I used to be an avid photographer. Unfortunately, however, I never really made the transition to DSLR, and I have thousands of dollars worth of old film SLR equipment that I can’t part with. Ideally, I’d spring for a good Nikon DSLR and use my old lenses—but instead of buying myself a new camera when I finished my PhD, I instead bought my Land Cruiser (I couldn’t afford two expensive new toys). Not a bad decision, overall, but it’s left me without an adequate photography kit. In the meantime, I’ve tried getting by with digital point-and-shoots, but I haven’t found one that I don’t detest. Actually, that’s not entirely true—my Canon Powershot SD10 was awesome: small, fast, light, good lens, low noise, great color fidelity and saturation. Unfortunately, that camera died, and there are no good replacements. (Note to camera manufacturers: I hate you for the megapixel war. What good are more pixels if half of them only record noise? Also, I hate you for your piling on useless new features at the expense of easy usability. Ever hear of KISS? No, I didn’t think so.) Yes, I could spring for something good—like a higher-end Lumix—but that gets me close to the price range for a DSLR, which for a few dollars more would allow me to use my great old lenses.
Enter the iPhone. This past fall, I finally sprung for an iPhone 4 (having grown sick of the nearly useless Blackberries provided to me by my employer). Since I figured that I’d be carrying it with me wherever I went, anyhow, it meant that I could travel without my execrable Canon Powershot SD1100, and try to use the iPhone as my primary point-and-shoot, instead. (Working, that is, on the principle that the best camera to have is the one that you have with you.) That worked fine, and the iPhone was, indeed, a better camera than my latest Canon. However, I was bugged by the inability to mount the phone to a tripod for those (admittedly rare) times that I needed a really steady shot. So I decided to build myself a simple little iPhone tripod mount. Feel free to use this design or modify it to suit your purposes.
- A 4″ L-shaped corner brace
- A small length of square stock
- A 1/4 x 20 nut
- A small bungie cord
- 2 #10 washers
- JB Weld
- Primer and spray paint
- Plasti Dip
- Hack saw or cutoff wheel
- Dremel or metal file
- Cut off the excess length along what will become the bottom of the L-bracket, so the the remaining hole is centered in the middle of the base.
- Cut a section of square stock the same width as the L-bracket.
- Glue the nut directly over the hole in what will become the base.
- Glue the small piece of square stock so that it sits level, just above the lowermost hole on what will become the upright section of the L-bracket.
- When the glue has fully cured, deburr any rough edges.
- Etch, prime, and paint the bracket (being careful not to clog up the nut’s threads).
- Coat the top of the bracket with Plasti Dip, to further protect your iPhone from scratches.
- Cut the hook ends off the bungie cord.
- Slip the bungie cord through the holes in the upright, and through the washers, and secure it with knots tied behind the washers. Make sure that the bungie cord is tied so that it will hold your iPhone securely, but isn’t too snug or it’ll be hard to slip the iPhone into the mount.
Here you can see the finished bracket in action. Sorry for the poorly-exposed picture, but you get the idea.