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An elegantly simple, multipurpose compact camera accessory
Gary Fong addresses several point-and-shoot camera design flaws at once in a low-cost gadget called the Flip-Cage.
If you do a lot of shooting with compact digital cameras, you’ve probably run into several problems:
• The little wrist-strap that typically comes with a compact camera is inconvenient.
• It’s hard to hold it steady for videos.
• It’s hard to hold it steady for macro photography.
• If you drop it, it will probably break.
Gary Fong applied his excellent sense of practical design to address all of these issues, and the result is the Flip-Cage. I recently had a chance to use the Flip-Cage. Here’s what I think of it.
Take the Flip-Cage out of its blister-pack packaging and you’ll find that a lanyard is pre-attached, like a traditional camera strap. You can wear your camera around your neck instead of relying on a wrist strap.
Attach your camera to the Flip-Cage via the tripod mount. The immediate benefit is that if you spread the two rectangular stands underneath the camera, it becomes a tabletop camera support so you can take pictures in low light. OK, there are plenty such supports out there, but that’s just the first of the Flip-Cage’s tricks. You can tilt the camera up or down thanks to the top panel’s design, next to two rolling bars.
Flip the two rectangles around the camera and now you have a protective roll bar (see photo above). If you drop your camera, there’s a better chance that it will survive because the Flip-Cage surrounds its edges with rubberized rollbars that absorb the shock. Flip the rectangles straight down below the camera and you can grip it with both hands and hold it like a Steadycam for recording smooth videos with minimal shake.
Finally, you can move the camera mount screw to the far end of the top plate, stand the Flip-Cage on its side with the legs at an angle to the camera so the camera is at the top facing down, and you’re ready to do macro photography from about 3-4 inches away. Two detachable translucent panels can be snapped into place to soften harsh light. Pretty nifty if you have a compact camera with macro focus capabilities.
The only downsides to the Flip-Cage is that there are no instructions included, so you have to either search for Gary Fong’s YouTube video or guess, and that the rollbar makes it a bit harder to reach some of the buttons on your camera—easily fixed by flipping the rollbar out of the way. But once you know what to do with this clever accessory, you will realize what a valuable accessory it is and that it is a steal at under $20. The Flip-Cage is available for small compact digital cameras in Green, Black, Yellow, Blue, Pink, and Red. It's also available in a slightly larger size for system compacts.
A bonus for iPhone users
If you own an G3s or G4 iPhone, you can use the Flip-Cage, via the Gary Fong Tripod Adapter for the Apple iPhone. Simply snugly insert your iPhone into the C-shaped holder. A tripod hole on the bottom lets you attach your camera to any tripod—including the Flip-Cage!—so you can get steadier shots, close-ups, etc., even in low light, with your iPhone’s camera!