Hands-on with Pictar, which adds buttons and wheels to your iPhone camera


There’s no denying that your smartphone’s camera is getting higher and higher for each technology, however what’s a poor pictures nerd to do about controllability? Miggo’s Kickstarter-funded Pictar is transport quickly, and is perhaps simply the factor to educate your iPhone some extra pictures abilities. At Photokina, I had an opportunity to strive it myself.

“Smartphones have great cameras,” says Sean Henry, the pictures business veteran who introduced Pictar to life. “But for advanced users, the functions are either hidden or hard to get to.”

Solving an issue no person knew existed

Pictar is a fantastically intelligent answer to that exact downside. It adds a grip with a shutter button and three management wheels to the iPhone. One of the wheels controls the zoom, one is programmable to quite a few completely different features, and the final is an publicity compensation wheel. The shutter button contains focus / publicity lock on a half-press very like you’ll discover on conventional cameras. And, after all, it takes a photograph if you depress the button absolutely.

The method Miggo’s Pictar communicates with the cellphone is price dwelling on for a second. Instead of paying Apple’s Made For iPhone charges to talk utilizing the Lightning connector and narrowly averting the bullet of getting made redundant by iPhone 7’s lack of headphone socket, the product makes use of a extremely elegant answer. It communicates with the app by taking part in high-frequency sounds, inaudible to the human ear. The cellphone app, in flip, makes use of the microphone constructed into the cellphone to pay attention to the indicators and act accordingly. A bit unconventional — and I had some doubts about how effectively this is able to work after I first noticed the Kickstarter mission — however I needn’t have feared. Even on a loud trade-show flooring, Pictar labored flawlessly. Best of all, the identical product that works with iPhone 6 and 6s can be utilized with Apple’s latest iPhone 7.

Shipping in December

Pictar is a type of uncommon merchandise that I by no means actually knew I wanted in my life till I attempted it myself. Yes, it appears dumb and it’s so simple to write it off as a gimmick… But you’d be incorrect to do this till you’ve tried it. I’ve actually by no means felt I wanted an actual shutter button on my cellphone. Having mentioned that, the sensation of reduction of having the ability to make changes by turning wheels relatively than having to do sophisticated multi-touch or touch-and-hold maneuvers is robust. As a photographer, the product makes the iPhone really feel like a way more succesful piece of photographic package, which is a outstanding accomplishment by Miggo.

All of that isn’t to say that the product is totally good; the button-press for the shutter button felt a bit stiff in contrast to what you discover even on an entry-level compact camera, and it’s onerous to know by really feel whether or not or not you’ve succeeded in doing a half-press. The flip wheels additionally felt a bit low-cost — cheaper than its $120 price ticket would point out. If there’s ever a second model of it, I hope the producers both drop the value or improve the texture of the product to be extra in line with the telephones it’s designed to include.

“We are shipping in December,” Henry confirms. “If you want one as soon as possible, pre-order sooner rather than later!”