Apple’s iPhones have a front-facing camera for selfies and FaceTime, but the front camera’s performance and image quality pales in comparison to the rear cameras. For those wanting a high-quality selfie or to record video content of themselves, your options have long been to use the front-facing camera so you can see your phone’s display or to try your luck with the rear-facing camera and hope everything is framed properly. Ulanzi has a new product, the ST-09 Phone Tripod Mount for Apple Watch, designed to solve this exact problem.
By using a paired Apple Watch and the ST-09, you can mount your smartwatch to the ST-09 and clamp it onto your iPhone. With the accompanying Apple Watch app, your Watch’s face becomes a live viewfinder mounted to the back of your iPhone.
As Gizmodo says, it may ‘seem like a foolish use for the $200+ smartwatch strapped to your wrist. But as you think about it more, you realize the mount solves a problem that many amateur vloggers who rely on their smartphones for all of their productions needs run into: using the back camera to film yourself is all but impossible.’ The target audience is somewhat niche, perhaps, but the ST-09 is an inexpensive, simple solution. Provided you already have an Apple Watch, of course.
On the bottom of the mount is a tripod a 1/4″ hole for mounting a tripod. On the top of the mount is a cold shoe, which can be used for attaching a fill light, microphone or other accessories.
|Ulanzi ST-09 product details. Image courtesy of Ulanzi. Click to enlarge.|
If you’re worried about scratching your devices, Ulanzi states that the product features an anti-scratch silicone pad design for the Watch mount and the clamps which adjust to your phone. Speaking of which, the tension distance is 58-89mm, meaning it will fit most iPhones, including the latest iPhone 12 models. With respect to Apple Watch model compatibility, Ulanzi only mentions the Series 5, so Gizmodo observes that the ST-09 may only be compatible with the Series 5 and Series 6 Apple Watches.
|The Ulanzi ST-09 can adjust from 58mm to 89mm in order to fit a variety of iPhones. Image courtesy of Ulanzi.|
The problem Ulanzi is trying to solve has been tackled by different manufacturers over the years. Gizmodo recalls the DJI Osmo Action, an action camera with a front-facing camera. (You can check out our hands-on with the Osmo Action right here). GoPro followed suit shortly thereafter with the Hero9 action camera. Smartphone manufacturers, on the other hand, have not gone this route. Smartphone displays drain battery and a second display on the rear presents power, engineering and cost concerns.
The Ulanzi ST-09 can be ordered directly from Ulanzi for $19.95 USD. The accessory is current on sale from its regular price of $29.99.