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I own a Sony NEX-5R, and use it heavily for low-light photography, with a Gorillapod. I used to use a Gorillapod with a point-and-shoot, so when I upgraded to the NEX, I stuck to the Gorillapod (albeit, of course, a heavier one, designed for the mirrorless cameras). I thought a traditional tripod would be too heavy and big to carry with me (the best tripod is the one with you?)

I can think of a couple of drawbacks of the Gorillapod:

  • I often, but not always, find a surface to the attach the Gorillapod to.

  • The Gorillapod does suffer from camera shake when I take a long exposure, but I've learnt to work around that by using a 2-second timer. I then read on photo.SE that that's not enough, so I started using a 10-second timer. Can I skip the timer if I use a traditional tripod? I read on photo.SE that even a traditional tripod can suffer from camera shake for long exposures. Is that correct?

  • Attaching the Gorillapod to a surface is fussy, but then so is carrying a traditional tripod. So it's about ease of carrying vs ease of setting it up at a given site, I guess.

What other factors are involved in this tradeoff? What am I losing by not going with a traditional tripod?

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1  
You can always use remote controller to fire shutter. Usually this is the way you deal with camera shake on tripod. –  Rafal Ziolkowski Dec 19 '13 at 13:24
    
One missing feature of Gorillapod is lack of tilt. You need to mount a head and it brings extra weight and eventually cause instability. Generally speaking, for professional level work you need a professional tripod. Side note: On a DSLR one important factor that helps with long exposures is mirror lock-up, but since you have a mirror-less, you don't need to be worried about. –  Pouya Dec 19 '13 at 13:31
    
Rafal, I can use a remote controller with either a Gorillapod or a tripod, so it seems unrelated to the choice I face. –  Kartick Vaddadi Dec 19 '13 at 13:36
    
@KartickVaddadi That being the case, why did you include it in the question? –  Michael Clark Dec 19 '13 at 17:40
    
A tripod. damn this is even too short an answer for a comment. –  Michael Nielsen Dec 19 '13 at 18:22

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

A decent quality tripod will be more stable than a Gorillapod. Things that tend to be major issues with the Gorillapod will tend to be more minor issues with the tripod.

Extremely long exposures will allow you to open and close the shutter using the camera's shutter release button without creating enough blur to be a problem. With the less stable Gorillapod any movement created by pressing the shutter button or other control buttons has the potential to recompose the shot, while the tripod will usually return to the same point of equilibrium. This is especially significant if you are taking multiple shots at various exposures to be combined in post-processing.

A tripod will allow you more options in terms of camera position: increased height and portrait orientation being the most notable ones.

The biggest advantages of the Gorillapod over a tripod are portability and the ability to attach to a non horizontal surface such as a railing or street light pole. For a tripod you need a fairly large and flat surface that is somewhere close to being level (you can alter the length of one or more legs to use the tripod on a slope, but as the amount of the slope increases the stability of the tripod usually decreases).

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You are loosing quite a lot:

-Height

-Stability

-Smooth panning (video)

-Easily angling the head to acute angles (with a heavy camera the gorilla would/could droop)

BUT you are gaining:

-Portability

-Attach-ability (to things)

It's a trade off, so I have both. I also use the gorillapod to mount a flash gun on, TBH its more useful to me this way than any other!

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Great answer. Exactly right. –  Itai Dec 20 '13 at 3:19

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