Beastgrip Pro: Monster smartphone camera rig

BeastGrip Pro, a universal lens adapter and camera rig system for smartphones.
BeastGrip Pro, a universal lens adapter and camera rig system for smartphones.PHOTO: BEASTGRIP

Meant for serious smartphone photographers and videographers, the Beastgrip Pro is said to be the first universal lens adapter and camera rig system for smartphones.

It lets Android, Apple or Windows phone users fit different lenses to their phones - there's even an adaptor (not included) for attaching a Canon EF lens. You can also attach other add-ons such as lights and microphones.

This is a modular, flexible beast of a rig. It has spring-loaded clamps with rubberised jaws to ensure a secure grip for any smartphone with or without a case.

The clamp jaws can be removed and mounted in different configurations to achieve the right amount of pressure to hold your phone.

There is a cold shoe mount for attaching LED light panels or microphones. It also has five standard threaded mounts - two on top and three at the bottom - for attaching to other photographic gears, such as tripods and stabilisers.

The Beastgrip employs an adjustable 37mm threaded lens mount for use with compatible lenses, adapters and filters made by the company. The review unit comes with a 0.43x wide-angle macro lens.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $215 (without lens), $280 (includes a wide-angle macro lens)

    WEIGHT: 370g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

True to its name, the Beastgrip Pro is really a monster rig. Its removable and ergonomic handle allows for a good grip. It also feels really sturdy with its metallic parts.

Mounting your smartphone is easy. Just push up the spring-loaded clamp and place the phone between the clamp jaws.

Next, release the thumb screws on the base and the lens mount to align the lens mount with your smartphone's camera.

There is a cross-hair on the lens mount to allow you to make sure it is in the centre of the smartphone camera's lens. Once aligned, tighten all the screws to keep the smartphone in place.

I mounted an Apple iPhone 6, iPhone 6s Plus and a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge on the rig without a hitch.

Screw the wide-angle lens into the lens mount if you want a wider coverage for your shoots.

It gives an almost fish-eye effect to your pictures and allows you to photograph an object from as close as 1cm.

With only one cold shoe, you can either install a light panel or a microphone. Not both. You can get a cold shoe adapter to install on the threaded mounts, but it is extra cost and hassle.

Unfortunately, the package does not come with Beastgrip's depth of field (DOF) adapter that comes with a Canon EF mount for you to attach Canon EF lenses.

Thus, I could not try it with my own Canon lenses.

I hope more adapters for other lens mounts, such as E-mount or Micro Four Thirds, will become available.

If not, Beastgrip should release telephoto or even zoom lens for the rig for users to capture subjects in the distance.

Currently, it has only the fish-eye and wide-angle lens.

But my biggest issue with the Beastgrip Pro is the price.

The asking price of $280 is more than what some smartphones with telco contracts cost.

•Verdict: For the layperson, the Beastgrip Pro is an overkill. But for serious smartphone videographers, it is a killer rig.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 08, 2016, with the headline 'Beastgrip Pro: Monster smartphone camera rig'. Print Edition | Subscribe