Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Steadicam Smoothee Unboxing & Initial Impressions

I just got the Steadicam Smoothee for the iPhone 4, and though I'll post video later in the week, here's what's in the box and some very initial impressions:

Steadicam Smoothee box
The box is 13.5" x 11" x 3.5" and there's a cutout in the top revealing the box inside that contains the mount; that's how you know which model it's for!

Steadicam Smoothee inside it's box
The box contains the Smoothee, packed safely in thick foam, and the mount in a separate box. The handle is "locked" up against the Smoothee baseplate. The only assembly required is attaching the mount to the Smoothee.

Steadicam Smoothee, instruction leaflet and iPhone 4 mount
Not shown: a black "canvas-like" bag for carrying. The bag has no padding; I think I'll keep it in the box and only use the bag if I really have to travel light.

iPhone 4 mount
The mount is one piece of molded plastic. The iPhone slides into the two clips (right) and the left-hand clip is snapped around it to hold it in position. This can be done with the mount either attached or separate from the Smoothee.

Mount inserted into the top of the Steadicam Smoothee
To attach the mount, turn the lock lever until it is in the center. The bottom of the mount can then be inserted into position, and then the lock lever rotated back to the locked position (above)

Adjustments for balance and Smoothee gymbal
There are just two adjustments for balance; one to correct tilt left and right, and the other to correct tilt forward and backward. Out of the box, it didn't seem to need any adjustment; though I admit I need to spend more time with it to see how it performs. The picture above shows the gimbal that connects the Smoothee to its handle.

I put the iPhone on the Smoothee and walked around the house with it, and it did seem to work; I will have to shoot some decent video to really see the difference. While the unit itself seems sturdy enough, the gimbal looks like the weakest point - by a wide margin - and I'm a little nervous about it getting damaged (hence my thoughts that I won't store it in the canvas bag.)

There's an explanation on how to operate it in the one page instruction/operations manual. For best results - at least at the beginning - you really want to use two hands.

B & HSteadicam Smoothee for iPhone 4 [$179.95]
Amazon: Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 4 [$179.95]
B & HSteadicam Smoothee for iPhone 3GS [$179.95]
Amazon: Steadicam Smoothee for iPhone 3GS [$179.95]
B & HSteadicam Flip Ultra Smoothee Mount  [$24.95] - not yet shipping


YauJaGwai said...

Do you think the Smoothee would support the iPod Touch 4th generation?

Michael Murie said...

I don't know, but I suspect you'd have a problem; the unit "snaps" into the special plastic mount. They currently make two mounts, one for iPhone 4 and one for the 3Gs. The dimensions of all three are similar, though the iPod is slightly smaller, and thinner (though it is a fraction wider than the iPhone 4:

iPhone 4: height 115.2 mm, width: 58.6 mm, depth: 9.3 mm

iPhone 3Gs: height 115.5, width: 62.1 mm, depth: 12.3 mm

iPod Touch 4: height 111.0 mm, width: 58.9 mm, depth: 7.2 mm

So the Touch would fit in the 3G3, and might squeeze in the 4, but it would probably rattle around a lot, and might even fall out. You could probably tape it in with duct tape, but not sure how well that would work...