Hands on with the Joby Swing


The Joby swing is a camera slider that doesn’t look like a slider.

It is an affordable, small package for mobile motion control filmmaking. Have a look at his hands-on video I made.

Buy the Joby Swing here (affiliate link): https://geni.us/ct12iI

The Joby Swing has a USB-C charging port, a bubble level, two lock switches, top and bottom quarter-inch mounts, and that’s about it. 

The kit I have comes with accessories like a mini ball head, phone clamp, USB-C charging cable, and gorillapod-style legs.

The device only works with the Joby app on iOS and android and allows you to shoot with multiple lenses in up to 4K resolution for both timelapse and video.

It is a very simple plug-and-play style setup, not to be compared to high-end timelapse motion control devices like the one by Axiiio I talk about here or here.

Full disclaimer: I asked Joby for a unit and they sent it to me, as well as the Joby Spin and the pan and tilt bracket. There’s been no money exchange and they’ve had no input at all on this video/article.

Let’s go over the specifications of the Joby Swing:

  • The Joby Swing weighs 300 grams or 0.6 pounds
  • It has a 1,5-hour battery life for timelapse and video shooting
  • It can move up to 1 cm or 0.4 inches per second
  • It has 380mm or 15 inches of travel
  • The Joby Swing has standard photo-sized (1/4 inch) threads at the top and bottom
  • It has a 600 gram or 1.3 pound payload
  • The Swing charges via USB-C

The kit I have here comes in at $179 and in my opinion, is really great value for money.  You can also buy just the Swing and USB-C cable which comes in at $129. Buy the Joby Swing here (affiliate link): https://geni.us/ct12iI

Here’s how the Joby Swing works:

  • Power on the device, open the joby app and scan to connect.
  • Once connected, mount your phone on the device and select create.
  • Choose timelapse or video, select your camera lens and set a start and end point for the motion by holding in the plus or minus button until your keyframes or positions are reached.
  • Modify the shooting settings with the built-in presets and hit Go to let the device run its course.
  • The Joby Swing app renders a timelapse at up to 4K resolution. The files come in at about 20 megabits per second and are of decent enough quality as you can see on screen.

By the way, if you want to learn more about shooting timelapses and hyperlapses check out my free e-book. Not only do you get these freebies but you also get access to a crazy discount code for my online store!

How to shoot with a GoPro

Follow the same setup as earlier however mount a GoPro instead and select any of the timelapse modes you want to shoot with. You have to keep the app open or the device will stop running, which I’d like to see change in the future of course! The small footprint of a GoPro-style setup makes it ideal for fun angles like shooting through a fence or railing.

Now let’s talk about the pros and cons!

  • I think this is a crazy value-for-money item. Motion control on a sliding axis with a device like this for under $189 is wild.
  • It opens up new styles of timelapse shooting for a very low price.
  • The usability couldn’t be simpler. It’s really a plug-and-play experience and I haven’t had any glitches or bugs with it at all.
  • Because of its size, you can get some really fun angles.
  • The Joby Swing literally fits in your pants pocket.
  • The battery life is better than I expected.

Now for the negatives.

  • On some angles, there’s a slight wobble so not ideal for shooting in the wind.
  • Depending on your setup you can see the camera angle lean over a bit because of the weight, that’s just what happens with this type of single mount point slider, kind of like some of the Edelkrone devices. 
  • When the device leans over because of the legs you can fix this in post but ideally you shoot with sturdier legs underneath.
  • I wish there were more shooting settings, for example I want the option to lock in focus or exposure.
  • I wish it allowed for stills shooting so we can render our own videos, but then again that kind of defeats the purpose of a super easy to set up and mobile device like this.

What are your thoughts on the Joby Swing? Let me know in the comments or under the video on YouTube.

Want to learn how to timelapse like a pro? Check out my courses and e-books:

Get all the best tools and techniques to become a great timelapse photographer.

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