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Is the Lollipod Really Useful?

Lollipod with OM-D

Lolliod Fully Extended

When I saw the specs for the Lollipod portable stand -- 320 grams total weight and 320 mm folded (12.5"), I wondered if this 3-legged support would be useful in my everyday camera kit. So I ponied up the $56 to have one sent from the UK.

The big question with this nimble wonder hovers around its maximum load capacity: 420 grams, and its stability. Can it reasonably stabilize a camera, or is it just an accessory stand? After some testing, I have answers to that question.

Because of how the legs fold out, the Lollipod looks like a traditional light stand -- except lighter and far more colorful. Once you spread the legs, you can extend the device to its maximum height of 1130 mm (44") by pulling out its four telescoping sections. There are no locking levers. Everything stays in place using friction. It works very well, and the only question for me is how will the Lollipod fare after extended use.

These sections allow you to set the Lollipod in five measurable height positions. And I think understanding the five positions is the key to determining if this accessory is right for you.

Fully extended, in the 5th position, the Lollipod can be used as a light stand with a strobe or some other lighting accessory. I don't feel that its sturdy enough for photography, even with cameras weighing less than the recommended 420 grams. It's just not steady enough.

However, when moving the Lollipod down to the 4th position, the sway is reduced and it's stable enough for an iPhone (you'll need your own accessory iPhone mount). In the 3rd position, I felt comfortable using the Fujifilm X20 compact camera on the Lollipod. In the 2nd position (about 23" high), the OM-D E-M5 with a prime lens could be used. And in the 1st position, the lowest height (about 13.5" tall), I could stabilize the OM-D E-M1 with a small zoom lens.

Folded Lollipod

The head rotates on one axis approximately 100 degrees. It's the flip design that we've seen on other portable tripods. If you want to switch from landscape to portrait position, you attach the camera facing one way. And if you want to angle up and down, mount the camera accordingly. It's quite simple, but it works. And I like it because it's light.

So Is the Lollipod Useful?

In the 1st position with a working height of 13.5", you can mount most mirrorless cameras, compact cameras, and smart phones. The Lollipod is very stable in the 1st position, and it's far lighter than my Joby Gorillapod Focus.

As you extend the sections, the Lollipod becomes more of an accessory stand for portable strobes, LED lights, microphones, and other ancillary devices. Personally, I wouldn't use a camera on the stand beyond the 3rd position, about 31" tall.

Since I haven't found a versatile stand for my everyday camera kit that includes the OM-D E-M5, Fujifilm X20, off-camera flash, and microphone, I'm adopting my mint green Lollipod. It's super light (seriously), quite versatile, has an attractive design, and is reasonably priced.

As long as you don't push it beyond its design limits, I think most light-footed shooters will like the Lollipod and use it often. Recommended for nimble photographers.


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This product has a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Camera battle: iPad Air vs. iPhone 5S; On the Nimbleosity Report - New Goodies to delight you; From the Photo Help Desk - Taking control of exposure. All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Camera Battle: The iPad Air vs iPhone 5S - Apple's latest full sized tablet is a technological marvel. Among its many features, it includes a built-in iSight camera. How does it compare to the iPhone 5S? Before answering that, let's take a look at its feature highlights:

  • Weighs in at just one pound (28 percent lighter)
  • Super thin - Can apparently hide behind a pencil
  • 9.7 inch display with 2048-by-1536 resolution and over 3.1 million pixels
  • A7 chip featuring 64-bit architecture with an M7 coprocessor (M standing for motion)
  • 10-hour battery life
  • Improved WiFi with two antennas and MIMO (multiple-input multiple-output) technology
  • Dual microphones
  • 5-megapixel iSight camera

So, now, what about that 5 MP camera? How does it compare to the 8 MP version in the iPhone 5S. I cover that in the first story. (Thanks to Allyson Kazmucha at iMore for publishing the article, iPad Air vs iPhone 5s: iSight and FaceTime camera shootout!. It helped me with my research for this post.)

Story #2 - The Nimbleosity Report: Have you been enjoying the daily Journal entries?

Nimble Gift Set - Port

Plus, I've added a new hat to the store featuring beautiful Port and Beigh colors. But the real gems are the new Gift Sets: The Gift Set in Port features the new cap, Walking Man Shoulder Bag, two fine art Holiday greeting cards, and gift bag. All you have to do is sign one of the holiday cards, and you have an excellent gift for the Nimble Photographer or traveler in your life. And the best part is... the price is only $49.95. (We also have a Navy Gift Set with the original Walking Man cap.)

Story #3 - From the Photo Help Desk: what tips to you have to help me take more control over exposure?

  • Exposure lock
  • Exposure compensation
  • Manual exposure

I cover all three in today's third story.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (33 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The November 2013 photo assignment is "Critters."

