Smartphones continue to be the most popular devices for consumers to take photos with. But, despite the ongoing improvements that have been made to smartphone cameras’ megapixels and other features, dedicated cameras—especially ILC (Interchangeable Lens Camera) models—still offer several technical advantages.
Pictar is an iPhone camera grip that enhances the camera functionality of Apple’s product in several ways beyond just the ability to grip the iPhone better while taking a photograph or shooting video. Pictar also adds full external control of all camera shooting functions. For example, its shutter button offers a half press mode to lock focus and exposure for easy tracking of a moving object or to create a desired composition, as well as full press for immediate shutter release.
The button is located below the index finger to enable precise and intuitive shooting with just one hand. Also, the rotating zoom ring under the shutter release button eliminates the need to touch the screen to pinch and zoom, making it easier for the user to zoom in and out with only one hand.
The zoom ring can also be re-programmed by the user to suit specific needs, such as using the flash or when white balancing. Clicking the zoom ring also switches between the iPhone’s front and back camera for easy selfies. In the right corner is an exposure compensation wheel that allows users to quickly and easily control the brightness level even before shooting. The Virtual Wheel enables users to control different modes including flash and shutter speed just by using the thumb.
Pictar works in conjunction with a dedicated iOS app featuring patented high-frequency dual tone sound control. With each turn of the dial, press of a button or turn of a wheel, Pictar emits a sound that, when detected by the app, generates a corresponding action.
The iPhone add-on ships in November in two versions: one that fits iPhone models 4 to 6s and the Pictar Plus for iPhone 6 Plus and 6s Plus. Kickstarter backers can get Pictar for a pledge starting at $70 for early birds and Pictar Plus for a pledge starting at $100. Future pricing is expected to be about 10 percent higher. Its maker, which had its first successful crowdfunding campaign with the Miggo case, is out to raise $100,000 by May 27.
Pictar can fit most existing iPhone models and is expected to fit future models also—a major plus that prior iPhone camera accessories, including Fritzframe, have lacked. But Android smartphone users are out of luck, at least for now. Another advantage of Pictar is that it consumes very little power thanks to the decision to use high-frequency sound waves of 18,500-20,000 kHz rather than Bluetooth, which typically drains the battery on a smartphone and would have eaten up the grip’s power also, its maker says.
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