Tag Archives: camera

Gorillapod SLR Zoom Review

gorillapod-slr-zoom-2When you had a little compact camera you might have had a little tiny tripod that you used on occasions but have never found anything strong enough when you got an SLR except for a full tripod. Well you can now as Joby has created a couple new Gorillapod models for your SLR.

Gorillapod SLR

The Gorillapd SLR is for use with a consumer SLR such as a Canon 350D to 500D (Rebel) or Nikon D60. Its capable of holding up a camera and lens combination of up to 800g. It has the ability to rotate the camera back to level if its attached to a lap post that you can’t do with the Gorillapod SLR. Its only 165g (5.8oz) itself, so not to heavy and should be able to find a home in a corner of your camera bag. But some have complained that it wilts for some SLRs and this is where the SLR Zoom comes in.

Gorillapod SLR Zoom

The Gorillapod SLR Zoom is a whole different kettle of fish for the SLR user compared to its younger smaller brother. The first thing to note is that its rated to a much higher weight 3000g (6.5lb) which should be enough for most SLR’s including professional models. Its main users are most likely to be Pro-sumer users like myself with a Canon 40D or 50D or a Nikon D90 or similar, essentially the magnesium bodied cameras. With that 3Kg weight limit it can also hold a pretty big lens such as a 70-200 F2.8 but probably not that much more.

In use its very easy to manipulate and does exactly what you would hope for, it provides a stable platform for your SLR camera to sit. In the picture below its fixed onto a garden heater, a task that took about 15 seconds and it didn’t slip a inch whilst it was attached. Here in the shot below its holding a Canon 40d and 17-85lens which is about 50% of the weight the Gorillapod SLR Zoom should be able to cope with.

Gorillapod SLR Zoom

Gorillapod SLR Zoom

The rubber around each articulating joint and the feet help secure it to any object and I’ve not had any issues with play causing it to sag. Of course you don’t have to use it with your Camera it can be used with a Camcorder or with a compact if thats what you want the screw head can also be used with Pro level kit as well.

It is very useful when doing some work with a Macro lens and you don’t have the space to setup a full tripod, it really does have a lot of uses and is very quick to set up.

Its not perfect though

For starters unlike the other models in the Gorillapod range it doesn’t have a ball joint a the end; so as you can see in the shot above it can’t rotate to be level, for this you are going to need a small head to allow it to rotate. I’ve used it with my Manfrotto 488 RC2 without problem although this does add to the weight that it has to cope with, but it does manage with the head taking the rotational strain.

Also when you use it you need to ensure that you tighten it up to the base well as if you don’t it will sag downwards if you haven’t meaning you have undo it from what ever it was attached, before retrying, not the end of the world but its best avoided.

Gorillapod Focus – New model

So not even the Gorillapod SLR Zoom is enough for you then, you need more? Well how about the Gorillapod Focus. Its rated to an even higher load of 5Kg and its not made out of plastic its constructed with Anodized gunmetal finished aluminium, I have a feeling this one isn’t going to sag much at all if ever. But its not exactly light either as its almost twice the weight of the SLR Zoom at 500g, thats as much as some of the entry level SLR’s. But its meant for the Pro that needs or wants a Gorillipod and is prepared to carry the extra weight and has that 300mm f2.8 we all want. But its more than three times the price than the SLR Zoom, I think the focus name points more to its Movie requirements than people with an SLR, thoughts anyone?

Gorillapod Focus

Gorillapod Focus

Conclusion  – 8/10 Gorillapod SLR Zoom

Overall these are a great little device and well worth adding into your kit back, its uses are endless and who wants to carry a big tripod around if they can avoid it hey. But as mentioned its not perfect either which is why I’ve not given it full marks. But it is strong enough and up to the job even after repeated use which is the main thing. I just need a lighter head to go with it and I’m away. The shot below was taken by attaching the camera to some railings whilst being moored off Kowloon looking onto Kong Kong island, see it works.

Need a camera to replace a Fuji F30, or do I?

We all like to keep up with current trends and as an amateur photographer I wanted to update my now ageing Fuji F30. Now when it was launched it had more plaudits that any other Compact Camera before or since really. It had a 6Mpix sensor and a fairly average lens at 36mm to 108mm (35mm equivalent) but that wasn’t the clever bit, it was its low light performance, that everyone was staggered at.

At the time in some forums people were talking it up to almost SLR levels of noise reduction. Now I’ve got a Canon 40D and it can’t come close , but as a second camera it does an incredible job when you consider the size and weight difference. But having joined Alamy up scaling 6meg images from a compact that takes pictures straight to JPEG is tough to say the least, even the very best 100iso images have small artefacts especially when they are scaled up to the resolution Alamy wants.

But Which New Camera To Get?

I had a quick look around and the list below got short-listed. Some are Enthusiast models that can even capture RAW others Premium more lifestyle models. What was I looking for? Minimum 10Mpix, Wide angle Lens 28/24mm, good screen, not too big (I’ve got an SLR for that) and last but maybe most important, excellent high ISO performance.

[ad#postlinks]

So to the list and a few reasons why the initial ones didn’t make it.

