SANDMARC’s iPhone Tripod for Hobbyist Photographer (Review)
As a hobbyist photographer who is always on the go, I’ve been using my iPhone SE2 and Sony a6400 with a Sigma 28-70mm f2.8 lens for quite some time now, along with my octopus tripod since it is really convenient to bring, but it comes with a clear limitation as far as tripods for photography go.
That said, I’ve been searching for a sturdy, lightweight. Compact tripod that’s easy to carry around, and the SANDMARC’s iPhone Tripod caught my eye because of several reasons. It was initially recommended to me, so I figured there must be something to it.
Anyway, I decided to try it, and now I’m sharing my thoughts with you all. So, let’s dive into the review!
First Impressions – Unboxing
When the tripod arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the neat packaging, which included a box and a tripod case. I received the Carbon Edition, and it looked really well-built right from the start. Quite sturdy I should say because adjusting the leg locks was a bit of a challenge at first, as they were tight, and I wasn’t sure which way to turn them, but this one is on me. However, after the initial setback, I managed to set it up properly and was pleasantly surprised.
By the way, unlike many boxed items you buy online, especially if they have rubber or metal or whatnot, this one did not smell bad or strong. I don’t know why I said that, but many of the “cheap” stuff I bought from Amazon or anywhere else online had a distinct fresh-from-the-factory kind of smell that I didn’t like, and my SANDMARC tripod didn’t have that, so it left an impression on me.
Design and Build Quality
The tripod’s compact design is one of its strongest points. Despite its small size, it can extend to a height of around 161cm, making it a versatile companion for both my iPhone and mirrorless camera.
However, due to its compactness and engineering, it takes a couple of minutes to set it up, especially if you want to achieve its full height. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes a breeze.
The Carbon Edition’s build quality is truly impressive. The carbon fiber material makes it both lightweight and sturdy, ensuring that it can withstand various shooting environments. I couldn’t go out this week because of spring rain, so I decided to just take photos of the tripod at home.
I did go out to try and wait for the drizzle to stop, but it didn’t. But one thing I could say is the trains were packed, but carrying this tripod inside a cramped train did not bother anyone at all. It is compact and lightweight to carry.
And in case you will ask, the material for the case is topnotch. I’m not an expert when it comes to textiles, but I can tell that it is of high quality.
Performance and Ease of Use
Once I overcame the initial challenge of setting up the tripod, I found it to be extremely user-friendly. The pro-level ball head allows for quick and seamless adjustments between portrait and landscape orientations, which is a game-changer for me – and I’m saying this as a hobbyist, not as a professional, just to remind you.
It also holds my iPhone SE2 and Sony a6400 securely without any wobbling, giving me confidence in its stability. For a while, I actually tried to put pressure on it to see if it would suddenly drop, but thankfully it withstood my stress testing.
Customer Reviews and Feedback
Of course, as with any other sane person who’s shopping online, I did my digging as well. I checked reviews from real people before deciding to give it a shot. The reviews were stellar, so here we are now.
Easy to say, I wasn’t the only one impressed by the SANDMARC iPhone Tripod. Many customers praised its build quality, versatility, and ease of use. They also appreciated the excellent customer service from the SANDMARCteam. I’m yet to actually test their customer service since I haven’t encountered any issues at all – which is a +1 point to them.
However, some users did mention the lack of clear instructions for setting up the tripod and adjusting the leg-locking system – if you’ll recall, I also mentioned this above, and it took me a few minutes to figure it out and find ease in adjusting the legs. But despite this minor drawback, the overall sentiment towards the product was overwhelmingly positive.
Compatibility and Accessories
An advantage of the iPhone Tripod is its compatibility with not only iPhones but also Android phones and DSLR/Mirrorless Cameras. This makes it a versatile choice for those who, like me, use multiple devices for photography.
The tripod comes with a ball head, Arca-Swiss Plate, and iPhone mount, providing you with everything you need to get started.
Pros and Cons
The tripod in itself has a really good quality. I tried pulling and bending it here and there just to stress test it, to see if it would become loose or start creaking, but it withstood all of that.
The overall design is sleek as well, perfect for the modern on-the-go traveler.
The weight is perfect at 2.28 lbs (1.03 kg), height can go as low as 15.35 inches (39 cm) and up to 63.4 inches (161.1 cm).
And talking about height, at its maximum, you would think that a slender-looking tripod would start to shake or waver a little, especially with the wind, and when carrying a 4kg+ load, but its stability is really good as far as I could tell.
Next point might be a pro or con, depending on how you would interpret it, but the locks and leg locks can be stiff sometimes – which tells me a couple of things: first is that it is pretty much stable, it won’t suddenly drop on me while my gear is attached to it, and second is it is a testament to its quality. However, this could also be interpreted as, as time goes by and as I keep on using it, it might start to naturally loosen – but this is just me thinking out loud. The grip is strong since it’s new, but how long will it last?
I will try to reach out to SANDMARC about that last concern and update you here when they have an answer.
The biggest and perhaps only negative thing I could say about it is, and I’ve mentioned it twice above already, the leg locks.
I didn’t know how to operate the leg locks at first. There are a total of 3 locks on each leg, so turning and twisting it around took me a while to figure out which directions they go. But once that’s all setup, everything is good.
And because of the nature of the leg locks, setting it up takes longer than usual – but hey, it shouldn’t matter if you’re setting up a tripod since it only means you will stay on one spot for a long time. ;)
Honestly, aside from that, all I can think of are the positives of having SANDMARC’s iPhone Tripod, Carbon Edition. I can see myself using this for several years to come.
Specs by Edition
Here’s a table for a quick comparison between the three variants they offer, in case you’d like to try one.
|Model||Material||Maximum Height||Minimum Height||Leg Sections||Weight Capacity||Weight|
|Tripod – Compact Edition||Aluminum||25 inches (63.5 cm)||8.5 inches (21.6 cm)||4 Sections||6.5 lbs (3 kg)||1.65 lbs (751 g)|
|Tripod – Pro Edition||Aluminum||63.4 inches (161.1 cm)||15.35 inches (39 cm)||4 Sections||13.23 lbs (6 kg)||2.63 lbs (1.19 kg)|
|Tripod – Carbon Edition||Carbon Fiber||63.4 inches (161.1 cm)||15.35 inches (39 cm)||4 Sections||13.23 lbs (6 kg)||2.28 lbs (1.03 kg)|
In conclusion, the SANDMARC iPhone Tripod has been a fantastic addition to my photography gear. Its compact design, lightweight build, and versatility make it an ideal choice for hobbyist photographers who are always on the go. Although the setup process can be a bit challenging initially, it’s worth the effort for the stability and ease of use it provides.
If you’re in the market for a tripod that can handle both mobile and DSLR/Mirrorless cameras, I highly recommend giving the SANDMARC’s iPhone Tripod a try. It’s a reliable companion that will level up your photography game and help you capture stunning shots in various environments.