Optical stabilization and shake reduction only gets you so far in this day and age. Thankfully, as any avid photographer will be quick to point out, a sturdy tripod can provide all the support you need when working with slow shutter speeds, long exposures, and close-up shots that would otherwise prove difficult to capture on your own. They essentially help steady your camera, affording you the time to make minute changes that could ultimately make or break your final image or video project.
The commonplace tripod has evolved over the years, though. Whereas most tripods once adhered to dedicated devices, there is now a host of capable offerings perfectly suited for the one gadget we have on us at nearly all times: our smartphone. The most recent version of Apple’s flagship iPhone features an 8MP camera and an f/2.2 aperture lens, not to mention digital stabilization and a true-tone flash unit that help it produce some of the best images we’ve seen on a smartphone. Opting for an iPhone is a no-brainer for many of us, but choosing the right tripod to accompany it? Well, that’s a different story. Below are our six favorites, from Joby’s standout to the Manfrotto KLYP.
Flexible tripods aren’t a new thing, but Joby’s offering takes versatility to an entirely new angle. The black-and-red tripod – available in two distinct sizes – features adjustable grips that cater to nearly any smartphone you have in your arsenal, along with neodymium magnetic feet designed to latch on to any ferrous metal surface. The wrappable legs are even adorned with rubberized rings, providing stability when you decide to set up your device on uneven terrain instead of to a pole.
The American-made Glif provides two functions. It allows you to attach your iPhone to any standard tripod with a ¼-to-20-inch thread, including the bundled stand, while allowing you to use the fully-adjustable mount as standalone apparatus for propping your device. It’s compatible with every version of the iPhone, too, whether your smartphone is bare on encased. That’s what the hex key is for.
Smaller than a pack of gum and weighing in at a mere 1.2 ounces, the compact Kenu Stand plugs directly into your iPhone 5 or 6’s Lightning port, allowing it to freely rotate and tilt your device atop a pivoting ball. The sleek legs are constructed of a durable, zinc alloy, and moreover, double as a kickstand for watching videos and snapping photos when folded flat. However, the built-in bottle opener remains the true selling point.
The Pocket Tripod will not take your iPhone to new heights, nor is it technically a tripod in a traditional sense. However, by twisting its two halves and flipping its sides, the card-sized stand allows you to quickly change the viewing angle of your smartphone whether it’s in portrait or landscape mode. It’s also available in either black or white and compatible with iPhone models as far back as the iPhone 4 and 4S.
As a charging cable and an eclectic stand, the Une Bobine is more than just versatile. The rigid, flexible cable connects to your iPhone using your smartphone’s built-in lightning input, allowing you to coil and wrap the device around any object you choose. Its slim design is also compatible with most iPhone cases, whether you choose to use the device as a bendable tripod or a convenient charger at home.
Besides protecting your iPhone 5/5S or 4/4S, the KLYP case adds a standard ¼-inch thread that lets you mount the phone onto any tripod or monopod (we like Manfrotto’s Pixi mini tripod). But the KLYP also has connectors that let you add on a variety of accessories, like LED lights and lenses. We’re hoping for an iPhone 6 version soon.