Back in 2010, people started taking the camera in the iPhone seriously. A couple of guys, Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost of Studio Neat, thought that it would be a good idea to make a tripod mount for the iPhone, and they came up with the idea of the Glif. The product was one of the first crowdfunding successes on Kickstarter, and the Glif has since been updated several times to allow it to work with larger smartphones and make it easier to use. Today we’re looking at the latest incarnation of the Glif (US$29, $55 for set including handle and wrist strap), which proves that even the best products can be improved.
The original Glif was designed with one iPhone in mind — the iPhone 4. It worked well, but when Apple moved to a slightly different design Studio Neat had to rework the Glif. Later versions used an adjustable “jaw” to hold the iPhone, but required use of an Allen wrench to make the adjustment. The latest version is brilliant, using a quick-release lever to adjust the jaw to fit your iPhone or other smartphone with or without case.
That quick release lever snaps out with a bit of a pull required — that’s a good thing, since you don’t want it popping open while holding your iPhone. Once it’s open, the jaw can be opened to fit your iPhone. It’s spring-loaded to automatically close to the width of the iPhone, at which time the lever can be clicked back into the locked position.
If I remember correctly, the original Glif only had one standard 1/4-20 threaded tripod mount, with several following versions coming with two mounts — one on “top” and one on “bottom”. The new model comes with three, making it simple to mount your iPhone in the traditional landscape orientation and finally in the portrait orientation beloved by social media apps.
The mounts not being used to attach to a tripod can be used for other camera accessories like lights, microphones, and so on. The “Full Set” sold by Studio Neat includes a solid cherry wood hand grip and a paracord/leather wrist strap, along with a small threaded adapter for connecting the wrist strap.
The small touches are what make the Glif a standout. For example, the wrist strap has a small rubber grommet on it so that it can be tightened around your wrist for extra security, and the top of the cherry wood hand grip is covered with a round piece of cork. That ensures that you can tighten down the Glif on the grip and it won't budge even when in motion.
I have the opportunity to try out a lot of different iPhone cases, so in the past it was frustrating to try to use the older Glif — usually I had to grab an Allen wrench and make an adjustment to get it to fit whatever case I was using at the time.
No more frustration! Whether I use a thick case, a lightweight case, or no case at all, the new Glif immediately adjusts to the width, up to 99mm (or as small as 58mm). With a snap of the quick release lever, it’s locked securely in the jaw of the Glif and ready for your photo shoot.
For portrait orientation mounting, you’ll want to make sure that the side-mounted tripod mount is used, and that the Glif is low on the bottom of the iPhone body.
The cherry wood handle has a great feel to it, and is very useful when shooting video without a tripod. Likewise, the wrist strap is perfect for carrying the phone, Glif, and handle when doing a lot of “walk and shoot” photography.
The team at Studio Neat did a superb job of taking a really good accessory for iPhone photography and making it essentially perfect. If you do any serious photography with an iPhone or are thinking about using the iPhone as your only camera, you need to have a Glif.