As the old adage goes, the best camera is the one you have with you. And more often than not these days that will be your smartphone. Pretty much all modern smartphones have great cameras. That’s a given. And there are a range of amazing apps out there on all OSs to enhance your photography, as well as a range of retro filters if you value pretension and inauthenticity. What gives iPhone users the edge is the wonderful 3rd party ecosystem of accessories that help you take your photography and film making closer and closer to a professional standard.
I shouldn’t have to say this but lighting is one of the most important elements of recording visuals. You’d be shocked at how often people forget and you wind up with terrible, terrible looking footage or images that are either too bright or too dark. The OWLE HD VIDEO KIT for iPhone 4/4S adds some serious clout to your mobile cinematography. It comes with the award winning Rotolight RL48-B HD LED Ring light and a range of filters so you can create perfect soft fill-in light. This alone is a great addition but the OWLE also includes a custom 37mm wide angle / macro lens, high quality 180 degrees adjustable Vericorder microphone and tripod mount threading on all 4 corners so it’s the most versatile high-end tool on the list.
When I spoke to Rotolight at the Gadget Show they promised an iPhone 5 version was coming. Still no word on when.
Find out more: Rotolight
Joby GripTight GorillaPod
Shaking hand syndrome ruins so many videos and almost every photo I’ve take would have been better had I used a tripod. Hence the Joby GripTight GorillaPod – a tripod and clamp system that helpful works with most modern smartphones and folds up neatly into your bag when not in use. I have one in my bag right now. And obviously the upside of the GorillaPod is that it’s not just a regular tripod and seems at times almost infinitely versatile – you can manipulate the legs into numerous combinations that enable you to capture more exciting shots.
Find out more: Joby
The olloClip is an old favourite and one of the earliest to the iPhone lens game. The pocket sized, high quality three in one lens, including a Fish Eye, Wide Angle and Macro lens, simply pops on to the edge of your phone. However, this does mean that olloClip does not play nicely with iPhone cases, and it does feel a little exposed at times filming with an iPhone in its naked state. The fisheye lens captures approximately a 180° field-of-view, the wide-angle lens nearly doubles the iPhone’s normal field of view and the macro lens applies roughly a 10X magnification.
Find out more: OlloClip
Sadly for videographers only the mobislyder allows you to take smooth tracking shots that can breath life into your cinematography. The mobislyder is developed by the world’s No. 1 camera slider company, Glidetrack, so it’s has some fairly substantial clout behind it. It’s incredibly sturdy, with an articulated mount and there are all sorts of amazing shots you can pull off once you have one (there’s also the incredible temptation to go a bit overboard).
Fortunately the mobislyder is compatible with all sorts of hand-held camera devices, including the iPhones, Android, compact cameras, small DSLR cameras and small camcorders.
Find out more: MobiSlyder