Smartphones are incredible devices. They can do a dazzling amount of things, and are endlessly expandable thanks to an extremely active developer and aftermarket accessory community. If you’re looking to do something quickly and on the go, odds are you can find a way to do it on your mobile device. One of the most useful features on these phones is that they include very capable cameras, perfect for snapping quick photos and shooting video. However, one of the challenges to using the phone as a camera is getting steady shots.
While there are a lot options out there for specific models of phone, I’ve always been a fan of a more general approach. Call me crazy, but I like to invest in things that I can use for as many purposes as possible. One really exciting option that’s available is the GripTight system from Joby. This is a flexible smartphone tripod mount that integrates with Joby’s line of tripods, as well as any standard tripod mount.
Let’s take a look at the GripTight mount, and a couple complimentary products that help turn your phone into a more capable camera and camcorder.
GripTight Smartphone Mount
The GripTight Mount is ingenious in it’s simplicity. Rather than trying to engineer something that would fit a specific device, the GripTight Mount features a spring-loaded clip that holds the phone horizontally. It can accommodate devices up to 2.8 inches wide, and the rubber grips are ample enough for phones with and without cases.
My phone, the Motorola Razr Maxx, is pretty big, and the case makes it even wider. The GripTight Mount has no problem holding it securely in place. Unless your phone is a real monster, it will fit comfortably in the GripTight Mount.
The springs and rubber grip are quite secure; I’ve even shaken my phone upside down while it’s in the mount, and it doesn’t even wiggle. Adding and removing the phone is as simple as gently lifting on the top grip pad.
Unlike some other phone mounts I’ve seen, the GripTight Mount supports the phone in the center, rather than along one or more of the edges. This makes it so you’d really have to try to accidentally cover the camera. You can position the phone either way in the mount to get the shot you want using the phone’s primary or backward-facing camera.
The Mount folds down flat, and even has a hole to attach it to a keychain. It’s small enough to fit into easily into your pocket. This thing is engineered for portability.
The Micro Stand is a realy nice compliment to the GripTight Mount. It’s basically a tiny tripod that gives you stability without much of a footprint. It absolutely perfect to put on top of a desk of tabletop. If you need a little more height, this compact stand will easily sit on top of a few books, a spare box, or whatever else you have lying around.
The head of the MicoStand is mounted on a ball, which allows it to tilt up to 36° and rotate a full 360° (although considering it’s size, it’s easier just to pick it up and rotate the entire tripod). Rubber feet keep it from slipping around.
When they say it’s a micro-stand, they’re not kidding. This thing folds up to about the size of a car key, and weighs in at under two ounces. You can even leave the GripTight Mount attached, fold up both, and comfortable stuff it into a pocket for stable photography on the go.
Another cool thing about the Micro Stand is that it has uses beyond photography. It’s a perfect stand for reading books and articles, browsing the web, or watching videos.
The Micro Stand includes one GripTight Mount.
Finally, the GripTight Gorillapod Video let’s you mount your camera (it doesn’t have to be a phone; it has a standard tripod mount) onto a flexible, magnetic tripod with the ability to pan and tilt. The head of the tripod allows the camera to be held in portrait or landscape, which is especially handy when you’re trying to get a landscape shot and the tripod is wrapped vertically around a pole.
The pan and tilt works quite well, with a short arm to allow easy control. At first it’s quite stiff, but if you make a few 360º rotations, the head warms up and it gets a lot smoother. While this feature is designed for video, I’ve found it quite handy when it comes to framing still photography as well.
The feet will stick to any ferrous metal surface, so as long as you’re trying to attach it to something iron or steel, you’re good to go. The small magnets in the feet are quite powerful; when all three are attached to a surface, you have to exert a fair amount of force to pull it back off.
It includes a tiny, quick-release clip, which is extremely handy. I leave that on the GripTight Mount to make setting up even quicker. The quick-release clip is the same one that comes with other Gorillapod tripods, so if you have one of those lying around, like I did, you can put them on multiple devices for painless switch-outs.
Because it’s from Joby’s Gorillapod family, the GripTight Video can also wrap it’s legs around most reasonably-sized objects to create a stable surface out of just about anything.
The Gorillapod Video is rated for cameras up to 11.5 ounces, and is available with or without a GripTight Mount.
If you’re looking for an easy to use and inexpensive way to improve your mobile photography and video, Joby’s line of GripTight accessories is a sure bet. They’re extremely useful, pack down well, and take nothing to setup and use.