NITSAN SIMANTOV. PHOTOGRAPHER. FILMMAKER.

East Grinstead photographer and filmmaker Nitsan Simantov. Wedding photography and commercial video production in London and West Sussex.

Gorillapod Focus Review - The good and bad

The Gorillapod Focus is a superb ultra-versatile and ultra-compact video camera support, but it is definitely not without flaws. Lets start with the pros and cons and then get to the various uses.

Pros:

  • Very well made. Feels like it will last a long time.
  • Really versatile for some kinds of video work.
  • Works very well for small cameras.
  • Legs strong enough for some uses, especially with smaller cameras. So far the strongest I have seen (stronger than the Chinese one I owned, which was actually longer and fatter than the Focus, which is the largest one that Joby do).
  • Reasonable price ($65 / £60). Roughly the same price as the cheapest shoulder rigs currently available, but far better for smaller cameras in my opinion, especially if you prefer compactness.

 Cons:

  • Not ideal for large cameras. It is rated for 5KG but that weight literally squashes it to the floor even if it's just standing in a tripod position. It really depends what sort of position you are trying to hold it in, but generally for tripod use it should be okay for a large DSLR, like a 5D with a small to medium sized lens.
  • The legs really need to be stronger. They are just about strong enough but not really. They seem to get weaker when they warm up from movement or very hot summer days. The down side with making them stronger is that weaker people might not be able to easily adjust the legs, I think there should just be a version of this which is larger and stronger. Ideally x1.5 the size of the Focus.
  • The legs really should be longer too. Right now they are just about okay. I am considering buying another one just to connect them together and make one long one, although I am not sure if that would work well.

Uses:

Tripod?
This is not really ideal as a tripod, but can be used as one in certain situations. For both stills and video shooting there are rarely any times when the shot I want is from right next to something I can position the Gorillapod on, and I am certainly not going to start choosing my shots based on the location of random things in the environment.

Shoulder rig?
Yes, better for small cameras that have a viewfinder but I have just used a 5D Mark III with the samyang 14mm lens on the Gorillapod Focus and it was just about okay.

Body rig?
Yes, a very comfortable and stable one, best for small cameras. Do use a strap for safety to prevent it from falling.

Helmet?
A real helmet would be far better, but that would mean you need to buy or make one, then carry it with you, so if you already own a Gorillapod this could be a nice additional use for it. The A7s with the smallest lens I have was just about usable when used with a wool hat to make it a bit more comfortable, and I would recommend some safety strap in case it falls off. I would recommend either a smaller camera or a little bit of counterweight at the back of the rig, but I have not tried either of those yet. So this is potentially very usable and does not require you to buy/make/carry a dedicated helmet, but takes time to set up and is far from comfortable. An extra-large soft viewfinder eye cup is highly recommended to protect your eye/face. (Warning: This can end in injury if you are not careful. For example, if you don't connect the camera properly it could move out of position and smack you in the face, etc.)

Dual handle stabilizer?
Yes. Very similar to pretty much every other similar kind of dual handle stabilizer, but with the third leg potentially usable as an additional point of contact to your body if needed.

Links:

Gorillapod Focus Links:
● eBay UK link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-534...
● eBay USA link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...
● Amazon UK link: http://amzn.to/X696xs
● Amazon USA link: http://amzn.to/1pgpO47
● B&H Link: http://bhpho.to/X69BaP

Sony A7S links:
● eBay UK link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/710-534...
● eBay USA link: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-532...
● Amazon UK link: http://amzn.to/1qtY6G3
● Amazon USA link: http://amzn.to/1qCmdkx
● B&H Link: http://bhpho.to/1rf9Zfg
● Adorama link: http://bit.ly/1lFs8GL