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Joby Gorillatorch Review

Joby Gorillatorch Review - The Joby Gorillatorch is based on the Gorillapod wrappable leg concept, with a torch that could be useful for photographers, as Peter Bargh discovers.

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Joby Gorillatorch in Portable Flash and Lighting

While the Gorillapod, known for its unique wrappable legs, is designed for camera users, the Gorillatorch can be used by anyone who wants to illuminate their target while keeping their hands free. The Gorillatorch takes the Gorillapod concept into new markets, but it can also be used by creative photographers, as Peter Bargh is about to find out.

Gorillatorch secured using magnetic feetJoby Gorillatorch: Specifications
  • Brightness: 65 lumens
  • Build: ABS plastic
  • Illumination: CREE LED
  • Lens: Polycarbonate lens
  • Battery: 3 AA batteries
  • Size: 20 × 7.5 × 6.5cm (5.5cm diameter bezel)
  • Weight: 115g (185g incl batteries)
Joby Gorillatorch: Features
The Gorillatorch has three legs that can be used as a tripod support or flexed to wrap around a branch, chair leg or other pole-like object. The legs are about 12cm long and when two are arced together you have legs to wrap totally around an 8cm diameter pole, although you could stretch to around 11 or 12cm. Like the Gorillapod, the legs have rubbery rings on each joint that help grip.

The Gorillatorch has another trick up its sleeve, or rather down its trouser legs. At the base of each foot is a strong magnet so it can be locked securely onto a metal object - as seen to the left, suspended on a central heating radiator.

The light has a highly reflective dish and with the Cree LED it delivers 65 lumens.  The light output can be controlled to vary brightness from full power to optimum through to economy light. It's stated that the batteries will give between 20 and 80 hours of life, depending on the brightness setting.

Joby Gorillatorch: Build Quality
The torch is well built. The Ultra-bright CREE LED is protected by a polycarbonate lens and has a highly reflective dish to help spread the light. The legs of the pod are solid and flexible. Having used a Gorillapod for a few years I can vouch for the durability of the ABS plastic.
I like the fact that all three batteries are inserted the same way, so it's easier to load. The chamber is sealed to make it water resistant too.

Joby Gorrillatorch: Performance
Gorillatorch in useThe magnets grip and hold well, but just out of interest I tested the strength. The Gorillatorch can support an extra 900g before the magnets pull away. That's not bad at all and maybe we will see these introduced into the Gorillapod at some stage.

They can stick on uneven surfaces and don't scratch paint. This makes the Gorillatorch ideal for car maintenance as you could stick it to the inside of the car bonnet, or wrap it around part of the engine while working, leaving both hands free to wrestle with the tools. The distributor's site suggests the following other uses too:
  • Power outages
  • Lights-out reading
  • Campsite illumination
  • Roadside assistance
  • Home improvement
  • Creative lighting
  • Night-time barbequeing and more!
But from ePHOTOzine's point of view we want to know if it's any good for photographers.
First off, how much light are we talking about? 65lumens/1watt may mean little to most photographers. If you had enough available light to shoot at 1second, adding the torch at full power would give you a speed of around 1/20sec, rotating round to Optimum delivers speeds of 1/8sec and round at Economy you get 1/2sec.

To test the light I decided to try two things: light painting and light illumination. With light painting it's useful to have a variable angle light rather than variable brightness. So I wasn't confident it would deliver, but the results weren't bad.
peter painted with the Joby Gorillatorch
I painted my name in the air first, pointing the torch towards the camera while writing backwards, I then moved the light up and down my body and switched hands to paint the other hand in a stretched position. As I moved around I also painted some lines in the grass. The exposure was set to 30seconds giving me just enough time to complete the task. A narrower beam would have been better for writing my name, and maybe a wider beam for the body painting, but the result is quite good for a first attempt.

Next up - some night time illumination.
Gorrilatorch used as a creative photography lightThis is a vase by the pond, patio light provides the background illumination but the face of the urn is in total shadow. Here I used the Pentax K20D camera on multiple-exposure (two shot) mode, taking one shot at two seconds while wafting the Gorillatorch over the urn to create a streaky overall illumination. I then placed the Gorillatorch inside the urn supported by its tripod, to create the inside glow. As this was also two seconds in one position the result is a more intense light glow.

I really like that result, but one thing that is disappointing is the hot spot seen on the illustration below:
Gorillatorch hot spot illustration
If you point the Gorillatorch directly at your subject it creates a hotspot in the centre. This is no use for photographers, but can be reduced by angling the light upwards as seen on the right hand version. This reduces the overall brightness and coverage you get but does, as shown, help dramatically.

Joby Gorillatorch: Verdict
I like unusual gadgets, and while the Gorillatorch is designed for household applications it clearly has a place for us photographers. I have a similar torch for use on your head when fumbling around in awkward spots, but that's always slipping down or getting knocked off. For me this torch will be brilliant for delving into the back of the PC, fumbling in corners of the garage or shed, and certainly for some more creative photography. I will be taking this with me the next time I go on a stone circle shoot as it will come in handy for lighting the undersides of stones at dusk. The hot spot is annoying but can be overcome by wafting the torch or by adjusting so the central part of the beam is not on the subject.

Joby Gorillatorch: Plus points
Brilliant concept
Ideal for a wide range of applications
Good grip
Magnets are strong

Joby Gorillatorch: Minus points
Hot spot restrictive for photography illumination
Torch doesn't remove so tripod could be used





The Gorillatorch is available to buy from Warehouse Express here: Joby Gorillatorch
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