The smartphone photography bar gets raised at the release of each new device. But before iPhones and Pixels start knocking industry-standard DSLRs out of the market, they must address the key issue of controllability. At present, any photographer who wants to go beyond ‘point-and-shoot’ is hard-pushed to do so with just one button in their arsenal. Pictar is the intelligent hardware solution we’ve been waiting for. It enhances the phone camera by adding a traditional grip with a shutter button and three control wheels: one for zoom, one to navigate different functions, and one to control exposure. As with regular cameras, the shutter button includes a half-press focus lock.
Notably, Pictar communicates with the app by playing high-frequency sounds, inaudible to the human ear. In turn, the app uses the phone’s microphone to interpret and react to the signals. This clever touch means it won’t fall foul of Apple’s headphone jack-less iPhones. Those who cry gimmick at the first sight of a smartphone attachment would be wise to give this a try first.
The Bottom Liner: Shipping in December, Pictar will be 2017’s must-have for the serious phonetographer.