While regular ol’ cameras race to add touch screens, apps and pinch-to-zoom even while they strip away their physical buttons, Snapgripp is doing the exact opposite for the iPhone.
The little case’n’handle combo adds a finger grip to the iPhone 4/S and – in concert with a companion app – lets you pretend like your iPhone is a real camera. Except for that tiny sensor anyway.
The Snapgripp is a grip that snaps onto a matching shell case, and communicates with the iPhone via Bluetooth. Up top there’s a shutter button (half-press to pre-focus), a zoom jog dial plus a mode selector (video, LED lamp on, portrait/landscape). Underneath is a tripod mount, a USB port for charging, and the on-off switch.
Full retail will be $70, if the product hits its Kickstarter goal.
I have mixed feelings about this kind of thing. I love manual controls on a camera, but I’m not sure if it’s worth the trouble on the iPhone. After all, the standard camera app can be triggered with either volume button, and if you train yourself to turn the iPhone clockwise instead of counter-clockwise when you open up the camera app, the button is just where you want it.
I spent five days in Paris last week, and took my iPhone 5 as my sole camera. I quickly saw that my Panasonic GF1 would have taken sharper, more detailed and less noisy pictures, especially in low light, but the iPhone let me do things I could’t or wouldn’t have with a big camera: shooting forbidden pictures inside a museum exhibition of Star Wars toys (as awesome as it sounds), and making quick panoramas of the Eiffel Tower at night.
The Snapgripp, for all its neat design, won’t make the iPhone any more convenient to use, and neither will it address the camera’s shortcomings.
If I had $70 to spend on an iPhone camera accessory, I’d go for the Olloclip instead, which really will make a difference.