The Joby GripTight Mount is an attachment allowing you to mount and stabilise your smartphone, helping you take better photos by reducing the movement that occurs when you take photos with the device held in your hand. It’s a universal solution, with an extendable arm to tightly grip the body of any smartphone up to 7.2cm (2.8 inches) wide, allowing it to hold the current crop of 5-inch superphones including the Xperia Z and Galaxy S 4. When Joby – known for their GorillaPod line of flexible camera tripods – announced the product, I was immediately interested and knew I had to have one.
The GripTight Mount comes either by itself, on a micro-stand, or attached to a GorillaPod. Pricing varies, but seems to mainly be in the $20-$30 range with some postage on top for the mount itself and a bit more with either of the stands. The product is designed to attach to a standard tripod screw with the ¼”-20 threaded hole on the base of the unit, which should make your existing tripod even more useful.
Why Mount a Smartphone?
My need for a tripod mount for my phone has grown in recent months. When Google released the Photo Sphere feature in Android 4.2, I found my results would vary with the position of the camera. Users tend to hold the camera out in front of them and turn their body when creating a Photo Sphere, moving the camera around an area about a metre in diameter, which causes some artifacts to occur along straight edges when the software stitches the images together. I’ve found that the best way to create a Photo Sphere is to keep the camera as close to the centre point of the sphere as possible.
I’ve tried a couple of solutions to attach my phone to a tripod. My first attempt was a very clunky experiment involving a mount purchased from an overseas company that proceeded to break the first time I used it. My next idea – using a clamp obtained from a hardware store – wasn’t that great, but it worked:
Unlike my efforts with the clamp, the GripTight Mount makes the attachment of a phone to a tripod infinitely easier, safer and more secure than anything else I’ve seen.
As with any camera, the act of pressing a shutter button (either physical or onscreen) can cause movement that disrupts your focus and adds an unwanted motion blur – however slight – to your photo. Most DSLR cameras support a remote shutter release switch that allows you to take a picture without touching the camera, but there’s no such attachment for your smartphone. There is an alternative, however – you can find a number of Voice-activated Camera Apps available in the Google Play store, allowing you to take a photo just by saying a word. Notably, some devices like the LG Optimus G have this ability built in to their camera software.
The GripTight Mount has rubberised pads at the top and bottom to grip your phone securely without scratching it while mounted. These grips cover a polycarbonate body that has hinged joints – you can fold the GripTight Mount flat when not in use, allowing for easy transport and storage. The hinged joints connect steel springs to extendable stainless steel pins that add durability to the mount.
When mounted, the spring-loaded mount keeps the phone absolutely stable – provided you don’t knock the tripod and you’re not near some kind of localised geological event like an earthquake, landslide, or a T-Rex attack, your phone will remain stable and your shots should be focused as well as your phone’s camera can manage.
My first time out using the Griptight Mount I took the mount and tripod to the lighthouse at Byron Bay, the most easterly point in mainland Australia. I proceeded to take a Photo Sphere and then shared it on Google+. The Google Maps team liked it so much that they shared the Photo Sphere on the official Google Maps Google+ and Twitter feeds.
Soak in the gorgeous views in this blue-sky'd photo sphere of Byron Bay — http://t.co/3H14ZmRzUT. Nice job, Daniel Tyson!
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) April 16, 2013
Head over to my Google+ page to see the full Photo Sphere and see what you think.
The GripTight Mount is a neat little piece of photography equipment that allows you to get that little bit extra out of your phone by keeping it completely still when taking a photo. Whether you’re taking a normal photo, a panorama or a Photo Sphere, the GripTight is all you’ll need in a mount. At a relatively cheap price, it can add a fair bit of capability and open up new possibilities for your photos, especially when paired with the Micro Stand or GorillaPod for a relatively small price. I have no hesitatation suggesting you try it out – the mount is definitely worth it in the end, and I’ve been able to achieve some great results with it.
Note that Joby doesn’t sell GripTight products direct to the public in Australia. You can find them in most camera stores, and a number of online stores.