Given the popularity of smartphone photography, many people no longer even own a stand-alone camera. That said, there is something to be said for the physical buttons and ergonomic design of cameras, that a phone just can't match. As a result, we've seen several docking devices that essentially turn smartphones into cameras. The Pictar is the latest, offering some handy features.
Working with iPhone models 4 through 6s, the Pictar has a molded hand grip along with several button controls. This allows for one-handed (and gloved) picture-taking.
The main shutter release button works like that of a DSLR, in that a half-way press sets the focus, while a full press actually takes the shot. There's also a ring that lets you zoom in and out, and that switches between the front and rear cameras when pressed.
The iris is controlled using an exposure compensation wheel, while a "smart wheel" can be programmed to control features of your choice using an accompanying app – in its default setting, it's used to switch between camera modes.
There's also a quarter-inch threaded tripod mount on the bottom of the Pictar, plus a cold shoe mount for items such as mics or lights on the top.
Interestingly, the phone communicates with the device using inaudible high-frequency audio signals. The technology reportedly uses less power than Bluetooth.
Miggo, the company that designed the Pictar, is now raising production funds for it on Kickstarter. A pledge of US$75 will get you one, assuming all goes as it should.