The good people over at Tiffen sent us their Steadicam Smoothee for the iPhone 4 and asked us to review it. Unfortunately it has taken a while for this review to go up and I sincerely apologize for the delay.
The Stedicam Smothee is the latest addition to the Steadicam stabilizing arena. From their website the Steadicam Smoothee is “Based on the same technology as the big $60,000 rigs used in Hollywood, the Smoothee allows you to capture incredible video and still images without the shakes normally associated with hand-held video shot on the go, right out of the box, the very first time.”
“It’s quick release mount lets you instantly swap camera connections between your Smoothee and any tripod. The patented quick release removable mount also serves as a tabletop stand or can be mounted to any tripod with a standard ¼ x20” camera mount. ”
The Stedicam Smoothee retails online from anywhere between $120-$170
For purposes of picture quality, I will be using still photographs from the company website.
Quality – A
Comfort – D
Concept – A
Difference between Smoothee and no Smoothee – C
Value – C
Overall Review: C+
The Steadicam Smoothee is a very well built and sturdy accessory. There’s no questioning the quality of the product. Everything from the mount to the belt clip is made of very sturdy high-grade plastic or metal. The material is very dense and solid. I feel as if I dropped the unit, my iPhone would be just fine as long as it didn’t drop directly on the screen.
This is where the Steadicam Smoothee fails in my eyes. Or should I say arm. The entire unit is way too big and way too heavy. After about 2 minutes of holding the unit, it felt like my arm was going to fall off. I tried it again using two hands but it was just as tiring. Maybe this is signaling muscle atrophy or that this thing is simply too heavy.
Do you really want to have to hold a stabilizing unit with two hands?
When holding the unit, you are holding it by the handle that you need to have your hand positioned perfectly or the gyroscope type technology will simply veer your camera up, down, left or right. There are two knobs that you can use to adjust the unit to make sure the camera/iPhone is steady. After messing around with that for a good twenty minutes, I kept needing to re-position my thumb in the right spot to make sure the unit was steady.
The pure size of the Steadicam Smoothee is a deterrent for me.
The unit itself is massive. When shooting a video of my daughter in a bowling alley, I was constantly making sure I was not bumping into anyone with it. The unit extended almost halfway down my forearm and bowed out like a slingshot. It was not very comfortable to tote around when trying to follow a three-year old kid.
The concept for the Steadicam Smoothee is great. A handheld attachment for your iPhone that won’t give you a headache or possibly induce vomiting while watching the video. Sounds perfect. If there was a way to scale down the size of the camera equipment used in a blockbuster Michael Bay film, this is the best I’ve come across. The idea is great if the overall weight of the unit doesn’t bother you.
Difference between Smoothee and no Smoothee :C
I took two videos of my dog just taking a stroll around the pool. These were the easiest to post and were short 25 second videos. The birthday party ones were too dark, long, and were just very poor quality.
Video with Smoothee
Video without Smoothee
I am by no means a pro with the Smoothee, but you can tell that the first video was a little smoother and obviously didn’t have my finger getting over the lens. In the beginning of the 1st video you can tell my thumb came off the little notch you need to place it in to steady the camera, but after that it was pretty smooth. Was I impressed? Not terribly. Was it better? Yes.
For an average price of around $150, I’ll lay off the caffeine and hold my iPhone as steady as I can. Some people are way more into photography/video than I am and will probably think this is a great price. But if I’m paying that kind of money, I want something small that I can tote around. Not a Jai alai xistera .
I want to again thank the good people at Tiffen for allowing us to review this product. We always enjoy getting to try out products that have recently hit the market and help promote their products.
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