Helium Core turns the iPhone into a more capable camera for professionals

A building block for professional iPhoneography

The best camera is the one you have with you, so it’s no surprise that the most popular camera in the world is the iPhone. The top 4 most used cameras by Flickr users are the 4 most recent iPhone models. The first iPhones created a generation that took more photos since they always had their camera ready. Now the technology has advanced to the point where serious artists and productions use the iPhone for photography and film-making. Last year Tangerine, a film about transgender prostitutes in Hollywood, was the first film shot entirely on iPhone to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. Even 4K films are being shot using iPhones these days.

If you know what you’re doing, you can capture some amazing images with the iPhone but it still falls short compared to professional standalone cameras. You can’t change the lens, it isn’t easy to use professional attachments, and its size is good for portability but not for comfort and stability when shooting. So professional photographer Brandon Hoe decided to created the Helium Core, a building block that makes the iPhone much more capable.

The Helium Core is an aluminium chassis for the iPhone that makes it ready for professional iPhoneography. It’s still pocket-sized but adds enough bulk to the iPhone to make it easier to hold as a camera for extended periods of time and to attach standard professional accessories. You can add steady handles and microphones for video or professional flashes for night time photography. Helium Core also lets you attach the iPhone to most types of tripod or stabiliser mounts.

Perhaps most exciting is that the chassis will take any 37 mm threaded lenses or other lenses with an adapter. The ability to change lenses is something that usually sets standalone cameras apart from the smartphones. And all of this is without obstructing access to the buttons and ports on the phone. It’s designed specifically for iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus.

Image: Brandan Hoe

Hoe is taking orders on Kickstarter and has raised $24.050 of the $30,000 target with 20 days to go. It’s sad to see interesting Kickstarter projects that won’t be ready for years so it’s nice to see that the Helium Core is expected to be delivered in July. The best early bird options are all gone so the cheapest way to get it now is to back the project for $108 (£74.72) plus shipping at $10 (£6.96).

It’ll be overkill for most users and scoffed at by some professionals. But as something that can easily fit in your bag or even pocket, it means better photography even when you aren’t lugging around your best equipment.


Main image: Brandan Hoe

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