Wellwater Productions recently needed to research the best stabilizer for an iPod Touch. We had originally been looking at Zacuto’s offerings, but found they didn’t allow for any equipment beyond the Touch. This served as a problem for our project. Then along comes Owle with the Bubo. Originally released excluseively for the iPhone 3Gs and 4, they have recently introduced an iPod Touch model. We got in contact with them to pick up a review copy, and they delivered! So how did it stack up?

The Bubo is a solid piece of equipment. Made from solid aluminum, you wouldn’t want to drop this on your foot. That being said, if you do drop it, more likely than not you won’t sustain any damage. At least not to the main unit. It’s overall very comfortable to hold. The weight is solid and helps you to get a steady shot.


A wide angle lens is included, giving the iPod Touch that extra bit of width that you may need for some of those shots.

This also helps with stabilization, giving even the shakiest of hands a usable image. Overall, the lens gives a nice amount of sharpness to the image, and the distortion level is very minimal for most shots. As with all wide angle lenses, the closer you have it to an object, the more the distortion is noticeable. The only lens problem we ran into is that the thread is extremely tiny, making it quite easy to thread the lens incorrectly.

In addition to the wide angle lens, a Macro lens is also included. The primary purpose of this lens is to make the wide angle lens work correctly, but I found that you can still get some nice macro shots with just that lens. Be warned that stabilization is even more important when using that lens, as all movement is magnified. That brings me to the next feature.


There are a total of 4 threaded mounts on the unit, 1 on each of the “arms” coming out of the unit. This allows you to throw it on a tripod for a steady shot or an interview, or even to throw a light on top of the unit. There is also a center “cold shoe” for those times you need to mount a mic or light. We tested the unit out with both a Rode Mic and an LED light, finding it handled both quite nicely.

20110707-083605.jpgThe iPod Touch fits nicely into the Bubo thanks to an included rubber case. This protects the Touch from scrapping along the aluminum, as well as helps it to keep a snug fit in the unit. There is a small hole in the center of the unit that makes for easy ejection of an iPod Touch. The unit gives the user access to most of the iPod Touch’s buttons and dock, only blocking access to the wake/sleep button. This only serves a problem when you’re ready to power the unit down, having to eject it in order to hit the button.

20110707-083647.jpgSince the already subpar microphone on the iPod Touch is shielded by the Bubo, they have opted to include a small directional microphone with the unit. This fits nicely into the headphone jack on the iPod Touch and can be pointed pretty much anywhere in a 180 degree arch. The overall quality of the mic is pretty impressive considering it’s size and price. For most run and gun sort of projects, this mic will work beautifully.

Overall the Bubo exceeded our expectations, easily filling the need we had. There were very few hiccups that we ran into. The first hiccup we hit was that when light hits the wide angle lens at just the right angle, a reflection of the inside of the unit is seen. This renders the footage almost unusable. Thankfully, out of the entire time of working with the unit, we only had this creep up in two shots. It’s very much the exception to the norm.

The other problem we ran into involved recording audio during an interview. We found that there would be a very quick burst of interference every now and then. This very well may be an issue with our iPod Touch as opposed to the microphone, but it’s at least worth noting. We will be testing the unit further and will update if we come across any updates on the issue.

We had a few requests for future versions that would only serve to improve an already amazing unit. Due to the Bubo’s weight, it’s not easily mountable on a smaller tripod. If they were able to make the center of the bottom portion just a bit thicker, they should be able to put another thread in there to allow for a user to center mount to a tripod. This may allow for some smaller, more consumer friendly tripods to be able to handle the unit. This would also serve to fix the way the unit is held. As of now, the left hand tends to butt right up against the wide angle lens. Making things slightly longer would allow for a more symmetrical hold.

We would also like to see some sort of zoom lens available for the unit. While that certainly would not work handheld, it may allow for some tighter shots when mounted to a tripod or monopod, giving a little more distance for those instances where you can’t get right up to the subject.

Overall we love the Bubo unit and plan to pursue using it with our future iPod Touch based project. It fit all of the needs we had and allowed for ideas we hadn’t initially planned on. It is also priced very affordably, coming in at $169.96 for the entire kit(minus iPod Touch.) You can order your own Owle Bubo from ALM at www.almlive.com/store/.

Take a look at a bit of the footage we captured using the iPod touch. Somewhat rough, but overall gives an idea of the stability of the unit. You can also see a few of the issues we had near the end of the video. For added entertainment, there’s also a quick clip of a fireworks presentation that went wrong. You’ll never know what you’ll capture when you always have a camera around!

Disclaimer: Wellwater Productions was sent a review unit for this review.