Attaching a camera to a moving vehicle is fraught with problems, as adrenalin fans will be well aware...
Attaching a camera to a moving vehicle is fraught with problems, as adrenalin fans will be well aware. Handholding is virtually impossible – and can be dangerous – but finding a way to secure it either involves serious modifications or a risk of the camera falling off.
The Fat Gecko is a simple solution to this. It features two 3.5in suction cups, joined by a central bracket. The camera is then mounted on a ball head at the end of an extendable tube, also on a ball socket, to allow you to fine-tune your shooting position. As this unit is designed to be used to mount potentially expensive cameras on fast-moving objects, the most important part of the design is the suction cups.
Though not excessively large in size, the two cups use a two-stage process to ensure suction is maintained. The cup is attached by pressing down on the button on the top of each then pulling up the catch, which lifts the button back out, increasing the vacuum. The pads require a flat smooth surface to stick to and actually having two 3.5in pads is handier than one larger pad – as featured on other devices – as you can attach it more easily to slightly curved surfaces, such as car body work.
Once the cups are attached there is little chance of them coming off, without physically releasing the suction by lowering the latch and using the tab to release the pressure. The device claims to be able to support equipment weighing up to 6lbs (2.7kg) and I was certainly confident enough of its abilities to place a brand new DSLR on it for the test.
To try the Gecko out I attached it to the front wing of my car, with the camera pointing at the windshield and drove around a local car park. My aim was to create a motion-blurred background with a sharp car but despite the strong suction it wasn’t possible to take a slow enough shutter speed without seeing movement in the car at slow speeds. This was partly due to the car park surface but also because of the movement in the extendable arm.
For faster shutter speeds, and video work however, this movement was not significant enough to cause a problem and results looked good. Though the system works with two suction cups, a single arm leaves room for movement, like a monopod. A better system would have been a tripod design, with three arms joining at the head and a suction cup on each.
For most users, though, the Fat Gecko is more than adequate, and its compact size means it can easily be packed into a camera or kit bag.
With a retail price of £70 it may not seem cheap, but similar specialist equipment would cost over £100 and with lesser success.