Snappgrip: A Smartphone Add-On That Provides Camera-Like Controls


The rise of smartphone photography in recent year has been transforming how people think cameras should look and work. Instead of pulling out a single-purpose device that has dedicated controls for picture-making, legions of consumers are now content with pushing a single button (whether physical or digital) in order to preserve a moment in time.

One of the emerging ideas that directly results from this shift is the modular camera. Since smartphones provide all the computing power a camera needs (as well as apps and wireless capabilities), why not simply treat smartphones as a brain, and use lens, sensor, and interface attachments to give the brain a body? That’s what Snappgrip is trying to do (the interface thing, at least).

It’s an accessory that slides onto a special smartphone case and provides physical controls that make your phone feel much more like a dedicated camera.

On the top side of the device is a shutter button, a zoom lever, and a mode dial that lets you select shooting mode (portrait, landscape, flash, and video):


Flip it upside-down, and you’ll find a standard tripod mount, a power switch, and a microUSB port used for charging it (it’s a standalone device that doesn’t interface with the phone itself).

At the moment you’ll need to use a special companion app for iOS and Android in order to make use of the Snappgrip, but the developers are also building an API that will allow developers of 3rd party camera apps to take advantage of the grip as well.


The device is currently compatible with the iPhone 4/4S/5 and the Samsung Galaxy S3, though the list is likely to grow as time goes on. It uses Bluetooth as its method of communicating with its host phone, and has roughly 60 hours of battery life on a single charge.


Founder Lee Harris is currently raising funds through Kickstarter to begin mass producing the product based on a working prototype they have, and is hoping to have the Snappgrip shipping by February of next year. You can preorder one for £29-£69 (~$47-$110), with the cheaper prices available to early bird backers.

Regardless of how you feel about this particular accessory and idea, the idea of wrapping smartphones with camera shells seems to be picking up steam. Just a few week ago music artist of the Black Eyed Peas launched his own “camera enclosure”, including one that adds an independent lens and sensor to the iPhone:

These new accessories may annoy many a photography purist around the world, but it remains to be seen whether the general public will embrace the idea of having a camera when you need it, and a phone when you don’t.

Snappgrip [Kickstarter via SlashGear]

  • georanson

    I ordered mine for 30 bucks right now at the lowest level I think its worth a shot.

  • ProtoWhalePig

    What is a “photography purist”?

  • georanson

    Im not quite sure about that either… I shoot film on an old leica… Does that make me one? I really like this idea personaly

  • JJ

    If you could use the MicroUSB instead of Apple’s proprietary connectors, it would be cool, and the tripod stand might come in handy, for the gorilla tripods. Still won’t replace my Pentax

  • 9inchnail

    It does make you a hipster, that’s for sure.

  • Julian Trœps

    Shooting film isn’t hipster like ! Every one can take a digital photograph, but when you shoot film you have to think about the photos ! and it’s even more…that’s for sure.

  • Mansgame

    In my opinion it means no gimmicks. When film was the only medium, it was not a gimmick. Now when digital is better in every single way, people who still use film are using a gimmick.

    In the digital world, gimmicks are adding filters, borders, graphics art, etc. To me that’s all gimmicks. Just take a nice crisp picture with a well thought-out composition, proper exposure, and let the picture speak for itself.

  • Vidya Putra

    ok, now i want an iphone and snapgrip

  • Zigmars Zilgalvis

    sweet, now you can take images that look good only on phones with touch of a style!

  • georanson

    Seriously dude wrong place to be calling people hipsters for shooting film. I shoot film because I love the process, I love thinking about my shot and because I really wanted to stop chimping so much with a digital. And I shoot a Leica because its small and reliable compared to something like my F3 or my N90s which are both huge in comparison. Along with many other benefits. I don’t however wear my camera around my neck as a piece of jewelry, wear plaid shirts and listen to bands that no one has heard of before. I started with film I tired digital for a while realized that with digital I took way to many garbage shoots and then I switched back to film. Im a photographer not a hipster, go back to tumblr and have fun in high school today.

  • G

    This has to be the silliest phone add-on I’ve seen in a while. I really can’t see any reason why anyone would buy this thing. If you need a tripod mount there already is the glif.

  • georanson

    It cost me exactly what a Glif+ cost so really its not all that silly I like having a decent grip on my phone and a shutter button is nice.

  • Cochese

    At what point does adding bulky chunks of plastic make it apparent that you should just get a real camera!? Seriously, if you’re trying to save some pocket space, you’re not. Just get a nice point and shoot style camera and call it a day.

    And to all of those who think you don’t have to think before shooting with digital… I’m not sure even what to say aside from the fact that you’re kidding yourself.

    Sure, you can photo-spam all you want, but that won’t guarantee you a good shot, let along a great shot. And it won’t make you a better photography. You still have to carefully think about what it is you are going for. Main difference, if a person shooting digital doesn’t like their shot, you can quickly check and retry. If you’re shooting film and you don’t get the shot you liked, well… You’ll either have to suck it up and pretend you got exactly what you wanted or you’re going to have a few days of lag between the original shoot and the makeup shoot.

    I like film, no… I love film. But it does not make you a better photography and it certainly does not make you a more careful and mindful photographer. The only thing it apparently makes you is a technology snob. Not that it matters anyway as it is only a matter of time until you’ll be forced to give up film anyway.