Joby Gorillatorch Switchback – lantern and headlamp in a single unit

Joby has been on a real roll this year. They entered the year with their existing lineup of popular bendy-tripods, and added flashlights, a video tripod (review coming soon) and a brilliant roadside emergency light.

Today, they announced their first LED flashlight specifically designed for the outdoor enthusiast – the Joby Switchback.

In a single product, the Switchback can transform from a lantern into a headlamp. The light unit is powered by five separate LED’s, including a massive 130-lumen CREE XP-G spotlight. The light offers six different brightness settings and is claimed to be “easy on the eyes.” The CREE LED bulb can shine up to 60 feet away, and red LED lights help in nighttime use.

What this means, is that you can use the super bright lantern to illuminate your tent or cabin, then switch over to a headlamp when you go hiking. And of course, the lantern comes with the award wining Joby flexible stand, which means you can either hang it from your tent, or find a tree branch to mount it to.

The battery pack holds two AA batteries, and is rated for up to 72 hours of use. Best of all – when you are not using the lantern, you can still use the flexible stand for your camera, just like any other Joby tripod.

The new Switchback launched today, and will be available from REI, L.L. Bean, Mountain Sports and Amazon.com. Priced at just $59.95, you get a very reasonable amount of light for your money – especially with so many features.

To learn more about the new Joby Switchback, and to find (online) retailers, head on over to the product page at Joby.com.

Joby Gorillatorch Flare – bendy magnetic roadside safety light

I’m a big Joby fan – we’ve recently reviewed their Gorillapod Magnetic, and I’ve carried a regular Gorillapod in my bag for several years. The latest product to leave their lab is the new Gorillatorch Flare.

The Gorillatorch Flare takes the best of the Gorillapod Magnetic and the original Gorillatorch, and turns it into a roadside safety product. Instead of a single LED light, the Flare offers one 100 Lumen CREE LED and three red LED lights, and can be used as a flashlight or strobelight.

With its bendy feet, you can use it to aid in changing a tire, or to warn other drivers that you are stranded on the side of the road.

The Gorillapod Flare weighs just 9 ounces and retails for $34.95. It is available from selected retails including Amazon.com and REI.

Joby Gorillapod Magnetic review

It has been quite a while since we last reviewed a Joby Gorillapod. Since that last review, Joby has introduced several new Gorillapod versions, including their newest – the Gorillapod Magnetic.

The Magnetic is exactly what the name describes – a Gorillapod with magnets. These magnets are extremely strong, which means you can add a third method of using the Gorillapod. The new Gorillapod obviously features the same bendy legs – which allows you to wrap it around objects like a tree or a signpost. It also acts as a small tripod, and the new magnets let you stick to anything magnets stick to.

The limit of its uses are really only restricted by your creativity (and the weight limit). The Gorillapod Magnetic is designed to hold cameras up to 325 grams, and it had no problems holding a Panasonic Lumix GF1 to a lamp on my patio.

I had a blast finding places to stick the camera – though I’m not entirely sure when I’d ever need to attach a camera to the back of a plasma television in a hotel room…

The Joby Gorillapod Magnetic uses the same locking attachment base we looked at in our previous review. Included with the package is a tripod screw mount, though you can order a mobile attachment kit at Joby.com for just under $10.

I really like the Gorillapod lineup – they are compact enough to stuff in my carry-on, with the mobile kit, I can angle my iPhone where I want (I use the suction cup mount for that), and when I get to my destination, it’ll hold my camera in any angle I need.

The new Gorillapod Mobile retails for $24.95 and is available directly from Joby.com.

Gadling gift guide – photography gadgets

An essential part of any trip is photography, and an essential part of photography is good photo gadgets. In this fourth and final Gadling gift guide, we’ll recommend a couple of great photo gadgets that will make even the most amateur photographer happy.

Be sure to check out our previous gift guides:

Gift guide for the lightweight traveler
Gift guide for famlily travel and kids
Gift guide for the business traveler
The top ten travel products of 2009

Hyperdrive Colorspace UDMA photo backup unit

The Colorspace UDMA is one of the fastest photo storage devices on the market. Available with up to 500GB of space, the Colorspace UDMA supports most RAW photo formats and accepts SD and CF memory cards. It’ll do up to 250GB off a single battery charge, and can even be programmed with user scripts to automate certain features.

Price: From $249
Product page: HyperDrive Colorspace UDMA

Joby Gorillapod

The Joby Gorillapod is the perfect travel photography gadget. It is small, lightweight, and lets you take photos using it as a mini tripod, or by attaching it to a solid object (like a tree). The Gorillapod comes in several versions, including one for SLR cameras and a version with interchangeable mounts.

