In this article I’ll be sharing my thoughts and experience of turning my smartphone in to my main camera.
I have to admit, I’m not a seasoned veteran of vlogging nor am I professional photographer/videographer. However having said that, I do know a little bit about filming, and I do know what I want when it comes to taking quick photos and vlogging.
As I’m always on the move, I like to be light-weight and carry less. With my current DSLR/Mirrorless camera setup, it’s quite difficult to achieve this. For example … I have a Canon EOS M6 mirrorless camera. With it, I’ll also need to bring an extra battery, spare SD cards, tripod/monopod that comes with a quick release mount and a camera bag. Not to mention, I can’t edit my photos or upload them to my social media accounts quickly without having to transfer them to my laptop first.
What if you have a mobile recording device, that eliminate all the hassles of setting up a DSLR/mirrorless rig. Well, say hello to your smartphone! It’s been with you all this time 😛
There are a ton of smartphones that offer amazing camera features, such as Huawei’s P20 Pro and the Mate 20 Pro. But for me, I chose the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus for personal reasons, and later in this article, you’ll see why.
Just take a look at the camera specs of the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. You won’t get all the features of a full DSLR/Mirrorless camera … but do get you get a back-facing camera that offers 12 MP, f/1.5-2.4, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS 12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.6″, 1.0µm, AF, OIS, 2x optical zoom, LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama. Video recording at these resolutions 2160p@60fps, 1080p@240fps, 720p@960fps, HDR, dual-video rec.
For the front-facing camera, you get … a 8 MP camera, f/1.7, 25mm (wide), 1/3.6″, 1.22µm, AF, Auto-HDR and video recording at 1440p@30fps.
The best thing about using your smartphone camera to take photos and record video, is that you can instantly apply filters, edit your photo or videos, and then upload them to all your social media accounts … quickly and easily. You might not get the full quality of a dedicated DSLR/Mirrorless camera, but hey … in this day and age, I’d prefer speed and instant upload than having to spend time to edit your photos/videos using your laptop/computer. What’s more … you can’t really live stream, take panoramic photos or do timelapse using your standard DSLR/Mirrorless camera.
Xiaomi Selfie Tripod
Being able to turn your smartphone in to a versatile recording device is one of the main reasons for doing this. If done correctly, you will be able to take semi-professional photos, record video, live stream and even do timelapse … all on one device.
To take full advantage of your smartphone, you should invest in some affordable accessories, such as a tripod or selfie stick.
The Xiaomi Selfie Tripod is a great piece of kit that gives you 2-in-1 functionality. Use it as a mini tripod and a selfie stick. It also comes with a Bluetooth remote control for taking photos or use it to start/stop recording. I highly recommend this accessory.
- Selfie Stick and Tripod Mount 2 in 1 Design
With more creative, record different moments of your life
- Independent Bluetooth 3.0 Remote Control
Built-in 60mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery
Sensitive Bluetooth remote control, react fast and fine
Get the best shots and videos without asking a stranger
- 360 Degree Rotation and Adjustable Phone Stand
Provide the perfect view angles, convenient to take pictures, enjoy the autodyne life
Phone clip range: 56 – 89mm
- Aluminum Alloy Anti-slip Pull Rod
Lightweight, firm and non-slip
- Anti-slip Mats Design
More stable and natural to take photos and record videos
- Mini and Exquisite Design
Can be very easy to hold and put anywhere you want, a bag or even a pocket
Accessories type: Selfie Stick,Stand
Features: Selfie Stick,with Bluetooth,with Remote Control,with Tripod
Bluetooth Version: Bluetooth3.0
Material: Aluminium Alloy
Folding Length: 19cm
Extended Length: 42cm
Clip Holder Range: 56 – 89mm
|Dimensions and Weight||Product weight: 0.1550 kg
Package weight: 0.2000 kg
Product size: 19.00 x 4.50 x 5.00 cm / 7.48 x 1.77 x 1.97 inches
Package size: 22.00 x 6.00 x 7.00 cm / 8.66 x 2.36 x 2.76 inches
|Package Contents||Package Contents: 1 x Selfie Stick, 1 x Remote Controller|
MyMiggo Pictar OnePlus Mark II-Smartphone Camera Grip
This is something more for the advance user. Pictar One Plus Mark II is a powerful smartphone camera-grip that connects easily to most iPhone and leading Android models (see enclosed list) and gives users unprecedented control over the smartphone camera through a user-friendly app.
