JOBY Gorillapod 5K Review: A timelapser’s/landscape photographer’s best friend
posted Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 10:00 AM EST
Gorillapod is a photography household name, and for good reason. The compact bendable tripods come in a host of sizes and weight classes with uses from of course tripods all the way to unconventional stabilizers (take a look at any Casey Neistat YouTube video, and you’re bound to see several Gorillapod shots). But for me, the more hardcore the shoot, the harder time a Gorillapod had doing its job. Every Gorillapod I’ve had to this point uses plastic for the joints, which at some point just can’t handle the rigors of a shoot. Today’s newly-announced Gorillapod 5K has changed all that, and I have never been more confident in a flexible tripod than I have been with my metal 5K. I’m not sure if JOBY has ever released a strictly rubber and metal only Gorillapod in the past, but I can’t be happier with how it turned out and I hope they never go back to plastic.
JOBY did not do much to change what works except make the Gorillapod a metal monster, and now I feel like I can rely on it even in the harshest of conditions. I’m an avid timelapser, and that means I often have to get to some pretty unusual angles with my rig. Most recently, I put the Gorillapod to the test by balancing entire system (including a camera and lens) on the Gorillapod while it hung precariously over a rushing river.
It held beautifully, even with the shifting weight and center of gravity that comes with a slider.
The Gorillapod 5K isn’t even heavy, weighing no more than a few pounds but capable of holding up to 11. You can probably stretch that even further as long as you aren’t resting the whole of the weight on just the Gorillapod, since my timelapse rig weighs close to 20 pounds when fully loaded. Be careful, of course, but I feel confident in using a Gorillapod as one leg on my slider system.
The only minor downside to the Gorillapod that I could possibly list is one that JOBY intentionally added to make it stronger: it’s not super easy to configure. The metal parts and hard rubber are very stiff, which is exactly what you want for stabilizing heavy loads, but it can be tricky to arrange the legs into the exact position you want. I’m certainly not holding this against JOBY, because anything else and I’d be fearing the system would collapse. Bascially, it’s stiff, but it has to be.
The Gorillapod 5K can be combined with the BallHead 5K (or really any of the three new ballheads) for a very versatile system. The Ballhead 5K is a metal design with an Arca-Swiss compatible plate (huge plus, as almost all my tripod heads are Arca-Swiss, so I can use everything together). Stylistically, I love the new look on BallHead 5K. I’m a sucker for black and red, and the 5K delivers that in spades. Though black is the dominant color, the splash of red around the base of the pan degrees and the ball itself look great. Seriously, I want all my gear to be this exact color scheme. The entire line of new Gorillapods have this color scheme and I think it looks great.
The BallHead 5K is all metal with both a pan knob and the bullhead knob, which is ideal for precise camera movements. The typical ballhead you may remember on the Gorillapod is just one knob which controls both the pan and the lock on the ball, which isn’t ideal for panning shots or fine tuning. The 5K is the only bullhead of the three new options to offer the two knobs in lieu of the one, so it’s going to be the one I highly recommend.
Gorillapod and Ballhead 5K
What I liked:
- Great design (red and black looks excellent)
- Strong, sturdy and reliable
- All metal skeleton surrounded by rubber on joints and feet
- Aforementioned rubberized feet and joint points means it grips surfaces extremely well
- Pretty light given how sturdy it is
- Ballhead is Arca-Swiss, and has two knobs to adjust the ballhead and pan
What could use improvement:
- Expensive (about $190 for both the tripod and ballhead)
For high-end and strenuous pro use, I have to say you are going to want to go with the 5K combo: Gorillapod and BallHead 5K. But JOBY announced a ton of new updates to the line, and there is something for everyone on this list:
- GorillaPod Magnetic Mini (US MSRP $14.95) a portable, compact tripod with red-hot magnetic feet that enables a multitude of mounting options for your smartphone, point-and-shoot or action camera.
