Is this the ideal tool for mobile content creators?
Joby and their Gorillapod brand have been around for forever, and these versatile tripods have long been a favorite tool for run and gun photographers and videographers who always needed a tripod they could put anywhere. But in this age of mobile content creation a new breed of content creators, utilizing the incredibly powerful tools at their disposal in smartphones and action cameras, are growing and need tools to support their passions. Enter the Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig – possibly the ultimate all-in-one tool for these creative content producers.
I’ve had the Gorillapod Mobile Rig for several weeks and have used it in a variety of situations, from recording videos in my home to taking pictures while on walks to doing ‘walk and talk’ vlogs while out exploring the hiking trails near my home. This is my review of the Gorillapod Mobile Rig.
As you would expect from a Joby product featuring the Gorillapod branding, the Mobile Rig is based on a set of tripod legs utilizing that well known Gorillapod design. They are not as long, nor as strong, as those you may be used to using with your DSLR and Mirrorless cameras – but for its intended purpose, smartphones and related accessories, the legs are sufficient.
Speaking of smartphones, the Mobile Rig features a tripod head designed specifically for phones, which features two ¼ 20 threads for mounting accessory arms (which are basically Gorillapod legs with accessory mounting points on the end instead of feet). The phone mount itself is adjustable and has a cold shoe mount on the top which will be perfect for those wanting to make use of an external microphone or light.
Additionally, the smartphone head has two easy adjustment knobs; the first is a simple mechanism to tilt the phone forward or backward. The second is behind the phone and acts as both the adjustment point for expanding the size of the phone that the mount can hold and also the point that makes the mount easily flip the phone from portrait to landscape orientation.
The build quality of the Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig is pretty much exactly what I was expecting it to be; which is, in a word, good. The unit is made up entirely (rubber grip points and feet aside) almost entirely of metal and heavy-duty plastics which I am confident can stand up to a good amount of abuse.
The ¼ 20 mounting points all feature metal screw threads, and the cold shoe on the smartphone mount itself is also metal. If you have been happy with the quality of your Joby Gorillapod products in the past then this will fit right into your expectations of the Mobile Rig.
So how does the Gorillapod Mobile Rig work? Well, I really only had a few issues with the unit. First is just a general frustration with Gorillapod legs in general, they get the job done and work as intended, but the slight OCD in me always causes problems when trying to straighten out the legs after using them. If you have ever used a Gorillapod you know what I am talking about, and while not a deal breaker or huge issue, I just wanted to note this annoyance is still, in fact, present on the legs and accessory arms provided with the Gorillapod Mobile Rig.
As well, remember that dual action knob I mentioned which both resizes the phone mount and allows you to flip the phone from portrait to landscape mode really quickly? Well, I can see why Joby went with this idea – it saves both money and design time having to get two knobs to do this. But the compromise is that this means if you’re not careful you can untighten the mount too much when you are wanting to flip the mount from portrait to landscape (or vice versa) and you guess it – send your phone plummeting to the ground.
This potential issue did not happen to me because I was hyper-paranoid about it so I made sure to do the flip as few times as possible and to do it very carefully. But I can see someone in a hurry to change the orientation not being as careful as I was and sending their phone for a dive. Is it a dealbreaker design flaw? I don’t know, it depends on if you feel like you will be trying to switch orientation on the fly a lot. If not, then you can just set it up as you need and lock it down. No problem.
Pros and Cons
So here are just some quick hits on things I liked and things I didn’t like about the Gorillapod Mobile Rig.
- Fairly Compact
- Dual Action Knob
- Length of accessory arms (they feel slightly too short to me)
- General annoyance with Gorillapod legs
Ok, time for some overall thoughts and conclusions. Overall, I feel the Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig is an incredibly versatile tool that could for sure come in handy for anyone looking to be more serious about their mobile content creation; be that for vlogging, photography, time lapses, whatever. It is not a perfect by any means, but how about you show me a product that one could ever call perfect?
The accessory arms on this unit could be a little longer; in my experience when I was trying to have them away from the camera but holding the accessories at camera level the arms were slightly too short to make that happen. Again, this isn’t a deal breaker, just more of a slight annoyance. It would be awesome if Joby would release a few different accessory arm options for users to buy later on if they wanted or needed them.
But going back to the versatility of this unit again. Not only is the modular aspect to this really great (each piece is separate, so you can take it apart and easily pack the legs, arms, and head conveniently in a bag or wherever), but the fact that Joby used standard threads means you aren’t limited by using just these pieces. For example, you could put the Mobile Rig head on a standard tripod plate and use it to have your phone on your standard tripod or monopod. The same goes for the accessory arm mounting points. Since those are just ¼ 20 threads, you could screw anything into there that has a ¼ 20 screw on it.
This would be a great tool for the modern day journalist who is being asked to do more than just writing news stories. This would allow for better quality phone photos and videos thanks to greatly improved stability vs simply hand holding. As well for the more intended uses, for vloggers and content creators using their phones to create videos and images, this product will no doubt help them get what they need.
Do I recommend the Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig? Yes, yes I do. Assuming that you find yourself in one of the categories above, or find yourself wanting to experiment with the above examples. If you are interested you can get the Joby Gorillapod Mobile Rig now over on Joby’s website (it’s not yet at other retailers like Best Buy or Amazon) where it retails for $99.