It's holiday season, and if you're reading this on any kind of electronic device (shout out to everyone who still subs my handwritten newsletter, btw), you likely know someone who either is or is interested in becoming a vlogger or mobile content creator. If said creator or aspiring vlogger is on your holiday shopping list and you're not quite sure what to get them, fear not, for we have put together a gift guide of some of our favorite mobile photo and video accessories.
SmallRig 1.55X Anamorphic Lens
Thanks to the continued advancement of mobile technology, smartphone photography has become a legitimate entry point for many vloggers and content creators. However, despite the ongoing technological enhancements, many smartphone cameras fail to live up to their creator's artistic vision.
If you are such a creator, one who's after a more cinematic look, consider this 1.55X Anamorphic Lens from SmallRig. While conventional smartphone cameras are usually limited to a 16:9 aspect ratio, this lens allows you to capture video in a wide 2.76:1 aspect ratio that's normally exclusive to cinema lenses. Along with adopting a new, wider format, this lens can also add a brushed flare effect to your footage—one of the hallmarks of shooting with an anamorphic lens.
SmallRig's Anamorphic Lens is designed to support iOS and Android devices, such as the latest Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S-series smartphone. It also supports iPadOS, so you can use it with compatible iPad models.
Beastgrip Lens Adapter & Camera Rig
If you want to add even more accessories to your smartphone, consider the Beastgrip Pro Smartphone Lens Adapter and Camera Rig System. Like its name, the Beastgrip Pro Smartphone Lens Adapter and Camera Rig System has a lot going on. The camera rig includes a 37mm threaded lens/filter mount, a cold shoe, and five 1/4"-20 standard threaded holes for additional accessories such as tripods, etc. The rig also features two ergonomic grips that will secure your device and prevent it from slipping during your shoot.
The Beastgrip Lens Adapter and Camera Rig is designed to be compatible with most smartphones 2.0 to 3.6" wide and up to 0.7" thick, without restricting access to ports and buttons. The modular rig can be used fully intact or simply as a tripod mount by removing extraneous components.
OBSBOT Me AI-Powered Selfie Smartphone Mount
For many mobile creators, smartphone mounts are an integral production tool. A good smartphone mount can improve the quality of your content by smoothing out your footage and keeping things in focus. An exceptional smartphone mount, like the Me AI-Powered Selfie Mount from Obsbot, can do even more.
Featuring a built-in 120° wide-angle sensing camera that automatically tracks your movements in order to keep you centered in frame, the Me Selfie Mount is a game-changer for creators. This AI-powered smart camera pans to track its subject with a smooth and near-cinematic quality that is consistent and reliable, enabling its user to remain hands-free and in their creative flow.
One of things that sets the Me apart from other tracking mounts is how its built-in camera functions. Because this mount’s neural network AI functions separate from your smartphone, creators are free to shoot on any app of their choice, including Instagram, Zoom, or a regular smartphone camera, to name a few.
GVM LT-10S Smartphone Camera Rig Light
While smartphone cameras have come a long way, their lighting capability falls short of that same mark. Instead of providing an adequate, on-device lighting solution (if you mention that annoying flashlight on the front, I will scream), most phones offer some kind of low-light filter to redress the issue, which, unfortunately, tend to fall short.
Cue the LT-10S Smartphone Camera Rig Light from GVM. Not only does this dual-grip rig support just about any make or model of smartphone, but it also outfits said smartphone with a super-bright LED that features a 5600K color temperature with a 97 CRI and 0 to 99% brightness dimming. Let's see you do that, stupid smartphone flashlight.
If the LT-10S was just a camera light, that would be fine—because it's a great light and lighting is paramount. However, it's not just a light. The LT-10S rig is a full-on video-camera enhancer. In addition to the aforementioned 5600K LED, the LT-10S features two shoe mounts, multiple 1/4"-20 threads, a Bluetooth-enabled trigger, and an included L-series rechargeable battery. The various mounts and threads allow you to attach any number of accessories, mount the rig onto a tripod or strand, and more.
By the way: If you want a Bluetooth shutter trigger, but don't need the rig or light or anything else, JOBY offers a solid solution. The Impulse Bluetooth Remote enables smartphone users to take shots from up to 90' away. It's designed to work seamlessly with both Android and iOS devices—no app required. If a Bluetooth trigger is all you need, the Impulse Remote is one of the better options available.
Shure MOTIV MV88 Digital Stereo Condenser Mic
While shotgun mics are the go-to option for many mobile creators, some might prefer a more straightforward approach. Such a creator might consider the MOTIV MV88 from Shure to be an excellent option. This nofuss, no muss, plug-and-play condenser mic attaches directly to your compatible iOS device, immediately boosting capture quality of your audio.
Despite its diminutive size, the MOTIV MV88 comes packed with features, including five selectable DSP presets, a very handy companion app, and most important of all: high-quality sound. Speaking of recording sound: the MOTIV MV88's adjustable hinge lets you point the mic anywhere you want, making it an excellent accessory for selfie vlogs, musical performances, and two-way interviews.
RØDE Vlogger Kit
In a similar vein, the Vlogger Kit from RØDE is an excellent alternative at a slightly lower price for a more low-profile content creator. Devoid of the flashy cage and cables, this kit has more compact mountable accessories and is designed to be assembled with ease.
The included VideoMic Me-L mic closely resembles the MV88—a device that does not require an adapter and is available in different configurations for smartphone compatibility. The MicroLED affixes neatly to the kitted tripod clip and comes with eight colored filters for unique lighting. While the tripod itself can also be used in vertical orientation, the included accessories are intended to be used horizontally—a notable limitation to this kit. If you shoot predominantly in landscape, this will not be a hinderance, but it is worth noting to avoid being confined to one orientation.
Overall, purchasing accessories that inspire your imagination is a great place to start. Being unafraid to experiment is ultimately the best way to maximize your creative potential, and hopefully some of these recommendations have given you a strong jumpstart. If you have your own favorite smartphone products or vlogging tips, we would love to hear from you. Please chat with us in the Comments section, below.