Joby Gorillapod camera tripod

Gorillapod is not – as the name suggests – an MP3 player for gorillas, nor is it a pod into which you place a captured gorilla, it is in fact an extremely clever mini tripod.

And while gorillas might be found hanging around in trees, or balancing in the brush, tripods would normally not be found on such precipitous perches. But significantly for the Gorillapod, its novel design means it can cling to almost anything with, well, a gorilla-like grip. So you never know.

Each of the Gorillapod’s three legs are articulated along their entire length using small ball and socket joints that allow the entire leg to move and swivel in any direction. Each articulation can rotate through 360-degress and a rubberised gripping rib rings each socket part of each joint.

Add to the ensembles rubberised feet and Gorillapod can grip on uneven, rough or vertical surfaces allowing the Gorillapod to be positioned anywhere while keeping the camera level.

Another very neat feature – but something a real gorilla, perhaps, would not have – is a quick release plate, a la professional tripods. This is a small screw plate with the main screw thread, which sits in a slot on the top. With this plate screwed into the camera’s tripod bush, you can quickly attach/unattach the camera to the Gorillapod’s legs without having to screw/unscrew the thing each time. It also means you don’t have to have the legs dangling from the camera all the time.

Once a camera is on board a Gorillapod, you don’t have to run about beating your chest, oh no. You simply squiggle the legs about or wrap them around the object you want to attach your camera to and start snapping.

You can safely stabilise your digital compact to almost any support, be it a tabletop, rock, fence post, tree branch or gorilla. Hmmm, on second thoughts, perhaps not the last one.

Verdict

Weighing just 45g and able to fold or wrap to almost anything, the Gorillapod is small enough to pack in a handbag, say, or take along with you on holiday, camping, or to a party. It is able to cope with cameras up to 335g, so most modern digital compacts would be fine perched atop its bendy frame. Moreover, two new versions are on the way for larger compact cameras and D-SLRs, so watch this space.

The Gorillapod is (almost) as grippy as a real gorilla, but unlike a large (probably) angry ape, it is also a great photo accessory for any small digital camera.