Mobile accessory review: Gary Fong Flip-Cage with iPhone 4/4S Mount
Gary Fong Flip-Cage with iPhone 4/4S Mount, $29.95
Gary Fong provides one of the more unusual-looking mobile support options with this two-part kit that includes a Flip-Cage and a tripod mount adapter. The adapter is simplicity itself. A single piece of rather utilitarian-looking C-shaped plastic, it slides onto your iPhone the long way and holds it in a tight grip. On one end, there’s a standard ¼-20 tripod socket embedded so that you can attach the phone to a tripod head. It’s secure enough that you can adjust the phone to any angle without worrying about it slipping out of the adapter. Gary Fong made the right move in not overthinking the adapter design: It’s sturdy, it’s small, and it does exactly what you need it to do.
Fong kicks the complexity up a few notches with the Flip-Cage, which is an easel-style stand with a tripod mount on top and two hinged rectangular frames that function as “legs.” Two translucent white plastic panels fill the spaces inside the frames, and are attached by hinges so that they can be flipped out as well.
This configuration gives you some unusual support options when your iPhone is mounted on the Flip-Cage: You can only mount it in horizontal orientation and you can’t tilt the angle forward or backward, but you can swivel it around. That doesn’t really give you much of an advantage over simply standing the iPhone on its side by itself on a tabletop.
On the other hand, if you turn the Flip-Cage on its side, the iPhone will be perpendicular to the tabletop. That makes it an excellent support for taking closeups with a macro lens. The tripod mount can be adjusted vertically in this orientation, so you can set the position to exactly where it needs to be to accommodate a macro lens with very shallow depth of field.
Another unusual thing you can do is mount the whole shebang on a tripod, fold the LCD-side frame up against the screen and flip the white plastic panel up to serve as a sun shade. The setup is a bit elaborate for occasional snapshots in sunny weather, but if you’re shooting iPhone video on a tripod in bright light, you’ll find it helpful.
When you’re not employing the Flip-Cage for such esoteric ends, you can use it to protect and support a compact camera, the purpose it was originally designed to serve. Mobile photographers who don’t need a video monitor hood or do much macro shooting can knock $10 off the kit price and purchase the very useful tripod mount adapter on its own.
We reviewed the Flip-Cage with iPhone 4/4S Mount, but Gary Fong also sells a Flip-Cage with iPhone 3GS Mount and just the tripod adapter for these phones. No word yet on availability for the iPhone 5.
What we like: The iPhone 4/4S Mount adapter provides a simple, effective, and inexpensive way to mount your iPhone on a tripod, while the Flip-Cage offers useful support options for macro and video shooters.
What we don't like: The iPhone 4/4S Mount adapter doesn’t come with a hook for attaching it to a keychain like some other iPhone tripod mounts, and the Flip-Cage may be of limited usefulness to those who aren’t into macro or video shooting.
Aimee Baldridge is a writer and photographer based in New York. For more than a decade she has specialized in covering imaging technology, digital media, and the world of photography. You can see more of her work at www.aimeebaldridge.com.
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