I take a lot of photos and videos for Pocketables no matter which way you want to look at it. By frames, hours or gigabytes each review produces quite a few photos and in some cases video. To that end the equipment I use has been constantly evolving to meet the challenge of bringing you our readers the best that we can. With that in mind I took the opportunity recently to upgrade one core component of that, the humble phone tripod adapter I’ve been using since day 0. The Ulanzi ST-03 caught my eye as everything I could want with bonuses like a cold shoe, so lets get a look at it.
The Ulanzi ST-03
Taking a look at the product it’s obvious we’re not dealing with another race to the bottom plastic spring adapter. The packaging shows off the ST-03 in addition to displaying some of it’s potential. Opening it up the adapter is protected by a small amount of foam. Ulanzi claims the ST-03 is CNC machined and it appears very well made overall. Folding makes this very convenient to keep on hand or in a smaller case than would fit my gear otherwise.
Fit, Finish and use
Although initially a bit stiff out of the package the ST-03 was otherwise fine out of the package. The folding design allows it to easily fit in a pocket without any fuss and the arms are secure when unfolded. The screw tightening mechanism although seemingly “less convenient” than auto tension designs holds the phone far more securely. Where before my phone my slide or shift occasionally inside the holder I’m now confident that I could pickup and shake the tripod with the phone in it(I tried it didn’t go anywhere). The red coating appears quite resilient and hasn’t faded with the first few weeks unlike some I’ve seen. Size wise it stretches to dimensions that should accommodate even the largest phones coming just shy of holding one of my older TW802 tablets(an 8″ windows tablet with huge bezels).
Cold Shoe and Arca
Beyond holding a phone to a tripod or monopod the ST-03 is shown with a variety of accessories attached. These are thanks to it’s integrated cold shoe. I don’t have any cold shoe accessories at the moment(I had nothing to attach them to) but I did get some time to try a few. Visiting a local production company ST-03 in hand I went through a bevy of microphone and other accessory mounts seeing which ones did and didn’t fit the shoe. What I learned was that dimensionaly everything fits as planned although some of their custom mounts that reached forward had issues with the screw that tightened the adapter. As far as the Arca mount is concerned it matched up with arca style gear they had on hand although most of theirs was packed so I didn’t get to try any.
Ulanzi really hit the nail on the head with the design of their ST-03 tripod adapter. Although further design revisions could possibly help with a few of the larger cold shoe accessories. The only real fault I could possibly leverage against it is it’s price. At nearly 20 dollars the ST-03 is on the high end of devices in it’s class. This however comes with excellent crafstmanship, secure holding strength and flexibility beyond what many of the cheaper adapters offer. There is a slightly less flexible(it doesn’t fold) model they have for a few dollars less. In my opinion the space savings is well worth a few dollars up front.