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3 ways to make your mobile photography more mobile

VicamPlus promises to turn your iPhone into a waterproof camera with a wide-angle, fisheye and macro lens, and is compatible with all GoPro accessories.

We're seeing more and more options for action-oriented mobile photography that allows smartphone photographers to get the shot they want while protecting their hardware. 

While GoPro products have been the on-the-go digicam choice for capturing extreme sports stills and video for a while now, some new hardcore camera phone cases enable users to achieve similar shots safely from their smartphone.

#1. VicamPlus

The VicamPlus is one such solution: It encompasses the iPhone 5 in a clear, black or white protective waterproof case with three possible lens add-ons incorporated into the design. (Though the VicamPlus Kickstarter project page lists these as a wide-angle, fisheye and "micro" lenses, we're pretty sure they meant to say "macro.") If the project makes it to market, its designers anticipate selling the VicamPlus for $99 USD.

VicamPlus will also market numerous mounting accessories for capturing images from various angles on a car, helmet, bicycle or other moving object. A four-wheeled pully which quite closely resembles a single roller skate could also be fun for capturing video with the VicamPlus, and is compatible with your DSLR too.

#2. Optrix XD 

The Optrix XD5 is already available for your iPhone 5 for $130 USD.

Waterproof to a depth of 15 feet, the XD5 features an all-glass, three-element, wide-angle lens attachment. The XD4 for iPhone 4 is available for slightly less at $100. 

#3. G-Form G90

The G90, which we were highly impressed with in its prototype form at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, features a 140-degree wide-angle lens attachment that converts the phone’s rear-facing camera into one which captures the action from the top of the device. A compatible app helps you control capture via voice commands, and can also correct the perspective of the wide-angle images. The G90 provides a sturdy waterproof plastic casing around the phone, and offers additional protection using G-Form’s Reactive Protection Technology (RPT) to cushion your device from impact. 

The slim profile of the G90 could be mounted to a helmet, bike handles or even underneath a skateboard. Due out in June for the Samsung Galaxy S3, iPhone 5, iPod touch generation 5 and other smartphones, pricing is not yet available.

Let's hear from you: Are there any similar accessories for your smartphone you've been using? 


Total comments: 27

What a smart idea! Turning a 800 euro smartphone into an action cam. Oh yeah!


anything thats not for the nasty iphone?


Again: Of course you didn't read closely enough to see that the last device is being made for other types of phones


Using a Gopro to record Dowhillbiking, diving and some other stuff. It does predictable wideangle and has positively simple operation even trough gloves. The regular housing is small. The divebox works really well. Battery life is quite low.

A smartphone is too big, heavy with a even bigger box. Does not fit formfactor for freesports. Might be fragile too

Edited 31 seconds after posting
1 upvote

Talking about "on-the-go digicam choice for capturing extreme sports stills" I would consider operational temperature of devices especially when shooting winter sports. My iPhone 4S appeared not to work in under -5°C recently as I was about to take some picture when skiing. Not sure, if any above case's will make it any better. I do not own GoPro Hero 3, but have read articles that confirmed it operates just fine even in lower temperatures.
Any thoughts?


Yes, that is a huge problem for smartphones on cold. All this software running with a screen turned on will definitely shorten the battery life.

Dpreview: please run some tests!

We can assume that GoPro3 despite operating on much lower temperatures than a smartphone will still suffer from battery drain.


"My iPhone 4S appeared not to work in under -5°C recently as I was about to take some picture when skiing. "

I've used my iPhone 5 a lot to make panorama pics while skiing, even in -30C. I had no problems. Of course, I've always kept the iPhone in an inner pocket to avoid it cooling down too much. You should do the same - keep it warm by keeping it in an inner pocket all the time and only take it out when taking the picture.

Shooting videos continuously is another question. Recently, I shot a 45-minute-long video (using VGA resolution) in -5C on my iPhone 5. This has chewed thorought the battery pretty quickly - lithium-poly batteries hate cold.

