Canopy Kapok

Score

Sections

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Delivers physical buttons & tripod mount
  • Free app offers solid time-lapse abilities

Cons

  • iOS 5 undermines its core functionality
  • Case is especially chunky
  • No third-party apps as yet

Key Features

  • Review Price: £37.00
  • Two built-in camera buttons
  • Built-in 1/4-inch tripod mount
  • Base unit with ball-head supplied
  • Case constructed from durable plastic
  • Works with free iPhone 4 app

Take a look through the stats pages of popular image hosting sites like Flickr and Photobucket and you may be surprised to find that the most popular camera used to capture images isn’t a DSLR or even a compact, but rather Apple’s iPhone 4. So popular has the little 5MP become, in fact, that sites like www.eyeem.com have sprung up to cater exclusively for cameraphone images-as-art. Given this, we’re all for products that can help iPhone users capture better images. Is the Canopy Kapok such a product?
Canopy Kapok
At first glance the Kapok appears to be little more than a protective

case for the iPhone 4. Look closer, however, and you’ll notice it has

two physical buttons built into the side of the case. When the Kapok is

used in tandem with Canopy’s self-titled app (available for free through

the App Store) these buttons can be used to activate the shutter.

Better still, both buttons are sensitive to a half-press too, the

shutter button responding by finding and locking focus – just like on a

regular digital camera.

In addition, the Kapok case has a ¼-inch

thread inserted into the base of it, which allows it to be mounted to a

regular tripod. The Kapok even comes bundled with a weighted base unit

fitted with a miniature ball-head topped with a ¼-inch screw mount.

The

ball-head part of this isn’t particularly well made (ours actually came

apart within five minutes), but at a push it could be used as a kind of

makeshift tripod – just so long as you have a flat enough surface to

rest it on. If you’re serious about using your iPhone 4 with a tripod

then a compact-sized Joby Gorillapod would undoubtedly prove far more

practical. That said, we do rather like how Canopy has integrated the

base unit into the Kapok’s overall packaging – kudos to them for that.
Canopy Kapok 4
The

Canopy app that’s specifically designed to work with the Kapok isn’t bad either. By

far its strongest individual feature is the customisable time-lapse

feature. By attaching your iPhone to a tripod (or perhaps the supplied

base unit), you could use this to capture some interesting videos over

extended periods. You’ll have to work out how to use all of the app’s

features by yourself though, as no instructions are provided either with

the device or on the manufacturer’s website.

In addition to

capturing still images, the Canopy app can also be used to shoot video.

There’s a good degree of physical button and touch-screen customisation,

and it also offers direct control over the iPhone’s built-in LED flash,

along with the ability to lock exposure and White Balance settings. In

addition, you can also call upon a useful levelling tool to keep your

horizons straight, and there’s a 3×3 (or 6×4) grid overlay

available for those who want to utilise the photographic rule of thirds.

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