- GorillaPod 325 (US MSRP $24.95) this unique, flexible stand functions as a grip, tripod or wrapping mount. The next generation of the GorillaPod Original, the 325 model features a new, stainless steel reinforced ballhead with 90° tilt, allowing easy transitioning from portrait to landscape modes, accommodating compact cameras and devices weighing less one pound (325 grams).
- GorillaPod 325 Magnetic (US MSRP $29.95) a lightweight, flexible tripod with red-hot magnetic feet for a multitude of mounting options for smartphones, point-and-shoot or action cameras weighing less than one pound (325 grams). This model takes all the features of the GorillaPod 325 and adds super strong magnetic feet to attach to any magnetic surface.
- GorillaPod 500 (US MSRP $34.95) is a brand new size, offering all the awesome attributes you’ve come to expect from GorillaPod, with the added ability to hold devices weighing up to one pound or 500 grams. This tripod is perfectly suited for compact point-and-shoot cameras like the Sony RX100 or PowerShot G7 X.
- GorillaPod 500 Action (US MSRP $24.95) is optimized for action cameras. Still lightweight and compact, the GorillaPod 500 Action supports devices up to one pound (500 grams) in weight. This model features integrated pin-joint mount and long GoPro style thumb screw to mount action cameras like the GoPro Session, GoPro Hero 5 and small format 360 cameras.
- GorillaPod 1K Stand (US MSRP $29.95) is engineered to support up to 1 kg (2.2 lbs.) of equipment. This stand supports a mirrorless camera, flash, speaker, video light or any other device with a ¼-20 tripod mount, at any angle. This flexible tripod can be used for still photography, cinematography, vlogging or live streaming.
- GorillaPod 3K Stand (US MSRP $49.95) this durable stand easily adapts to support compact DSLR, mirrorless cameras, mobile phones or heavier flashes, is engineered to support up to 3 kg (6.6 lbs.) of weight. Ideal for still photography, cinematography, vlogging or live streaming.
- GorillaPod 5K Stand (US MSRP $119.95) this professional grade flexible tripod is the top choice of leading journalists and vloggers - supporting professional camera equipment at virtually any angle, holding up to 5 kg (11 lbs.) of weight.
- BallHead 1K (US MSRP $19.95) is a professional-grade compact ballhead designed for compact mirrorless cameras and devices weighing less than 1kg (2.2lbs). Features 360° panning head and 90° tilt for precise positioning. Pairs perfectly with GorillaPod 1K stand in the GorillaPod 1K Kit (US MSRP $49.95).
- BallHead 3K (US MSRP $39.95) is JOBY’s only ballhead with a built in bubble-level, precision engineered for composition control, paired with 360° panning, 90° tilt, quick release clip and the strength to support up to 6.6lbs (3kg). Pairs perfectly with GorillaPod 3K stand in the GorillaPod 3K Kit (US MSRP $79.95).
- BallHead 5K (US MSRP $69.95) is the next generation of the popular BallHead X, specifically designed for pro content creation. Featuring independent pan and tilt functionality for precise positioning, an Arca-Swiss system compatible quick release plate for quick set-up, a numbered scale to accurately replicate angles and enough power to support pro-level DSLRs and devices weighing up to 11 lbs. (5 kg). Pairs perfectly with GorillaPod 5K stand in the GorillaPod 5K Kit (US MSRP $179.95).
- GorillaPod Mobile Mini (US MSRP $14.95) designed to hold any smartphone, regular or plus size, with or without a case. Rubberized jaws securely hold phone while flexible leg joints ensure stability on any surface. Flexible leg joints provide stability for any size smartphone.
- GripTight Action Kit (US MSRP $49.95) is a lightweight kit to keep smartphones and action cameras locked and ready for action via an integrated pin-joint mount. Mount and stand can be used together or separately. Kit includes Bluetooth Impulse remote for added versatility.
Though announced today, the new Gorillapod series won’t be available until the first week of October. You can sign up for announcements on their availability here.