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Pictar One: a camera grip for your iPhone

Smartphones may be fantastic pieces of technology, but when it comes to ergonomy for photographic use, their performance is less than stellar. If you’re a iPhone user, the solution has a name: Pictar One.

Pictar One: a camera grip for your iPhone

Launched recently, the Pictar One camera-grip is the ideal companion for your iPhone, if you use it a lot to take photos. Finally, there is something to hold your smartphone like a real camera.

Although the iPhone camera has significantly increased in quality with each new model, the physical design of the phone has remained stagnant offering no ergonomic solution to users looking for a comfortable photo-taking experience. True, there are special modular grips, like those from Shoulderpod, that are ideal for video shooters, but if you only want a better way to hold your phone while taking pictures, there is no solution available. Or there wasn’t…

Pictar One, a new camera grip from miggo, the same company that introduced in the market products as the Agua bags and backpacks or the Splat flexible tripod, is the solution: a camera-grip which shattered crowdfunding goals when miggo went to indiegogo looking for support for the concept. The accessory provides you with a sleek ergonomic grip and the ability to unlock DSLR features like ISO, shutter speed and more on your iPhone that you can’t access in the native camera app now.

“When we launched the crowdfunding campaign for Pictar in 2016, we were blown away by the reaction and feedback we received from media and consumers alike,” said Guy Sprukt, co-founder of miggo.  “We set out to develop a solution addressing an unmet need and wanted to put forth an accessory that would make the iPhone feel and shoot like a real camera – we could not be prouder of the result. We’re confident that Pictar will be well received among consumers and are eagerly awaiting what they’re able to do and create once they snap in and start taking images.”

Pictar One is, in fact, two: the Pictar One, which can accommodate standard sized iPhones,  and larger model, the Pictar One Plus, designed to work with the plus-sized iPhones available today. Functionality was a key player in miggo’s vision for Pictar, but the physical design of the device was also an important element, goals that required extensive testing until a final design was reached.

Pictar One: a camera grip for your iPhone

After conducting extensive research into how users capture images with their iPhone, the key shortcomings that surfaced were poor control and an uncomfortable grip – both resulting in a poor user experience. With that in mind, miggo designed Pictar with ergonomics and classic cameras in mind. It allows a firm, comfortable grip with buttons and dials placed perfectly to align where the user’s fingers fall. Moreover, it gives users the ability to operate their iPhone camera with just one hand, even when wearing gloves. The comfortable grip helps prevent accidental drops and significantly improves the sharpness of images. Included with Pictar is a hand strap, neck strap and carrying case. The bottom of Pictar offers a ¼” 20 standard connection for a tripod, and on top there is a “cold shoe” connection for external lighting.

Pictar One: a camera grip for your iPhone

The grip solution was only part of the problem. How would the grip communicate with the camera? Pictar is designed to communicate with the iPhone via a dedicated camera app which unlocks key features inaccessible on the native app. Each of the physical controls found on Pictar drive a specific function or setting and does so using high-frequency dual tone sounds. Each physical control is assigned a specific tone, and with each turn of a 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 high-frequency dual tone (18,500 – 20,000 khz) is inaudible to the human ear and significantly increases battery life when compared to Bluetooth connectivity. Using a standard CR ½ AA battery which is easily found worldwide, miggo estimates 4-6 months of use before the need to replace the power source is required.

Some of Pictar’s key features include five user programmable wheels/buttons for unrivaled control over the iPhone camera, ergonomic slip-free grip for one-handed use, a revolutionary communication between hardware and app via ultrasonic sounds and control over iPhone camera features not possible in the native app, not to mention the feeling of holding a real camera. It’s interesting, in fact, to see that when looking for a practical solution miggo found it in a design that has been around for decades now. It’s a pity that Pictar is not available for more smartphones, as it really seems to be a solution for those who always carry their camera in their pocket.

Pictar One and Pictar One Plus are available now at select retailers for $99.99 and $109.99 respectively.

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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…
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