It feels like Joby’s GorillaPod tripods have been around unchanged since the dawn of time—but for good reason. Their design is very clever, with flexible legs that hold any shape allowing them to grip random objects for the ultimate flexibility in where a photographer or videographer can perch their camera. Fifteen years after its debut, Joby has redesigned the legs on the GorillaPod with its new PodZilla line.
Change can be scary, and while you’re never supposed to fix something that’s not broken, the GorillaPod wasn’t exactly perfect. Its design used a series of interconnected ball joints with grippy rubber rings spaced about an inch apart. When wrapped around an object like a tree branch, the tripod would easily hold securely to the roughly textured bark. But when attached to a smoother surface, like a horizontal metal pole, the GorillaPod’s legs occasionally had a tendency to slip if you didn’t have enough of those rubber rings making sufficient contact.
Was it a dealbreaker? No, the GorillaPod has been an incredibly popular product for over a decade, but there’s always room for improvement, which is what the PodZilla appears to bring.
Available in two versions at launch: a 10-inch tall, half-pound medium option designed for devices that weigh up to 2.2-pounds such as point-and-shoots, action cameras, smartphones, and accessories like lights or microphones (available in four colors: gray, red, teal, and yellow) and a larger 12-inch alternative that can support devices weighing up to 5.5-pounds including larger digital cameras and even DSLRs. Both models sell for $40 each, although the larger version doesn’t include a smartphone mount, you’ll need to shell out an extra $10 for a pricier kit if you want that included.
The medium version features a smaller non-removable mounting plate, while the larger model, clearly targeted at more professional users, has a quick-release tripod mount plate as well as a bubble level built into the head. But both versions feature an adjustable ball head for maximum flexibility when it comes to framing a shot.
As for the adjustable legs, Joby has replaced the ball joints used on the GorillaPod line with fully-articulated legs for the PodZillas featuring flexible aluminum cores wrapped in rubber along their entire length that should provide considerable more grip than their predecessors did when wrapped around objects. Joby promises the flexible aluminum used in each leg is durable, but the new approach means there’s potentially the risk of one of the legs snapping if repeatedly bent past its breaking point. Breaking the original GorillaPod was nearly impossible, so we’ll see if the advantages of this new leg design outweigh the risks of its durability.