Canon G9/G10 – G9 didn’t go wide enough really but it is quite cheap at the moment, G10 went to 24mm but they are both too big and heavy and fairly expensive for the little extra benefit overall when you pixel peep. Have a look over to Ken Rockwell to see his comparison with the IXUS 870 / SD880.

Panasonic LX3 – A great little camera, zoom lens sticks out though so not as small as it seem and the lens cover could be a fair hassle for a quick P&S. But the lens is good (Big barrel distortion issues get fixed in software LR or Silkpix) 24mm is F2 and 60mm is F2.8 so a fast lens but not long at 60mm. But they are had to come buy and I wasn’t sold with the sticky out lens to go in a jeans pocket and its quite pricey but then it will also capture RAW. This is the current hit camera for 2008 and I can see why. But its a no from me.

Fuji F100fd – The spiritual successor to the F30d or at least in the same bloodline. Its not the best looking camera to say the least but it just about every other way it ticks all the boxes. High ISO performance is good but not great though. Plus at only £165 from Amazon a bargain really and a recent winner of dpreview.com Premium Cameras in the run up to Christmas. This is a Maybe

Canon IXUS 870 IS / SD880 – Now this could be the one. Its small, has a 28mm lens and its not too expensive (I’m married so budget is important 😉 ) Its got a good zoom lens an 10mpix sensor and good ISO performance. At approx £200 its not too expensive either and it looks great. It will also get the CHDK ad on at some point, this will enable extra features and even the ability to capture RAW files.

And the winner is…?

If I am going to get a camera at the moment it will be the Canon IXUS 870 IS, reviewing goodness knows how many reviews its the winner. Some even say why get a G10 when this does the same or better in many situations and with CHDK will be able to capture RAW.

BUT……… what about the F30?

Well I went back and look at some F30 reviews and got a shock. The noise on high ISO images for ALL of the cameras above is worse the higher they go. Sample them at 400iso and you can already see the difference. Have a look at the two images in the links below and see what you think. Yes one is 10mpix the Canon IXUS 870 the other 6m on the Fuji F30 but surely in the last 2 and a bit years it could be beaten even with a higher ISO. But it appears not, even shrinking the picture on some models and running it through Noise Ninja won’t get it as good as the Fuji original.

It begs the question if it wasn’t for the Mpix needed to get into Alamy is it actually better to stay with the F30, I’m still undecided.

Canon IXUS 870 IS IS400

Fuji F30 ISO400

[ad#post-picture]

Lowepro Fastpack 250 Review + Pics

[singlepic id=13 w=320 h=240 mode=watermark float=left]So you need to carry your camera somewhere and your laptop so you need two bags right?, wrong. You need a Lowerpro fastpack 250 than can do both with ease. I wanted something that would allow me to carry my laptop and my camera gear in one bag and luckily for me Lowerpro had just launched the fastpack series. I went for the fastpack 250 as this is big enough for a laptop of up to 15″ screen size and I use a smaller more portable Dell XPS 1330 which has a 13″ screen, after a fair bit of research I found it cheapest at Amazon and ordered it straight away. As you can see from the pictures below the laptop fits in with ease and with plenty of room to spare. The back of the bag is also well padded to protect me and the equipment in the bag and it works well on both counts.

Lowepro Fastpack 250 Laptop opening and rear padding.

[singlepic id=15 w=240 h=180 float=][singlepic id=16 w=240 h=180 float=][singlepic id=17 w=240 h=180 float=][singlepic id=18 w=240 h=180 float=]


But how much camera gear can it carry, well quite a bit I think considering its size. The images below show that there is plenty of space for several lenses, some filters and space for other bits and bobs. Its wide enough to carry a 40D with a 70-200 f4 or f2.8 L anything bigger and you will struggle to get it in. In the picture below there is a 40D with a 17-85 fitted, a Sigma 30mm f4, Canon 60mm Macro and a little Canon 50mm plastic fantastic, a few filters and space to spare. For me this is more than enough space to take some kit on holiday to take a few shots. Whilst on holiday I transfer some of my kit to one of my other bags such as the Crumpler Muffin Top 5500 that has enough space to carry some of the lenses and a few essentials.

Fastpack 250 Camera compartment

[singlepic id=11 w=240 h=180 float=][singlepic id=12 w=240 h=180 float=]


In the top compartment you can store batteries, battery charger and more besides. I normally put a Nintendo DS in there and the power supply for the Laptop along with other bits and there is still room to add more see the image below to how big this areas is.

[singlepic id=14 w=240 h=180 float=]


All in all I’m very impressed with this bag it more than meets my requirements to carry may laptop and a few lenses on holiday which is exactly what I wanted it for. It’s not a full on dedicated camera bag so if you have 5 or 6 smaller lenses and a 300mm f4 then this isn’t for you have a look at a Lowerpro Trekker AW. It would also be nice to have the ability to lock some of the zips up as you might be carrying some pretty expensive gear that you don’t want to go walkies but with all the flaps at the back you would have to be very good to get in undetected if you were wearing it on your back.


[ad#postlinks]

So I’m going to award it 9/10 losing a point on the slight security issue, but otherwise its highly recommended.

Visit Us On TwitterCheck Our Feed