It seemed to go under the radar the other day when Joby announced a whole new line of Wavo microphones, but Joby also announced a few new tools specifically aimed at smartphone content creators. The two new products are called Joby Spin, which is a motion-controlled 360° Bluetooth panning head, and Joby Swing, a kind of mini Bluetooth slider. Both are designed for smartphones with a focus on size, weight, and ease of use.
The new Spin and Swing products work with iOS and Android devices with the Joby Motion app, and allow users to create more advanced camera movements with minimal equipment at a much lower cost than other brands. Spin, for example, was a collaboration between Joby and Syrp Lab (both owned by Vitec), but it costs far less than any Manfrotto-branded Syrp product.
First, let’s look at Joby Spin. The Spin is a small 130g 360° panoramic head that you can use for a variety of tasks, including obvious panoramic shooting, panoramic timelapses or a series of panoramic photos. Even though it’s designed for smartphones, it can support a payload of up to 750g, so you can also put a lightweight mirrorless camera and lens on it – although that’s my claim, not something that Joby suggested, although their video above suggests you can use it as a sort of turntable for product shots.
You can also join two Joby Spin devices together using the Pan Tilt mount to create dual-axis videos and timelapses with pan and tilt movements and control them both from your smartphone. Naturally, this control is provided via Bluetooth using a dedicated Joby Motion app (for iOS and Android) that lets you switch between video, timelapse and panoramic image and control your sequence settings.
The Joby Spin is available for purchase now for $89.95 each (or $99.95 with the GripTite PRO Smartphone Mount) and the Pan Tilt Mount is available for purchase now for $29.95. I told you it was cheaper than Syrp. If you buy a Spin pack with the smartphone mount, a second Spin alone for the other axis, and the Pan Tilt mount, you’re only paying just under $220 for the complete kit. It would be nice to see Joby at some point offer two towers and support together in one package, just to make shopping life easier.
Now let’s look at the Joby Swing. This is a slider, but it is not. It offers the same type of movement as your standard slider, although there is no carriage sliding along a pair of rails. It uses a pair of arms in a sort of scissoring motion to move the ends of the bars in a straight line from each other. Just watch the video above and it will make sense. We’ve seen this technology in a few other sliders before and it seems to work pretty well, and results in a much smaller slider than you might otherwise need. The Swing, for example, offers 15 inches of travel but is only about 8 inches long.
As the Joby Swing is controlled via the dedicated smartphone app via Bluetooth. This is the same Joby Motion app as Joby Spin above. But while you can connect two Spin units with Pan Tilt support and control them simultaneously in the app, there doesn’t seem to be an option to control a Spin while sitting on top of a swing. So if you wanted to drag your camera in front of a subject while panning the camera to keep it centered in the shot, you could be able to be unlucky. With a phone, the Swing should hypothetically be able to support the weight of your smartphone and end-mounted Swing, so hopefully we might see that capability in future app and firmware updates.
The Joby Swing is available to buy now for $129.95 on its own, or in a set with a ball head and GripTite ONE smartphone mount for $149.95. Or, there’s a complete kit that includes the smartphone mount, ball head, and a GorillaPod 3K for $179.95.
In the two videos above with the Joby Motion app, which is available for iOS and Android, I noticed a distinct lack of any type of manual exposure control or video resolution and frame rate settings. pictures. These are things I’d really like to see happen to the app in the future, even if they’re tucked away in a “Pro Mode” section. I think many photographers and filmmakers who would like to shoot behind the scenes clips for social media would pick them up if they had a little more control over them.