Godzilla’s selfie stick: Japan’s “BiRod” lets you take photos where drones can’t
posted Saturday, March 3, 2018 at 8:00 AM EST
As I wandered the show floor at CP+, I stumbled across a stand of what at first glance looked like fishing rods. However, I soon realized they were gigantic telescoping camera support poles. Though not new inventions in and of themselves, nor are they new products from BiRod at this year's CP+ show, but nevertheless, they struck me as a rather unique and pretty interesting camera accessory. It's something I've certainly never seen before.
Standing much taller than your typical fully extended monopod, Lumica Corporation's "BiRod" -- short for "Birds iRod" aka "bird's eye rod -- offer impressive telescoping range, letting you the raise your camera up to all sorts of unique vantage points. Or down to new depths, with a "Wireless Line" kit that lets you stick a waterproof camera, GoPro or other protected camera down into the water while you easily control the camera safely from dry land.
Offered in two models lines -- a standard one built from a carbon-fiberglass composite and a "deluxe" model built from full carbon fiber for more rigidity -- the BiRod's largest telescoping camera pole extends out to a whopping 7.5 meters, or a bit under 25 feet. Needless to say, I wish I had had a fisheye lens that could have captured captured the scale of these things! The BiRods can be used completely handheld or you can mount the pole inside a optional tripod stand for extra support.
A representative at their booth was kind enough to give me a demo of their largest camera pole. I mounted my Fuji X100F -- as I said, I wish I had had a wider lens on me -- and then we raised the camera way up above the show floor. Then, using the X100F's WiFi capabilities, I remotely captured some images from this unique vantage point.
The idea of a camera rod like this may seem a little silly or awkward, but I think its quite a neat tool to help you capture some unique photos. While speaking with the company's rep, I mentioned that these poles lets you get shots similar to those captured from drones, but the company rep pointed out that these support poles can be used in places where drone photography is prohibited. An interesting workaround, indeed! As drones grow in popularity, many locations, such as the National Parks here in the US, have heavily restricted or banned drones from these areas completely. Want to capture a dramatic photo of the edge of a cliff or waterfall, but can't use a drone? Stick your camera out on a giant extending pole!
BiRods come in two flavors, carbon-fiberglass and all-carbon-fiber, at four different height options for the 'Standard' carbon-fiberglass models: 2m, 3m, 4.5m and 7.5m, while the all-carbon 'Deluxe' models come in all but the 3m size. They also sell various accessories, such as a smartphone holder, carrying case, a waist belt support brace, a waterproof video light and even a motorized tilting camera platform that given you better control of your camera's angle. Sadly, the BiRod products are not available outside of Japan for the time being, but I'd love to see them make their way stateside!