If you want a very stable stand for your 360 camera — one that will not easily topple over — you might consider a microphone stand. But are there disadvantages? Here’s a review of the Gator Frameworks microphone stand for use with 360 cameras, including a sample 360 photo.
Stands are essential for 360 cameras. Most 360 photographers use a monopod with tripod base, or a light stand. The issue with a monopod is that they can topple over, particularly for those with a small tripod base. If the stand falls, then usually the 360 camera’s protruding fisheye lenses will be scratched or cracked, rendering the camera useless. On Facebook, I see at least one post about scratched or cracked lenses every week. I myself have scratched a couple of my lenses while shooting videos.
One solution that has been discussed is to use a microphone stand with a weighted base. I ordered the Gator Frameworks adjustable microphone stand to test how it performs as a stand for 360 cameras.
The stand is about 65 inches tall, and has a 12-inch base that weighs approximately 10 lbs (total weight around 12 lbs). It has a sturdy all-metal construction. Its circular base has a rubber ring around the edge to avoid scratching floors.
The stand’s height is adjustable from about 93cm to 168cm. Adjusting the height is very convenient. It has an angled twist clutch for easy gripping. When the clutch is loosened, the shaft can be rotated without moving the stand.
The stand uses a standard microphone connection. To use it with a 360 camera, you’ll need an adapter for 1/4-20 or 3/8.
I found that the stand was indeed quite resistant to toppling, even at its full height, at least on horizontal, flat surfaces. However, on thick grass, the stand is not very stable. Another issue is that the stand wobbles, partly because of the shaft’s connection to the base, and partly because the base is usually not a perfectly flat floor. The tip of the stand wobbles around a circle with a diameter of 1.5 inches when fully extended. The wobble should not be an issue for most 360 cameras. However, I would not use it for long exposures, nor would I use this as a stand for DSLR 360 photos.
On the whole, this is a fine stand for use with 360 cameras but I would instead recommend a monopod with tripod base or light stand, and using an ankle weight to make it more stable.
Here’s a sample 360 photo with the stand, shot with the camera at around shoulder height. This was shot with Theta Z1 (reviewed here) using the built-in HDR mode.
+ Very resistant to toppling.
+ Rubber lining in the base will avoid scratching floors.
+ The upper segment can be rotated without moving the stand.
– Wobbles a bit
– Cannot be used as an invisible selfie stick
Where to buy: Gator Frameworks is available on Amazon (currently around $55). Hanging chair sold separately 🙂
My favorite is a tripod like at the photos above where I added twosmall 200g 1/4” weights. My monopod is a Velbon ULTRA STICK Super 8 which is the smallest monopod which can be extend to unbelievable 156cm. I used it in reverse position, but I needed to add a 1/4″ connector at the bottom before. It’s a pity that this monopod isn’t build for reverse use per default. Maybe someone can satisfy the manufacture to build a version for the panorama community. 😉
If you wanna use a mic stand for 360 cams, try Triad-Orbit, Far more suitable (and flexible) than Gator´s by a loooong shot from top to toe 🙂
Great to see this option being discussed. I’ve been a long term advocate of using a mic stand and have used one successfully for all sorts of 360 cameras and 360 camera rigs. I agree it’s not perfect for every scenario, but that’s true of most things I think. Definitely a good option to have and it’s great to get these ideas out to help people. Nice one Mic!