Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit review

Enhance your smartphone shooting experience by combining this collection of modular gadgets from Shiftcam

Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit
(Image: © George Cairns)

Digital Camera World Verdict

The SnapGrip is the star of the Creator Kit with its ability to double your shooting time and its photographer-friendly Bluetooth shutter button, but the SnapPod tripod helpfully extends the reach of your selfies and the SnapLight LED casts additional light on your subjects. The SnapGrip can be a bit wobbly when used as a dock but all-in-all this is a useful collection of modular hardware.

Pros

  • +

    Regard while you shoot

  • +

    Bluetooth shutter button

  • +

    Adds extra light to selfies

  • +

    Shoot stable (and hands-free) video

Cons

  • -

    Cheap plastic build

  • -

    Wobbly when used as a dock

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As the quality of video and stills from the best camera phone (opens in new tab)s improves with every new model we’re likely to capture more than ever before. This means we put more demands on our smartphones as content creators. Although battery life is improving (with the iPhone 14 Pro Max (opens in new tab) offering up to 29 hours of video playback) you may still find that you run out of power during a shoot – especially if shooting in Apple ProRes. 

By reviewing high dynamic range clips during a shoot you’ll burn up more power than viewing standard HD footage. As well as enabling you to recharge your device while you shoot the SnapGrip Creator Kit offers a range of accessories to help you improve the production values of your smartphone-generated stills and clips.

Specifications

Powerbank: 3.7V / 3200 mAh / 11.84Wh
Total Power Output: 5W
Wireless Charging Output: DC 5V/1A/5W (Qi Compatible)
USB-C Input: DC 5V/2A/10W
Dimensions: 113.3 mm x 81.74 mm x 34.1 mm
Weight: 126.82g

Key features

ShiftCam’s SnapGrip Creator Kit features three key accessories that will improve your iPhone photography experience. These predominantly plastic gadgets (the SnapPod has a metal shaft) can work independently or can be combined together (like a team) to help you shoot better pictures and footage. The leader of this team is the SnapGrip, an all-in-one compact grip, dock and charger that allows smartphone users to shoot quickly and comfortably.  

Imagine you’re on a shoot and your smartphone is running low on power. Simply place the SnapGrip on the back of your phone and it will clamp to your device using a powerful magnetic ring. If you’re using an older smartphone then the Creator Kit supplies a magnetic sticker to enable you to attach the SnapGrip to your device.

The next member of the SnapGrip Creator Kit team is the SnapPod. This is a selfie stick that also clamps to your iPhone magnetically. It will also magnetically dock with an already attached SnapGrip so the two devices can work together. The SnapPod’s handle doubles up as a mini tripod so you can pop the tripod on the ground, angle the attached iPhone using the SnapPod’s adjustable head, set the Camera app’s timer and then join your friends for a group shot. It’ll also let you shoot more stable and hands-free videos, making it a useful accessory for vloggers when they are out and about.

Finally, we have the SnapLight. This is is a mini LED ring for hands-free lighting. It magnetically clamps to your iPhone (or to an attached SnapGrip or SnapPod).  You can flip the SnapLight to shoot a selfie with the phone’s front-facing camera or add light to subjects in close proximity to your devices’ rear camera.

Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit

The magnetic SnapGrip enables photo capture at the tap of a physical button, just like a conventional camera (Image credit: George Cairns)

Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit

The SnapPod lets you dock your iPhone magnetically and shoot stable video or selfie group shots (Image credit: George Cairns)

Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit

Here the flippable SnapLight LED casts light on a selfie. It has four levels of illumination (Image credit: George Cairns)

Build and handling

The three devices in the Creator Kit are predominantly made of lightweight plastic, which is reflected in the kit’s relatively cheap price. They are aimed at enhancing the smartphone shooting experience of the casual consumer. If you do use a high-end smartphone such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max then you might want to consider buying the more expensive ShiftCam ProGrip. 

This is a sturdier version of the Creator Kit’s SnapGrip. Rather than use a magnet the ProGrip (opens in new tab) clamps onto your smartphone in a more secure way so you can trigger shots via its Bluetooth shutter while simultaneously charging your device. It also boasts a cold shoe mount and an adaptor so that you can attach a more powerful light such as the JOBY Beamo (opens in new tab). The ProGrip gives you more ‘street cred’ as a photographer than the seller and more discreet SnapGrip.

Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit

You can use the SnapGrip as a dock so that you can peruse your pictures in comfort (Image credit: George Cairns)

Performance

When mounted on an iPhone a push of a button turns the SnapGrip into a MagSafe charger.  Another button pairs the SnapGrip with your smartphone via bluetooth. You can then hold the SnapGrip’s ergonomic grip in one hand and press the SnapGrip’s physical shutter button to capture shots via the iPhone’s Camera app as if you were using a conventional digital camera.  

This enables you to compose and capture your shots more easily as you no longer have to tap the smartphone camera app’s onscreen shutter button.  You’ll also look more like a traditional photographer when snapping a shot via the SnapGrip. You can easily swivel your magnetically attached smartphone to shoot in a vertical (portrait) instead of horizontal (landscape) orientation.  

However in Portrait orientation only one magnet is holding the SnapGrip to your smartphone which makes it feel less secure. Back in landscape orientation you have an additional magnet to keep your precious phone clamped to the SnapGrip. The SnapGrip also doubles up as a dock, so after a shoot you can stand your hands free phone on a table in a coffee shop and flip through your photos (or watch clips) while it charges.

A little hinge on the SnapLight enables you to flip the light to illuminate your face as you snap a selfie with the smartphone’s front facing camera. There’s also a mirror inside the LED ring but we feel that’s superfluous as you’ll be looking at yourself in the iPhone’s display rather rather than via the SnapLight’s mirror. The light has a variable brightness of four settings (adjusted by multiple taps on a button) and is most useful in low light locations, though it can add a sparkle to the eyes when shooting a selfie even on a bright day. 

The SnapLight does make a difference if you’re holding the smartphone at arm’s length via the SnapPod, but it won’t cast much light on a more distant subject.  The Creator Kit also ships with a sturdy pouch that enables you to store the SnapGrip and SnapLight when they are clamped together. 

Shiftcam SnapGrip Creator Kit

The SnapGrip, SnapPod and SnapLight ship in a range of five colors  (Image credit: George Cairns)

Verdict

The beauty of the Creator Kit is that it is modular thanks to a magnet on every device. So you can power your smartphone with the SnapGrip and then attach the SnapLight when you need some extra illumination. You can then stick the combination of phone, SnapGrip and SnapLight onto the SnapPod to extend your reach when shooting selfies or film yourself hands-free using the SnapPod’s mini tripod legs. 

The Bluetooth shutter button on the SnapGrip enables you to snap a shot as if you were shooting with a dedicated digital camera and you don’t need to worry about running out of power thanks to the SnapGrip’s MagSafe charger. On the downside, we found that when using it as a dock for a tall iPhone 14 Pro Max in portrait orientation it ran the risk of toppling backward when we tapped on the iPhone’s screen. Smaller smartphones will be more stable in dock configuration. 

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George has been freelancing as a photo fixing and creative tutorial writer since 2002, working for award winning titles such as Digital Camera, PhotoPlus, N-Photo and Practical Photoshop. He's expert in communicating the ins and outs of Photoshop and Lightroom, as well as producing video production tutorials on Final Cut Pro and iMovie for magazines such as iCreate and Mac Format. He also produces regular and exclusive Photoshop CC tutorials for his YouTube channel.