Category: Photography, Cases
Works With:iPad Mini
I turn down a lot of offers to review gadgets, either because I figure that you folks won’t care about whatever it is the PR folks are trying to hawk, or because it’s obvious that the product is too lame even to ridicule on these pages.
And sometimes it’s because I’m not equipped to review the item in question. I almost turned down the iOgrapher for this reason, as I have no LED lighting rigs; I recently gave away my tripod and I almost never shoot video. But I’m glad i didn’t, as the iOgrapher turns out to be a pretty excellent all-round iPhoneography case for the iPad mini.
What It Is
The iOgrapher is an ABS plastic case which adds handles, a metal tripod socket and three cold-shoe accessory mounts to the iPad mini (there’s a model available for the full-sized iPad too). There’s also a threaded 37mm ring around the lens hole to add accessory lenses.
There are cut outs for the iPad’s mic and jack socket, and all buttons and ports are left free, with one odd exception: the sleep/wake button is covered up and rendered completely inaccessible.
The accessory ports all work fine. I don’t have a LED lighting bank to try it with, but I do have a couple of standard small flashes which use the same mount, and although they’re useless with the iPad they fit great. The tripod socket, ditto (I have a threaded lighting stand that fits the hole just fine. So it works.
But the thing that surprised me most is how much easier the mini is to, uh, handle when you use the handles. When shooting video you can make smoother movements, making panning, tracking and all the other “ing” movements a lot less jerky.
And when shooting photos the handles make it easier to operate the on-screen controls. In fact, an app like Mattebox becomes way easier to use, as the on-screen two-stage shutter slider falls right under your thumb. One-handed operation is also easy thanks to these big handles, as is vertical shooting.
And finally, when you’re not using the iPad, you can just use the handles to hang it from a nearby hook.
Two things, both to do with buttons: First, the volume switches are hard to reach to when holding the handles, making it tricky to use them as shutter releases. And even if you can reach, the case’s small cutout is too close to the edges of the switches making it even harder to push them.
Second is the power/wake button, which is completely covered. I guess this is so you don’t accidentally sleep the iPad whilst shooting, but it also means that you’ll be burning the battery even when you don’t need it. And if you’re taking a break from shooting? Tough. You need to take the case off to get to the button.
A great case that does a specialized job very well. Despite the fact that it’s designed for video, it’s also good for stills photographers, where the big iPad screen makes for an awesome viewfinder. But at $65 this isn’t something you’ll just pick up on a whim, and nor is it a case which can be left on the iPad and used in everyday life. Those handles might be great for carrying the iPad around, but as you can neither sleep the screen or attach a Smart Cover when the iPad is in the case, it’s not really practical. All in all though, a great gadget for iPad photographers.
Product Name: : iOgrapher
The Good: Tough, lightweight and genuinely better than shooting with a naked iPad.
The Bad: Volume buttons hard to get to, sleep/wake button completely covered.
The Verdict Great for its intended use, not so good for anything else. Pricey, but the build-quality makes it worth it.
Buy from: iOgrapher