Gadgets 1136

Published on July 14th, 2010 | by Greg


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.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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