Published on July 14th, 2010 | by Greg0
Joby’s Gorillatorch Flare and Ballhead X: Cute, Bright, Bendable
We’ve got a soft spot for Joby since the original Gorillapod came out and made our lives (and photography) more interesting. The oft-imitated flexible, bendy legs wrap nicely around tree branches, sign poles, and adjust to any uneven terrain. They are extremely handy, sturdy, and come in a nice variety of sizes and even colors.
Joby has now expanded beyond tripods though. They’ve started offering some pro-level equipment for those with DSLRs of all sizes- and even special ballheads to go with them. We recently received the Ballhead X, which unfortunately can only really be used with the Gorillapod Focus, the largest unit in their line. Capable of handling cameras up to 5kg, you can use small handycams and video cameras and nearly any SLR camera easily, and rest assured of steadiness. We didn’t have a Gorillapod Focus on-hand though, and so were limited to testing out the durability and capability of the BallHead X. Basically, it works much like any other mounted ball head on a tripod- offering smooth, sweet freedom for you to rotate and twist and spin your camera around, and then lock it into place. The only thing we noticed that made us frown a bit was the lack of a quick release, which most tripods offer. But this tripod is light enough and not too awkward, so it’s likely not much of a hassle. At $70, it’s about the cost of the tripod itself, but feels worth it in quality- the sort of durability you can drop and it will ask for more.
If it’s lighting your after, then the Gorillatorch Flare should make your life a little brighter. Offering 100 total lumens of output, up from 65 on the original, it’s a handy light for nighttime photography that can fit in a purse or small camera bag. LEDs are a bit harsh- it’s not a flattering photo lamp- but photography isn’t the only purpose at all. This model comes with 3 red LEDs as well, and a few flash modes that allow you to use it as not only a flashlight, but an emergency strobe. Alert people to your car or motorcycle problems, or take it camping as not only a nightlight but a beacon. And it’s handy for peering into computers or when working on projects as well. It’s not waterproof- don’t dip it in a lake- but is water resistant and can handle rains without a problem. Knobs are easy to operate in the dark, and we really liked the magnetic feet that can keep it handy on a fridge or allow it to stick to a variety of locations. Battery life was pretty good, though 3 AAs seemed a bit much (and added a bit of weight). All in all, a pretty great light with a wide variety of applications, and a good bargain at $35.