thoughts and decisions for a creative edge

iPhone 4 Tripod Adapters – The Missing 1/4” Screw-Ins

If you’re are into iPhoneography, infatuated with Social Media sites like Instagram, or deep with recent new wave of video mobile-sharing sites like Vimeo and 15-seconds-long Viddy, then you’ve probably experienced the events of shaky pictures or jarring videos when shooting with the iPhone handheld. I was one of ’em. My immediate wish was for a device that could hold my iPhone 4 onto camera mounts and tripods that I already own. Upon Googling, results shows hundreds of responses on how to DIY an iPhone support system. I can’t mention all of it here, but the two products which stood out for me are from Kungl and SnapMount. Even more surprising they’ve agreed to let me try out their products! A month ago…

KUNGL™ and SnapMount™ are two startup companies that have been out of the radar for some interesting designs they’ve produced for the iPhone 4. Their design could particularly change the way you shoot your next picture or video. After giving them both more than a month’s use, they’ve now fallen into the category of essential take-with-me gears when I’m out on events. Each has its own characteristics of use, its plus and cons. I’ll try to break this down.

SnapMount

Machined 1 piece polycarbonate resin with freedom to mount your iP4 on two 1/4” slots on either portrait or landscape mode for tripod use. The design is not flush to the iP4 surface glass. Instead SM utilizes 4 protruding arms on each corner to aid with table-top use whenever a flat surface is available. The video that Jason posted clearly demonstrates his design using SM with or without screwed-on support.

Fit:

The iP4 fits snug on the SM. There is no play or wobble once the iP4 is ‘snapped in’. In my case however, fitting our phone which has extra layers of Invisible Shield on the front and back, caused a slight peeling from the back corners. Fortunately, it didn’t tear the shield but it is possible you’d damage this sort of sticker covers after repeated use. Testing another iP4 without extra layer of protection went breezy easy. Once the iP4 is snapped in, it stays in. Removing the iP4 requires pinching two corners of the extended legs outwards and a slight push from the back.

In Use:

The brass female 1/4” slots on either side of the SM makes it easy for you to switch between landscape and portrait mode. I use the landscape most often since I shoot videos mostly. If shooting long Timelapse videos, I can plug in the power adapter on the docking side and even plug in a lavalier mic adapter on the headphone port if required. In short there is space to use various accessories if required.

One small modification I did on mine was to place an eBay wide angle lens ring on the lens corner of the SM. This allows me to come closer to the subject I’m shooting thus capturing better audio with the mediocre built in mic.

SnapMount with mini Wide Angle

Using the phone as a phone?

This one gets a bit awkward as the protruding arms would be poking onto your face if you place the phone to answer any incoming call. Thus a word of advise: Best to turn your phone to Airplane mode when shooting so you’re not obliged to poke yourself. 🙂

KUNGL

Out of the box, I like the design of Helmut Kungl’s tripod adapter. Unlike the SnapMount, Kungl’s adapter is flush and looks almost like any ordinary iPhone bumper / protector you see in market. In other words it’s more pocket friendly without any protrusive parts. The design secret sits in the injected moulding design made from engineered polycarbonate. Its a single-mould cavity with a flushed 1/4” brass screw adapter. Unlike the SM there is only one screw mount option. I think its more than enough as you can twist, turn and bend most of today’s tripod adapters to shoot in various scapes required.

Fit:

Mounting the iP4 into the Kungl is an easy slide-in-place-n-snap. You’ll hear a click when the iP4 is inserted properly. The cavity design which is aided with a smart lock-in system ensures that the iP4 is secured in place without any chance for it to fall out. The speaker and power adapter is also well exposed on one end. Helmut mentioned that the one exclusive feature in his design was that its ‘touchless’. There’s a trough that runs all around the frame mould with a gap on both sides. iP4’s surface glass actually never touch the adapter. Brilliant!

In Use:

This flushed-design makes it the preferred adapter if you think you’re going to draw the iP4 in and out of your pocket a lot. The tiny holes on either side of the 1/4” brass screws helps accommodate dibbits that exists on most tripod plates making assembly and alignment a snap. The iP4 feels very well secured while in usage. I can see some folks using KUNGL as an iPhone bumper that enables you to easily mount it to any camera mounts.

Kungl + Instagram

Additionally, because of the touchless design, it is also possible for you to make your own prints and have a new back mural on your iP4 with the Kungl. Simply cut to size and slide it in.

Using it as a phone:

No problem at all. No jarred surface to press against your face. Docks fine on my Bose Soundock and DLO Deluxe charger.

Not all is dandy:

There is a minute issue while I’m using the KUNGL for video; but this is purely based on the video app that I use. Filmic Pro app I shoot with does not flip to the landscape mode that the KUNGL’s orientation is built on. Because of this I am forced to shoot upside down as seen in picture below. I have requested Filmic Pro’s app developer to activate gyrometer sensor to help sort this out. Hope they hear my voice.. I guess it’s easier to add some code on the program than Helmut to rotate his mould design. 🙂

At the end of the day, I guess the adapter of your choice would be the one you think fits the task. Both adapters work superb with whatever app you use it with. Heck they even make good table top mounts! One thing is definite, YOU WILL produce better quality shoots than you ever did before. Period.

SUMMARY:

Features:

KUNGL / SnapMount
Using it as a phone: X / –
Pocket Mobility: X / –
Landscape: X / X
Portrait: – / X
Surface Mod – Fisheye: – / X
Chargeable during use: X / X
Fit: X / X Fit with ZAGG F+R shield: X / –
Shake Test: X / X
Any orientation fit: – / X
Headphone / Mic access: X / X

Its really a thin line between these two mounts. But I think the fact that it should be usable with included mobility to use it as a phone whenever possible is rather a big deal, tho still arguable. And as to which mount I have my iPhone 4 to right now as I type? Its on a Mophie Juice Pack Air battery pack. Yes I use my phone to shoot pictures and video too often that its often running out of juice! But I must add I have grown to love both these adapters. It’s changed the quality of my shots. That’s for sure!

Here’s some iPhone videos I’ve captured before using this adapters. They were shot, edited and uploaded all via the iPhone 4 itself. I will try post newer shoots soon. Happy iPhoneography and iVideography everyone!!

This one was shot and edited directly within Vimeo’s mobile app

This was shot with QuickSnap and edited with iMovie app

BIG THANKS TO HELMUT KUNGL and JASON FOR ALLOWING ME TO TRY OUT THEIR ADAPTERS!

Links to the websites for purchase:

KUNGL – www.kungl.com

SnapMount – www.snapmountforiphone.com

Do tell them I sent you! Happy shooting with steadier shots!

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2 responses

  1. Hello rastasia,

    I am one of the principal founders of FiLMiC Pro and we are thrilled that you are using our app. I wanted to let you know we are in the process of developing a UI orientation flip for various mounting hardware that works in one orientation only. The UI flip has been the easy part, flipping the video in the pipeline which now appears upside down has proven to be the bear. We will keep you and the rest of our fans informed of its progress at our facebook page;

    http://www.facebook.com/pages/FiLMiC-Pro/195459220500135

    Best regards,

    neill barham
    FiLMiC Pro
    Cinegenix, LLC

    June 24, 2011 at 10:19 pm

    • Thanks for that update Neill! FilmicPro can only get better, especially if you succeed flipping the video orientation. We actually plan to use it to shoot a music video later this month. Hope it works well with the new Final Cut Pro X. Will be catching up with you on Facebook I guess. 🙂

      June 25, 2011 at 6:19 am

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