Joby has been creating their signature GorillaPods for quite some time now. They have been the perfect little throw in your bag, go anywhere tripod. The big plus with GorillaPods are that they effectively made anything into a tripod. Wrap the GorillaPod around practically anything to create an instant tripod.
For a while, GorillaPods where only made for use with small compact cameras due to the weight of the bigger DSLR’s on the market. Luckily Joby stepped up and created the SLR-Zoom GorillaPod.
The SLR-Zoom is basically a 3-legged octopus of plastic and rubber that clings for dear life to whatever you wrap it around. Each of the three legs contains 9 leg joints to let you contort the legs around almost anything you can find. At the end of each leg you will find a rubberized foot to help with stability when standing the GorillaPod up on different surfaces. Each leg joint has a rubber ring around it also to help grip whatever surface it’s attached to.
The mounting plate on the top has a ¼” tripod screw and it comes with an adapter to make it a 3/8” screw for some professional tripod heads. These screws give you the ability to mount your camera directly to the SLR-Zoom or just about any tripod head and use it. I screwed my Manfrotto ballhead on it worked great.
Joby does offer their own ballhead that you can purchase separately to work with the SLR-Zoom. Joby did send us that ballhead along with the ZLR-Zoom to use in reviewing the product. Although it seems a little shoddy at first glance, it’s actually quite nice. The ball itself can go from free moving to rock tight with a slight twist of the knob. My only issue is with the quick-release clip. It seems like a little more quality could have gone into it along with you needing a coin or something similar to really tighten it to your camera.
What set this GorillaPod apart from the others is the amount of weight it is rated to hold thus allowing bigger cameras with bigger lenses. The SLR-Zoom is built to hold up to 6.5 pounds. To test this I tried to load up as much gear on it as possible on the GorillaPod. This turned out being my 5DmkII, vertical battery grip with two batteries, 70-200mm f/2.8 IS lens with lens hood, and 580EXII flash with batteries. All of this added to roughly 6 pounds.
To test the leg joints abilities I attached all of this to the Joby ballhead, spread the legs and left it overnight. Roughly 10 hours later, the legs had not sagged at all. This left my quite impressive.
The next test was actually pretty scary and I wasn’t looking forward to it at all but I wanted to see. This was to test the SLR-Zoom’s gripping abilities. Using the same equipment (minus the flash), I wrapped the legs around a basketball hoop post and cautiously attached the several thousand-dollar camera setup to the ballhead. After letting it sit long enough with my hands under it as a safety net just in case, I mustered the courage to step back and take some pictures.
Once again, I was blown away by the strength the SLR-Zoom has. Now I would not recommend putting this much gear and weight on the SLR-Zoom when using it like this but I did it to prove the point that it can hold its own (pun intended) when it comes down to it.
Of course it works perfectly to be a compact flash stand as well. Here you can see my 580EXII (attached to the Strato II wireless receiver) on the SLR-Zoom. The GorillaPod is gripping a smooth, round, metal light post and not have any trouble at all.
Sometimes you just don’t want to, or can’t carry your full tripod with you. Of course, these are also the times when you will wish you had it with you at some point. The Joby GorillaPod SLR-Zoom is small enough to contort into any bag and will give you that tripod on the go.
With very impressive strength and weight capabilities, you won’t have to worry about your gear falling. That being said, please don’t try to “test” the weight limits as I have done for this article.
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