1K, 3K, 3k Pro, or 5K Which Joby Gorillapod 2020?

Update: My experience below is still valid, especially regarding the problems with the original Joby 3k tripod. The quick release mechanism on that model is garbage. Fortunately, Joby has released the 3k Pro. This model comes with a ballhead similar to the 5k, making it suitable for use with smaller cameras. I am very pleased with the new 3k Pro.

For full-frame mirrorless, I would still opt for the 5k for extra stability. Joby has also released some other versions geared toward video. In my opinion, if I needed that functionality I would opt for a bigger tripod for the needed stability, but they could be helpful if space and portability is a must.

My Experience with Gorillapods

I wanted to know, so I bought the Joby 1K, 3K and 5K Gorillapods. I also purchased an inexpensive Arkon with a mobile phone holder.

But before I jump into the reviews, let me give you a little context, why I wanted them.

Regular tripods are nice and provide a lot of stability, but for on-the-go work they can be burdensome. They tend to be large and heavy.

Gorillapods are light way and extremely versatile. They can be used like a vlogging selfie stick that moves the camera farther from your face and provides extra stability.

Because the legs are segmented and can be bent into many different shapes, you can position your camera on almost any surface. You can even wrap them around pipes and tree branches.

I purchased four of these small tripods because I wanted to know which ones would work best with my Canon 6d Mark II, Canon SL2, Gopro and Smartphone cameras.

Spoiler Alert! If I could only afford to buy one, it would be this one.

To get started, let’s look at the two smaller tripods, the Gorillapod 1K and the Arkon.

The 1K is marketed as suitable for point-shoot and small mirrorless cameras. It is well built and comes with a ballhead.

In contrast, the Arkon is pretty much built for holding a phone. It is lightweight and costs about half that of the 1K.

Comparing these, two is arguably comparing apples to oranges as Joby does make some smaller versions, including a mobile Gorillapod.

When I looked at the different options in person, I felt that the 1K would cover all my needs for lighter cameras like the Gopro as well as my phone, should I pick up a phone mount.

IMO, the 1K is really the smallest Joby you should consider purchasing. The Gorillapods are marketed like camping tents, where a 3 man tent is only comfortable with one person inside.

The Arkon would work alright as a short selfie stick if you are not moving about aggressively. I did not feel super confident in the phone mount mechanism and the ball head is plastic and reflects the price.

When used as a tripod, the Arkon struggled to hold up my iPhone 6. It almost tipped over four times and took a lot of tweaking to find a stable position. The 1K was much easier to use.

In hindsight, rather than buying both, I would have bought the 1K and then used the money that I spent on the Arkon to purchase a nice phone mount.

Next up is the Joby 3K Gorillapod. This one was to be my workhorse. I debated between this one and getting the 5K and couldn’t pass up a good holiday sale. So, I went with the 3K, which is marketed for dslr and mirrorless cameras.

The tripod itself is very well built and feels like a tank. The ball-head is sturdy, but honestly the plate mechanism had me worried. It slips in and there is a small piece of plastic that clips into place. To release, you press against the back of the plate.

On my time out with the 3K, it was adequately strong to support my 6d Mark II with the 16-35mm lens. I had to use caution to prevent it from tipping over, but it worked well.

Unfortunately, while holding the 3K in my hand, I lightly bumped the quick release and my camera popped off. I caught so no harm.

But, then holding it at an angle, the camera and plate popped off two more times without being bumped. This was after being extra cautious to make sure it was locked into place.

My confidence was totally destroyed. When I arrived home, I placed an order for the 5K, hoping for something better.

A few days later, I had the 5K in hand. It was beefier and more importantly, the ball-head and plate were much better than that on the 3K.

The plate more closely resembles a Manfrotto or Arca Swiss plate and there is a knob for tightening the plate.

I feel much more confident that my camera is safe mounted to the 5K. It was also more stable, when used as a tripod and better supports the 6d Mark II.

It will also work well for my smaller camera. While the 3K may work better for the Canon SL2 with a lighter lens, I still am not comfortable with that plate.

I will probably get a 5K ballhead and try it on the 3K, but until then, I will probably use the 3K for my phone or Gopro when I need more stability.

Based on my experience, I cannot recommend the 3K and I would only buy the Arkon if money was really tight.
I am very pleased with the Joby 1K and especially the 5k. If I could only purchase one, it would without a doubt be the Joby 5K Gorillapod despite its higher price.

About the author

    James Cross Jr

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