This holiday season, we’ll be running a series of weekly features called “A few of our favorite things,” where we round up some gift suggestions based on the gear that has passed through our offices either for review purposes or through personal purchases. We’ll tell you what we think is the best gear out there, for a variety of product categories and budgets.
For our second edition of the series (which is a bit late thanks to last week’s U.S. Thanksgiving holiday), we’ll be looking at gear and software to make your iPhone the best camera it can be. Apple already helped out quite a bit by improving camera-related hardware with the iPhone 4S, and software with iOS 5, but these add-ons will definitely up your game.
Best iPhone tripod mount: The Glif. iPhone photography is a challenge at night, and if you want to snap shots of yourself that don’t look like Myspace profile pics, it can be tricky. The Glif is an elegant solution to this problem that has no moving parts, works exactly as advertised, and takes up virtually no space in your kit bag. Plus, Studio Neat, which created the Glif, now also offers two accessories that make your Glif keychain-compatible, and also keep a tighter grip on the iPhone should you be using the device in acrobatic circumstances. If you’ve got an iPhone 4 or 4S, the $20 Glif or $30 combo pack including all its accessories is a great deal.
Best iPhone camera app: Camera+. This app manages to keep upping its game, staying ahead of the redundancy Apple’s improvements to its own software have inflicted upon other third-party software. Camera+ consistently adds new filters and features, and its ability to stabilize shots and use the iPhone 4 and 4S LED flash as a fill light are amazingly useful. Camera+ is $0.99 on sale in the App Store now.
Best remote monitor solution: Camera for iPad. This is an old app designed for use with the iPad before the iPad 2 gained a camera of its own, and lets you remotely control an iPhone’s camera from your device. It’s still really useful if you’re trying to take studio shots with the iPhone however, since you can use it as a remote viewfinder while doing self-portraits or adjusting lighting, for instance. $0.99 in the App Store.
Most anticipated accessory: Belkin LiveAction remote. Belkin has a series of accessories coming out under the LiveAction brand, but the remote shutter control is easily the best. It works over Bluetooth and will let you snap photos from a distance, meaning less camera shake, and easier shots with you in them. It also lets you switch from photo to video mode with a dedicated on-device button. Coming in mid-December, for $49.99.
Best add-on for DSLR video/photographers: iPhone Hot Shoe Holder. If you don’t take photos that often with your iPhone, but you do use your DSLR for snapping pics and shooting video, this iPhone hot shoe adapter can be a welcome companion. Like the Glif, it’s a simple, one-piece design that hugs your iPhone and lets it slide in the hot shoe on top of your camera used for flashes and other accessories. You can then use it to display teleprompter text when shooting video, or use it in tandem with a light meter app. It’s $25 for one in either black or clear plastic.
That’s our list, but feel free to argue our picks or chime in with your own suggestions in the comments.