Fstoppers Reviews the Delkin Fat Gecko

Clever camera angles and captivating b-roll are important when making a solid and complete video product. When you’re on the move in a car, dune buggy, sailboat or tank, great videographers create enthralling footage by capturing unusual angles and movement. The Delkin Fat Gecko shines as a low-cost, effective suction mount for any slick surface that allows you to get your camera in the face of the mobile action.

Intended Purpose

The Delkin Fat Gecko is a simple and unassuming product that has one designated purpose: suction it to any non-porous surface to make a stable shooting point for photos or video. Built with a combination of hard plastic and aluminum, the Fat Gecko is lightweight, surprisingly sturdy, and most importantly, reliable. Because let’s face it, none of us want to see our expensive camera equipment smashed to bits onto the ground while speeding down a side street or over a dune, or lost to the waves while surfing, kite boarding, or yachting with Bruce Wayne.

What Works

The suction mounts and the build of whole of the body work and feel great. The suction is surprisingly strong. On a number of occasions, I was grunting with effort to get the suctions to release from the places I stuck the Fat Gecko. I tried wood, ceramic, steel, aluminum, and glass. The less porous the surface, the better the Gecko stuck. Stained and sealed wood (like you might find on a coffee table) worked pretty well. A Target bookcase however, was less effective. That’s to be expected as the lines and grooves in the particleboard let considerable air into the vacuum suction of the Gecko’s pads. Steel and aluminum worked extremely well. The Gecko will most often be employed attached to the side of a vehicle, so it’s a good thing this test proved that the main selling point of the product was a success. But far and away, the best surface to mount the Fat Gecko has to be glass. Stuck to the front of a windshield, on a sliding door, against a window, you name it, the Gecko held strong and didn’t flinch for hours. I took a five hour drive around the East Bay (San Francisco area for you non-Californians) with the Fat Gecko stuck to the inside of my cab window and it didn’t budge, even after numerous adjustments to the positioning and camera over the course of the test.

Areas for Improvement

The solid plastic and metal parts of the Gecko are very sturdy, but the suction mount can be where this product shows a little “wobble,” which comes from the style of mount and, of course, the price point. If you look at how a suction cup works, it requires that the cup itself be flexible to accommodate creating that vacuum. With the Gecko, no matter how tight you make the suction, it will always be able to sway slightly with vibrations because of that flexibility. So bumps in the road, wind, and engine vibration can cause some shaking that varies in severity depending on your vehicle and speed. Based on the performance of Tamron’s Vibration Compensation, I am certain the “wobble” that occurs can be eliminated with the use of one of Tamron’s lenses. The IS on the Canon 24-105mm L didn’t seem to do much in terms of vibration reduction, but that was rather expected.

Reducing the “wobble” on the suction would require additional suction pads, a larger rig, and a larger footprint. Somewhere between four and six pads spread over about a two-foot diameter might reduce the “wobble” of the pads, but it wouldn’t eliminate the movement of a vehicle over the road. It is when you are really paying attention that you realize how bumpy streets can be. I honestly don’t find the movement of the suction pads to be all that extreme, and the compact size of the Gecko is one of its prime selling points. In other words, I’m glad this rig isn’t bigger, and it performs just fine for my taste. Let’s get real: even if you use this for shooting video and it moves slightly, you only need between 3 and 5 seconds of solid, wobble-less footage at a time. Anything more, and the video can get rather boring. The Gecko is more than capable of this feat.

Why you should get it

To be honest, pretty near none of us need to shoot video out of (or on) a car on a regular basis. This sort of shot is for a select few projects. But when we need it, we really need it, and the Gecko delivers at a great price point.

For those times you aren’t shooting a chase scene for the next Fast and Furious, the Gecko has other uses. Because it is so sturdy and can mount to any slick surface, you can use the Gecko as a lightweight tripod that can get into spots you would not normally be able to utilize. Attach it to a window in a corner, a steel refrigerator in a kitchen, hardwood floors or tables, the list goes on. Being enlisted to shoot weddings, caterings, and events is common these days, and often the venues are not conducive to the large footprint of a stable carbon fiber tripod. Throw the Gecko up on a high window with your DSLR and a remote trigger, and you can capture great wide angle room shots that are uncommon and can set you apart from your competitors.