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Be Your Own Second Shooter

One of the best jobs in the photo business is the second shooter. You don't have the "shot list pressure" that the primary photographer has, you can roam more freely, and the odds of capturing the big shot are much greater. I used to watch my second shooters with envy when I was a wedding photographer.

Now, I shoot alone mostly. But I've learned to be my own second shooter. Here's what I mean.

Catching Up to Dad "Catching Up to Dad," photo by Derrick Story.

I recorded this image after a paid assignment was completed. I was hired to photograph a family portrait for their holiday greeting card. We got the shot we needed, then let the kids run around for a bit in the park.

That's when I went into second shooter mode. I stayed down on the ground (actually on my belly in the wet grass) and photographed the boys as they burned off some excess energy. When it was time to go, I saw this image of the oldest trying to catch up to his dad.

I could have packed away my gear after the group shot. But instead, I went into second shooter mode. And by doing so, I often get shots that I would have otherwise missed.


Join me on my Instagram site as I explore the world of mobile photography. And now Instagram features 15-second movies too.

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Remembering Everpix

If you were one of the 6,800 paid subscribers, or even just had a free account, you probably know by now that Everpix is shutting down its cloud photo service on Dec. 15, 2013.

I liked this service (and its founders) a lot. I've posted a piece on the Nimble Journal titled, This One Hurt: The Closing of Everpix. If you were a fan, you might want to take a look.

Everpix on an iPad mini Everpix updating in the background while being used on an iPad mini.

I also have an interview with Wayne Fan and Pierre-Olivier Latour (two of the founders) recorded in San Francisco on June 26, 2013. It's interesting to me to listen to their comments, only 5 months ago, in light of the December shut down.

It's tough to see a good idea get cut down before reaching its potential. Maybe something new, with better backing, will rise out of the ashes.


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You can comment on Everpix via my Nimble Journal post This One Hurt: The Closing of Everpix

One of the advantages of working within the Adobe ecosystem is how well Lightroom and Photoshop play together. Panorama shooters can organize the individual images in Lightroom, send them to Photoshop for merging and correction, then have the finished product reside back in the Lightroom catalog.

Golden State Warriors Win Round 1 Oracle Arena Your panoramas can live alongside your other images in the Lightroom library.

Digital Photography School has published a handy tutorial, Sending Panorama Sequences from Lightroom to Photoshop, that shows you how to take advantage of this compatibility. If you use these two apps, shoot a panorama sequence on your next assignment and give it a try.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Panasonic GX7

I guess that's why we research our cameras before we buy them...

I was intrigued and a bit excited about the Panasonic GX7 micro four thirds camera. The spec sheet checked-off the functionality I wanted, and the body design is terrific.

And then I read the DP Review of the GX7, and discovered that it has a few bumps in the road. I hate it when that happens.

Essentially, Panasonic (of all companies) designed a high-end camera that has crippled movie recording. The in-body stabilization is disabled during video capture, there are no in-audio or out-audio ports, and the EVF struggles outdoors.

Like I said, I guess that's why we do our research before buying.

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Lollipod

The inventors at Lollipod have created what they call a "Tripod / Monopod / Boom / Lighting & Selfie Stand" that is quite compact. It will stabilize a device up to 420 grams and pack neatly in a shoulder bag or hang from your belt.

Here are the basic specifications:

  • Super Light at only 320 grams (11.3 ounces).
  • Maximum Load Capacity 420 grams.
  • Closed Length - 320 mm (12.6") It should fit longways in the Walking Man Shoulder Bag.
  • Maximum Height - 1130 mm (44").
  • Locking Ball Head with Camera Mounting Screw.
  • Multi Device Compatible (adaptor required).

So I'm going to try one for the team here. I ordered a Minty Green Lollipod that cost me $64.74 US (price includes $14.62 for shipping) after British Pound conversion. Once I have it in hand, I'll let you know how it fares in testing. More to come.


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This product has a tentatively high Nimbleosity Rating (untested at this point). What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

This week on The Digital Story photography podcast: Nikon Df mechanical/digital DSLR; on The Nimbleosity Report - Olympus Stylus 1; From the Photo Help Desk - Do I need expensive filters? All of this and more on today's show with Derrick Story.

Story #1 - Nikon Df DSLR - What started in the Scottish Highlands with an excellent teaser video has now become a reality. And it has a lot of photographers excited.

Nikon Df

Basic features include:

  • Full frame 16MP sensor
  • Dedicated mechanical dials for shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, exposure mode, and release mode
  • Mechanical cable release compatible
  • 39-point AF with 9 cross sensors
  • Compatible with AF-S, AF-D, and AD Nikkor lenses

The Df will be available in silver and black, probably around the end of this month. It looks awesome. The Df has that throwback styling that made the original OM-D so alluring. It even has the "slide over" eyecup shade for long exposures. If you want one for yourself, it will cost you $2,996.95 with 50mm lens. I talk about the possible impact of this camera in today's top story.

