Permanent Tourist

The personal website of Mark Howells-Mead

The best little tripod

I’ve always been a little sceptical about miniature tripods. Although I do my best to afford the best full-sized tripods, most recently from Manfrotto, I haven’t bothered buying small ones because of their inability to hold the weight of a DSLR.

However, I bought a little plastic tripod with bendable rubber legs a few months ago, which came with an attachment for my iPhone. It’s surprised me by being invaluable on quite a few occasions: by keeping it in my car glove box, it’s almost always with me, and the re-positionable, rubber legs are flexible enough for multiple situations. The tripod cost about Fr. 10, so I don’t expect it to last forever: when it does give up/snap/fall into a crevasse, then I’ll replace it with a more sturdy one (like a Gorillapod).

This all means that instead of propping my iPhone to wobble against a nearby rock, I can simply slot it into the holder on the little six-inch tripod and leave it to film while I enjoy the view or take photos with my proper camera. The videos here are all time-lapse sequences, which took between 10 and 20 minutes to film.

Even the apparently pointless purchase of a small in-car camera for about £10 was saved by the fact that its rubber suction cup, for mounting the camera to a car window, coincidentally fits the iPhone mount perfectly. (The camera is as good as useless, of course, as its price would indicate.)

Although the video above isn’t perfectly stable, due to quite windy conditions on top of the Susten Pass, the tripod has performed admirably on several recent occasions. Most notably:

Wrapped around around the top of a crash barrier mounting bracket at the side of the Furka Pass road. (This rolling cloud effect is known locally as the “Grimselschlange” (or Grimsel Snake).
Spread across the top of a safety pole on the edge of a cliff next to the Rhone Glacier visitor centre. (See the photo at the top of this blog post.)

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