XShot camera extender

The XShot – Why Every Traveler Should Carry One

Derek Travel Gear, Videos 65 Comments

XShot camera extender
It’s so simple, yet it’s such a brilliant idea. And it’s something that is useful for every single traveler who takes photos during their adventures around the world. It’s actually useful for any human being who takes photos of anything, anywhere, at any time.

It’s the XShot camera extender, something that I’ve now been using religiously for the past two months after first seeing a friend of mine using one earlier this year. And now, I can’t imagine traveling without my XShot (I have the Pocket XShot version) as it instantly adds an entirely new dimension to my photography.

I’m not a great photographer at all, but that’s irrelevant when using this thing as no effort is needed to take photos from angles and perspectives that otherwise would be impossible. Just attach your camera, set the self-timer and extend the arm, and then say goodbye to your normal collection of standard shots as you begin to pile up photos that are so very different than any you’ve taken before.

In addition, the XShot takes up practically no space at all in your backpack or suitcase and it weighs almost nothing, which helps make it even more addicting to use.

Introducing The “XShot Series”

It’s because of my addiction that I decided to start a monthly series here on the blog in order to display some of the photos and videos that I’ve been taking with my XShot camera extender. Each post in the series will focus on a different region of the world and the first post, right here below, includes shots taken during my recent trip through the Balkans.

I have a feeling you’ll quickly agree that this is not only one of the coolest travel accessories out there, but it’s also an accessory that every traveler should carry…

Main Beach in Ulcinj, Montenegro

With the XShot, you can reach over the umbrellas at the beach (Ulcinj, Montenegro)

Miami Beach, Ulcinj, Montenegro

Or just reach over the entire beach (Miami Beach, Ulcinj, Montenegro)

On the beach in Montenegro

Or photograph yourself relaxing on the sand, while confirming that one nipple is indeed higher than the other (Ulcinj, Montenegro)

Old Town Fortress, Ulcinj, Montenegro

You can stick your camera through a small hole in a fortress wall & take a shot that nobody else can take (Ulcinj, Montenegro)

Old Town of Ulcinj, Montenegro

And then have someone else stick your camera through a small hole in a fortress wall for a shot of you flying (Ulcinj, Montenegro)

Kotor, Montenegro

Climb a mountain, extend your camera over the cliff edge and capture the beautiful old town below (Kotor, Montenegro)

Pizza time in Kotor, Montenegro

And why not grab a photo of you and a friend stuffing your face with yummy pizza (Kotor, Montenegro)

Friends in Kotor, Montenegro

Or perhaps an overhead photo of you and your friends enjoying an evening out on the town (Kotor, Montenegro)

Supermarket Restaurant, Belgrade, Serbia

Wherever you may be, just stick the camera right up to the ceiling and snap away (Belgrade, Serbia)

Ampitheater in Durress, Albania

Upon discovering that the ancient Roman amphitheater is closed, reach above the fence and take a great photo anyway (Durress, Albania)

Berat, Albania

Crossing a bridge? Extend the arm and make an everyday scene look much more unique (Berat, Albania)

People in Ohrid, Macedonia

Hold your camera out over the castle wall and see what you find below (Ohrid, Macedonia)

View of Skopje, Macedonia

Or stick your camera outside the cable car for a better view of the city…just watch out, it’s probably not allowed! (Skopje, Macedonia)

Baptism Ceremony, Skopje, Macedonia

When a random family you meet suddenly invites you to a baptism, you’ll get the best shots of the celebration (Skopje, Macedonia)

Working at Van Gogh Cafe, Bucharest

Or just take a photo of yourself while writing this blog post at a cafe in Eastern Europe (Bucharest, Romania)

VIDEO: An Afternoon With My XShot
The other day I took my XShot out and decided to demonstrate exactly how it works with a short video. You won’t believe how fun it is to use this thing!

(If you’re reading this post via email, please click here to watch the video.)

The XShot comes in two versions at the moment, the XShot 2.0 and the Pocket XShot, and the company also sells specially-designed iPhone cases that can then be used with the XShot extenders (see all their products at XShot.com). And the best part is that the XShot costs under $30 USD, making it a very affordable accessory, especially considering the amazing effect it will have on your photos!

*This post is sponsored by XShot LLC. I approached them about working together because I really believe their products are very useful and since I only recommend items that I use and love myself, I felt that this partnership was a natural match.