Story #2 - In today's Nimbleosity Report, I take a closer look at the Olympus Stylus 1 . It looks like a baby OM-D E-M5, but with a powerful and bright zoom lens. Here are the highlight features:

  • 12MP 1/1.7" sensor (similar in size to the XZ-2)
  • 1.44M dot electronic viewfinder
  • 1 million dot 3" tilting touchscreen LCD
  • 28-300mm equivalent (10.7x) optically-stabilized f/2.8 lens (constant aperture through entire zooming range)
  • Built-in Wi-Fi with smartphone control
  • RAW capture as well as Jpeg
  • Magnesium alloy body structure
  • Built-in pop-up flash
  • Same battery as the Olympus OM-D
  • Should sell for around $699

This looks like a heck of an all-in-one camera to me. Love the constant aperture and zooming range. Lots of enthusiast features in a very nimble package (14 ounces). This little gem will set you back $699 US. Is it worth it? I'll talk about that.

Story #3 - From the Photo Help Desk - Should you pay the extra dollars for high-end multi-coated filters when others are available at a fraction of the price?

Now is the time to order your SizzlPix for the holidays!

New Ad tiles on TDS. If you're going to purchase from Amazon of B%H Photo, please click on the respective ad tile for those suppliers, located in the second column on every page of TheDigitalStory.com.

And don't forget, I have an Aperture Workshop coming up on Nov. 16 and 17. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more details.

Listen to the Podcast

In addition to subscribing in iTunes, you can also download the podcast file here (34 minutes). You can support this podcast by purchasing the TDS iPhone App for only $2.99 from the Apple App Store.

Monthly Photo Assignment

The November 2013 photo assignment is "Critters."

More Ways to Participate

Want to share photos and talk with other members in our virtual camera club? Check out our Flickr Public Group. And from those images, I choose the TDS Member Photo of the Day.


iPad for Digital Photographers

If you love mobile photography like I do, then you'll enjoy iPad for Digital Photographers-- now available in print, Kindle, and iBooks versions.

Podcast Sponsors

Red River Paper -- Keep up with the world of inkjet printing, and win free paper, by liking Red River Paper on Facebook.

Make Your Photos Sizzle with Color! -- SizzlPix is like High Definition TV for your photography.

Need a New Photo Bag? Check out the Lowepro Specialty Store on The Digital Story and use discount code LP20 to save 20% at check out.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

How many times have you said to yourself, "If I could just lighten that one spot in the photo, I would be so happy."? Aperture users don't have to roundtrip out of the application to accomplish that task. Using the brushing tools, you can work on "just that one spot." And in 5 minutes, I show you how.

This tutorial is from my Enhancing Product Photography with Aperture training on lynda.com. I walk you through localized editing techniques step by step, so you can apply this to your photos right now.

More Aperture Tips and Techniques

To learn more about Aperture, take a look at Aperture 3.3 Essential Training (2012), Using iPhoto and Aperture Together, and the latest, Portrait Retouching with Aperture. Also, visit our Aperture 3 Learning Center. Tons of free content about how to get the most out of Aperture.

Aperture Workshop Coming on Nov. 16 and 17, 2013

Want to learn Aperture in a hands on environment? My next Aperture workshop will be Nov. 16 and 17 in Santa Rosa, CA. We'll review all of the basics, plus work on portraiture (including a live model shoot), product photography, and more. Write me at derrick@thedigitalstory.com for more information and a reservation form.

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You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.

Two New Super Nimble Fit Kit Designs

I've finished testing and have now published two new Nimble Fit Kits (#10 and #11). Kit 10 is designed specifically for indoor events that typically include security checks. Kit 11 is handy for traveling light and covering outdoor actives.

Nimble Fit Kit 10 Fit Kit 10 designed for indoor events such as basketball games.

Both kits use the just-released Walking Man Shoulder Bag (black model) with silver embroidery on the front flap. I've used these configurations for extended periods of time. Because they are so light and comfortable, I can keep my gear on my body and safe while taking pictures in crowded areas.

Nimble Fit Kit 11 Fit Kit 11 is perfect for outdoor activities with friends and family.

On The Nimble Photographer, I list the contents of each item in the kit with a link to its catalog page. Both of these configurations take advantage of the "bag within a bag" concept. Chances are you already have many of the components required to build similar carrying solutions.

If you want the official Nimble Photographer Shoulder Bag made of 95 percent recycled material and handsomely embroidered, it's available for $29.95.


Nimble Photographer Logo

These kits have a high Nimbleosity Rating. What does that mean? You can learn about Nimbleosity and more by visiting TheNimblePhotographer.com.

Want to Comment on this Post?

You can share your thoughts at the TDS Facebook page, where I'll post this story for discussion.