Photography News Issue 31

Photography News | Issue 31 | absolutephoto.com

50 First tests

Miggö Splat From£13.99

Specs

Splat CSC, point & shoot Price £13.99 Maximumcameraweight 0.50kg Size 18cm diameter foot to foot when flat Weight 0.065kg Splat DSLR Price £16.99 Maximumcameraweight 1.5kg Size 28cm foot to foot when flat Weight 0.110kg Contact mymiggo.com

Images Use the tripod bush to fix the Splat to your camera – or a flashgun – and then try wrapping the legs around a banister (left), door (bottom left), branch or anything else that takes your fancy, for good support.

Carrying a full-size or even a travel tripod is not always practical, but there is always the option of stashing a mini tripod in your bag at all times, perhaps something like aMiggö Splat. Two sizes of this fold-flat flexible tripod are available: a smaller five- legged (a ‘pentapod’?) model suitable for action cameras, compacts and CSC types, priced at £13.99; and a larger three-legged model designed for DSLRs, in the shops at £16.99. The mymiggo.com website has a camera fit guide in case you are unsure which Splat will fit your own model. Both Splats have silicon-coated metal sheet legs that are very flexible so you can mould them into different shapes, but they are rigid so they hold the camera in place once positioned correctly. There is even a little lateral movement in the legs, should it be needed, but obviously this is limited. The Splat’s flexibility means that it can be flattened for portability, which makes it ideal for stowing in your camera bag so it’s always available. There’s a tripod bush to fix the Splat to the camera, which has a lift-up finger grip to make secure tightening comfortable. There’s also a groove to enable theuseof acoin (a 10ppiecewas perfect for tightening). The provision of a hex socket would’ve been a nice luxury. Each foot has moulded dots to improve grip and one foot has a drilled hole so you can hang the Splat

from a convenient nail, too. This hole also means you can move the camera adaptor to it which is handy. That means you can, for example, have two legs gripping onto a fence and a small flash/action camera on the third limb. There’s not much more to say, except that both the Splats worked impressively throughout the test. I tried a variety of compacts, CSCs and DSLRs on these Splats. For most keen photographers the more sensible buy and probably the more useful would be the three-legged Splat DSLR, but given the low outlay it may be worth getting one of each. The smaller Splat works well as a minipod with compacts and CSCs like the Fujifilm X-E2S and the Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II. I had the 14-150mm zoom on the latter and supporting it with the smaller Splat was no problem at all. The Fujifilm X-E2S has an off-centre tripod bush so I found a little more care with balance was needed, but once correctly positioned, making very long steady exposures was no problem. The larger Splat has a quoted maximum load of 1.5kg, but I tried it with a Nikon D3 s and 24-120mm lens, a combination weighing nearly 2.3kg and it worked just fine as a minipod, provided care was taken with the leg positioning and adjustment. With such a heavy lens, it was important to make sure one of the Splat’s legs was under the lens for maximum support.

There’s not much more to say, except that both the Splats work impressively…

Verdict

Splats are excellent accessories and are very good minipods, suitable for a wide range of cameras. The larger Splat exceeded expectations and coped well with a 2.3kg body and lens combo, once some extra attention was paid to setting up. The flexible legs also mean many situations can be handled. One thing I can’t vouch for is how much flexing the metal sheet legs will take, but with a few weeks of regular flexing both idly at my desk and in actual use, nothing snapped. Given that a Splat is unlikely to be used every day, there is no reason why you wouldn’t get many years’ reliable service out of one. For the money, the Splats are effective, simple accessories well worth having. Pros Great prices, lie flat for portability, versatile, provides solid support, suitable for most cameras Cons Small thing, but a hex socket would be nice, doesn’t work so well with very thin poles/railings

While the larger Splat worked with the proNikon it was pushing the limit. It was more comfortable with lighter cameras but even something like the Nikon D800 was fine. It can take a little time and fiddling to get the Splat and camera correctly set up. For instance, if you are trying to get it perfectly level you’ll need to do some flexing. The same applies when using the Splat as a tripod, making sure all three or five feet are in contact with the surface. If you have the Splat gripping something, make sure the camera is firmly in place before letting go. This is especially important if you are attaching the Splat to something like a varnished banister where there is the chance of gradual slippage. Keep hold of the camera strap just in case Let the camera settle for a few seconds before using the remote release or the self-timer – choosing a 10- or 12-second delay is probably a good option. The larger Splat’s legs bend up to a point near the camera mount which

means secure fixing to a thin pole, railing or fence is not feasible. The smaller Splat is better in this respect. Shooting horizontal pictures with both Splats is straightforward, but going upright is more challenging depending on theweight of the camera and, in particular, the lens. Tightening the bush as much as possible helps, but a bit of common sense will go a long way here. Having the camera lens directed appropriately during upright use means it is tightening itself against the camera bush; have it facing left and it can loosen itself. Supporting cameras is just one use for the Splats. They are perfect for holding, for example, a flashgun with a suitable cold shoe adaptor. Getting a light into a tricky position is perfectly feasible without the need for any clamps or tape. If your photography means you often need to get a flashgun into awkward positions, a couple of larger Splats would be a worthwhile addition to the kitbag and they’re probably far more versatile than screw clamps. WC

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