Have you used an XShot? What do you think? Would it be useful for you?
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Comments 65

  1. Marko

    I’ve been to that store in Belgrade years ago!! I find it crazy how I recognized the place even today. Eastern Europe is such a beautiful place to visit

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  4. Gloriana

    Hi!
    I bought one and just starting using it.
    Any tips to improve focus? I´m having a little trouble with this. I put the timer (10s), but have to press the shutter button and then extend my arm and wait for the camera to take the picture. Whant I’m seeing is that the camera focuse is set when I press the the shutter and not when it’s extented, so I get a lot of blury pictures.
    Any tips will be greatly appretiated!
    Thanks!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Gloriana – Any focus issues would be related to your camera, not the XShot. Your camera should have an automatic focus so that it focuses right before it captures the shot. At the same time, you can first aim your camera in the general direction of the thing you want to photo, turn on the timer and then press the shutter so that it focuses…the focus should be better since you pre-focused the camera on the person/landscape/etc that you want to capture.

  5. Ryan

    How do you click the shutter on your camera using one of these? Or are you just using the timer? I didn’t see anything in the video other than a verbal “click”.

  6. Russell Mease

    Earl,

    This looks like a great device. You may want to mention to your readers that if they are going hiking, there is a device that you can attach to your trekking pole that allows the same shots. Of course if you are not carrying trekking poles – it won’t do you much good! It’s called the StickPic and here is a link to my 2012 PCT blog where people can link to the website. http://russmease.blogspot.com/p/sponsors.html

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  10. Sally Stretton

    Earl,

    This is a handy little device and such a simple concept! I hope you are getting compensated for doing such a great job at promoting their product! What does it retail for? Does it fit all make and model cameras?

    Sally

  11. Bethaney - Flashpacker Family

    I’m definitely getting one of these babies!

    What kind of camera do you use? I’m going to get myself a new one soon. Something small and compact that I can always have in my bag but takes great pics.

    Are you going to show us the photos you took during the video? I bet they’re hilarious.

    1. Earl

      Hey Bethaney – I think I mentioned it on twitter but I use a Panasonic Lumix ZS20…and I think it is one of the best travel cameras on the market. And I’m still working on those photos I took during the video…I’ll get them up eventually 🙂

    1. Earl

      Hey Dyanne – Good question…I guess you could have one sent to family or friends at home somewhere and then have them send it to Vietnam?? It’s possible!

  12. RunAwayHippie

    Thats awesome! the view point that you can take your pictures is just incomparable to a normal view point! must get one of these

    1. XShot Team

      Hi Will,
      I checked the weight of your camera and it should have worked fine as it is around 1lb and we recommend a 1.25lb max. Did you get the original XShot or the 2.0? The first one had a stainless steel smooth shaft that was swiveling as you mentioned with heavier weights or off-centered tripod mounts. We discontinued it a few years ago and created ridges on the sides to prevent that. Unfortunately, some flawed copies are still on the market but you can recognize a real XShot with the slotted metal shaft that can block at any length.
      If you have a Pocket XShot or XShot 2.0, please contact us as yours may be defective , sorry about that. Email @ xshot@xshot.com and we will take care of you 🙂

    2. Earl

      Hey Will – XShot just replied to your comment as well and they offered an email address so that you can contact them. They mentioned that they would like to help out and make sure that you have the latest XShot version that will support your camera. It is a great concept and I’m sure they’ll get you set up so that you can use it without any issues!

    3. Elisabeth Sowerbutts

      For those of us with too heavy cameras – my Canons SX20 is one – I’m now considering a monopod – these have been around for years – but it wasn’t until I read this that I understood the point of them

  13. Scott

    Great idea, and thanks for bringing it up, just ordered one shipping it overnight so I can have it on Thursday when my vacation starts.
    You are one wild and crazy kinda guy!

    1. Earl

      Hey Scott – I thought traveling was a crazy adventure…turns out a playground is really where the adventure is at! And that’s excellent that you ordered one…let me know how it goes and I’d love to see some photos you take with it during your vacation.

      1. Scott

        Got it today…..can’t wait to use it. Will be on the Oregon Coast, and at the Oregon-Arkansas State football game, am thinking some really great game shots, too.
        Also, through B&H in NYC, it was cheaper than from the manufacturer….B&H PRICE $29, from the manufacturer, $34 or $34.95!

  14. Tyrhone

    Hey Earl

    I don’t know how you did it, but somehow you made a 30 something year old man playing with his pole on a jungle gym NOT look creepy 🙂

    I’m sold, gonna see if I can find one on our way to Mexico.

    Cheers
    Tyrhone

    1. Earl

      Hey Tyrhone – Haha…well, you should have seen the parents at the playground quickly taking their children far away from me! (joking)

      And Mexico would be a great place for an XShot…I can just imagine you at the top of some very cool ruins such as Coba, where you would get some unreal shots if you could reach out from the top of the pyramid!

    1. Earl

      Hey Belle – The unique photos you get with this thing makes such a difference and you might end up using your point and shoot more than your DSLR once you get started 🙂

  15. Missy Holden

    Hi, great accessory Earl, just a quick question though, how do you focus your camera for still shots especially people shots? Your pics look like they are pretty well focused.

