Joby GorillaPod 3k Pro Review

For the first time ever, I’ll be reviewing not a camera or a lens, but a tripod! I’m always writing about glass, but it never occurred to me before to review one of the most integral parts of my kit: the GorillaPod!

I’ve had this thing for close to a year now. Previously, I’d always use those really cheap, poorly built $15 tripods (you know the ones I’m talking about) and, while they worked fine for my old APS-C setup, they’d fall over as soon as I threw my a7iii on top.

Thus, after a lot of consideration, I decided to grab the 3k Pro. In this review, we’ll take a bit of a deep dive into its specs, what exactly it can hold, its functionality, and, of course, who should actually consider buying it.

Let’s dive in.

Looking for just a quick summary before jumping in? If not, keep scrolling!

Summary/TLDR
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Pro

- Sturdy & strong

- Lightweight & small

- Super bendable legs

- Ball Head/Tilt Features

joby gorillapod 3k pro on balcony
Kinda looks like it’s doing a dance move.

Build Quality

Size & Weight

So, first up, this is a travel tripod, so let’s talk about the size and weight. After all, what’s the point of a “compact” tripod if it’s unwieldy and obnoxious to carry?

The 3k Pro weighs about 16oz (463g) and measures roughly 12in (30cm) long when the legs are properly set up (I’ll explain later).

That’s pretty darn small. When hiking, I can easily strap it to the side of my Osprey bag and, when I’m just going out to exclusively shoot photos, it latches onto the bottom of my Peak Design sling.

Built to last?

In terms of pure build quality and longevity, this thing feels like an absolute beast. The legs are made out of aluminum (including the “joints” that pivot and move) and the whole tripod just feels good. Trust me, there’s no cheap plastic on this thing.

Earlier this year, I took the tripod along on a two-month Europe excursion, so it has seen a lot. I’ve used it on sandy beaches, crushed it in the luggage compartments of trains, and probably dropped/knocked it into things more times than I can count.

But it’s still in great shape. I have no doubt that this thing is built to last. Seriously, I can’t stress enough that the GorrilaPod isn’t the same as your average cheap “travel” tripod from Walmart.

What can it hold?

6.6lbs (3kg)

Alright, so it’s durable and made out of good materials, but what can it actually hold? Quite a bit actually.

Officially, Joby claims the GorillaPod 3k Pro can hold up to 6.6lbs (or 3kg, hence the name).

For comparison’s sake, their 1k model holds 2.2lbs (1kg) and their 5k model holds, you guessed it, ~11lbs (5kg).

Moderate Mirrorless Setup

That being said, I really haven’t pushed my 3k Pro anywhere even close to its limits. The most I’ve done is throw my rather “standard” mirrorless setup on top.

My personal (typical) setup consists of my a7iii along with the rather large Tamron 28-75mm F2.8. The camera and lens together are roughly 2.6lbs (1.2kg) so I am quite far away from coming even close to hitting the weight limit.

Keep in mind that if you add accessories, such as a flash, large microphone, etc., you may actually come fairly close to hitting the upper limit, but with just a camera + lens, I don’t think you’ll have any issues with weight.

Heck, even a huge Canon DSLR with a big lens probably wouldn’t exceed it (by the way, if you’re still using a DSLR, we have a handy-dandy guide on how to swap your lenses to Sony, just saying…).

Tripod Legs

Grippy & Bendable

Now, let’s talk about the legs! As you might expect, the legs on the 3k Pro are GRIPPY. Really grippy!

In their marketing pictures, they show the tripod wrapping around trees, chairs, people’s arms, etc., and trust me, it can! I typically don’t carry a large, traditional tripod, so I’ll usually just do my best to use this small one to capture all sorts of stuff.

This generally means I’m strapping down my 3k Pro to all sorts of weird surfaces like crumbling stone walls, door handles or even car spoilers to lock down my long exposures. I’ve hung it upside down, sideways, you name it and this tripod has done it.

