Joby is best known for its Gorillapods. They’re those flexible mini tripods that have flexible arms that look like a bunch of interlocking balls. Depending on the model, they can work with anything from small pocket cameras right up to DSLRs. I’ve used a variety of these over the years, and they work very well.
Now, they have a new range that’s focusing specifically on action cams like GoPros. They’re calling the new range the Joby Action Series™ (and yes, they really have trademarked that).
Several of the items in the range make use of that distinctive Joby flexible arm. But the ones I’ve been most interested in are the sturdier locking arm system. It provides a more rigid lock than the GorillaPod arm, so there’s less movement in the camera.
The locking arm is modeled directly on the type of locking arm that RAM mounts have used for quite some time.
But where the RAM versions are all-metal and incredibly strong, the Joby version is made of lightweight plastic. That means the Joby versions are much lighter (and less likely to go through the windscreen if it comes off, for that matter). Joby is specifically marketing these for lightweight action cams, whereas the RAM mounts are utilitarian jack-of-all-trades that are used with a wide variety of payloads.
So I’ve been putting two of them through their paces–the Suction Cup & Locking Arm™ (yep, more trademarks) and the Action Clamp and Locking Arm™.
Both are also available with the GorillaPod Arm in place of the Locking Arm. The range also includes an Action Grip™ (basically a handle bobber), an Action Grip & Pole (the grip on a selfie stick), an Action Jib Kit, hub adapters to attach multiple cameras together on the same mount, and various tripod and GoPro connectors.
Suction Cup & Locking Arm
This works basically the same as other GoPro suction cups. The suction cup locks with a rotation of the red ring just above the cup.
The arm locks in place with a single knob that makes the entire arms act as a clamp on a ballhead on each end.
Action Clamp & Locking Arm
The top arm of the action clamp part slides pretty freely when there’s no pressure on it. But when there’s pressure on it, it forces the arm to lock against the ridges up the length of the column.
The maximum opening of the clamp is about 2 inches (5 cm), and the center of the locking bolt is about 1 1/4 inches in (2.7 cm).
The surfaces of the pads are plastic. They’re not especially grippy on their own, but it works well enough for a lightweight camera. The top pad has a groove across it that’s designed to help stabilize it when using on non-flat surfaces.
Fits 360° Cameras
In reality, there’s less to that than it seems. It’s just the marketing department getting a little carried away. It simply means that the mounts have a 1/4″-20 attachment, which is the standard tripod thread. So yes, you can put a small 360° camera on them, just as you can put just about any other type of small, lightweight camera. By that measure, just about any camera mount ever made in the history of camera mounts fits 360° cameras.
The Good & the No-So-Good
These work quite well for what they’re designed for. The locking arms provide a more rigid alternative to the GorillaPod arms but are still flexible and easy to use.
My biggest criticism concerns the price you pay for using lightweight plastic on the locking arm. And that is that it simply doesn’t clamp down very hard. Turn the tightening knob as much as you like, but there’s still going to be surprisingly easy to move. In situations where there’s not much in the way of force on the camera, that’s not much of a problem. But add some bumping and momentum as you get on fast-moving platforms, and that can become a problem when the camera slips from where you locked it. And I definitely do not recommend using it with anything heavier than a GoPro. If you are planning to use with anything heavier, or if you really need something with even more stability, I’d recommend taking a look at the RAM mounts. They’re more expensive and heavier, but they’re also incredibly solid.
- very lightweight
- quick and easy to attach and adjust
- works well in situations where the camera is not getting bumped and jolted
- suction cup gets a good grip
- the locking arm doesn’t lock as tightly as I’d like. This generally isn’t a problem unless the camera is being jostled or whipped around when mounted on something moving.
Overall, these are a handy addition to the options for mounting GoPros. While Joby’s IP lawyers have gone on an orgy of trademarking, I can’t imagine it’ll be long before there are knockoffs readily available. I like that these are much lighter than RAM mounts, although they’re not really a replacement.