Beastgrip Pro lets you swap lenses on any smartphone

Carrying a smartphone in your pocket gives you a powerful camera. Yet the slim design that makes your phone attractive, also makes it awkward to hold onto as a camera. Enter Beastgrip Pro, a rig system that makes your phone easy to grip, hold steady, and adds accessories to your phone. The rig turns your phone into a full-featured camera for photography or videography. The rig is universal, so it works with most current smartphones. However, the best feature might be that it works with a wide range of interchangeable lenses.

Beastgrip Pro transforms your smartphone into a pro camera with the tightening of just a few screws. The nylon framework clamps around your phone to protect it, and make it easy to handle. The frame has a number of removable parts to make it more adjustable to fit individual phones, but also to accommodate accessories. The lens mount is key to the Beastgrip, however the rig offers a number of other options to up your smartphone photography game.

Additional accessories attach via a cold shoe mount and a tripod mount. With just a few accessories, you can go from snapping a selfie to capturing action like a pro. The rig also lends itself to shooting video. The cold shoe can be used to mount a microphone or light source. The ergonomic grip helps steady the cam. At the very least, it will keep you from getting your fingers in front of the lens.

Beastgrip launched its Kickstarter campaign for the Pro model on March 25. The Pro is actually a second-generation rig. After a successful Kickstarter campaign for the original Beastgrip, designer Vadym Chalenko and his crew took feedback from users to perfect the system.

Like its predecessor (which had been used to create professional-quality videos, like this one for Bentley), one feature that stands out is the Beastgrip Pro’s ability to accommodate a number of conversion lenses. The frame accepts any standard threaded 37mm lens/filter mount. That means any lens you might already own, such as those old ones for an SLR, could work on the rig.

For the Pro version, Beastgrip completely redesigned the lens mount assembly. It is now removable, just in case you want to use a clip-on lens, or attach the lens using another method. If you have a larger 52mm conversion lens, that can also work with the Beastgrip Pro with a step-up ring. Of course, you won’t be able to use any autofocusing or electronic features built into modern lenses — it’s all manual.

“All of these lenses are available on eBay and Amazon.com, so it’s all standard,” Vadym Chalenko tells Digital Trends. “The main idea is to give the user flexibility.”

The Kickstarter campaign offers a number of bundles. Say you already have a lens or two you like to use, you can get the Beastgrip Pro without lenses or accessories. Bundles also come with a number of lenses, including wide-angle and fisheye conversion lenses. There is also a bundle that includes a depth-of-field (DOF) adapter.

Different ways to customize a smartphone using the Beastgrip Pro.

The rig was first designed and prototyped using 3D printing. The ability to print model prototypes helped correct any flaws and get Chalenko and his team to the testing stage. Ultimately, they opted to use injection molding for production instead, after discovering that the design improvements made the printed material too fragile.

Injection molding is one of the fundamental differences from the first-generation Beastgrip. “The switch from 3D printing to injection molding improved dramatically the durability of the product,” Chalenko says.

Using injection molding, the Beastgrip Pro will be produced with an extremely durable glass-filled nylon material. It will also have rubber overmolded clamps to hold the phone securely. The rig is adjustable via custom-machined anodized aluminum standoffs and aluminum thumb screws. Final assembly on the Beastgrip Pro will be done at the company’s home base in Chicago.

Pledges for the Beastgrip Pro on Kickstarter range from $1 to $210. The company has an ultimate goal of $50,000. Packages include the Beastgrip Pro,DOF adapter, and a handful of lenses to use with the rig. Beastgrip plans to use the proceeds of the campaign for developing injection molds, manufacturing, and purchasing materials.

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