The Joby Gorillapod Focus is one of the sturdiest tripods from the Joby yet. Designed for carrying a significant amount of load the Joby Gorillapod Focus is ideal for DSLR camera systems or camcorders that weigh up to 5 kilos. The first thing that you will notice when you unpack the Joby Gorillapod Focus is the sturdy ball joints that are the hallmark of this tripod. The ball joints are tough and are very well made allowing you to twist and turn the legs to any angle you choose to. The greatest advantage of a tripod that allows you to adjust the angle of the legs and or turn them around is the flexibility of shooting angle that you get. This is impossible to attain using any other tripods.
The base plate / camera plate of the Joby Gorillapod Focus comes with a ¼” tripod screw. It allows you to use the tripod straight out of the box without the need for any additional ball head for mounting your DSLR, compact camera or camcorder. There is a 3/8” adapter, should you choose to use that size for your specific needs. Either way, all that you need to do is to place the camera using the camera screw and you’re ready to shoot.
Also provided with the Joby Gorillapod Focus is the Ballhead X, a sturdy design that is compatible with most quick release plates that are available in the market. The Ballhead X is machined out of high quality anodized aluminum and has a smooth finish to it. Grab one of these and it makes mounting your camera system on the Joby Gorillapod Focus that much easier. Additionally the Ballhead X is Arca-Swiss system compatible which means you can use it with your existing or any other tripod that is available in the market.
The detachable camera plate mounted on top of the Ballhead X is not exactly what we can call a lot of convenience. You will need to turn the screw on the side to detach it. Once you have done it the camera plate can then be screwed at the bottom of your camera. Once the camera with the camera plate is mounted back on to the Ballhead X we can move the camera around and see how the panning and the tilting work. There are two screws on the side of the ballhead. The bigger of the two screws allow the ballhead to tilt (with the camera). This is ideal for taking portrait shots. The other screw allows the Ballhead X to pan and take a 360 ˚ perspective of any scene.
You have to consider that, it will not replace your conventional tripod. Use it when you can’t take or use your regular tripod. You have to be very very careful to make it shake free for absolute macro photography, specially with moderately heavy cameras like Canon 5D mark III & lens attached. However, for regular photography this guy is a champ. It can handle most professional camera set up, even with a 70-200 f/2.8 pretty well. A cable or remote release is a must to get best results out of it. So far, this is the only Gorillapod that will hold up a serious camera set up.
Over all the design, the ergonomics, the build quality and of course the price of the Joby Gorillapod Focus & Ballhead X is certainly great. It is a value for money product for any photographer. It is small & convenient enough to fits in any back pack. It will allow you to compose shots from really difficult angles and places where no regular tripod can hold a camera system still.