Edited 3 times; latest 3 minutes since posting
1 upvote

interesting, but for action with a lot of shock and fast movement, I think smartphone doesn't handle it that well


Yup, no OIS (except for the absolutely excellent Nokia Lumia 920) and no high-res 60 fps recording modes. (the iPhone 4S, as the only iOS model to do this, did have the latter when using 720p but it used to halve the resolution AND is no longer accessible under iOS 6.)


While an actual review of the existing products would be great, I think there's some advantages on using a smartphone as an action cam:
- low-light IQ (perhaps on the newest models)
- actual acreen to check the footage
- possibility to edit, trim, add effects and share the footage/stills on the same device
- newest iphones make some video stabilization throught pixel shifting
- one less device to be worried with (less equipment).
- of you have an Iphone 4S or 5 its less expensive to shoot 1080p on them with a case than to buy a new gopro.

1 upvote

Oh, I thought there was something to read here, but no, it was all ifon stuff :-(


If it's not an iDevice it doesn't count these days.
That's despite the fact that Samsung has a market share that easily rivals that of the iStuff.

1 upvote

I guess once your on the applez slave ship you automatically start pushing the products, its amazing how they do that.

John I. Clark

Talk amongst yourselves fellas; you're entertaining each other nicely!


Of course you didn't read closely enough to see that the last device is being made for other types of phones.


Could you please post a true review of lens add-ons? I'm afraid of ordering any of them as I don't know whether they deliver any optical quality. (I bet they don't - they do add a lot of distortion, color fringing etc.)


without OIS they are gonna shake awfully...

1 upvote

This is why one should go for the Nokia Lumia 920... It already has excellent OIS - and a 26mm wideangle, as opposed to the 41...43mm of all iPhone models starting with the iPhone 4.

Edited 38 seconds after posting
1 upvote

Truly works well.


At the end of bike trip, you've got tons of out of focus still shots and videos with mediocre quality.


"At the end of bike trip, you've got tons of out of focus still shots and videos with mediocre quality."

Not necessarily. The iPhone 4S/5 have VERY good video resolution. Of course

- they don't support 30+ fps (when it comes to the 4S, under iOS 6 - under iOS 5, it used to support it),

- they have quite narrow FoV (41mm for the iPhone 5 and 43 for the 4S) making it even harder to anufacture decent WA converters for them and

- their non-optical stabilization systems leave a lot to be desired (even that of the iPhone 5) and are incomparably worse than that of the Nokia Lumia 920, which has a stunning OIS.


Why turn an iPhone into an action camera, when there are so many great action cameras on the market? An older GoPro model wouldn't cost more than this, would it?


Convergence, battery life (in which the iPhone (5) is much better than most GoPro models), support for full HD.

Of course, until we know more of the optical quality of these add-ons, it's impossible to state whether the IQ you can get with an iPhone is any good, compared to old GoPro models.


Are you sure that the battery life is better than that of a dedicated device ?

I'm sure it could be equal if you don't use your iPhone for anything else during that trip.

Besides. There are more action cams than Go Pro these days.


"Are you sure that the battery life is better than that of a dedicated device ?"

Under normal circumstances (read: above 5C), surely, at least compared to the GoPro Hero 3 BE (without the battery backpack). The latter chews thru the battery VERY fast, unlike, say, the iPhone 5.


"Besides. There are more action cams than Go Pro these days."

Too bad not any of them are optimized for head / chest mounting (which requiring as small depth / thickness as possible) - they all have the traditional (long) camcorder shape, making it impossible to mount them on, say, your forehead.

Speaking of this, do any of these iPhone cases have mount adapters for GoPro mounts? I have both the GoPro forehead and the chest holder and would prefer using them together with my iPhone 5.


Now I would like to see a Chilean down hill street racer make a phone call while filming doing a jump, on his phone. That would be something!

Edited 36 seconds after posting
Total comments: 27
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