After the recent review of the DSLR Zoom version of the Joby Gorillapod I decided to get a basic standard gorillapod for my compacts.
I have to say I'm very impressed.
It's quite a novel experience after a real tripod, but even my first test on a cold windy night in Dublin showed how effective it is. Using a Fuji E-900 I put the gorillapod on and wrapped it (!) around a railing. This was a little awkward - it's not quite a trivial matter to get a good grip and to get your camera pointing where you want, but it is not too hard either. The head has a fair degree of movement and the legs hold their shape well - just try not leaning your weight on them - they won't take too much pressure beyond the camera.
After that I set my E-900 to base ISO, shot my first on-the-spur-of-the-moment long exposure ( P mode ) and when I got home was happy to see a lovely shake-less long exposure ( and there is no IS on an E-900 ).
I've tried this with my Canon A710 IS and again got good results - car light trails and all.
There is only one thing you need - a compact that weighs less than 265g with battery installed. So no G9's or A650's or FZ18s or superzooms. You will need the larger models gorillapods for that.
The camera is stable on it. Use a timed exposure and leave it alone until it's finished.
The standard gorillapod is cheap, weights only 45g and can be stuffed in any pocket or bag. It is ideal for travel or walkabout.
One point worth noting. The Fuji E-900 has a tripod mount located dead center along the line of the lens and I believe even the sensor - the perfect place. The A710 and many cameras have an offset tripod mount. This makes it a little harder to balance the camera using the gorillapod, although it's more a knack you need to pick up with a few trials than a serious issue.
I think this should be a must-have for anyone with a small compact interested in night-time city shots or interior shots of churches and so on.
This has quite altered my way of thinking about shots. Clean and shake free night shots on a compact without so much hand freezing are now a viable option. The small size means it is unobtrusive and you will have far fewer objections to using inside buildings than trying to use a larger tripod. The minuscule weight makes it so transportable - it is, for me, a take everywhere accessory.
Another thing is has altered is my weight limit for compacts. If a standard gorillapod won't take it, neither would I. It has had that big an impact on me.
So don't be put off by it's odd, even toy-like, appearance. This is a serious gadget that does exactly what it says. You may, like me, find it an indispensable part of your walkabout or travel kit.
There are other options out there, so I won't go as far as saying it's ideal for everyone. But if a flexible, lightweight and effective tripod for a small compact is needed, possibly for travel, for occasional use, certainly check out the gorillapod.