If you like to use natural light for your interview video shoots (like I do), you can get a great angle by sticking the Gecko directly to the window casting your key light, allowing for a stable shot that tripods often can’t replicate, especially if there is a sill that sticks out. The compact size can squeeze into locations previously unavailable to you.

The Verdict

The Fat Gecko by Delkin is a great product. It performs as advertised and is perhaps more versatile than it appears because it isn’t advertised as anything more than a mount for video. However, with a little ingenuity, it can totally be more. Just keep in mind that suction pads don't have endless lifespans. Though I wasn't able to confirm this (because I don't plan to take a couple years to produce a review), suction pads can dry out, crack and become brittle over time. If you store the Gecko in a cool location out of the sun, you should be ok. All that said, for $70, this is a no brainer. Even if you only plan to use it once, you’ll get your money’s worth. But my bet is that you’ll find yourself using it again and again due to its light weight and solid build.

Get it now at B&H Photo for a cool $70.

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Fighting Amish's picture

I'm a TV news photog and have one of these for my Drift Innovations POV camera. I love it. When he said the suction cups stick well that would be an understatement, I have mounted this to so many things and it had never budged... even on the wind screen of a motorcycle that hit speeds well over 100 mph. Best $70 I ever spent.

Andreas Martin's picture

Only downside is that whenever you use it in combination with a car etc. and your car drives over rough surface the movies look not so professional. At least with iMovie I wasnt able to stabilize it. Apart from that: There are very few wide angles with VR / IS out there. In face not a single wide angle prime. Or is there?

Jaron Schneider's picture

Technically the Tamron 24-70mm f/28 VC is a wide angle lens and the VC on it is a monster.

Philipp Blum's picture

If you want to shoot on full-frame, Canon both has a 24 and 28mm 2.8 IS prime and Nikon has a 16-35 4.0 VR if I'm not mistaken. Depending on what you call "wide angle" and why you need the prime.

As Jaron said, you can also use the 24-70 from Tamron with VC, the Canon 24-104 with IS, the Nikon 24-120 with VR, or, on a crop the Tamron 17-50 VC (and the list goes on).You could also use a Sony, Pentax or Olympus SLR with all have stabilisation in-body, or a mirrorless camera (I know for sure that most Olympus models also have IS in-body).

Jared Phillips's picture

Looks that is the GoPro Suction Cup Mount x 2

JimmySchaefer's picture

Question:  Does anyone know if you can add things like Clamps to this for Automotive poll shoots?

Jaron Schneider's picture

Hm. Maybe if you described what you were trying to do a bit better I could answer this. I'm not sure what you mean.

Brandon Luckain's picture

I think he is talking about rig shots, as in attaching a pole to it.

iPhone_4Steve's picture

way way way too shaky 

Richard Sole's picture

The Mounting thread is fixed meaning that you: 1) either have to remove the ball from the clamp and it only comes out at the end of the wing nut's thread so you sit with a couple of bits in your hand/in the sand, or,
2) you have to rotate your camera about 5 or 6 times to seat it on the nut.A rubber washer is supplied - fell off / falls off every time you remove the camera!  WTF!
The first joint is serrated but in such a way that you cannot turn the dog-leg to point the other way. It has a serrated washer that can be removed (why?) but it cannot be swapped to the other side 0 if it was fitted with the same square as the bolt was, it would have been interchangeable.I tried sticking a Garmin disk to my dash but it is not big enough for the suction cup - the rest of the dash is textured so no way of sucking it to the dash.My window is at such an angle that with the camera mounted any which way with this unit on the glass, half the photo is taken up by the base! Pics available.
Definitively not a very clever design office at Delkin!