Accessories Interviews News Smartmoviemakers, , , , , , , — September 14, 2012 10:35 — 5 Comments

Ready, steady, shoot! The new Phocus iPhone stabilizer reviewed by Conrad Mess

Conrad Mess, iphone, filmmaker, filmmaking, Phocus stabilizer, owle bubo

Conrad Mess behind his iPhone camera filming Russian Roulette

Award-winning iPhone filmmaker Conrad Mess checks out the new Phocus stabilizer in an exclusive review for smartmoviemaking.com


Back in 2009, before the first iPhone 4 even, a company called Owle Bubo produced the first stabilizing enhancement kit for Apple’s new smartphones (3GS). The company has rebranded to become Phocus and when it sent me its latest stabilizing device for the iPhone 4 to test, well, I could not wait to get my hands on it.

The Phocus accessory means that you’ll be able to shoot your iPhone movies without those awful shaking shots you sometimes get with handheld cameras.

Not only that, you can attach it to other accessories and devices on the market. I’ve use it on tripods, steadycams, anything, and it enables your iPhone to automatically convert to a regular videocamera. (pic_0001).

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It has even a shoe mount for lights, microphones, and other effects But one of the most important features of the Phocus is the lens. It’s a wide-angle and macro lens. (pic_0002).

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This lens works with Phocus as well as any other camera with 37mm threading. This  two-part lens has a macro lens at its base and combines with the larger top section to become a wide-angle. Using a wide-angle you can get those super shots, ala Michael Bay-style that I personally love.

The Phocus is also, compatible with the Portrait Telephoto lens that provides a 2X zoom.

But if you want to work like a ‘pro’, and be a super-cool iPhone filmmaker you can always attach either Canon or Nikon  35mm lenses with an SLR adapter, is that cool or what?  (pic_0004).

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The only downside perhaps is that the new version of the stabilising kit no longer features a microphone, but to be honest, it is something that I never used, not because it was bad but because the iPhone’s audio is not the best.

Definite improvements are that this new model is lighter and smaller – and much easier to handle. Another interesting improvement is the fitting for a tripod is now in the center, so your filmmaking kit becomes better balanced.

Another neat new feature is the way that you attach your iPhone to the Phocus. With the previous version, you needed a bit of strength to unattach the iPhone, now you just slide your device into it and it fits tight and secure, while making it easy to pull off. (pic_0006).

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The final improvement and one of the most important ones, is on the new Phocus you have access to the standby button, so you can turn off your iphone much easier, saving valuable battery juice.

The Phocus really is an amazing piece of kit that if you are serious about using your iPhone for filmmaking you definitely need to add it to your arsenal. There’s only one thing that I would like to ask for the next version, and that’s a hood for the lens. Other than that it is the perfect setup for iPhone, and for sure I’ll be using it in on my next shoot.

• Conrad Mess is a nine-times times awarded iPhone filmmaker and will be in London on 21 September to give a masterclass as part of the Smalls Film Festival, click on the link to reserve a ticket.

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

  • John Brooks

    The fact that I have a Phocus is probably the main reason I will not be getting an iPhone 5 as I presume that the with its new dimensions, the 5 will not fit it.

    • http://www.smartmoviemaking.com/ Tony Myers

      I’m not sure if the overall size of the iPhone has changed books – I have one on order, but dont have a Phocus, yet.

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