Joby Ballhead for gorillapod SLR-zoom

May 1, 2010

The Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom is a new addition for my camera, and there were a few things I disliked about it. I loved the fact you can cling it to railings, and that was the purpose of my purchase, however I realised whilst shooting the 2010 Virgin London Marathon that it was difficult to pan with it. As I wanted to take shots of the runners as they went past me I needed it to move, so I ended up loosening the screw slightly to act as a makeshift rotator; but everytime I panned on an athlete the gorillapod would loosen itself from the railing slightly, this didn’t leave for very steady panning and I’m sure I easily missed some great shots.


The second thing I didn’t like about it was the fact it connects straight onto the camera and if you want to separate them you had to unscrew it…annoying when you want to shift from a sturdy tripod point to free hand movement – I ended up have to move the whole tripod, still attached to the camera, to take some of the action shots.

So I was pleased to find that Joby have now released a ballhead attachment, which although it isn’t perfect does compliment the gorlliapod.

Joby ballhead

The main thing I love about the ballhead is that there is a easy release feature to remove the camera from the tripod. The part at the top, with the bubble level, screws directly into the camera and can be released from the ball head itself by simply pushing a button. Though this means you’re walking around with a bubble level stuck to your camera (which actually comes in helpful sometimes) it certainly helps for those times where you need to use both camera as a standalone and the tripod; which would have been perfect for my London Marathon photos.

The main downside is that there is no dual lock mechanism. The ballhead itself freely rotates as you would expect, allowing you to angle the attached camera pretty much however you need to.

They also state the base of the ball head rotates, which gives you a flat 360 degree pivot. Unfortunately, when you turn the knob to lock the device it locks both the ball head and the base. This means once you position the camera angle perfectly, but you need to move the rotation of the camera itself around, you are going to have to unlock both and lose the perfect angle you had while you readjust the base.

Therefore panning still requires a steady hand, but at least the tripod stays mounted to the railing whilst you do so.

Far from an ideal solution, but better than what I had. I note that Joby have now released the ‘Ballhead X‘ which does have this feature, but is also twice the price and a little heavier, which is a shame.

Joby Ballhead with camera

The ballhead device itself isn’t too large and can easily slip into a camera bag as required. It’s also very light so it won’t be the straw that breaks the camel’s back either.

It’s made out of sturdy plastic but doesn’t look like a kinderegg toy; the bubble level itself being the only part that looks like it may break in some way…but touch wood that doesn’t happen.

The retail price is £34.95 which considering the inflated price you normally pay for camera products is pretty good. I noticed Jessops had it on their shelf and after inquiring as to the price it appeared to be £42 (for some reason the Jessops I went to didn’t have display prices for any of the Joby products).

I picked up mine from Play.com for £29.99 with free P&P which appeared to be the best deal out there. If you’re buying together with a gorlliapod you’re likely to get it a little cheaper also.

Joby Ballhead in use

All in all it’s a nice additon to the gorillapod and adds a little needed functionality. Improvements could easily be made to make this a better, and more competitive, item – especially dual locking. I haven’t tried it on any other tripods but I think it should work okay with a lot of them.

If you have a gorillapod that you regularly use and want to be able to add a little more flexibility to it, you can’t really go wrong with picking one of these up, especially for such a cheap price.

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3 Responses to “Joby Ballhead for gorillapod SLR-zoom”

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