I have taken thousands of photos with my iPhone. The quality of the iPhone’s onboard camera has steadily improved over the years and has reached the point where it can capture a decent image – certainly good enough for the web or for social media.
You can’t say the same thing about the iPhone’s ergonomics when used as a camera. iPhones have become larger, thinner, and more slippery – easy to drop and pretty much impossible to use with one hand or on the move. Its possible to change camera settings, but its awkward to the point where I rarely do.
Enter Miggo and their latest Kickstarter project – the Pictar. Miggo is known primarily for their line of camera bags and accessories, and Pictar represents their most ambitious project to date. Miggo recently demonstrated a pre-production prototype of Pictar to me via Skype.
Pictar is a combination hardware / software solution comprising of a camera app that runs on your iPhone and a non-slip handgrip similar to what is available for many mirrorless cameras. The iPhone slides into the grip and locks in place; allowing secure one-handed operation of the iPhone while in camera mode.
Pictar further extends the “one hand” paradigm via a series of configurable hardware controls on the front, top, and back of the grip.
1. Shutter release button featuring half-press focus lock.
2. Zoom ring. Turn this wheel to digitally zoom into the image (works similar to pinch zoom).
3. Selfie button. Click the zoom dial to switch between front and rear cameras.
4. Exposure compensation wheel. Controls the brightness of the image.
5. Smart wheel. Allows you to select from the various “Scene” modes supported by the Pictar app.
The hardware controls do not use Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to communicate with the camera app. Instead, a patented high frequency dual-tone sound control is used that consumes less battery than a conventional wireless interface. According to Miggo, these tones are inaudible to humans although bats and whales may not be so lucky.
Other hardware features of the Pictar include a ¼” tripod socket and a cold shoe for mounting standalone accessories such as an LED light or optical viewfinder. The Pictar comes with a padded carrying case, neck strap, and wrist strap.
Pictar is compatible with iPhone 4, 4s, 5, 5c, 5s, SE, 6, and 6s. It is not compatible with the larger iPhone 6+ or 6s+. Pictar is not available for Android or Windows phones.
The Pictar app supports a variety of scene modes including: auto, portrait, landscape, sports, snow, selfie, video, shutter priority, ISO priority and manual exposure. The app also supports selecting focus and exposure points via the touch screen.
Pictar is currently scheduled to begin shipping to Kickstarter backers in November 2016. To support the project and to get one of these in your hands as soon as possible, check out their project home page at the Pictar Kickstarter Page.