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I own a Sony NEX-5R, which I use heavily for low-light shooting, with a Gorillapod. The Gorillapod is rated for 1kg, and the camera is 466gm. When I press the shutter button, I get camera shake, which I've learnt to work around by using a 2-second timer. I later read on photo-SE that that's not enough, and that I should use a 10-second timer, so I do that now.

Should I upgrade to a heavier Gorillapod, like the SLR zoom (rated for 3kg, and designed for SLRs) or the Focus (rated for 5kg, and designed for full-frame SLRs)? Would that let me take photos more conveniently, and with no or shorter timers, like 2s instead of 10? Or is there likely to be only a marginal difference?

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1  
so, use a real tripod. –  Michael Nielsen Dec 19 '13 at 18:23
    
That's a different question: photo.stackexchange.com/questions/46078/… I'm wondering if I should buy a bigger Gorillapod in addition to or instead of a traditional tripod, so let's keep the two questions separate. This question is about a bigger Gorillapod will help given that I have a smaller one. –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 20 '13 at 4:26
    
Can you isolate what's causing the shake? Pressing the release? Wind? The weight of the camera distorting the gorillapod over time? –  Roddy Dec 20 '13 at 9:47
    
Pressing the release. I know this for a fact because using a timer eliminates the shake. I do have occasional problems with the weight of the camera pulling it down, but I usually found that securing the legs of the Gorillapod against the metal bar it's gripping fixes that. Still, I can't shoot extreme angles, like up into the sky. Will the "SLR zoom" Gorillapod fix these, since it's rated for 3kg and my camera is only 466gm? –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 20 '13 at 10:14
    
I have a tripod, and I can provoke the shake if I do it wrong. E.g my shake is from when I press the button, solution Infrared release or use the 10sec countdown. –  DoStuffZ Dec 20 '13 at 10:40

4 Answers 4

up vote 1 down vote accepted

It's important to note that tripod/head weight ratings are typically not directly related to camera weight. Confusing but true! The problem is with the weight distribution of your camera and lens and how the tripod/head area positioned.

A small/short lens on the camera is going to have a very different center of balance than a big/long lens on the camera. It's likely that the big lens is heavier, but even if a big lens and small lens are the same weight, the weight distribution is different -- the long lens is going to more the center of balance. The camera's tripod socket is always in the same spot regardless of how long or short the lens is.

Mount the camera on the tripod so that it's level. With a Gorillapod (small compared to a full-sized tripod) switch to a long lens and I bet you can feel the center of balance change and the weight pulling down on the front of the lens.

Point the camera up, say at 45 degrees. The long lens feels better balance over the center of the Gorillapod. However, now switch back to a small lens and you'll feel that the back of the camera is the heavy part and pulling on the Gorillapod.

Of course, neither of these examples touch upon the problem of drifting. The uncentered weight of the camera/lens torque the head/legs because they aren't rated highly enough to handle the load.

Simply, I'm not at all surprised to hear that you're having some trouble and need to step up to (at least) the SLR model. But, if you're looking to use this with any regularity I suggest looking at a full-size tripod.

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As a Gorillapod user (SLR version) with a small Nikon DSLR and Sony 5R, I noticed that the camera shake comes mainly from the tripod being less than ideally attached to the pole/branch/bar/whatever.

This is not easily fixed, because most times the Gorillapod cannot be ideally set up with no camera shake (especially if you need to adjust it and recompose a bit)...but i've found that with some shutter delay (2/10 sec) you can pull off good results - If there is no wind or anything disturbing the fitting.

In windy outside settings, you may require a regular, fixed to the ground, tripod.

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One other approach is to use a remote release. Basically you're decoupling the physical action of pressing the button (and hence jiggling the camera) from the shutter opening. A timer delay does this 'temporally', while a remote release does this 'spatially'.

Even an old-fashioned cable-release will help, if your camera supports it.

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Yes, but that's independent of using a Gorillapod vs a tripod, isn't it? Am I correcting in understanding that a tripod won't completely solve the problem of camera shake? –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 20 '13 at 2:32
    
To address your suggestion, yes, I have a remote shutter release on my shopping list. Thanks. But let's ignore that for now, and assume, for this question, that I don't have a remote release. –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 20 '13 at 4:27

I'm guessing that your 1kg-supporting Gorillapod is the Hybrid (originally wrote 'Focus', my apologies), which is a nice little tripod with a ballhead, or an SLR, which has a couple of jointed sections above the leg sections. The SLR Zoom and Focus are both substantially heavier and bulkier – and, for what it's worth, I've owned both SLR models, and currently use the Hybrid and the Focus.

So right away, the answer for the first part of your question – would it let you take photos more conveniently – is 'no'. Carrying the bigger gorillapod will be substantially less convenient than the smaller one, with no significant increase in positioning options. Carrying my Focus isn't much easier than carrying a compact floor-standing tripod, and the traditional tripod is more solid.

The second part of your question, about shortening or elemintating the self-timer delay, is 'perhaps'. A wireless remote or electronic cable release would be a much better investment, but you'll still need to give the camera a few moments to settle after positioning it. A heavier tripod will settle faster, and a stronger head might also help, but it's not a guaranteed fix. On the other hand, nothing ever is, and a heavier Gorillapod certainly wouldn't hurt.

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Actually, my current 1kg-supporting Gorillapod is the "Hybrid": joby.com/gorillapod/hybrid I can upgrade to the "SLR Zoom", which supports 3kg, or the "Focus", which supports 5kg. Even the Focus seems much lighter (800gm) than a traditional tripod (1-2kg), and much shorter when collapsed (12 inch vs 25 inches). The traditional tripods I'm looking at are the two mentioned at thewirecutter.com/reviews/… and even the biggest Gorillapod seems much more compact and light. Am I missing something? –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 20 '13 at 4:50
    
Drat - I meant to say "Hybrid" instead of "Focus" in that first line. That will teach me not to write so late at night… –  mpr Dec 20 '13 at 4:55
    
The Focus is much smaller than the Vanguard 263 that The Wirecutter likes; I own the Focus and the store where I work sells the 263. But what I'm looking at is the relative hassle, not the absolute size differences. The Hybrid fits in my camera bag, while the Focus attaches to the outside of it; the Hybrid can be curled to take up less space, while the Focus is always bulky, and so on. A traditional tripod is bigger and heavier still, but offers different strengths and provides other options. My solution: buy both. :) –  mpr Dec 20 '13 at 5:07
    
Thanks, mpr. I can see that the Focus is not for me. Would you say that the SLR Zoom is portable and hassle-free like the Hybrid is? If so, I'll probably buy the SLR Zoom and a traditional tripod. –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 20 '13 at 5:13
    
The SLR-Zoom is a bit less of the same as the Focus: a bit less big, a bit less bulky, a bit less strength. It's probably half-way between the Focus and Hybrid in terms of size, which might make it an appropriate compromise for your camera and use when a full-sized tripod isn't a viable choice. –  mpr Dec 21 '13 at 19:52

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