Pardon the cliche in the title above, but the Vankey Universal Phone Adapter does work really well. I purchased the metal version because I couldn’t see a plastic model holding all the pieces together properly. Perhaps they do, but I didn’t want to take the chance.
This mount should work with all but the most exotic phones and optical devices. It is as universal as can be expected.
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Start at the Phone End
No matter what phone you have, you should be able to fit it into the phone holder end of the Vankey adapter. It accepts phones that range from 54 to 90 millimeters (2.12 to 3.54 inches) wide.
You will want to remove your phone from its case, if you have one. This is not so much for the extra width that the case adds as for the squishiness that comes with it.
The area that holds the phone is already padded with a softer, foam-like material to help protect your phone from scratches or other damage. If you keep the case on your phone, the adapter can’t get as good a grip on it as it should.
I currently have a Moto G6 phone that fits nicely into the adapter’s phone area. For the record, it measures 72mm (2.8 inches) wide. That’s just about dead center of the allowed measurements, so it fits just fine.
Adjust the Knobs All Around
After you have opened the adjustment screw to allow you phone inside, you have to play with both the side knob – the one that will tighten the adapter to the sides of your phone – and the knob in back – the one that will let your phone’s camera lens to peek through the octagonal opening.
This is the part that will take the most time to adjust – not that it takes all that long though.
The adjustment knob in back serves two purposes. It lets you rotate the alignment of your phone so that it remains vertical to your eyes and lets you align the camera lens opening in back. It’s getting these two alignments to work together that takes a little fiddling.
Once you’ve got that set properly, you can attach the octagonal opening to your optical device – binoculars, monocular, spotting scope, telescope, or microscope. Note that I have only used this with a monocular (from Wingspan) to date.
Get a Tripod: Your Hands Aren’t Steady Enough
You may be able to hold your phone steady enough to take a decent picture, but you almost certainly will not be able to hold this whole digiscoping assembly still enough to take a good shot.
You need to get a tripod, if you don’t already have one.
The way the handles of my current tripod are arranged makes for a tight fit for my monocular and phone adapter assembly, but it does work.
You will want to first attach your binoculars or other optic device to your tripod. Then slide the adapter onto it and tighten the top adjustment screw. If your device has flexible eyecups, fold them down first. The adapter needs a firm place to attach itself to. Flexible eyecups are not rigid enough to use for this purpose.
This octagonal area can handle eyepieces from 28 to 47 millimeters (1.1 to 1.85 inches) in diameter. Again for the record, my Wingspan monocular measures about 40mm (1.56 inches) in diameter.
The Vankey adapter has two tripod attachment holes of its own in case you want or need to set it directly on a tripod. Personally, I don’t expect to ever use either of these features.
Open Your Camera and Zoom
Too often I have seen complaints from users of devices, like the Vankey adapter, that all they get is a circular picture with black around the edges.
That’s because they didn’t use the zoom feature of their phone’s camera. When you do, you’ll get a full screen shot.
Note that you may have to make more adjustments to the setup than you originally thought to make the camera lens line up just right before you take your first shot. That’s just the way these things work.
The Vankey Verdict: It Just Works
If you set up your phone, adapter, optical device, and tripod as described above, you will get good closeup pictures as you want. If you don’t take the time to get the initial set up right, don’t expect to take good shots.
Virtually all negative reviews I’ve seen about the Vankey (and other manufacturer’s devices, for that matter) universal adapter can be attributed to user error. Don’t be like those users.