Price: From $21.95
Product page: Joby Gorillapod

Gigapan EPIC robotic imager

If you want to take your photos beyond the dull and boring, consider investing in the $299 GigaPan EPIC imaging robot. By attaching your camera to the unit, and setting some basic options, the GigaPan starts shooting away, turning 100′s of photos into massive panoramic photos. The unit includes the free stitching software from GigaPan, and image hosting on their site.

Price: $299
Product page: Gigapan EPIC

Epson Artisan 810

Making great photos is fun – but with a good photo printer, you can take them beyond the screen and show them off the old fashioned way. The Epson Artisan 810 features a sheet-feed scanner, fax and triple-source printer tray. It’ll print on blank CD’s and comes complete with Ethernet and Wi-Fi.

Price: $199 (after temporary $100 instant rebate)
Product page: Epson Artisan 810

Eye-Fi Wireless SD memory card

Eye-Fi cards turn your camera into a Wi-Fi enabled device. Photos and videos can instantly be uploaded to your PC or a variety of online photo/video sharing sites. The card is available with Wi-Fi geotagging and hotspot access.

Price: from $49.99
Product page: Eye-Fi

Epson P-6000 multimedia photo viewer

The Epson P-6000 is the professionals choice for a photo storage device. It features a large 4″ Premia LCD display with support for 16.7 million colors. Inside the unit is an 80GB drive. Photos can be loaded off one of the memory card slots, or directly off the camera with USB host and a neat tethering option.

Support is built in for almost every RAW format on the market, and the unit even allows for several powerful photo editing procedures, right on the device. Plus, at the end of the day, you can use it to watch some movies or listen to music.

Price: $599.99 (+ $75 mail in rebate)
Product page: Epson P-6000 multimedia photo viewer

Ipevo R7 Wi-Fi enabled photo frame

The Ipevo Kaleido R7 is another great way to view the photos you make. The R7 looks fantastic, but inside is where the real power is – thanks to Wi-Fi, you can view live photo channels, or even read the latest news through RSS. The unit features touch sensitive controls and its hi-resolution screen makes photos look fantastic.

Price: $149
Product page: Ipevo Kaleido R7

Manfrotto ModoSteady

The Manfrotto ModoSteady grabbed a top spot in our lineup of best gadgets of 2009 – and rightfully so. This 3-in-1 device works as a mini tripod, shoulder grip and steady-cam mount. Best of all, it is lightweight and can fold up into a compact unit.

Price: $115
Product page: Manfrotto ModoSteady

Manfrotto Modopocket

The final product in our gift guide is another Manfrotto invention – the ModoPocket is a tiny folding tripod, designed for smaller cameras or Micro Four/Thirds cameras. The ModoPocket screws to the bottom of your camera, and allows you to angle it up or down. When you are done, you simply fold it back up.

Price: $29.99
Product page: Manfrotto ModoPocket

Product review – Joby Gorillapod Go-Go!

The Joby Gorillapod has long been a photographers favorite – the bendy tripod allows you to place your camera on a table or hang it from a tree.

The Gorillapod Go-Go! expands on that concept and offers a multifunctional Gorillapod with interchangeable base plates. The Go-Go! includes a conventional camera screw thread mount, a suction cup mount and 2 self adhesive mounts.

With these 3 different mounting options, the original Gorillapod suddenly becomes compatible with your iPod, PDA, smartphone, GPS or pretty much any other portable device you carry. As with the original Gorillapod, the Go-Go! has non-slip rubber feet, and each joint can be bent and rotated in any direction.

The mounting plates slide onto the Go-Go! and stay in place with a small locking ring . To release them, you simply unlock the ring and press the release button. When attached, the plate feels very sturdy with no wiggle room. The Go-Go! weighs just 1.6 ounces, so when you store it in your carryon bag, you won’t even notice it.

The maximum weight limit on each mounting plate is listed on the Gorillapod site (11.5 ounces on the screw mount, 10.6 ounces on the adhesive clip and 7.1 ounces with the suction cup). This should be more than sufficient for most gadgets out there. A large hard drive based MP3 player usually weighs about 5 ounces.

One minor issue I ran into is that the Gorillapod Go-Go! does not come with a carrying pouch. This may not be an issue with the original Gorillapod, but when you are carrying the Go-Go! with its multiple mounting options, it would have been nice to have a safe place to store them. Of course, a simple Ziploc bag resolves this.

The Gorillapod Go-Go! retails for $29.95, which includes free ground shipping. This is just $5 more than the original Gorillapod, which makes this new version a very good deal.