If you’re only interested in an iPhone case that offers minimal protection while maintaining a sleek profile, look elsewhere. If you’re interested in not only the best possible protection for your phone, but also a wide angle lens and a pretty cool app to go along with it, you may want to look into the Hitcase Pro.
Hitcase is a fairly new product on the market, and a unique one at that. There are a ton of lens accessory options out there for the iPhone 4/4S. And plenty of heavy-duty cases, as well. A plethora of options is available for action sports cameras. But Hitcase is one of the few out there who are attempting to combine all of those things in one high quality package.
- High impact ABS construction
- Waterproof to 30 feet
- Wide angle, two-element glass lens
- Audio jack
- Mountable to almost any surface
OK, so a case that does everything probably isn’t going to be the hottest new accessory when you’re out at the club this weekend. But the Hitcase isn’t built to impress your fashionable friends. It’s built to function. It could stand to weigh a little less, and be little less bulky, but those both come at the cost of protecting your phone from not only impact, but water down to 30 feet. Until they come out with a newer, slimmer version, we can probably deal with a few drawbacks for the ability to transform an iPhone into a wearable action camera.
A few months ago, I started training to become a member of Search and Rescue here in Washington state. The training is a rigorous, multi-weekend process that involves 30-48 hours at a time spent outside in rain, snow and freezing conditions while bushwhacking for miles, tromping through water and over downed trees. So, along with my 30 pounds of camping gear came the Hitcase Pro.
The Hitcase Pro is made of a high-grade ABS/Polycarbonate plastic. All of the buttons and hinges are made of stainless steel and are large enough to use with gloved hands, while the screen cover is made of a thin plastic that maintains touch functionality. My only gripe here was that the plastic screen cover scratches easily – but if this thing is strapped to your chest or riding atop your helmet at 40 M.P.H., you probably aren’t going to be that concerned about needing to see your screen clearly. It never got bad enough that I wasn’t able to ensure accurate focusing while shooting photos or video.
The inside of the case is lined with soft rubber that doubles as the water seal and shock absorber. The rubber liner is removable which facilitates easier and more thorough cleaning.
I’ll admit that straight out of the box, I put my phone in the Hitcase, clipped it shut, walked outside and promptly tripped, dropping my enclosed iPhone from waist height on to the street. Upon impact, a piece of plastic shot across the concrete. I panicked for a moment before realizing that one of the three clips that holds the case securely shut had simply snapped away from the metal hinge holding it on. I picked it up and attached it back in to place. Not a big deal as long as it doesn’t go far, and better that than a broken case, or worse – broken phone. It made me think of how a car is meant to crumple on impact – except this can be put back together.
Aside from putting my phone into the case backwards the first time I used it (don’t ask), using the Hitcase is a straightforward process. Open it up, put your phone inside with the back facing the rubber mat inside, close the case, and snap the three latches shut. You’ll find that the phone doesn’t budge when inside the case, thanks to the sticky rubber lining.
Hitcase maintains all touch screen functionality and even allows calls to be made through a thinner layer of plastic over the phone’s earpiece. Hitcase recommends unclipping the bottom clip during calls, to let more sound through. Still, everyone I talked to on the phone while the case was installed complained of slightly muted sound. Texting is still about the same, but the extra layer of plastic between your fingers and screen might mean pushing a little harder.
Hitcase offers an app called Vidometer. Along with your videos, it records things like speed, G-force, altitude, etc. On the iPhone 4S and 5, it reportedly gives an additional 20 degrees of view as well. It’s a great concept, however, both times I attempted to use the app for short clips, it did not save my video and/or crashed. I did manage to get one video saved, but it disappeared days later.
Thanks to the two-element, wide-angle glass lens, image quality is retained in both photos and video. Even my underwater photos came out as sharp as I could hope for.
A nice touch is that the screen cover – so effectively, your iPhone’s screen – is recessed from the surface of the outer case, in order to help avoid impact with the phone’s screen during use.
Included in the box along with the Hitcase are a few mounting accessories to get you started: a StickR mount allows for a semi-permanent mount on helmets and other flat surfaces. The TiltR tripod mound allows for use on a tripod or any other accessory with a standard-size tripod screw (especially handy with something like the iStabilizer Monopod). The Railslide Mount is what attaches to the Hitcase, interfacing it with all of the mounting accessories, and is compatible with GoPro mounts as well, in case you already have a GoPro.
Other available accessories include the suction cup mount (SuckR) and the chest mount system (ChestR).
The Hitcase Pro held up well to my weekends of outdoor training. I took a a ton of photos with it (a few underwater), fell on it, dropped it in mud, spent the night with it in the open air in below-freezing temperatures and fell in to a waist-deep swamp with it in my pocket.
While it may not sound appealing to wear your smartphone on your head or strapped elsewhere on your body while snowboarding or mountain biking, there are certainly a few benefits to it when compared with using a GoPro or other wearable action camera:
- Having an LCD to instantly review video clips is convenient and comes at no additional cost.
- The ability to share photos and videos instantly, rather than having to wait until you get to a computer.
- Phone and camera in one – just like before, but now you have a wide angle lens and your phone is fully protected.
- At $130 USD, more affordable than most action cameras.
The Hitcase/iPhone combination may not offer a comparable resolution to a GoPro and it may be a bit larger, but what Hitcase does for your phone is pretty impressive. Plus, it’s one less camera you have to carry on the mountain.
What we like: The ability to instantly transform your smartphone into a wearable action camera. Durable enough to stand up to rigorous conditions while maintaining image quality.
What we don't like: Can feel bulky and heavy. Plastic screen cover scratches easily. Accompanying app did not perform under our testing. Not currently available for platforms other than iPhone.
Nate Watters, @nate_watters, is a commercial and editorial photographer based in Seattle, Washington. He spends much of his time documenting the Northwest music and arts scene for City Arts Magazine and photographing his wilderness adventures for Scenic Washington State. Nate has recently worked with clients like Degree Men, Theo Chocolate and PureVolume.
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.
Massive corporation P&G is being sued by a Cincinnati photographer for serious copyright violations. If the courts rules against P&G, the company could pay as much as $75 million in damages.
Snapchat's camera-equipped 'Spectacles' aren't so difficult to get anymore. You can now pick up a pair through Amazon for $130.
A group of thieves has made away with tens of thousands in camera gear through a carefully orchestrated scam through Venmo and Facebook Marketplace.
A portrait lens from 1910 might be coming back to life if two photographers from Germany succeed in a new Kickstarter project—the latest development in the craze to remake vintage optics.
The updated version of Google Glass is called the Enterprise Edition and, as the name suggests, it's not meant for personal use.
Charles Ommanney was once a photographer for presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, now he's working for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Image compression software JPEGmini Pro was just updated to handle files up to 128MB. They're calling it "The 1 Feature Hasselblad Owners
Apple was just granted a patent for a camera system that prods, coaxes and manipulates users into taking better group and solo selfies.
The Canon EOS 6D Mark II is a better camera than its predecessor, but how much better? Should you buy one?
The winners of the 2017 Magnum and LensCulture Photography Awards have been announced. Here are the six photographers who took home the top prize in their respective categories.
A NASA study has confirmed what your ears have been telling you: people HATE drone noise. In fact, it was ranked more annoying than that of "any ground vehicle."
This floating bird video isn't edited in post-production. It's the result of the birds wing flap matching the camera's 20fps frame rate.
Adobe released a major update to Lightroom Mobile for both iOS and Android users today.
Could the future of photo and video storage be... alive? Scientists at Harvard have managed to encode a GIF of a galloping horse into a live sample of E. coli.