    1. Earl

      Hey Missy – The camera just focuses on its own. I simply simply set the self-timer on my camera so that I have 10 seconds (or 2 or 5 seconds) to get the shot ready and that’s it. I would imagine with most cameras the auto-focusing would work well, especially if you hold the XShot somewhat steady (which is quite easy to do).

  16. Jessica

    I’ve seen those everywhere during my travels and wondered what they did! After seeing your stunning photos, I’m seriously tempted to run out and buy one…

  17. Earl from iPadNomads

    It’s too bad XShot couldn’t give your readers a discount too! 🙂

    Great post. Loved the pics and the many ways you showed the XShot could be used. They were smart to sponsor the post, you definitely made me want to get one.

    1. Earl

      Hey Early – I’m happy to hear that and believe me, when you do order one and it arrives, you’ll have as much fun with it as I do!

  18. Dave

    Hey I recognise the strange-looking feet in that last photo! 😉

    I definitely need to get my hands on an Xshot – not just because you looked so (ahem) suave using one, but because you can take such damn cool photos with it!

    1. Earl

      Hey Dave – At least I didn’t put the photo that had you yawning in the background! And yes, you do need an XShot now that you saw first hand how very cool it is.

    1. Earl

      Hey Anni – I do have the video and perhaps I’ll share it in the near future…or in next month’s installment of the series 🙂

  19. Amanda

    Haha, it looks like you had a blast making the video. Now where’s the footage? 😉

    I have an Xshot and agree that it’s an awesome little camera accessory! The only downside is that I’ve run into some issues packing it in my carry-on luggage. I almost had it taken off of me 3 times last year in airports!

    1. Earl

      Hey Amanda – Hmmm…maybe I’ll show the footage at some point 🙂 I was actually going to include the outtakes in this video but decided not to in the end. I look ever sillier in those than I do in the actual video!

      And I have heard that getting the XShot through security in airports can be a challenge. I generally check my backpack so haven’t experienced that myself. But I’m glad you haven’t actually had it taken off you!!

  20. Michele

    Great recommendation! What camera do you use? I’m pretty sure you’ve told us before, so I’ll be scouring the blog, too. It looks like a Kodak Easy Share maybe.

    Guess you know the next item we just added to our list! lol

    1. Earl

      Hey Michele – It’s actually the new Panasonic Lumix ZS20, an amazing camera that in my opinion is the perfect travel camera!

      1. Missy Holden

        I have been drooling over this camera since seeing it in Singapore last week. I have a TZ15 and this upgrade to the one you mentioned is also known as the TZ30 in this part of the world. It is amazing. I already love my camera but the zoom and wide angle on the new one would take everything to another level. I got some fantastic night shots of the new Bayside Gardens in Singapore with the “super trees” all lit up. I am seriously thinking of upgrading the camera and adding an xshot to the travel mix. Thanks for sharing such great tools with your readers.

        1. Earl

          Hey MIssy – The TZ30 is the best camera I have owned and it’s perfect for anyone who does not want to carry around a larger DSLR. I really don’t think there’s a better point and shoot out there.

          1. Christine Hayes

            Though I want a DSLR, it isn’t practical for my upcoming trip, so I got a smaller Canon power shot. It is in the same price range you mentioned. I am all about Canon products and even when I look at others, always return to Canon. I will be curious to see the differences between our cameras in India. I’m excited to see the Xshot in action too!

          2. Earl

            Hey Christine – The Power Shot is a good camera for sure, with very high quality photos. The only reason I didn’t get one myself is because I like having a larger zoom, which the Lumix ZS20 has…either way, we’ll have fun in India with those XShots…that’s a guarantee!

  21. Alexa

    This is great! I have been wanting one ever since I saw someone use it in Israel and take some amazing shots. When I get my next camera, I am definitely going to get an extender too. Lots more unique shots with it.

  22. Andy

    This looks like a great tool with many uses but being that photography is my passion and profession, I’m usually packing full photo gear (Canon 5D, lenses, tripod, etc). it wouldn’t be practical for me. Would work well with my point & shoot though!

    1. Earl

      Hey Andy – Definitely would work well with the point and shoot, especially since the XShot takes up basically no space at all. It’s worth it just for taking photos of ourselves, never mind all the unique angles as well.

  23. Melissa @ Suitcase and Heels

    I bought one of these in the spring but for some reason focused only on using it to take self-portraits. I felt a little silly using it with people around, but I really need to give it a second chance. Plus, I love how you used it to get your camera up over people’s heads for a different perspective. I’ll put this back on my packing list for my upcoming trip.

    1. Earl

      Hey Melissa – I felt silly at first too but once I started taking shots with people around, I didn’t care any more and kept snapping away! And reaching above everyone’s heads is one of my favorite angles…try it out and I’m sure you’ll be addicted as well 🙂

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