Now the Covid restrictions are lifting and travel is back on the cards, many people will be packing their bags for holidays this summer – and they might struggle to find room for a full-size camera. The ShiftCam ProGrip aims to bring many of those DSLR benefits to smartphone owners, giving you a comfortable, sturdy grip to shoot with instead of awkwardly grappling with your phone.
As someone who much prefers shooting with a full-sized DSLR than a smartphone, is the ShiftCam ProGrip good enough to tempt me to leave my camera at home? No, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a very decent product.
Shooting with the ShiftCam ProGrip
Taking photos with my Samsung Galaxy M31 mounted in the ProGrip is a million times better than using the phone alone. Everything feels better balanced, it’s easier to keep the horizon straight and there’s much less chance of camera-shake when you either dab the screen or use one of the phone’s buttons as a shutter.
Designed to be cradled in the right hand, the ShiftCam ProGrip has a rubberised grip that feels every bit as solid as the one on my Canon DSLR. There’s a camcorder style strap too, which means you don’t have to cling on to the grip for dear life through fear of dropping your phone.
The shutter button rests comfortably under your index finger and is connected to the phone by Bluetooth. That means there’s a half-second delay between pressing the shutter and the photo being taken, which you need to get used to. If you hold down the shutter, it triggers the phone’s burst mode, letting you take a series of snaps in quick succession, which can be great for capturing action. Here’s a GIF from a burst of still shots taken at a football match – if you look closely you’ll see the ball moving.
It comes into its own in low-light settings where you might normally introduce camera-shake. The M31 doesn’t have the best of cameras and has no optical stabilisation, so taking indoor shots like this in poor light would normally be a recipe for blur, but it’s much easier to keep your hand steady with the ProGrip.
The cradle rotates, so it’s easy to shoot in both portrait and landscape modes, and as the stock image below from the company demonstrates, it’s easier to take selfies with the ProGrip too, because you’re not grappling for the shutter button.
The ShiftCam ProGrip isn’t only a fancy cradle, it doubles as a powerbank – which is very handy if you’re shooting a lot of photos. Or video, which smashes the phone’s battery. The ProGrip has a 15W Qi wireless charging pad built in and the company provides an on-screen guide to ensure your phone is lined up perfectly to the charger. Alas, I didn’t have a compatible phone to test with, although countless other reviews suggest there are no problems with this.
If your phone doesn’t support wireless charging, you can use the built-in USB-C port to charge your phone by cable. The ProGrip can even be stood on end to double as a charging cradle while it does this.
I did hit a snag here in testing: the long, braided USB-C to USB-C cable provided in the box didn’t provide any charge when I connected it from ProGrip to my phone. Replacing the cable with a much shorter one did convince it to charge, so this is something you may need to watch for.
ShiftCam ProGrip extras
Other extras provided with the ProGrip include a hardened carry case, a shoe mount for accessories and two rubber runners, which allow the ProGrip to accommodate thinner phones. The ProGrip certainly clamped my 75mm-wide M31 tightly enough, but fitting those rubber runners is a fiddly job and I wouldn’t be as confident that a smaller phone would hold quite as firm.
It’s also worth noting that ShiftCam sells a range of complementary accessories, such as mountable lenses and fill lights, which could be worth considering if you’re serious about smartphone photography or videography. And it can be mounted on a tripod itself.
ShiftCam ProGrip review verdict
How much does all this convenience cost? It’s a punchy £130 from Amazon, which means it’s by no means a quick impulse purchase. However, photography has never been a cheap hobby. If you’ve got a decent smartphone camera (most are these days) and want to take full advantage of it, the ProGrip will definitely help you take better photos – and it fits into your hand luggage with much less palaver than a proper DSLR.
Value for money
ShiftCam Pro summary
A great, if pricey, cradle that makes smartphone photography far more enjoyable
- Makes a phone feel like a proper camera
- Doubles as a powerbank for the phone and other devices
- Part of a family of products
- Charging cable failed in our tests
- The price is a bit stiff