I often use my nice Nikon DSLR camera to take photos because the telephoto lens and add-on flash allow it to take fantastic pictures, typically (although not always) better than my iPhone. But I don't use my Nikon camera to take video anymore because as the quality of video on the iPhone has improved over the years, it now usually does a better job than my more expensive SLR camera. The videos are bright and always in focus, and I can even shoot in 4K or 60 fps. But holding up an iPhone in my hand to take videos of more than a few minutes makes my hand tired, which makes my hand shake, which reduces the quality of the video. The Glif by Studio Neat is a clip that attaches to the iPhone, making it possible to keep the iPhone steady by mounting it on a tripod. The Glif has been around for a while, but it was significantly improved this year, and can now be purchased with a hand grip accessory. Studio Neat sent me a free review unit and I've been testing it out for the last few weeks. It works incredibly well.
I've tried lots of different devices over the years that purport to hold an iPhone for taking pictures or videos. The only ones that really felt secure were iPhone cases, but those stop working whenever Apple releases a new iPhone model with a different shape.
The Glif has an ingenious solution to this problem — one of those solutions that once you see it, you wonder why everyone hasn't been doing it this way all along. The Glif has a lever on the back. With the lever pulled back, you can freely move the clamps on the Glif up and down to accommodate any size iPhone, even when in a case. It can open wide to about four inches, big enough to even accommodate the huge SnowLizard SLXtreme case I reviewed a few weeks ago.
Once the clamp of the Glif is around your iPhone, you push the lever in. This makes the clamp go down just a little more, enough for the rubber inside of the clamps to hold the iPhone snug.
And I do mean snug. The Glif has a fantastic grip on an iPhone, and the iPhone feels very safe and secure in the Glif.
With the iPhone in the Glif, you can use screw holes to attach the Glif to any standard tripod. There are holes on the top, bottom, and the side so you can easily mount the iPhone in either portrait or landscape orientation. And if you are really into iPhone photography and want to attach other accessories like an external light or flash and external microphone, you might have a reason to use all three holes at once.
Here is the Glif attached to a Joby GorillaPad tripod — which is useful because you can use it as a normal small tripod, or you can wrap the feet around most any object to mount your iPhone in a location.
With the iPhone in the Glif on a tripod, it will stay very still. This is nice for shooting videos when you can have a stationary camera. It is also nice for taking photos when you don't want the camera to move, especially when taking time-lapse photos or photos in low light. Of course, pressing the button on the iPhone to take the picture can make the iPhone move, but you can instead use the timer function on the Camera app. Or better yet, if you have an Apple Watch, use the Camera app on the watch as a remote shutter for the iPhone, which is a great way to make an iPhone take a picture without touching the iPhone.
Hand Grip + Wrist Strap
Studio Neat also sells a great accessory for the Glif called the Hand Grip — another one of those devices that seems so obvious once you start using it. One of the things that I dislike about taking video with my iPhone is that my hand and forearm get tired when I am holding it up for an extended period of time. But holding the Hand Grip feels much more natural, making it easier to keep the iPhone steady, easier to pan the iPhone, and, most importantly, easier to hold the iPhone for much longer.
The Hand Grip is made of cherry wood, and it looks great and feels really nice in the hand. It has a short screw at the top which is perfect for attaching the Glif to it.
The Wrist Strap attaches to the bottom of the Hand Grip and allows you to place your hand through the strap for added protection. Even if you were to drop the Hand Grip, the strap should prevent your iPhone from falling on the ground.
The Hand Grip is not a gimbal so don't expect to keep your iPhone perfectly steady, but it does make it much easier to keep the iPhone steady. And even if you are walking, and thus you are going to naturally have some up-and-down motion in your video, the Hand Grip keeps the iPhone more steady. Here is a short 90 second video that I shot this past weekend in a park with my kids. In the first part of the video, I am staying in one spot and panning my iPhone. In the second part of the video, I am walking and trying to keep up with my kids on scooters. The video is not perfectly steady, but it is far better than it would have been if I was just holding my iPhone only using a hand.
I look forward to trying out the Glif and Hand Grip the next time that I am on vacation taking video. Both are small enough to easily put in a pocket, and they will make it much easier to take videos. I can also imagine using the Hand Grip to hold up an iPhone over a crowd — although this might annoy the folks in the crowd behind you.
And again, the best part is that even after a long time of shooting video in the park, my hand was very comfortable holding the Hand Grip and the Glif. When not filming, you can let your hand drop as you hold the Hand Grip, and the Glif has such a secure hold on the iPhone that the iPhone remains very safe.
I've been talking about taking video because that is where the Hand Grip works incredibly well. My kids at first called this a "selfie stick" but that isn't accurate. I don't find that the Hand Grip works well for taking photos because you have to manually reach up and push the button to take each photo. If I am going to have to do that anyway, I think it is just as easy to just hold the iPhone in my hand.
Studio Neat, the same company that makes the great Material Dock stand, has come up with another clever and useful product. If you want to take better photos with your iPhone, keeping the camera perfectly still, the Glif is a fantastic device. It is inexpensive at $28, and it is future-proof because it can adjust to any size iPhone. Thus, you can purchase this device and use it for years. If you want to take video, the Hand Grip and Wrist Strap are great accessories. The next time you need to film your kids at a piano recital, film a birthday party, or just take some great nature videos. the Hand Grip will make it much easier to take video and the quality of the video will vastly improved. And with just a simple pull of the lever, you can release your iPhone and use it normally. The quality of these two products is top notch, and I highly recommend them to anyone who wants to use an iPhone on a tripod or with a grip.
Click here to get Glif on Amazon ($27.99).