People say the best camera is the one that is always with you – and for most of us that’s our smartphone. Now, all you need is an ergonomic solution to make it easier to hold. Keep reading to find a solution.
Smartphones are great cameras, and they are only getting better. There is only one problem with smartphones, if you want to use one for more than a few snapshots: they do not have the most ergonomic shape, as a camera. That’s the reason why different brands offer solutions to mount your smartphone, from the popular selfie stick to table tripods and other accessories. If you want to hold the smartphone on your hand, though, the best options are grips that give you the feeling of holding a DSLR.
The best looking grip for a smartphone is, no doubt, the ProGrip from ShiftCam, a company that also offers lenses and other accessories for smartphones. Inspired by the DSLR grip, the ProGrip was recognized by the 3 leading design awards in the world in 2021. The jury of Red Dot Design Award said about the accessory: “The ergonomic layout of the ShiftCam ProGrip mount, supported by its organic yet minimalist design idiom, allows the user to concentrate fully on content creation.”
ProGrip has two built-in batteries
Closing the gap between mobile and camera photography, the ProGrip is designed to provide “that feeling of familiarity and control when holding your camera”, and appears comfortable to use. Its creators say that “the signature ProGrip curve is designed to cater to length of each finger, creating a stronger grip” and the balance and stability provided by the ergonomic design contribute to make it easier to hold and use.
The back of the grip is purposefully rounded to distribute evenly the pressure exerted by your palm, the thumb is rest carved out on the grip for enhanced balance, reducing tension on wrist, and the grip itself is angled for your optimal comfort, so no more sore wrists or awkward grappling for the right hold. And contrary to what’s usual on DSLRs, you can switch hassle-free between landscape and portrait without changing your grip.
With a smart Bluetooh shutter in the right place (that easily connects with your camera), the ShiftCam ProGrip mount has another trick: the grip hides two built-in A-Grade Samsung battery cells supported by fast wireless charging to keep you shooting the whole day. This means that you can shoot for up to three times more footage in a day without having to stop to recharge your smartphone. Charging is available wirelessly or through a cable, and the batteries can also be used to power other devices at the same time.
ShiftCam also has other accessories
The ShiftCam ProGrip also functions as a free-standing charging dock and has an industry standard cold shoe and tripod mount, ready for a professional set up. ShiftCam has a series of accessories, from tripods and LED panels to smartphone lenses that you may use, and also has some photographer and videographer kits that you may want to explore.
The ProGrip has a price of $119.99 for the grip only and $149.99 for the Starter Kit, which includes The ProGrip Starter Kit includes ProGrip and all accessories that enhance your shooting experience: ProGrip, 1.5m USB-C cable (support 20W PD charging), pouch, hand strap, cold shoe mount & adapter. Compatible with most smartphones including iPhone, Samsung, Pixel, OnePlus, the ShiftCam ProGrip is only available from the company’s website, online.
If you live in Europe or elsewhere, you’re out of luck, though, as ShiftCam has no distributor, meaning you must pay custom duties if you decided to import it from the United States. That’s the reason why I looked elsewhere, and finally bought the “Ulanzi CapGrip Smartphone Camera Shutter Remote Handle Grip with Detachable Wireless Remote Control for iPhone Samsung Google OnePlus Phones Video/Photo Shooting” (yes, I know it’s a long name) for less than $20.
Ulanzi CapGrip, a poor man’s solution
Said to be compatible with iPhone Samsung Google OnePlus phones for video/photo shooting, the Ulanzi CapGrip, which you’ll find under a series of other names, is a “poor man’s” DSLR grip, which comes with a Bluetooth shutter release which can be removed, if you want to control the smartphone remotely, when the Ulanzi grip is mounted on a tripod. Yes, it does have a standard tripod mount, and I had no problem connecting and using the shutter release both on the grip and remotely.
The Ulanzi CapGrip does what it is supposed to do, but as you may have guessed, it’s no match for the ProGrip from ShiftCam. I found that its clamp is not easy to extend, to place the phone, and I am afraid it will break when I less expect it. If you’re using a protective case on your smartphone, you’ll also need to remove it, to avoid the smartphone slipping from the clamp and falling… something I discovered the hard way.
I acquired the Ulanzi CapGrip to use with smaller smartphones, like the Redmi Note 4, but a Redmi Note 6 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro already seem to go beyond what the grip holds securely, especially if you want to keep the smartphone’s protection case on. Ergonomically, although it is better than to try and hold the smartphone with your bare hands, it’s not able to compete with the ProGrip, which has other advantages besides ergonomics. In no way would I use the Ulanzi accessory with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra… so I am looking for a – cheaper – way to get a ShiftCam ProGrip sent to me, in Europe, as it appears to be a viable solution for more stable handheld photography and video.