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Photography gadgets: GorillaPod and GripTight Mount

Photography gadgets: GorillaPod and GripTight Mount

Everyone seems to have a collection of photography gizmos that have found their way to a closet or drawer. But then there are those that you find you can’t live without.

Two of my favorites are the Joby GorillaPod and the GripTight Mount.

The Joby GorillaPod flexible mini-tripod comes in handy when you need help keeping your camera steady but don’t want to carry a conventional tripod. Let’s face it, most tripods are a real pain to lug around.  They can take the fun out of your photo excursion. But as any photographer knows, keeping your camera steady can make the difference in taking a successful exposure.

Even smartphones and conventional cameras can show improvement by being kept steady. This is especially true in low-light time exposures, HDR (high dynamic range), video and time-lapse photography.

The GorillaPod also comes in handy when shooting a slow shutter speed, when it’s very difficult to press the shutter button without shaking the camera.

Joby’s other product I use is the GripTight Mount which is an ingenious tiny mount for attaching most smartphones to a tripod. It’s small enough that when it folds it can attach to a keychain or fit in your pocket, plus it works with the smartphone in a case. It’s incredible how much better your iPhone video will look when you attach your phone to a tripod, especially if it has a fluid head for panning.

grip1-4x-970I just used it with my video cameras for one of my posts and it’s tough to tell the difference between it and video shot with a DLSR with an expensive, heavier tripod. The smartphone GripTight Mount, priced at $19.95, can also be used with the Joby’s GorillaCam app for the iPhone to shoot time-lapse, stop-motion or a burst of movement and it has a self-timer.

It’s not very surprising that I see people using flexible leg GorillaPods regularly. They are so easy to carry and are a cinch to attach to surfaces like tree branches, fences, poles or rocks. It’s really up to your imagination. They can fit into your pocket or backpack, depending on the model you are using.

There seems to be a Joby GorillaPod for every camera.

The smallest version is the MPod Mini Stand, it may not work with a larger phone or case, but it did work great with my iPhone 5 along with a medium protection case.  It’s too small to grip a pole or a tree limb, but works well as a small stand on a desk or table for taking self portraits or group shots, plus you can use it for a stand to view movies. I use it as a holder on the handlebars on my home exercise bike.

canons95-400pxThe Original, works best with a small compact camera, smartphone, or POV (point-of-view or action) camera and is priced at $19.95. It is small enough to fit into a pocket or purse.

The top-of-the-line GorillaPod is the heavy duty Focus, priced $99.95, should handle a heavy DSLR and zoom lens. Of course, it’s large size makes it tough to fit in a camera bag.

Generally, I recommend picking a model with your heaviest camera in mind. The SLR-Zoom model, priced at $49.95, is a nice compromise and should handle most of your needs. It’s made for DSLRs, video cameras, action cameras and accommodates accessories like an off-camera strobe. It will hold gear weighing up to 6.6 pounds. Its bendable legs will securely grip onto most fences, tables, chairs, poles or rocks. It is matched to work with Joby Ballhead SLR-Zoom.

Using a ball head on a tripod really gives you a lot more control when you’re composing and setting your framing as you secure the camera.

The GorillaPod is just one of those gadgets that comes in handy when you least expect it. It’s a must-have when you don’t have anyone around to help during your photo shoot and need an extra hand. It’s great when you need to mount a second camera, light, or flash in an additional location or don’t want to carry a heavy tripod on a hike or backpack trip.

robert.lachman@latimes.com

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Read more reviews and photography tips by Robert Lachman

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