If you have a picture to take, the best camera is the one you have with you. The camera you left in a bag at the back of the closet simply won’t get the job done.
And since accessibility is more important than sophistication to me, a small, relatively cheap camera is nearly perfect. (Though I believe an iPhone 4S, with its upgraded camera, would be pretty interesting, too.)
In other words, I like to keep my photography simple. But I also like to carry a tripod for slow shutter speeds in low light or when I want to be in the picture.
Now normally the problem with a tripod is its bulk. And while I’d never carry a full-sized unit on the bike, I have carried a Joby GorillaPod Original for the past year. It fits into mid-sized seatbags and handlebar bags—and the camera is easily and quickly attached.
What could be better? How about a tripod that’s small enough it never has to be removed from the camera?
Meet the Joby GorillaPod Micro 250. As the name indicates, it’s designed for point-and-shoot cameras that weigh up to 250 grams. (Joby also sells a larger Micro 800 for micro 4/3 and similar cameras.) It threads into your compact camera’s tripod mount just like any tripod.
When you want to use the Micro 250, swing the leg closest to the lens clockwise and the second leg moves into position while the third leg stays put. Then adjust the camera’s tilt. (The Joby includes a basic swivel head so you can put the tripod on an uneven surface and still level the camera.)
When you’re done with the tripod, swing the leg that’s now behind the camera counterclockwise toward the front and all three legs end up under the body of the camera. Push the feet of the tripod toward the base of the camera and you’re done.
Is there room for improvement? Sure. It would be nice to have a fingernail “nick” behind that first leg to make it easier to grab, but that’s about it.
At $19.95, the Micro 250 is cheap, easy to use, you’ll never notice the weight (26 grams) and, when you aren’t using it, it’s out of the way. (At the swivel head, it adds a bit to your camera’s height, but, with the usual snap-and-shoot’s offset tripod mount, nothing to its length or width.) Stick it in your bag or pocket and go.
And when you get back, send me a picture.