Lolloping around with a Lollipod

Just before Christmas the lovely guys at Lollipod sent me an ice blue version of their lightweight, compact, multi-functional support device to test. The Lollipod can't withstand anything that weighs more than 420g, but that makes it perfect for mobile phone photography and compact cameras, and it can be used a sound boom, too. I've given it a go with my Canon S95, which attaches to the Lollipod directly, and my iPhone 4, which attaches using Lollipod's additional spring-loaded adapter. (You can use a Joby Griptight, too.) Lollipod

The good

The Lollipod really is light. I took the liberty of plonking it on the kitchen scales and it weighed in around 275g, or 9oz. So much of the appeal of smartphone or compact camera photography is that it's convenient. You don't want heaps of weighty (and expensive) kit when your camera fits in your pocket. However, there are occasions when you want to be able to steady your picture-taking device, for example when you're taking night shots, or self-portraits. Schlepping around something designed to take a dSLR might be overkill, but the Lollipod isn't.

Secure an iPhone with the Lollipod adapter

When it's fully retracted, the Lollipod isn't any more than 33cm (just over one foot) long. That's small enough to put in a daypack, a messenger bag, or even one of my larger handbags. Combined with its light weight, that makes the Lollipod supremely portable.

I was also impressed by the screw mechanism that secured your compact camera or the mobile adapter to the Lollipod. It's integrated into the Lollipod, so there's no ferreting around to find something to screw a plate into the camera or adapter, or even a plate to lose.

A built-in screw mechanism keeps things neat

Extending and retracting the Lollipod is quick and easy. There are no locking mechanisms: everything just slides in and out. Despite my initial concerns that this could result in the Lollipod retracting into itself, that never happened. After all, neither my camera or phone were that heavy and you're not meant to put anything weighing more than 420g on a Lollipod.

See? Very compact.

The not-so-good

Being so light means that the Lollipod isn't always as stable as it could be, especially when it's fully extended. Unless I set the self-timer on my compact camera it was quite difficult to capture an image without camera-shake. I had much more success with my iPhone, though. It is possible to weight down the Lollipod—you use the carrying case that comes with it, and something like a water bottle or handy rock—but I'd still be apprehensive about using it in windy weather. Without independently adjustable feet, it wouldn't be stable on uneven ground, either.

If you're accustomed to the flexibility of motion in a standard tripod head, you might feel restricted by the Lollipod's limited movement. It can only move through one axis, so you'll need to decide between setting your device so that you can switch between portrait and landscape, or so that you can tilt it. Tilting with a camera on the Lollipod wasn't a problem at all, but I didn't feel that my iPhone was sufficiently secure in its adapter for that.

In conclusion

When you're accustomed to a heavy-weight tripod with a head that moves in almost any direction imaginable, the Lollipod feels incredibly limited and restrictive. But that's comparing apples with oranges, really. The Lollipod has been designed as a lightweight, flexible support, and it fulfils that brief. If you need to stop your camera from shaking when taking photos in the dark, it'll do the job. If you want something to have a go at self-portraiture with your phone, it's great. If you need a lightweight and portable support for a small camera or smartphone, that's exactly what it is. Just don't try it out in a force nine gale.

Lollipods are available direct from Lollipod and cost £30.

Lollipod: versatile, light-weight, colourful camera supports

For anyone who has been searching for a light-weight, multi-functional support device, the very thing might just have been announced today. It's called the Lollipod and it is designed to switch between acting as a tripod, monopod, boom, and lighting stand. The Lollipod weighs 320g, is 320mm when collapsed, can extend to a maximum of 1,130mm, and is capable of supporting a camera, flash, or smartphone up to 430g in weight. That means any point-and-shoot should be fine on it and you might get away with a Canon 100D, too. But chuck your camera (or strobe or whatever else) on a set of scales first to check.

Strobe, phone, or point-and-shoot

It comes with a standard fit ball head, which means that you'll need to purchase an adapter to secure your smartphone. Lollipod will be introducing their own universal one sometime early next year. Until then, the team recommends the Joby JM1–1ww GripTight. There's also a stabilising kit for windy days and carrying bag for convenience.

You can choose from gold, dark blue, light blue, hot pink, violet, and minty green and they're on sale at an introductory price of £29.99 (usually £34.99); €37 (usually €41.99); or $48 (usually $55.66), plus shipping. They're not, however, available in Australia, South East Asia, or France. All purchases are made direct from Lollipod.

Pick a colour!

Now, if only someone would develop a microphone-stand-come-tripod; ideal for all those photographer-musicians in the world.