Some of you may remember a review I did around March last year of Bitplay’s SNAP! iPhone 6 case and their Macro and fisheye lens. Well, Bitplay have been busy since and have recently released their SNAP! PRO iPhone 6/6S case and sent it through for me to review, however this time I thought I would do something different. I wanted to find out if I could give it a run out as my sole camera on an upcoming trip to Saigon, Vietnam. This is the review and my findings of ditching the camera bag and carrying all of my equipment in my shorts pocket.
Normally as soon as I have flights booked I usually start preparing and planning for what lens, strap, tripod, etc to pack so this time relying on my trusty iPhone 6 with the Bitplay SNAP! Pro case and lenses has made me think about what I really need to take with me (especially with so much extra space in my bag).
So as you may have noticed from my last review, I spent a lot of time talking about the lenses and picture quality and very little about the case. This time I’m going to focus on the case, mainly because it rocks! Bitplay have really spent some time asking questions about what lets the iPhone down (or any smartphone really) and the incorporating into the case the feel and functionality thats lacking and bridging the gap between a rangefinder style camera and the smartphone.
The packaging is pretty slick with every item having its own place and displayed behind its protective cover in a foam case. The first thing thats obvious is the style factor, the design will fit in with every street photographer and hipster out there with the optional wood effect grip and brown leather wrist strap. This is not a cheap plastic add-on which is easily replaced like my experience of most 3rd party lens attachments and cases on the market. This is something that really screams style and I can’t tell you how many of my friends have asked to have a look at it and wondered where they can buy one. Steve jobs would be proud of the way this product is packaged and displayed.
Its all about that grip
The case comes with the standard slimline black matt grip and two additional ergonomic grip options, a wood effect grip and a matt black grip with tripod attachment. These are held in place with two small screws out of view on the inside of the case which can be removed with the screwdriver supplied. Now I know what you are thinking, “wood effect ergonomic grip”, is it really necessary? The answer is a resounding yes, god yes, its definitely needed. When attached with the slide-on rubber thumb grip, it makes the iPhone so much more comfortable to hold with a much more natural grip. It makes a huge difference when using the iPhone for street images as it allows you to hold the camera when on the move without the usual “I’m a tourist taking a snap” pose and drawing less attention from your targets. I’ve been able to hold the iPhone by my side or at the waist and take an image using the cases physical camera button without fear of dropping the damn thing down a gutter.
The leather strap is also a great way of making sure you don’t drop it, however I found that when using the ergonomic grip I preferred using just the case as I had such a sound hold of the camera (it doesn’t feel like a phone anymore). The only downside of the two ergonomic grips would be for those who wear tight trousers like jeans and keep their phone in their pocket. In this scenario I would recommend swapping back to the slimline grip and adding the leather wrist strap. The last of the improvements that can be found when comparing this to the older case, is that although the lens may have the same way of attachment via a thread, it seems less fiddly with this version. I might be imagining things, however I always had two or three attempts at screwing the lens in before it finally bit on the older case. This one seems to be much easier when on the move without having to concentrate on the process.
The case is very well made, the phone fits snuggly in with a click and the thumb grip adds further security and can be removed when using it as a phone. It has a reinforced bumper around the outside of the case which can make it a little hard to remove at times, however I prefer this than the chance of the phone coming loose of the case when dropping on the floor. All in all, I love this case and found myself using it even when I wasn’t attaching a lens just because of the sheer usability and sturdiness when taking a photo. If you are considering buying this, then don’t skimp and go straight to the “All-in-one” package and get the lot and experience it for yourself.
So I hear you asking, will it replace my Sony mirrorless and lenses?
Not yet, but I am leaving it behind more and more often when I can and my back is thanking me for it. This has come a long way in bridging the gap between a smartphone and camera with it feeling much more like the latter. One day, hopefully soon …. we can all dream.
The good, bad and ugly
So to round up, what was the conclusion:
- Stylish without being a gimmick (hipsters around the world will love this)
- Very well made (high quality)
- Excellent physical protection
- Fantastic Ergonomics (especially with the ergonomic grip)
- Wide range of lenses to expand the iPhone capability (wide, ultra wide, fisheye, 3x Zoom, Macro, etc)
- Tripod attachment (very cool when using with something like the compact gorilla pod)
- A little pricy (but worth it if you are going to stick with the iPhone 6/6s for a while)
- Can be a little difficult to remove (not sure if this is a bad thing really)
I WANT ONE, WHERE CAN I GET IT?
Well, you can get it direct from Bitplay or contact them for a local distributer here int-store.bitplayinc.com
You can view more if my images using the Bitplay SNAP! PRO case and lenses on my instagram profile here
Stay tuned for the review of the Full Fram Fisheye and Ultra Wide Angle and Macro lenses which will be coming soon.