuff (RRS) BH-55 for example costs around $455 or £400 including VAT, postage and Customs duty. Joby fortunately have also released a much cheaper (£46) Arca-Swiss head, but they call it the “Ball Head X”:
I was sceptical but nevertheless I also added this to my Amazon wish-list too and both the head and the tripod arrived on Christmas day.
I have already used the tripod to take pictures of the dogs (in ambient light) whilst they slept, It was wrapped around an arm of the chair in the room. I am really impressed by this and this is now part of my standard kit.
The ball-head (which comes with an Arca-Swiss plate too) is well made and is all metal and I can confirm that the Arca-Swiss plates that I have fit the Joby Ball-head perfectly and that the plate that the ball-head comes with fits the RRS BH-55 perfectly too. Whilst this is not in the same league as the RRS head it is good enough for its intended use and as long as I am realistic with what I attach I can foresee no problems. I will be purchasing another one of these heads to replace the small ball-head on my Monopod (luckily this falls under the £50 embargo that was introduced from yesterday.