The iPhone is not only one of the most popular smartphones on the market, but it’s also probably one of the most popular cameras. I have found that the camera ranks very high in the list of reasons why I enjoy using the iPhone 4S as my main phone. The iPhone can capture very good pictures, but it’s no DSLR. Or is it…? Well, no it’s not. But the iSteady Shot M-27 brings it just a little closer to feeling like one. Let me show you.
Note: Click the images in this review to see a larger view.
iSteady Shot fixture
37mm wide angle / macro lens
The iSteady Shot M-27 is a 1 lb 1.0 oz anodized aluminum fixture that provides two handholds and a lens mount for your iPhone 4 or 4S smartphone. It’s made from one solid piece of billet aluminum that has a cutout for the iPhone on one side and …
a screw mount for the included 37mm wide angle / macro lens on the other side.
Along the bottom edge of the iSteady Shot are 5 1/4in tripod mounts. There are 3 on the bottom.
And two more tripod mounts on the top. If you notice the slot between the two tripod mounts, that is a universal mount that can be used to attach different types of lights and microphones.
Inserting the iPhone into the fixture is simple. Just position it under the top lip and then seat it. It stays in place by friction. The only problem with the fixture is that it covers the docking / charging connector, volume buttons and power buttons. That means you won’t be able to use the volume button as a shutter button. Bummer.
The wide angle / macro lens consists of a 0.45x wide angle lens and a macro lens. both lenses are threaded so that you can screw them together and then screw them into the mount on the iSteady Shot fixture.
I guess it’s possible that you could use the macro lens all by itself, but there’s no way to just attach the wide angle lens to the fixture without first attaching it to the macro lens. I should also mention that the iSteady Shot does not come with a lens cap or any type of protective case. I also noticed that the sample sent to me is a bit scratched up. I’m going to assume that they sent me one that they’ve had for awhile instead of a brand spanking new one. The lenses were also dusty and smeared. I had to clean them well before I could start using them.
Once the lens is attached and the iPhone is inserted, the iSteady Shot M-27 converts your iPhone into a heavier camera with some extra lens power.
You can hold on to the iSteady Shot with both or one of the side grips. Using both grips while capturing is supposed to help you make your recordings steadier than without the fixture mainly because you have an easier / more secure way to hold on to it.
If your hands get tired of holding the 1.5 lb combo, you have the option of attaching it to a tripod.
Let’s see some sample before and after shots.
Here’s a shot without the iSteady Shot M-27 and included lens.
Here’s the same shot with the iSteady Shot and lens. You will notice that the shot is capturing more of the scene on the sides and bottom areas. You’ll also notice that the shot has a slight “fun house” appearance. Look at the boards on my deck. They look curved in this shot, but straight in the shot without the iSteady. The corner of my house also looks a little warped as well.
Here’s another before shot. Yes, I know my yard looks bad… we haven’t had rain for eleventy billion days and it’s been 104 degrees for the past week. No I’m not exaggerating… at least about the temps
This is the same shot with the the iPhone 4S in the iSteady Shot M-27. Again, you see more of the scene on the sides and foreground. This shot doesn’t look as warped as the previous one, but if you look at the large tree in my front yard, you’ll notice that the trunk appears to have a curve in it that does not exist in real life.
Without the iSteady Shot…
With the iSteady Shot.
How about some macro examples… Without the iSteady Shot. I took this shot as close as the iPhone would allow and still focus.
With the iSteady Shot.
Another macro without the iSteady Shot.
Same picture but with the iSteady Shot. This one is my favorite.
Let’s see if the iSteady Shot improves handheld video capture…
Can you tell much of a difference between the clips? Because I don’t think I can. Maybe a very very slight improvement but it’s not crazy noticeable to me.
So the bottom line is this… I’m not in love with the iSteady Shot, but I don’t hate it either. It’s not something I would use every day due to its bulk. My main gripes are that there’s no good way to protect it when you’re not using it and you don’t have access to iPhone’s the dock port, volume or power button while you are using it. Of course, if you have been dreaming of a two handed holder for your iPhone 4 or 4S that also provides a wide angle / macro lens, several tripod mounts and an LED/mic mount, then the iSteady Shot M-27 will give you exactly what you want.