Hands On with the Miggo Pictar Camera Grip for iPhones
Miggo showed off its Pictar camera grip at IFA in Berlin this week. This accessory works with just about every iPhone from the iPhone 4 through the iPhone 7 Plus. It adds a large grip area to hold onto, as well as hardware buttons for controlling the camera application. Here's a quick look at this $100 accessory.
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Here's an interesting one. Most any avid photographer will tell you that shooting with a real camera — one that has a dedicated space for firmly gripping the device — cannot be replicated by mobile phones. Miggo, an Israeli company, is here to tell you differently.
According to company reps we spoke to in Berlin, the company originally launched on Kickstarter and quickly exceeded its financing goals. Miggo marked the official debut of the Pictar back at CES (I guess we missed it!) and the final version of the device reached the market in the early summer months. What does it do? It makes taking pictures a more physical effort.
First and foremost, this grip fits every single iPhone from the iPhone 4 through the iPhone 7 Plus. It's made with a spring grip that can easily accommodate any of these devices from Apple. The phone slides in easily and is held firmly in place by the Pictar accessory.
The Pictar has a nice grip so you can grab your iPhone as you would any dSLR and start shooting. It's not huge, but the rubber and other plastic materials feel great under the thumb and really help you hold onto your phone. I was pleased with the overall effect, particularly since I prefer that tactile feel of dSLRs for real picture-taking activities.
There are a number of physical controls that help. On the front of the Pictar you'll find a scroll wheel. This helps you zoom in and out via the Pictar camera application. (By the way, the Miggo Pictar does not interact with the native iPhone camera app; you have to use the Pictar app.) If you press the scroll wheel in, it will switch to the selfie camera. Neat.
You'll find three more hardware control on top. The first is the shutter button, which is a two-stage job. Press it half way to focus and all the way to shoot the image. This is a great thing to add to the iPhone. There are also two rotating dials on top. The left dial controls exposure. You can quickly and easily dial exposure up or down to match the lighting. The other handles the Pictar camera's shooting modes, so spinning the dial will change the app from auto to video, selfie, and so on. There are 10 shooting modes in all.
The buttons are a godsend, as I generally dislike tapping on screens to shoot pictures. According to Miggo, the Pictar communicates wirelessly using microphones and receivers. It doesn't connect via Bluetooth or WiFi, and there's no Lightning port to plug the Pictar into your iPhone. There's not delay at all; the app, the phone, and the accessory all speak to one another instantly. It's quite impressive, if not a bit bulky for carrying around in your pocket.
Last, there's a softshoe mount on the top for a video light. It cannot handle real-time flash syncing, but if you put an always-on light on top of the Pictar, it will hold it firmly. Miggo says the Pictar's internal battery lasts for 4 to 5 months. It ships with a detachable strap and a neoprene sleeve.
The Miggo Pictar costs $99 for Apple's smaller iPhones and $109 for the iPhone 6 Plus, 6s Plus, and 7 Plus. Miggo plans to extend the Pictar to Samsung and Huawei handsets later this year.
Check out our video to see the Pictar in action.
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