The iPhone has become the world’s most popular camera, and for good reason. Focus pixels, face detection, auto stabilization, optical image stabilization, in-camera panorama modes, and on-board editing software make the iPhone a monstrous achievement in the world of photography.
But, taking iPhoneography a step further requires some practice and some simple accessories. And that’s where Studio Neat’s Glif steps in.
The Studio Neat Glif is a very simple mechanism to securely mount your iPhone (or any smartphone for that matter) to a tripod. The rubberized body adjusts to the size of your smartphone and then mounts securely to a tripod. When combined with mini-tripods like the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod, you can turn your iPhone into a stabilized video machine capable of shooting smooth, handheld 1080p video in a flash.
The Glif is adjusted to your smartphone size by utilizing an allen wrench on both threaded ends. One end adjusts the Glif to fit the width of your smartphone while the opposite end adjusts the Glif to the depth of your smartphone.
Adjusting the Glif takes a bit more time than I would like, but I appreciate the security of the mounted iPhone once the Glif is set. Using the allen wrench takes a bit of a patience, and despite Studio Neat’s claims a “one-and-done” adjustment, I’ve found I have to adjust the Glif each time I want to mount or dismount my iPhone. Maybe this is a sign the Glif has been holding my iPhone too tightly, but I’ve never felt like I’d be able to slide my iPhone into the Glif without loosening and tightening with the allen wrench.
Once the iPhone is snuggly set inside the Glif, you’re off to the races. The rubberized body securely holds your iPhone in place. If you are attached to the Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod like in the photos, you can easily handle the tripod without worrying the phone will fall out. I wouldn’t be afraid of running down the street with the PIXI Mini/Glif/iPhone combination in hand, nor would I be afraid of hiking some treacherous terrain to capture some video.
Both ends of Studio Neat’s Glif are threaded, so the Glif comes with a handy metal loop to attach to a small carabiner or a keychain. The Glif’s small size already makes it extremely portable, but the added metal loop only improves its portability. If you need a quick mount while out shooting photos and videos, the Glif will have no problem tagging along.
Obviously, the Glif isn’t just great for capturing video. You can place the Glif on any full-fledged tripod and capture perfect time lapses. I especially love opening Instagram’s Hyperlapse app to create extra smooth time lapses to share with friends. Just like mounting any camera on a tripod, mounting an iPhone on a tripod via the Glif opens a world of opportunities.
The Glif is more than just a tripod mount though. It can also be used as a kickstand to prop up your smartphone to read the news at breakfast or, in my case, prop up my iPhone while it’s connected to my TV. I prefer the wired route when connecting my iPhone to my TV, so I like to prop the iPhone up with the Glif and have it charge in the process.
I wouldn’t recommend the Glif as your only iPhone stand, mind you. The way the slot grips the smartphone’s screen may cause the Glif to get in the way of the screen from time to time. As you see in the photo, when placed in the middle, the Glif actually obscures the screen. This doesn’t bother me when I’m hooked up to my TV, but I can see this being an issue if you want to prop the iPhone up and watch a movie on the iPhone itself. You can probably move the Glif to grab onto the top or bottom of the iPhone, but it still doesn’t change how the Glif obscures the front of the iPhone.
The Glif is a very simple tool that completes a very simple purpose. Mounting an iPhone on a tripod of any kind opens many new doors to create new kinds of content. I enjoy shooting photographs with my Olympus gear, but when I need to capture some video, I fall back on my trusty iPhone. The iPhone, Glif, and handy PIXI Mini Tripod combine to be my portable video kit in a moment’s notice. It’s not much of a kit at this point, but I’ve been very happy with the results of the combination.
Best yet, the entire package is very inexpensive. The Glif for iPhone 5/5S starts at a mere $15. The latest Glif, compatible with the iPhone 6, 6 Plus, and all other smartphones, is only $30. That price, combined with the $25 PIXI Mini Tripod, gives you a really impressive portable video kit.
I’m not much of a video guy, but I love having small tools like the Glif to be there when I need them. It may take a bit to get the Glif fully adjusted to the iPhone and to be ready to mount to your tripod, but when mounted, there’s no worrying about the security of the phone. At a low price of $30, I don’t see any reason to not have an iPhone tripod mount kicking around in your camera bag.