As a longtime photographer and iPhoneographer, I’ve been accustomed to carrying both my Nikon and my iPhone with me on my photography trips. In addition, my tripod would also come along for the trip since you never know when you’ll need to make those low-light shots or long exposures. Over the years, the tripod I have for my iPhone has become an indispensable tool for my iPhoneography, as I often like to experiment with long exposure photography.
While this tripod does wonders, there are times when there are really no places to put my iPhone anywhere around me. In this case in the past, I’ve often opted to precariously balance my iPhone and tripod on top of my Nikon lens and/or body so that I could get that long exposure I was after. Not the least bit awkward looking, I have indeed turned heads with this clumsy setup.
Recently I came upon a solution that would change all of this. And this solution, is this Ultraclamp by Pedco. It’s essentially a clamp that grips to the leg of your tripod, and that will allow for an iPhone adapter to be connected on the other side. It holds the iPhone in place and lets you work your magic with it.
There are a number of things I like about this clamp:
-Light-weight (weighs just 6oz)
-Made with a durable aluminum clamp body and screw, and glass-reinforced nylon thermoplastic resin clamp head and knobs
-Can manipulate in any angle
There are really two parts to the clamp: the baseClamp, and the UltraMount.
The two attach to each other via a 1/4-20 threading.
The assembled clamp may be lightweight, but don’t let that fool you. It holds on tight and won’t budge even a little bit when clamped properly. It can clamp on to any round or flat objects with a maximum thickness of 1.5″ (3.8cm). The inset mould on the clamp conforms nicely with cylindrical objects like your tripod leg.
Note that the UltraMount comes with a 1/4-20 standard fitting on one end, so make sure your iPhone adaptor of choice includes this. Most—if not all–should have this. If you don’t have an adaptor yet, you can read about my review on the Joby tightgrip iPhone adaptor here, and see how it might be good for you.
Here’s how it works:
-Assemble the baseClamp and the UltraMount together, if not already assembled. Don’t tighten too hard at this point.
-Attach your iPhone adaptor to the 1/4-20 fitting of the UltraMount
-Clamp to an object, like your tripod leg
-Adjust and tighten the screw on the baseClamp so that it is rotated in the direction you wish it to be in. Be careful not to completely untwist this as it will separate the mount from the base.*
-Unwind the knob on the UltraClamp so that the iPhone adaptor is in your desired position. Tighten the knob.
-Attach your iPhone to the adaptor and you should be all set to shoot
*The people at Pedco seems to have made a new version of the ultraClamp where loosening this screw to rotate the mount no longer separates it from the base clamp. It costs a few dollars more, but may be worth the peace of mind that the two functions are no longer done by the same screw.
While it is flexible, there is one thing that I would love to see improved on this. The degree of movement is independent from its rotation. In other words, while you can untwist one knob to move the phone in one axis, you’ll have to unwind a second screw to rotate the phone in another direction. It’s not a big deal, however, it is an additional step that would have been more convenient had it not been made that way. If you invest in a mini tripod-head that allows for full 360 degree movement, this will also solve the problem.
All in all, I’m very happy with the Pedco ultraClamp. It serves my needs well, and allows me to shoot long exposures with my iPhone while no longer risking it falling off of my lens or body of my Nikon.
This by no means replaces my mini-tripod that I use with my iPhone though. For general purposes, that will do just fine.