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Here's another small and affordable gadget that can make your travels more pleasant.

Whether you use it to reach over the top of people's heads in a crowd, or to take pictures of yourself from more of a distance, the Quik Pod is a simple and helpful device.

 
 
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Quik Pod

Take better pictures of yourself
 

Weighing less than 4 ounces, and measuring only 7" long and 1" in diameter when collapsed, the Quik Pod is an ultra-portable gadget that primarily (but not exclusively) helps you take better pictures of yourself.

 

 

Many of us hesitate before asking a stranger to take our picture - in some parts of the world, there's every chance that the stranger might even run away with the camera, and even if they don't, you can never be certain how effective their picture taking might be.

The Quik Pod is an ingenious solution to this problem, and can also be used for other helpful purposes, too.  For example, the next time you're straining to see what is in the front of a crowd of people, all of whom are blocking your view, you can simply use your Quik Pod to raise your camera over the crowd and get a great picture of whatever it is you're all looking at.

This is a very simple - but also very sensible - gadget that will cause us all to think 'I wonder why no-one thought of this before'.

Costing only $29.85 from Magellan's, the Quik Pod is fairly priced and easy to use.  What's not to like?  Almost nothing.  You should get one.

The Fromm Works Quik Pod - what you get

The Quik Pod comes simply packaged in a plain white box, inside which is a complete set of goodies.  There is, of course, the main Quik Pod unit itself, a hiking clip to attach the unit to a belt, a wrist carry strap, a miniature tripod and a padded nylon pouch to carry everything in, with a drawstring closure on the top.

There is also a one side one page sheet of instructions on how to use the Quik Pod.

To make immediate comprehension of how to use the Quik Pod even easier, there are a series of adhesive labels attached to the unit, pointing out its features.

The miniature tripod is a $5 option - the basic Quik Pod is priced at $24.95 and is termed a Quik Pod Pro; with the addition of the tripod, it is referred to as a Quik Pod Pro+ and is priced at $29.85 (available from Magellan's).  Most people will agree that the $5 tripod is a sensible upgrade to the basic unit.

The Quik Pod is small and light.  When telescoped shut, it measures about 7.5" long and about 1" in diameter.  It weighs a mere 3.6 ounces with no accessories.  The complete Quik Pod Pro+ kit in its carry pouch weighs 6.2 oz - still very light and compact.

When the Quik Pod is extended, it measures almost 18" from end to end, and is made up of four high strength plastic polycarbonate sections.  The largest section has a grip for your hand, and the furtherest away section has a swivel ball joint standard sized screw mount that fixes into the base of almost all cameras.  The ball joint swivel piece has a butterfly screw tightener so you can move the ball joint around to align the camera and then tighten it firmly while using the unit.

A miniature convex mirror ('objects in the mirror are closer than they appear') gives you a vague approximation of if you are likely to be in the picture or not, but this is dependent on you aligning the camera body in the same direction as the mirror is mounted.  This is helpful, but not essential, because with almost everyone using digital cameras nowadays, you can simply check the picture taken immediately after taking it and retake the picture if you had it misaligned.

Although 18" long from one end to the other, the Quik Pod doesn't give you a 'real' 18" extension, because you're comfortably holding the Quik Pod's handle on its grip.  The Quik Pod probably moves the camera 15" or more further away from you.  This could mean the difference between having a camera 18" or so away from you (without Quik Pod) and almost twice as far away with Quik Pod - it makes a big difference in terms of how much picture you can include (see samples below).

The Quik Pod is rated at being able to support cameras weighing up to 16 oz (1 lb/450 gm).  We experimented with both a typical compact lightweight camera (5.7 oz) and a larger heavier camera (15.9 oz), and then torture tested it with an overweight 18.3 oz camera as well.

The Quik Pod flexed quite noticeably with the two heavier cameras, and the ball swivel joint had to be tightened very tight to prevent the camera from pivoting and 'falling over' at the end of the Quik Pod arm.  With the over-weight camera, the ball joint couldn't be tightened sufficiently to hold the camera exactly in place, and it struggled to hold the 15.9 oz camera securely too.

The weight of the camera is more apparent when held at the end of the Quik Pod too, and this may also be a limiting factor for some people.  Suffice it to say that the Quik Pod itself is capable of working with most normal weight modern digital cameras, and that - of course - the lighter the camera, the more convenient it is to use with the Quik Pod.

The Quik Pod includes a pocket carry clip - the same sort of clip that most pens have.  While it could be used to carry the unit in a pocket, of course the Quik Pod is way too big to fit in any normal sized pockets.  It's other use is to clip the Quik Pod to your belt, but I didn't find this very comfortable and worried about it being dislodged and lost, so I removed the clip and didn't use it at all.  You might want to do the same.

Why Do You Need a Quik Pod

A Quik Pod can help you take better photos in several different ways.

The most obvious way in which a Quik Pod can help is when you want to take a self-portrait.  No longer do you have to find a helpful stranger who will agree to take your photo (and not run off with your camera!), and no longer do you need to clumsily hold the camera out in front of you yourself.  It also means that if you're in a crowded area, you don't have to wait until there is no-one between your photographer and yourself, simply stick the Quik Pod out and take your picture from much closer.

All professional photographers know that you don't get good pictures when shooting a person from very close up, and with a very wide angle lens.  The Quik Pod allows you to take a picture from nearly twice as far away as when you're just holding your camera in front of you, and also allows you to reduce the zoom setting from maximum wide angle to something more moderate.  This improves the picture and the proportions of near and far objects in it greatly.

The Quik Pod has other uses as well.  One great application is to use it as a way of holding your camera high above you.  This is particularly helpful if you have other people in front of you blocking your view.  With the Quik Pod, you can use it to get your camera way above other people and get an unobstructed view of whatever you're hoping to see.

