The Belkin Live-Action Camera Grip ($40.00) is a tripod mount, camera grip, and shutter button (both for photos and video) for your iPhone. You have to download Belkin’s free app for the grip to work. It attaches easily to your iPhone, and you can even use it with most iPhone cases. Once you’ve loaded the app, simply press the black button for photos and the red button for videos. You can change the focal point by tapping the iPhone’s screen. One cool feature is that, while you’re shooting video, you can press the black button and take stills.
Unfortunately, the Belkin Live-Action app is just plain awful. Other than focal point and zoom, your only other camera options include a timer and the flash (and what’s the point of a timer with a shutter button grip?). Unlike some of the better camera apps available, the Live-Action app does not allow you to work with exposure or white balance or camera shake. It is bare bones. Your shots are saved in the app’s gallery (rather than to your iPhone roll), which drives me crazy, especially since the gallery icon is tiny and fiddly. I always have to tap the icon multiple times before the gallery opens. In the gallery itself, your only options are to save to camera roll, email, send to Facebook, or delete. Wowza.
The Belkin Live-Action Camera Grip makes the iPhone much easier to hold and control during photography. I love the fact that it can fit over most iPhone cases, so you don’t have to remove anything in order to use it. The grip stays secure on the iPhone and works flawlessly. Since I love doing macro photography, having a shutter button is essential for taking sharp photos. Touching the iPhone’s screen and/or using the volume buttons just doesn’t cut it when you need to stay steady. Thus, using the Belkin Camera Grip in conjunction with the Easy-Macro or Olloclip is a terrific combination.
The biggest weakness of the Belkin Live-Action Camera Grip is not the hardware. It is the app. And, unfortunately, you have to use Belkin’s app in order to use the hardware. As I noted above, the Live-Action app offers you virtually nothing in terms of picture-taking options. Plus, when you take photos, they are saved in the app’s gallery rather than on your iPhone’s camera roll. You have to manually move them to your camera roll if you want to process them any further. I sure wish these companies that create great hardware for the iPhone could also develop decent software. Or, even better, I wish Apple would let third-party hardware work with any apps already on your iPhone. The combination of the Belkin Live-Action Camera Grip and, say Camera+ or ProCamera would be awesome.
If you’ve never checked out photojojo.com, now is a great time to do so. You’ll find the Easy-Macro and the Belkin Live-Action Camera Grip at their store along with tons of other really cool photography stuff. I want one of everything, please.