The iOgrapher Mobile Media Case for the iPad Mini and the full-sized iPad are made from injection-molded polycarbonate – making them flexible and durable and able to withstand a lot of abuse. With several cold-shoe attachments, a tripod mount and a threaded 37mm lens mount for wide angle and telephoto lenses, large easy-grip handles and an amazingly inexpensive price, make this a must-have accessory for your iPad.
The Original iOgrapher for the iPad Mini (msrp $58.50)
When I first saw the original iOgrapher case for the iPad Mini, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. After all, I have an iPad 2 and they didn't offer one at the time for the full-size iPad, so it was a moot point. But the inventor/originator of the iOgrapher, David Basulto contacted me to see if I'd be interested in checking it out – and even sent one with an iPad mini just so I could test it out.
After playing around with it for about a week – both at home and in production shooting videos in the lab at Bio-Rad, I can see now how many uses you could find to have one.
Although I wasn't a fan of the iPad Mini when it came out, attaching an iOgrapher case to it makes it a practical and much easier device to use as a camera or viewing device, With added peripheral attachments or not, it's just easier to use in this size.
The features built into this injection-molded polycarbonate shell, not only make the iPad Mini easier to handle and add attachments too, but also protect it. The rim around the face of the iPad is raised so if you set it face-down on a table or hard surface, it will keep the screen from getting scratched. Note that you can also apply a protective screen film if you wish.
The handles on the sides of the iOgrapher are easy to grip and still maintain control of buttons on the surface for recording in most of your favorite software. The “V” design on the back gives the iOgrapher a distinct look but also serves as structural integrity – especially if you're mounting it to a tripod and have heavy accessories attached to the top.
There is a 37mm thread over the iPad's lens opening that allow you to add fisheye or telephoto lenses to enhance your shooting experience.
The three “cold shoe” accessory mounts on the top look a bit ominous – being that they're part so the plastic injection mold and I fear they may not withstand much stress if you plan on attaching heavy items like lights or Israel arms or short booms – but really, how often would you really need to do that with an iPad anyway?
I raised this question with David and he said they haven't experienced a report of anyone breaking off a tab yet – apparently this polycarbonate compound is tough and forgiving – even under stress.
It's easy to attach and remove without any special tools – it just snaps on and off with a slight twist, but the iPad stays securely attached to the case. No matter how much shaking and twists with the handles I gave it in my tests, would it ever pop out even just a corner.
The thin profile of the iPad inside the iOgrapher case (which barely adds much significant weight) makes it still portable and easily slips into a pouch/pocket of your backpack.
iOgrapher Practical Tests
We used the iOgrapher to shoot some behind-the-scenes images and videos for an instructional lab video recently, since all our other cameras were in use and it really helped for us to document our setups and lighting for future shoots in the same lab. I attached it to the great little portable 3POD Carbon Fiber Tripod with a Ball-Head that I reviewed last month, and it was so light and portable together I could easily set it up anywhere – even on a counter or table top.
We also set the iOgrapher up on top of a piece of equipment in the lab to shoot a 3-hour time lapse of some instructional video setups of a machine we're shooting and simply set it up with the Filmic Pro app to take one frame every 10 seconds.
Here's a quick result from this time lapse test during the shoot and into tear-down (approx 35 seconds in length). Note that the auto focus on the iPad tends to flutter a bit in the time lapse – something I'd have to consider disabling in the future (if possible).
I found using the standard Camera app works just fine for still photos and casual videos as well. Here my wife was using the iOgrapher with a 2.0x Tele lens on it to capture our Belgian Shepherd at home. She had never used this device before I put it in her hands just moments before and she took right to it (and a few dozen cute photos of our dog)! I would even consider buying an iPad Mini someday, just for this alone.
iOgrapher for Full-Sized iPad 2/3/4 (msrp $62.96)
Since I have a full-sized iPad I use for various production purposes (including a teleprompter with my Pro Prompter kit), I was anxious to see how the iOgrapher would help in other scenarios.
Like the original iOgrapher for the iPad Mini, this full-size model is light, durable and low-profile, it still makes it easy to toss around the iPad and not worry about too much added bulk, and yet makes it much easier to manage and carry in a backpack along with my laptop.
I mounted the iOgrapher to a stand and used it for a teleprompter for recording some V.O. – controlled by the producer remotely with an iPhone.
And of course since I don't own a television, I usually watch streaming programs from my computer or anywhere else in the house on my iPad – like BBC's Top Gear on Netflix. It stands upright on any flat surface or comfortably in your lap or lounging in bed.
The iOgrapher isn't meant to be a replacement for higher-end cage/rigs that rival most of the DSLR gear out there today, but meant as a multi-purpose and functional case with stabilizing handles, that's lightweight and allows several accessories to be attached for videographers and photographers alike. Even the casual user that simply wants to make their iPad easier to handle and operate on a day-to-day basic around the home or office will find this quite useful. It's brilliant in design and serves it's function as promised. And at around $60, it's a no-brainer to give your iPad/iPad Mini a little control and flexibility. You can learn more about the iOgrapher models at their website, iOgrapher.com.
There is a range of useful and affordable accessories available on the iOgrapher website to take full advantage of the design and capabilities.
Jeff Foster is a published author of several how-to books and training videos in the motion graphics, animation and video production industries and is an award-winning video producer and artist. Visit his web site to learn more about his training methods, tips & tricks at PixelPainter.com