Review: Gary Fong Tripod Mount Adapter for iPhone 4/4S
I had been searching for a small and reliable tripod mount for my iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S and I got some great suggestions here from members of the iMore forums. After reading more reviews than I can count, and also taking additional time to search for YouTube videos of people's experiences with their mounts, I decided to go with the Gary Fong Tripod Adapter for the iPhone 4.
The Gary Fong Tripod Mount is available in two flavors, one for the iPhone 4 and 4S, and a slightly different model that fits the 3G and 3GS. It's made out of a durable and rigid plastic, and is essentially a bracket just big enough for the iPhone to fit into. At the bottom is a standard 3/8" brass tripod bushing that screws easily onto any 3/8" tripod or quick release plate. Most of my tripod heads are from Manfrotto and use the Manfrotto 200PL-14 Quick Release Plate. I had no trouble at all mounting the Tripod Adapter to the plate, though I do have to be a bit careful when clipping it into the slot on my tripod head. No biggie.
The Gary Fong Tripod Adapter works by allowing you to slide your iPhone into the mount, and the fit is quite firm. It held my iPhone 4S extremely tightly, and I did have some worry that I might scratch my phone, but I've seen no evidence of scratching at all. I also tried it with my iPhone 4, and it did seem to be ever so slightly less tight, but still well within the grip required for using the iPhone on a tripod. The only situation where I probably won't use this mount is if I were to mount the iPhone to a car or something else where vibration would be an issue. One thing I'd like to note here is that when you slide it onto your iPhone, you'll want to do it from the bottom of the phone up so that you avoid the volume controls and silence switch, keeping the adapter positioned at the center of the phone when held in landscape orientation.
The tripod adapter is a simple bracket, and is open on one side, so that when you slide in your iPhone, you'll have full view of the screen and full access to the home button, as well as the front facing camera and all sensors. The design is about as simple as you can get, but works extremely well.
Here I have my iPhone 4 attached to a special rig designed for time lapse use.
On the down side, the overall finish of the product left something to be desired. Seams from the mold used to make the adapters aren't very clean, and are a bit distracting. I'm sure Steve Jobs would have said it "sucked" on that basis alone. Another down side is the price. $20 dollars at most places. With shipping prices, it could be easily $25-$30 dollars. Thankfully I picked mine up when I was buying a tripod so I ended up getting free shipping. I would definitely say that $20 bucks is a bit steep for such a small piece of plastic with a metal bushing on the bottom, but given that it was exactly what I had in mind before I had even seen it, it worked for me. Last down side is that you should always install it from the bottom of the phone to keep from bumping into the volume controls. I did test it with my iPhone 4 (since I only use it for photos these days) by pulling the adapter off over the volume buttons, but I wouldn't want to make a habit of doing that repeatedly. It's just something I would be aware of.
Overall though, I definitely like it. It's small and can easily fit into your pocked or camera pack, taking up almost no room at all. It does exactly what it's designed for, and for me, the seam lines aren't really an issue. I'd definitely recommend it to others needing a tripod adapter for their iPhone 4 or 4S without hesitation.
You can pick one up from www.garyfongestore.com or from a wide variety of popular online camera stores, as long as you don't mind parting with a Jackson.