iPhone Accessories: Shiftcam SnapGrip Power Bank, Light, and Tripod Enhance Your Photo Options

I was in love with him ShiftcamAdditional lenses for cell phones for quite some time now; Especially telephoto lenses. The company recently moved into a new market, launching a professional DSLR-inspired grip case for iPhones. Lessons learned from this case have been used in a new set of consumer camera phone accessories – their SnapGrip system.

SnapGrip's magnetic connector means it can be used at any angle

SnapGrip’s magnetic connector means it can be used at any angle

ShiftCam

Dealing with SnapGrip

The most visible member of the Snap family is SnapGrip. This combines a battery, a Qi wireless charger, and a Bluetooth shutter button into one that adds a high-quality grip to your phone.

Getting started is easy enough. First charge the battery using the USB connector, then press the shutter button to start Bluetooth pairing with your phone. Once paired, simply align the grip with your iPhone’s magnetic MagSafe loop and you’re ready to go. SnapGrip will boost your battery while taking pictures: It’s very small compared to many phone batteries, with just 3200mAh of power, and while it’s not enough to fully charge the phone, it’s good enough to keep it going when you find something you need. You really have to photograph it.

The shutter button on the SnapGrip sets your phone’s shutter function; On the iPhone this is the volume control. If you’re not in the camera app and hit the shutter button, it will change the volume, so be careful if you’re listening to music while taking photos. Another issue with the shutter button could be a problem: It’s clearly designed for right-handed use and difficult to use with the left hand, with the shutter button located at the bottom of the handle and difficult to press.

It is also useful that the SnapGrip acts as a stand for your phone, so that you can use it while charging. It’s a little unstable in this mode, so be careful not to knock it over.

More than just a hand grip

The other two accessories in the Snap family are a ring light and a handle that converts into a tripod. The three are stacked one on top of the other, with SnapGrip at the bottom, next to snappodand finally Snap Light. You can mix and match the devices you use and choose the best for your current photography.

SnapLight is an LED ring light with a central mirror, designed to be the last item in the Snap range of devices. The light is on a solid hinge, so it can be positioned at a proper angle to get the best lighting for a selfie or as an alternative to a flash. Opening it also exposes the charging port, which is a bit awkward for charging on a desk. It charges via USB-C and has four different brightness levels. Battery life is good. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and I’m still on my first charge.

While not as bright as a traditional flash, SnapLight gives off a good amount of light and works well as a fill in low light environments. The mirror helps you center your face on the device, allowing you to use your phone’s main lens for vlogging instead of the lower-resolution front camera.

snappod

SnapPod bridges the gap between a tripod and a selfie stick

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SnapPod uses the same magnetic grip to add a tripod to your phone. While it’s fixed with a magnet, you can hold it at any angle (a useful option when you fold the SnapPod’s legs and use it as a grip or a small selfie stick), giving you a totally comfortable alternative grip. You can use it with SnapGrip to improve the balance and stability of your phone when using it with your hands for video. It’s helpful to loosen the SnapPod’s stem, which reveals the standard camera mounting screw so you can use it as a tripod for any camera. Alternatively, you can place this adapter on a full-size tripod, add a MagSafe connector to your existing devices, and allow you to use it with your phone.

Mix and match magnets

I actually found myself using SnapLight with SnapPod as a standalone light for mini and macro photography. It gives me additional lighting options beyond my phone’s flash when photographing products or using the unmatched camera with macro lenses. Perhaps this is an unexpected benefit of this set of accessories: items can be mixed and matched so that you only use the accessories you want to use when you want to use them.

SnapPod and SnapLight

SnapPod and SnapLight pair up to give you easy-to-use desktop lighting for all types of photography

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While Snap accessories are clearly designed to work with iPhones and their MagSafe connector, you can use them with other devices thanks to the attached magnetic sticker. It’s a good idea to know where the Qi charging coils are on your device before mounting the magnets, so you get the best possible charge. You may also want to put the sticker on the back of the holster instead of the phone, to make sure you have a good grip and won’t lose your phone the first time you pick it up with a SnapGrip or SnapPod.

The different parts of the Snap system come in five different colors: charcoal, navy, blue, champagne, and coral. It’s a good match for most phones, so you can choose the color that best matches your phone or case.

All three accessories are available as a bundle for $129.99, SnapGrip alone $69.99 and SnapPod $39.99 with SnapLight also $39.99. A fourth accessory, SnapShoe is also available, and offers a standard cold shoe for mounting lights or other camera accessories.

The result is an intriguingly useful combination of devices. You’re unlikely to want to use all three at the same time, but that’s the benefit of this approach. Simply plug in the device you want to use, and go away. After all, it’s the photos we take that really matter.

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