1. As compact cameras have become smaller and built with improved features and specs and the major camera companies have entered the Four Thirds market, more digital photographers of every stripe are taking a camera wherever they travel. You, like many of them, may often wish your luggage included a tripod. Too many of them are so large as to be inconvenient when traveling and add weight you must carry, or results in extra baggage fees.
There is a solution, however, and it takes the form of the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Tripod from Joby. It looks like a group of alien photographers left it behind after a travel-photography excursion to Earth.
2. Although the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom, and all the Joby Gorillapod models, can be used like a standard tripod, what makes them so amazing is how the legs are designed and built. Each is a linked chain of nine ball-and-socket joints. This allows each leg to bend and rotate 360 degrees as well as curl and grip many objects and surfaces with great flexibility. The design of the individual links are also clever, with each surrounded by a thick rubber ring. The joints are built with high quality, Japanese ABS plastic and the rings and foot grips are made from durable German TPE-rubber.
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3. As you bend a leg around a pole, the contour of a tree in the woods or a rock in the mountains, it grabs at many spots and with tight contact. The Gorillapod is even stronger and more secure when all three legs wind around the same object. You’ll discover angles and views that are otherwise impossible with standard tripods or even contorting your body severely.
4. The [amazon_link id="B002FGTWOC" target="_blank" ]Joby GP3 Gorillapod SLR-Zoom Flexible Tripod + BH1 Ball Head with Bubble Level[/amazon_link]is just 9.8 x 2.4 x 2.4 inches (25 x 6 x 6cm), so it takes very little room in luggage or camera bag.
5. Despite its compact size, the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom is rated to support camera/lens combinations that weigh as much as 6.6 pounds. Compact and mirrorless, interchangeable lens cameras don’t come near that mark; and even full-size DSLRs and large telephoto zoom lenses, such as a 70–300mm, are typically 4 to 5 pounds total.
6. Virtually all compacts, Four Thirds and DSLRs easily mount to the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom with its universal 1/4” screw or a 3/8” adapter. The screw is attached to the top of a quick-release platform that includes a bubble level. With the platform attached to your camera, you can use the level to help ensure the camera is parallel to the horizon, especially when you place the Gorillapod SLR-Zoom at unusual positions and angles. Add the separate ball head, included with the tripod, for 360 degrees of panning and ± 90 degrees of tilting.
7. The Joby Gorillapod SLR-Zoom, like all the Joby models, is so different from conventional tripods that you’ll find it very instructive and useful to practice with it before you take it on its first field, or travel, trip.
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