Seen at Photokina 2016
An iPhone accessory that sounds good, figuratively-speaking!
Demonstrated at Photokina 2-16 by former Lastolite boss, Sean Henry, was an interesting iPhone accessory which should ship by the end of the year. It’s a sophisticated interactive camera grip for your iPhone and it’s called Pictar, from Miggo. Development of the Pictar was thanks to crowd-funding sight, Indiegogo. The funding target has been exceeded several times over.
It’s not a new idea; we’ll give that prize to Nokia with their camera/battery grip for the Windows Phone Lumia 1020 three years ago. However, MMiggo has taken the idea and really developed it into a sophisticated photographers iPhone accessory. The Pictar grip goes way beyond the Nokia grip, although it doesn’t contain a supplementary battery.
Wheels on the Pictar grip provide access to control typical camera functions like zooming and exposure compensation and there is a ‘smart’ wheel that can be assigned a selection of other control functions. The shutter release acts just like a ‘real’ camera, providing a two-step action to lock focus and then, when pressed home, to take the picture. The grip makes it easy to take conventional back camera photos or selfies. The grip also provides a conventional tripod socket and an accessory shoe, though not for hot-shoe triggered devices. You could attach an LED light, for example.
A novel feature is that the grip communicates with the attached iPhone wirelessly, not via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, but ultrasonics, using the phone’s built in microphone. Maybe your dog or cat could hear it but you won’t. We’ve seen other smartphone gadgets that make use of the headphone socket for similar purposes but as we now know the iPhone 7 has done away with headphone jacks. The Pictar system neatly side-steps the iPhone 7 hurdle and any need to licence Apple Lightning connector technology.
There are several versions of the Pictar grip Pictar PLUS fits iPhone 6 PLUS and iPhone 6S PLUS. The Pictar One is compatible with iPhone models 4 to 6S. It’s not yet certain if the iPhone 6 version will be iPhone 7 compatible out of the box but the company is already talking about adapting the existing product, where necessary.
Pre-order prices start at around £89, depending on version.