Smartphones have horned aside the big names in digital cameras such as Nikon, Canon, and Sony, and the iPhone is now without dispute the most popular camera in use.
Also: How to take better iPhone photos
And given how many iPhones are out there right now, there’s a massive market in accessories — everything from clip-on lenses to grips.
But my most used, favorite accessory is something far simpler. It allows me to take much better shots than I could without it.
It’s the Ulanzi ST-03 aluminum tripod clamp which allows me to securely attach my iPhone to all sorts of tripods and holders.
Ulanzi ST-03 Metal Smart Phone Tripod Mount
This compact mount keeps your iPhone stable while you prop it onto virtually any surface, including the side of a car.
Ulanzi ST-03 tech specs
- Holds any smartphone from 2.28 to 4.1 inches wide.
- Machined from T6061 aerospace aluminum alloy.
- Cold shoe mount allows you to mount a microphone or LED light to the clamp.
- Compatible with a wide range of tripod ball heads, including Benro, Gitzo, Manfrotto, RRS, and Arca Swiss.
- Also features a standard 1/4-20 tripod screw.
- Comes in black and red.
Made from T6061 aerospace aluminum alloy, the ST-03 will work on pretty much any smartphone, from 2.28 to 4.1 inches wide (equivalent to screen sizes ranging from 4.3 to 7 inches).
It’ll take the iPhone 14 Pro Max in a chunky case, but also works for all sorts of Android smartphones, from big to small to ruggedized.
Also: The 5 best rugged phones
The ST-03 doesn’t care what operating system your smartphone uses.
The ST-03 can be clamped to most tripods without the need for an adapter or plate.
This makes the ST-03 directly compatible with the ball heads found on professional tripods.
There’s also a thread that fits the standard 1/4-20 tripod screw (1/4-20 is a shorthand way of saying 1/4-inch screw with 20 threads per inch), such as the one found on this tiny yet handy Insta360 tripod.
The 1/4-20 thread also fits things like my magnetic mount, such as the 3 Footed Monsters Pro.
The ST-03 clamp also folds down small when not in use, and can easily slip into a pocket or bag without snagging things.
For under $20, the Ulanzi ST-03 aluminum alloy clamp is essential in my photography kit, so much so that I have several.
Also: This tiny smartphone accessory gives you a fantastic superpower
They’re not only useful for situations like the above, where I need to photograph the clamp itself but also for filming or photographing multiple angles simultaneously.