Provides: Camera support
Minimum Requirements: DSLR camera, camcorder
You already know and love Joby and their amazing line of Gorillapods. They have models for every size and weight of camera, from point and shoot to cell phones to DSLRs. This time around, I’m taking a look at the Gorillapod Focus, which can hold just about any gear you can attach to it.
The Gorillapod Focus is currently the strongest flexible tripod available. It can hold up to an astounding 5kg (11lbs). That means that it’s either a bit overkill for what you have, or just perfect. It’s really aimed at holding professional video equipment. Think huge camcorders.
But there’s no reason why you can’t use a DSLR with it, especially if you have a large lens attached, need it to be motionless or are extremely protective/paranoid. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to buy this particular model if you think you might ever outgrow the weight capacities of lesser models. Needless to say, if you have heavy equipment, this is your best (and possibly only) choice. And it’s still a pretty good choice if you don’t, for numerous reasons.
First off, it’s the best made, strongest and sturdiest Gorillapod that money can buy (currently). If you don’t already know why Gorillapods are amazing, let me explain. The idea behind the Gorillapod is that you can carry a very compact tripod to do the work of a full size tripod in most situations. All you need is an object to wrap the legs of the Gorillapod around. This could be a tree limb, a sign, a pole, a railing, your shoulder, your leg…you get the idea.
Actually, you don’t necessarily need to get the legs all the way around something either, especially with the Focus. It’s quite amazing what you can safely attach it to, but you really won’t know until you try it. And if you can’t find something to grab onto, you can always use it as a tabletop-style tripod. I’ve taken some of my best pictures with the Gorillapod on the ground like a normal tripod. It’s a very interesting angle to shoot from. All that’s left to do is set the timer and get in frame. Or don’t, if you’re just using the tripod for stability.
One thing worth noting is that this is the only Gorillapod with aluminum balls and sockets. This helps the tripod hold as much weight as possible. Plus, it makes the Focus more of a professional accessory (sometimes, being extra confident in your gear comes through in your pictures). But that also means it adds weight to the tripod itself. This guy weighs 500g (1.1lbs). That’s twice as heavy (and twice as expensive) as the next strongest model, the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom, and three times heavier than the SLR model. It might not be a bad thing though. Extra weight means that your tripod will be more stable and balanced; this Gorillapod should stay put better than the other models because of its weight and sturdiness. And it’s still a ton lighter than a full sized tripod.
And before you go getting worried about the joints being too stiff, it’s not so. I’ll say it does take more effort to articulate these legs than other Gorillapods, but I think it’s worth the extra effort to have the extra weight capacity and stability. Again, not a big deal.
Lastly, it’s perfect for Joby’s new Ballhead X. I can’t think of a better combination; it’s one of the best, easiest and most versatile tripod combos to travel with.
I really can’t say enough good things about the Gorillapod Focus. It’s the type of accessory you carry with you everywhere. It makes it simple to get in frame at a moment’s notice, and sometimes that’s as long as you have. It also makes it possible to gain stability from objects around you while shooting video with an extra heavy camcorder, or for extra steady pictures with a larger DSLR. As far as I’m concerned, there are decreasingly few reasons to prefer a regular tripod over a Gorillapod. You just can’t match the versatility and compactness of a Gorillapod.