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01 December 2006

Ask MeCha: Bendy tripods [More:]I've noticed that I tend to lean the camera to one side when I'm taking pictures, (example - I thought this was aligned until I saw the downloaded shot) so I'm thinking of buying a mini bendy tripod for my camera, and it seems that there's this kind and then there's the gorillapod, which seems to be much bendier and versatile.

In the UK, the normal bendy tripod is about a fiver, but the gorillapod is four times the price. I'm quite happy to pay the extra if it's really worth it, and the gorillapod does seem to be very flexible.

Any experience/thoughts on this?

I recently got a Gorillapod (after it was posted on Cool Tools). It's unbelievably awesome. And is twenty bucks really all that much money, in the grand scheme of things? I say get the Gorillapod.
posted by box 01 December | 17:16
jan: bendy / compact / mini tripods are so awesome for all sorts of neat things - and it fits in my bag and goes everywhere with me! I don't know anything about the gorillapod.

as far as the skewed horizon problem - this is not uncommon to many photogs. I tend to do it myself. What I've done is turn on the grid feature in my viewfinder. It definitely helps me to keep horizons levelled in handheld shots.

I was told by my best friend who is a photojournalist at our local newspaper that this can be a function of how dominant your 'dominant' eye is. The way it's solved is to learn how to shoot with both eyes open. very, very difficult at first but I'm starting to get used to it.

I don't know what camera you're using, but I know my Stylus point n shoot has a grid feature as well - you turn it on and a grid overlays the LCD. On the stylus, it's a little intrusive, so I tend not to use it much. So perhaps check your camera manual for this.

And regardless of whether or no your camera has a grid feature, I absolutely suggest getting a mini-tripod, they're amazing for so many things.
posted by lonefrontranger 01 December | 17:31
Jan, I've never seen a bad review of the Gorillapod. It definitely seems worth it.
posted by tommasz 01 December | 17:41
I've found the grid setting.
posted by essexjan 01 December | 17:50
I thought there was a metafilter post about the gorillapod but it was actually for this thing.

But I don't really know anything about either one, I'm a shitty photographer.
posted by court siem 01 December | 17:51
I've gone for the gorillapod, bought it on eBay to be shipped to Diane's in Ohio, and with the /$ exchange rate, it's half the price I'd pay in England. w00t!
posted by essexjan 01 December | 17:59
me3dia has a gorillapod. It was a lot of fun to play with.
posted by gaspode 01 December | 18:17
posted by matildaben 01 December | 19:34
I have not used a gorillapod, but they look awesome. The whole concept and flexibility and size just destroys the cheap bendypods.

My only concern is that the gorillapod's links might loosen with time, rendering it floppy. Also I bet there's a distinct weight limit.

I have one of those cheap bendypods and it's nigh-useless. It's pretty much only good for a few variations where you just don't want to set your camera down on something.(like wet ground, or a table, or something gritty/sandy, but I get freaked out just getting my cameras near sand.)

Also, the cheap bendypods are highly unstable for even the lightest cameras. It's honestly a good way to break a camera.
posted by loquacious 01 December | 19:39
There would, indeed, seem to be a weight limit. But the Gorillapod people make three versions, including one that's meant for video cameras and SLRs w/zoom lenses and whatnot. Wow, I'm such a shill.
posted by box 01 December | 19:47
You could skip the tripod all together and just stuff some newspaper in your right shoe - even yourself out. :)

I usually use an alignment feature in my photo editing software - like Google's Picasa,
posted by youngergirl44 01 December | 22:51
I've got the little bendy tripod and its very useful but I am seriously thinking about the Gorillapod. Also, the grid helps straighten out horizons quite a bit. iPhoto has a "straighten" feature that lets you cheat, it has markedly improved some of my shots that would have otherwise been useless.
posted by fenriq 02 December | 00:22
Did anyone else read this as "trendy bipods"? Anyone...?
posted by SassHat 02 December | 20:33
I cast SUMMON CORTEX || This week's QI on BBC2 was particularly fine