In a recent article on avoiding blurry photos I wrote about making your own chain “pod” to help keep your camera a little bit steadier when you’re handholding it. West Coast Corp. has come up with a commercial version of the idea and created a useful tool for photographers who want something a bit more elegant than a length of quarter inch chain and a nut and bolt. The company’s product, the “SteadePod” is a slick gadget that won’t take up much room in a gadget bag or can even be left on the camera if you want.
Ease of use (4 out of 5)
The device is simple enough. Just pop up the tripod screw and thread it into your camera’s tripod socket. Then set the three position switch to the appropriate setting (extend, retract, lock) for your needs. To first use it, set the device to “Extend” and lower the cable and its foot pad to floor level. Place your foot on the foot pad and extend your camera to the desired height. At this point, lock the device and hold your camera to provide tension against the cable and enabling you to keep your camera a bit steadier.
The SteadePod can used with the camera in either the horizontal or vertical orientation. The foot pad can also be tucked into a belt. Used properly, the SteadePod can probably buy you at least an f-stop’s worth of extra steadiness, possibly more. While it’s not quite as good as a well-built monopod, it does have some advantages. For one, it’s easier to carry and takes up less space in a suitcase or camera bag. More importantly, you can probably get away with using it in places where tripods and monopods aren’t normally allowed.
Price to value (3 out of 5)
At $24.99 the SteadePod is a lot more expensive than a length of chain and a nut and bolt. Of course, the SteadePod is much more elegant and much easier to use. One complaint is that the padding on the tripod connection did come loose the first time I used the device. Still, this is a minor complaint.
The SteadePod is a useful product that may be worth considering if you need to shoot in low light in places that don’t normally allow monopods or tripods. My biggest problem is that at $24.99 it seems to be pretty expensive when you can cobble together a chain, nut and bolt combo for about a dollar. The other complaint regards the padding and its poor performance.