Anyone who does any video recording with their iPhone knows that the lens’ field of view is a bit narrow and the audio could be improved with, say, an external mic attachment or windscreen. Sure, most of us aren’t recording feature films on our iPhones, but the ability to capture decent quality video (with a device we carry around all the time anyway) and then instantly share it, is pretty convenient and cool. Some of us have taken it a step further, downloading video editing apps that allow us to arrange and combine clips, add watermarks, titles, credits, etc., making it even easier to compose a complete artistic vision directly on the phone, on the fly, and upload it to the masses via video sharing sites like YouTube or TweetReel. All of this is great for location scouts, internet journalists, video bloggers, film students, social networkers, hobbyists and more, but with the OWLE Bubo, it gets even better.
The OWLE Bubo is likely named after the horned owl due to its shape, but we believe it was specifically named after the mechanical owl named Bubo in the film Clash Of The Titans because like Bubo, whom the Goddess Athena sent to accompany Perseus on his journey, the OWLE Bubo is one helpful sidekick! In addition to its good looks, the OWLE Bubo provides your iPhone with interchangeable macro and wide angle lenses, an external mic with windscreen, improved handheld stability, and plenty of mounting options. Weighing in at just about 1 pound and cast out of a solid block of aluminum, you can throw the OWLE Bubo into your every day backpack or side bag and hardly notice its there.
A quick side note: I ran into the OWLE team at CES in January while they were looking into new materials for their future (now current) composite model. Their black and yellow fedoras and yellow suspenders made them hard to miss. They were very cool guys to talk to and what I noticed quickly was that they were all fairly young (early 20s would be a good guess) and have an excellent product. The sky is the limit for these guys. Now on to the review!
Out of the Box
Here’s what you get:
- Solid Aluminum unibody OWLE bubo iPhone Mount
- OWLE silicone skin form fitting iPhone 3G and 3GS to OWLE mount
- Omni-style 3.5mm, 4-pin mic with 180° rotational arm
- 37mm aluminum .45x wide-angle/macro combo lens
This OWLE Bubo is HOT! Black aluminum with clean lines and nothing more. It catches the eye on the street and the packaging is pretty cool too.
Does it work?
Yes! The whole idea of the OWLE Bubo is to get better video from your iPhone and it delivers. You place the iPhone into the provided silicone case; pop it into the Bubo and go. That’s it. You now have wide-angle optics on your iPhone as well as a more stable grip. Check out the below video for a side-by-side comparison of the same video shot with the OWLE and without. (The comparison shot starts at the 0:32 mark after the intro.)
The included macro/wide angle combo lens is threaded for use with 49mm lens filters, which means a whole world of optical effects. Unscrew the included lens and now you can use any 37mm threaded lens you can buy – a fisheye for starters. If you thought the Bubo was just for enhancing your video, then you haven’t plugged in the provided Omni-directional mic. Instead of having your audio coming in from the side of the iPhone (muffled by your hand most of the time), the supplied mic plugs into your iPhone and points in the direction of your lens, increasing your audio quality immensely. The cold shoe mount on the top of the OWLE Bubo provides a mounting option for an on-board light, illuminating your subject for a better quality shot. The 1/4-20 threaded mounting points at each corner of the hand grips allow you to easily mount your iPhone to a tripod, monopod, car mount, or mounting rig of your own creation for even more stability, smooth panning and creative angles.
Like stated above, this grip is milled out of a solid block of aluminum. This thing will not break by just dropping it on the sidewalk. According to OWLE’s website, it takes 40 tons of pressure to snap this thing. It’s not going anywhere fast. The lens might break, but it helps to keep the included lens cap on when not in use.
Using the Device
Do you know how to use your iPhone? If so, there is nothing more simple than this! If you don’t know how to use your iPhone… Ask Mr. Jobs about it.
It is made of a pound of solid aluminum so it might be a bit heavy to hold for hours on end, but really you’re looking at shooting a few minutes at a time, due to your storage capacity on the iPhone. The only complaint we’ve heard regarding the Bubo consists of it being bulky when not in use… so is an iPad. The Bubo measures in at about 5x6x2 inches, easily fitting into a backpack or a laptop case and weighs less than the iPad as well.
MSRP for the OWLE Bubo is $129.95, but the Filmtools every day low price is set at $119.95. Included is a 30-day warranty and it pretty much covers any physical defects of the Bubo itself.
I want one. It even makes people who previously didn’t want an iPhone, want an iPhone. It is an amazing toy tool for the trade and a great idea for those who appreciate strong materials. If you are a skater, filmmaker, or even just someone who loves taking videos on their iPhone, this is for you. Combine one of hundreds of iPhone apps with the OWLE Bubo and the possibilities are endless. Come into Filmtools in Burbank, California or check out the website at Filmtools.com to get one today!
Have you used this product? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!