Like nothing I’ve seen before, the Mantispod is a true all in one vlogging tripod.
From the outset, this tripod packs in features that surpass all other so-called vlogging systems, and for once, it’s not modular.
It is a little larger and heavier than smaller micro tripods such as the Manfrotto Pixi, but then with hotshoe mounts, pano head, and more functional features, it truly offers everything you need.
PGYTECH has again provided a solid, high-quality build. Although the Mantispod is designed for smaller compact mirrorless and phones, its build is more than solid enough to support a Sony A7 III with a smaller lens.
From mini tripod to camera grip, pano head and full vlogging handle, the PGYTECH Mantispod supplies what you need.
The solid one-handed camera grip
Stable mini tripod
Bigger than other mini tripods/grips
What is the PGYTECH Mantispod?
Probably the most useful tripod you never knew you needed. Small enough to slot into a backpack side pocket but high quality enough to support a decent mirrorless camera, this vlogging grip offers far more than advertised.
Running through the features instantly outstrips any other mini tripod out there, which isn’t a surprise as mini tripods rarely try to pack in too many features. The one or two I have seen in the past year have been woefully lacking unless you go for the straight Manfrotto Pixi, but this is very different.
Essentially, the Mantispod is a vlogging grip that enables you to mount a camera and mic on one easy-to-handle grip.
Set the grip down and fold out the cleverly designed legs, and you have a desktop tripod. All very neat, solidly build and exceptionally handy.
Build and Handling
PGYTECH have a history of making solid, high-quality accessories for some of the biggest imaging manufactures. The high-quality build is consistently excellent across all of their products, from the grips, backpacks, memory cards, and this mini pod.
In the marketing garb, the Mantispod is advertised to be used with smaller compact cameras, such as the Canon Powershot G7 Mark III or iPhone/Android. While this size of camera or phone is ideal and makes sense, the Mantispod can also be used perfectly with the likes of the Sony Alpha A7 MK III.
I switched between the Sony A7 Mark III, Canon G1X and iPhone 11 Pro in this test.
Aside from the weight, the ease of use for all three was much the same, and with the top mount being used for the camera, the side mount was left free for the mic. In all cases, I used the fantastic Sennheiser MKE 400 mobile kit.
Let’s start with the way the thing looks. It has a large comfortable grip with a ball head on top and another mount with 1/4-inch thread on the side.
The idea being you pop the camera on top and light or mic on that additional mount.
Push a button on the side, and the tripod folds out to create a mini tripod, with a tall or low to the floor option.
The small head features a simple leaver lock to lock and release, and the ball offers a good amount of rotation in all directions.
On the side of the base plate clamp, there’s a small lock that releases. The 360º rotation is enabling you to shoot panoramics easily.
The base plate uses a push-button release and features a secondary lock to ensure you don’t accidentally release the camera while presenting.
The whole ball head can be removed by pushing down a small metal pin, enabling you to slide off the head. Each head mount uses a cold shoe ISO design that makes it universal if you have accessories from other manufacturers that you want to fit.
The side mount with 1/4-inch thread is again fixed with a cold shoe mount and uses a standard collar clamp to hold it in place.
There’s a rubber flap that acts as part of the grip on the main handle, moving this aside, and it reveals another cold shoe to enable you to swap out and place one of the heads in this position.
Flip the tripod over so you can see the back of the main leg, and at the top, there’s a flip-down hook. Once released, this can be used to hook the MantisPod over things. I tried this nervously with the A7 III, and it seemed to hold it OK!
Also in this main leg is the Phone holder, which is held snuggly by friction and can be popped out and mounted onto the head. It’s a clever design and further adds to the flexibility of this mini tripod/grip.
Kitted up with a camera on top, the large side button can be used to adjust the position of the head and balance the grip. This makes it quick and easy to make sure that the camera and mic are pointing in the right direction.
As all the mounts are good and solid, there’s no shifting, wobbling or rattling with everything being held in a position good and tight.
Once you’ve finished a bit of handheld filming, it’s again easy to set the tripod down and adjust to create compact tabletop support.
The build quality and ease of handling add to the functionality of this tripod. The addition of the secondary mount on the Mantispod is equally groundbreaking as the revolutionary addition of the accessory threads on full-sized tripods.
Check out the GoPro vlogging rig feature, and you’ll see just how complex a simple vlogging rig can be once you start to add all the different accessories you need.
Not only do you end up with an assortment of attachments, but the rigs themselves never feel that secure. Pieced together, vlogging rigs always feel and look a bit rickety, whereas the Mantispod is just solid!
Each click and rotation is precise, meaning that it’s easy to make position adjustments required: from filming a piece directly to camera, to setting the tripod down.
Using the Mantispod is a joy, and the quick conversion from vlogging grip to tabletop tripod is quick and smooth. There’s no faffing around; push the button on the side, fold out the legs, and you’re done.
Equally, pull out the ball head lever, and you can adjust the level with ease. Then there’s the lock on the side that releases and fixes the panoramic head. It’s all simple and works with incredible efficiency.
After a few weeks of testing and after the honeymoon period, I’m ultimately impressed. OK, it’s no gimbal stabiliser, but it is a solid camera vlogging grip that’s a great size to take anywhere.
The compatibility and design make it a product that I’ve now come to depend on. It’s one of those products you didn’t realise you needed until you did!
When the PGYTECH Mantis pod arrived, I thought it was something of an oddity, nicely designed, but did I really need it?
I first realised I did when I was filming a piece on camera and was able to hook the Mantis onto an open car window. Handsfree and at a decent height, I was able to present to the camera with ease.
The small size doesn’t mean it’s the lightest mini tripod around, but it packs in enough features to make it worthwhile. On a city break, the small tripod acts as great support for long exposures or panoramics then; if you need to vlog a post, the head and additional side mount position is ideal as an all in one compact vlogging platform.
After a month of using the Mantispod, there’s little that I didn’t like; it’s small, versatile and extremely useful. My only hesitation would be the price, but really as a vlogging solution, there’s nothing else on the market that is as neat or complete as the excellent Mantispod.
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