Pictar One Plus Mark II is controlled by no fewer than five external buttons and includes a patented, revolutionary interface which uses sound frequencies to activate the camera, which saves battery power compared to the standard Bluetooth connection. Pictar One Plus Mark II was born to address mobile photographers of all levels – from social recorders to professionals – who wish to get more from their smartphone camera and miss that good-old feeling of firmly holding and easily controlling a traditional camera.
- Ergonomic body with modular iPhone attachment system
- Anti-slip grip
- Multi-state shutter button (focus and exposure lock / shutter release)
- Zoom ring
- Selfie button
- Exposure compensation wheel
- Smart wheel (pre-sets modes / programmable / manual mode)
- 9 pre-set modes: auto, manual, shutter priority, ISO priority, sport, macro, selfie, video, filters.
- ¼”20 standard tripod socket
- Cold-shoe mount
- PictarApp (download for free from App store)
- Dual-tone high-frequency interface
- Detachable wrist strap
- Neoprene padded pouch
- Battery life: 4-6 months
So you’re probably wondering why I chose the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus over other smartphones with better cameras … well, take a look at the photo below. What do you see?
Yes, you’ll notice that there is a 3.5mm headphone audio jack included. Don’t dismiss this so-called “aging” connector, it’s still very useful and versatile. With this audio jack, I can use any (if not most) microphones for recording audio during video shoots.
Most of the newer and recently launched smartphones, such as the iPhone X’s don’t have this 3.5mm headphone audio jack, which is a shame.
For recording the best audio quality while filming, you can check out the review on Rode VideoMic Me. This little microphone clips on to most smartphones. Or if you’ve got the budget, check out the more professional Sennheiser AVX-ME2 Set – Wireless Clip-On Lavalier Microphone. Both uses the 3.5mm jack.
Setting up your smartphone as your main camera may not be for everyone. By doing so, it will literally render your phone to a single use … mainly for taking photos and filming. It’s a sacrifice I’m happy to make, as I’ll only be using it in this mode for maybe around 15-30 minutes at a time. It’s way better than lugging around your dedicated DSLR/mirrorless camera gear, which can be pretty heavy and cumbersome.
The camera on your smartphones nowadays, are good enough to do what I need to do. The best part of this whole project is the ability to instantly apply filters, edit your photo or videos, and then upload them to all your social media accounts … quickly and easily.
You can buy the following items from Amazon …
- Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus (128GB) – USD $690 – https://amzn.to/2FzCyrj
- Miggo Pictar OnePlus Mark II – USD $110 – https://amzn.to/2PKDONf
- Xiaomi Selfie Tripod (with BT remote) – USD $23 – https://amzn.to/2zkGNle
- Rode VideoMic Me – USD $49 – https://amzn.to/2S7KLEG
- Sennheiser AVX-ME2 Set – USD $699 – https://amzn.to/2DOTOYd
- The Best Vlogging Camera? Meet the Canon EOS M6 Mirrorless Camera
- SmallRig Camera Cage for the Canon EOS M6
- Yelangu L4 Motorized Autodolly Camera Slider Review
- Azden Pro-XD Wireless Lavalier Microphone Review
- Sony Alpha α6300 Mirrorless Camera – Quick Hands-on
- Smallrig Cage – Camera Rig Setup for Sony a6300
- Sennheiser AVX-ME2 Set Review – Wireless Clip-On Lavalier Microphone
- Fantaseal 60 Min 360 Degree Rotary Time Lapse Tripod Mount