You can also use the Quik Pod to take pictures from awkward angles.  Maybe you want to photograph the underside of your car, or its wheel wells (don't ask me why you want to do this!).  Put your camera on your Quik Pod, angle it as necessary, and then poke it down to wherever you want to take your picture from without needing to get on your hands and knees.

Maybe there are other out of the way places where you would like to take a picture from that the Quik Pod can help you and your camera conveniently reach as well.

Using the Quik Pod

The unit is easy to understand and fairly easy to use.  You extend the Quik Pod, affix your camera, switch your camera to operate on timer mode, then push the shutter button, hold the Quik Pod and camera in front of you, relax, smile, and wait for the camera's timer to complete its countdown and take your picture.

Hopefully you haven't forgotten how to work your camera's timer.

Some cameras these days offer you a choice of various different timer lengths between when you push the button and the picture is taken.  We'd suggest choosing a moderately long time - that gives you sufficient time to get 'organized' and pose; enough time to hold the camera in front of you, get comfortable, make sure you're likely to be in the picture it takes, relax, smile, and wait.

It took a while to adjust to using the Quik Pod correctly - instead of stiffly holding it out as far in front as possible, you should relax, and hold it out a comfortable distance, allowing you to stand and look more natural.

I 'torture tested' the unit for an extended period, slamming it roughly open and shut, wiggling weights on the end, bending and flexing it, and it came through with flying colors.
 

Sample Images

These sample images have not been cropped or significantly edited in Photoshop (other than for a bit of exposure adjustment, an issue unrelated to the Quik Pod).

By not cropping, you get a feeling for how much picture can be fitted into the frame when holding a camera either at the end of your arm, or at the end of the Quik Pod.


 

The first image is a typical self portrait type image taken with a normal type of digital camera, with its zoom lens set to fullest wide angle.

As you can see, there would barely be room in the picture for two people, close together, and the closeness of the camera and wide angle tends to slightly distort things - perhaps my nose appears a bit larger here than in the next picture.

You also see a hint of my arm reaching out, holding the camera.

 

 
 

The second picture is an attempt to duplicate the image in the previous picture, but with the Quik Pod and setting the camera's zoom to a not quite so wide value.

This is a slightly more realistic picture.


 

This picture has the camera on the same wide zoom setting as in the first picture, and is intended to show how much more coverage you can get into a picture just by holding the camera at the end of the Quik Pod rather than by simply outstretching your arm.

Whereas the first picture was slightly distorted and barely had room for two people, this picture is not so distorted and would allow for at least four and maybe even five people.

One last sample image.  This one simply attempts to show how you are not limited to straight on head and shoulder shots when using a Quik Pod.

Here's a three quarter view.

 

The Optional Tripod

The optional tripod adds neither much weight, space, or cost to the complete kit.  It measures about 4" in length and 1" in diameter, and weighs a mere 1.6 oz.  When the legs are collapsed they are each 3" long, and when extended they are 6" long.  With legs fully extended, the tripod provides a marginally stable base on which to mount the Quik Pod vertically - even moderate wind will cause the total assembly to sway, but it is still better than nothing and assuming a moderately fast shutter speed, a bit of movement won't be a major problem.

Don't look upon this tripod as a stable base from which to take slow/long exposure pictures.  In most cases, it will not be sufficiently steady for such picture taking.  It is simply another way of putting the camera somewhere away from yourself, and then including yourself in the photo.

The mount on the Quik Pod is about 20" above the ground level on which the tripod is based, so the tripod adds only about 2" of height to the Quik Pod itself.

The heavier the camera at the end of the tripod and Quik Pod, the less stable it felt, and using a 15.9 oz camera (the Quik Pod is rated to work with cameras weighing no more than 16 oz) the unit felt unstable and likely to tip over with the slightest provocation.  A 5.7 oz camera felt much more stable.

It was difficult to get the tripod exactly level, with the result that the Quik Pod arm tended to go up on an angle.  This angle could be corrected at the top with the swivel mount onto which the camera is affixed, but the greater the angle of the Quik Pod (and the heavier the camera) the less stable the entire unit was.

Of course, you can also directly attach the camera to the tripod.  This makes for a more stable mounting, and as long as you can get the camera level, is probably a better use of the tripod than with the Quik Pod attached.

You'd probably only choose to add the Quik Pod to the tripod when you needed more height than the tripod itself gives.  But in total, the 20" of height provided by tripod and Quik Pod doesn't allow you to place the unit on the ground.  In other words, the tripod adds some flexibility but doesn't then give you a full universal shoot from anywhere ability.  However, to get this, you'd need a massively larger unit, weighing much more, inconvenient to travel with, and costing a great deal more too.

For only $5, the tripod is probably a sensible extra option to buy.  It won't add too much to your carry weight or space, and might, once in a rare while, give you some extra flexibility in the types of pictures you can take.

And the preceding is probably the most I've ever written about an item that costs only $5.

Related Product - Joby Gorillapod

If you're considering portable tripods, we recommend the Joby Gorillapod (see our review for more details).

The Gorillapod gives you a great deal of flexibility and creativity in terms of where and how you might locate a camera.  It is a great unit and much better than a traditional mini-tripod.

Summary

The Quik Pod is a simple little gadget.  If you take pictures - and of yourself - while traveling, you'll probably find it useful and helpful.  And, at only $29.85 (including mini tripod) from Magellan's, it is also definitely very affordable.

A great gift for yourself, and also great as a little something to give other people too - it is imaginative, practical, easy to use and affordable.

Recommended.

 

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Originally published 7 Sep 2007, last update 15 Oct 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 
 

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