Photography has always been a fun pastime for millions of people and with the invention of the smartphone, it expanded heavily. Gone are the days of buying an expensive camera and lenses. Now you can take high-quality photos using your Android or iPhone and you can even get them made into prints and canvases. But what about long-distance photos? The 2nd generation Nocs Provisions Photo Rig aims to help with that.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The Nocs Provisions Photo Rig was made to help you use your monocular or binoculars to take photos from far away. Sure, there are digital zooms in most modern smartphones, but often, they’re not as good as optical zoom and optics. Nocs also makes monoculars and binoculars. The company not only sent its Nocs Provisions Photo Rig but also sent a pair of its Pro Issue 10×42 binoculars for us to use with its Photo Rig. But you should be able to use the Photo Rig with any monocular or binoculars you already have. Let’s jump into the full review.
Table of contents
The Quick Take
Before I jump into my Quick Take on the Nocs Provisions Photo Rig, I want to say a quick word about the Nocs Pro Issue binoculars. These are a fantastic pair of binoculars which we had fun using apart from the Photo Rig. They are powerful and great for everything from bird watching to star gazing. They are well-built and come with an outstanding hard shell case, covers for all lenses, a lens cleaning cloth, strap, and everything needed to get you going. If you’re looking for a great pair of binoculars, these will suit you really well.
But we’re here to discuss the Nocs Provisions Photo Rig and this gadget is well-built, affordable, fairly easy to use, and does what it says it does. The quality of the photos you get will depend on your phone, how steady your hand is, and how well you manage your setup. For $35, I think it’s a fun way to use your existing binoculars, and you could end up with some fantastic shots.
The Nocs Provisions Photo Rig has the following features and specifications:
- Self Centering Frame: this new and improved design allows for much faster alignment with your smartphones’ camera, while high stiffness springs hold everything in place.
- Fits All Binoculars and Monoculars: never fear! This rig fits a full-size range of binoculars and telescope eyepieces.
- Stepped Grip Fit: fits all smartphones, with stepped grippers that prevent button presses.
- High-Impact ABS Frame: get out and roam without a worry, this durable frame is built to withstand ages of use in the field.
- Never miss the shot again with this easy to use Photo Rig Smartphone Adapter. Designed to compliment most modern smartphones and built from High-Impact ABS plastic, this rig is lightweight, packable and built for a lifetime of use. The frame is designed to keep a tight grip on any optics, while a spring-loaded phone clamp holds your smartphone in place and makes centering a breeze.
What’s In The Box
- Nocs Provisions Photo Rig
The design of the Nocs Provisions Photo Rig is simple. Made of high-quality plastics and some steel for the clamp mechanism, it’s pretty rugged and well-built.
The clamping force on the phone is solid, and it holds my iPhone 14 Pro Max with case without an issue. The clamp for the phone has a stepped design, which helps prevent button presses. This was an initial concern of mine, as anyone who knows, using a clamp on a phone can cause button pressing. But no issues, this stepped design works well and keeps the buttons from being activated.
The Photo Rig is designed to fit any smartphone, though some phones may require you to take the case off. There is a 1/4″ thread for mounting on tripods or a monopod. Our iPhone 14 Pro Max worked fine with a Pitaka case on it. Overall, the design is basic, simple, and the construction and materials used are rugged and high-quality.
Setting up the Nocs Provisions Photo Rig has a small learning curve and takes a bit of patience. The setup is going to vary from phone to phone. This is due to each phone having different camera setups, and some phones may not work with cases on.
One thing I will advise is to know which camera on your device is the main camera. I inadvertently set the Photo Rig up on my wide-angle camera mistakenly, and things were not working properly. Once I realized my mistake, I adjusted the Photo Rig and I was in business.
Overall, setup isn’t hard, but there is a small learning curve that could frustrate some users. I will say that it is important to know your smartphone and which camera is the main camera. This will help alleviate some of the frustration.
Ease of Use
Using the Photo RIg is simple, once you have it setup properly. But I will say that having a steady hand is important. The ease of use is also going to highly depend on if you hand hold the Photo Rig or use a tripod or monopod.
Overall, using the Photo Rig is straightforward, but I will say that results will vary from person to person.
The performance of the Nocs Provisions Photo Rig is excellent. It does what it sets out to do. Since we are talking about the Rig itself and not the optics from the binoculars, the performance is spot on. Results from your binoculars are going to vary on you and your equipment.
I will also say that you will need to experiment and play around with your smartphone, binoculars, and basic setup. Results will be different for everyone. I found that, even after this review, I need more time to experiment and try different things to get better shots.
I brought the Photo Rig with me on vacation, and I would have benefitted from a monopod or tripod. I am a shaky holder, so some of my shots were not great. This is not the fault of the Photo Rig or the binoculars, it is simply me not being able to hold still.
Overall, the actual Nocs Provisions Photo Rig performs well. Results from using it will be highly dependent on you.
These are some of the shots I got with the Nocs Provision Photo Rig and the Nocs Binoculars. Remember, some of these are not great, but this is due to my own learning curve. I still have a lot of practice to do with this setup. These are in full resolution and can be viewed by clicking the Flickr link.
Some may ask about using digital zoom on your smartphone, yes, you can do this without using binoculars. But the results are different. The new digital zooms do an impressive job, but optics do produce a different result. I think it’s all about what you want out of this setup.
This is a fun little gadget. I like it. For $35 it is worth picking up to use with your existing binoculars or monoculars. If you don’t have a pair, you can buy a pair from Nocs and their binoculars are spectacular. Even if you don’t get the best pics from the $35 Photo Rig, it’s worth checking it out anyway.
Nocs Provisions Photo Rig$35
- Nice design over the first generation
- Good rugged build quality
- Stepped clamp keeps buttons from being pressed
- Does a great job of holding phone and binoculars
- Learning curve, it's not huge but takes a bit of patience to dial in and this does take a steady hand