Joby Gorillapod Original Field Tripod
By Don Mutsch
I recently purchased a new camera, which amongst other uses, will accompany me in the field. While a review of my new Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS3 would be the subject of a separate article, I must confess that Iím completely enamored with this powerful point and shoot camera. While being no different than many other electronic purchases, I would immediately require additional camera accessories to get full use from my camera.
It didnít take long before I found myself requiring the assistance of a small tripod. All too often Iíve felt that Iíve missed out on capturing some of the memories from trips afield by not getting a group picture. More importantly, I wanted to capture pictures of both my son and I together when weíre out hunting. Opportunities for pictures like these make themselves available, but for a relatively brief moment in our fast-paced lives, and Iím determined not to miss them.
To take group hunting, fishing, camping and similar photos, a reasonably level surface must be found to set the camera on. Often, the camera needs to be propped up to attain a level framed picture. A tripod makes this task much easier, while reducing the risk of the camera falling.
Many small tripods work fairly well when placed upon the hood of a vehicle or upon the seat of a camp stool. Nevertheless, if the tripod is to be used while in the field, a surface to place a tripod on is not always available. Day packs, stumps and large boulders are probably your best bet. At my local camera shop, I found the Joby Gorillapod for $21.95 (www.joby.com). The tripod is very small and lightweight. A small slimline camera attachment plate is installed on the camera body and will remain on my camera indefinitely due to its inconspicuous size. The attachment easily slides onto the head of the tripod and snaps into place. The push of a release button on the head frees the camera.
The most notable feature of this tripod is its flexible legs with rubbery gripping surfaces. The legs can be shaped and wrapped around small tree branches, brush, fences, etc. The head potion is easily adjusted and holds its position well. In use, Iíve found this tripod to perform as advertised. The camera/tripod arrangement can be positioned on top of a tree branch and will hold well. Just as easily, this arrangement can be turned upside down to hang from a small branch, or perhaps a wire fence.
Overall, I found that the Jobo mini tripod serves my purposes well. As an aside, I had first purchased a similar looking tripod from a large electronics chain that was made by a different manufacturer. Besides its bulkiness, the first use of the copycat tripod resulted in the plastic head snapping off the tripod legs. Needless to say, it was returned for a refund.
The Joby ďOriginalĒ model I purchased will hold cameras weighing up to 11.5 ounces. Lager models are available for heavier cameras. At just under six inches long and 1.6 ounces in weight, I have no problem finding a place for this tripod in my cramped fanny pack. Simply put, itís a product that performs as expected.
Copyright 2009 by Don Mutsch. All rights reserved.