Very Stiff

With that being said, the legs are quite stiff and can be tough to move. Once you bend this thing out of its “original” position for the first time, it can be a bit hard to get back into place.

The reason for this is that in order to keep it stable and safe when your precious camera is mounted on top, the legs need to be stiff in order to not slip and slide.

So yeah, bending the legs can sometimes be an exercise in patience (and a wrist exercise!), but that’s just to keep your camera as safe as possible.

joby gorillapod 3k pro with bendy legs
The legs are VERY bendy and hold their position incredibly well.

Tripod Head

Tilt & Pan

Moving to the top of the tripod, we have a tilt and panning head.

Both the tilting (ball head) and panning operations are controlled by a single screw knob. Unscrew it slightly to loosen everything or screw it tighter to tighten everything. Very simple and minimalistic but very functional.

I’ve found that both the tilt and pan features work pretty well. Motion while panning is incredibly stable and smooth, and the ball head works great. Vertical photos (or video) are a breeze.

An extra note: while I think the head is more than adequate, it can be easily taken off and replaced with any other standard tripod-mount head.

Detachable Plate

On the very top of this whole mechanism sits the actual tripod plate. It’s Arca Swiss compatible and easily removable by turning another knob on the top.

This quick-release system is awesome because it allows you to just keep your tripod plate on your camera so you can just pop it onto the tripod at a moment’s notice.

No Tools Needed

Speaking of which, the tripod plate, unlike some cheaper models, doesn’t require any silly or special tools to screw into the camera.

There’s just a small D-ring sort of thing on the bottom that lets you screw it in with your fingers.

tripod plate on bottom of sony a7iii
The tripod plate is easily removable and doesn’t require any special tools (or a coin or anything like that).

My Final Thoughts

Comparisons

Before we round out this review, let’s quickly look at the other GorillaPod models. I think the 3k Pro is a happy medium, but you may find the other models to be more appropriate for your setup.

Larger or Smaller Sizes

The most obvious thing to talk about first would be the different sizes that Joby offers.

The 1k Model

As I alluded to earlier, the 1k model supports 2.2lbs (1kg) which makes it, admittedly, a bit limited.

Personally, my typical full-frame setup slightly exceeds that maximum threshold. I do think that, however, if you’re using a very small kit (such as an APS-C camera with a prime), the 1k would be more than adequate.

The 5k Model

On the complete flipside, the 5k model supports a whopping 11lbs (5kg) of weight, but obviously, the tripod itself will be much heavier and larger. That’s huge!

I can’t think of any reason I’d ever need to choose this model. My full-frame + zoom setup feels massive to me now, and that would only take up 1/4th of the 5k’s weight limit.

I’d imagine the 5k is only worth it to those who are running gigantic filmmaking setups (lights, external monitors, massive zoom and microphone).

3k vs 3k Pro

Lastly, you’ve likely seen that the 3k comes in two variants: the 3k vs the 3k pro. So what’s the difference?

Besides some very minor weight differences, the biggest advantage is that the 3k Pro comes with the aforementioned tilt/ball head while the normal 3k does not.

There is a sizeable price difference (the normal 3k is much cheaper), but I’d highly suggest spending the extra money and getting the Pro because the ball head is just so damn good.

All in all, I’m really happy that I settled on the 3k Pro.

Conclusion

So yeah, in case I didn’t make it painfully obvious, I’ve been generally quite happy with my GorillaPod 3k Pro.

Not only is it a great travel-friendly tripod, but it’s also awesome for video. I’ve recently gotten into vlogging a bit (yep, this site also has a fledgling YouTube channel) so having this hyper-versatile tripod has been a blessing in the long-term.

Anywho, if you’re interested in picking one up for yourself, I’ll leave purchase links below. Thanks for reading, and I hope you end up liking your little tripod as much as I do!

An Awesome Versatile Tripod
JOBY GorillaPod 3K Pro
The Joby GorillaPod 3k Pro offers awesome durability, a compact size, and unmatched versatility.

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