Photography

Pixii display-less digital rangefinder finally up for sale

Pixii display-less digital ran...
The Pixii digital rangefinder leverages the power of a smartphone for photo editing, sharing and storage
The Pixii digital rangefinder leverages the power of a smartphone for photo editing, sharing and storage
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The Pixii Camera does away with the LCD panel found on other digital cameras, making use of a screen that's probably already in your pocket instead - a smartphone
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The Pixii Camera does away with the LCD panel found on other digital cameras, making use of a screen that's probably already in your pocket instead - a smartphone
The Pixii digital rangefinder leverages the power of a smartphone for photo editing, sharing and storage
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The Pixii digital rangefinder leverages the power of a smartphone for photo editing, sharing and storage
Manual focus and manual on-camera controls
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Manual focus and manual on-camera controls
Sample image taken by Jerome Cuenot
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Sample image taken by Jerome Cuenot
Sample monochrome image taken using the Pixii digital rangefinder
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Sample monochrome image taken using the Pixii digital rangefinder
View gallery - 5 images

Back in 2018 we reported on an interesting pocket camera that offloaded much of its functionality to the ubiquitous smartphone. Now the Pixii M-mount digital rangefinder has gone up for sale.

Most flagship smartphones, and even budget-friendly models, now sport multi-camera setups with crazy megapixel counts, but the image sensors are still quite small compared to stand-alone cameras, and attaching quality lenses can be a challenge. The 138 x 79 x 33-mm (5.4 x 3.1 x 1.3 in) Pixii camera makes use of a 12-megapixel APC-S CMOS sensor, is compatible is Leica M-mount glass and can accommodate M39/LTM lenses via an adapter.

The camera offers a very hands-on kind of photography experience, with manual focus and manual controls. Users frame a shot through the optical rangefinder, which features LED backlit framelines for standard prime lenses, and exposure and focal length indicators. Once the electronic global shutter is activated, the image data is initially stored to its internal memory – which is either 8 GB or 32 GB of solid state storage, though the launch edition shaves that down to 4 GB – and a preview is simultaneously sent to a smartphone running a companion app over Bluetooth 5.

Manual focus and manual on-camera controls
Manual focus and manual on-camera controls

The smartphone essentially replaces the LCD display that you might find on the back of other digital cameras, and can be used to edit, share or store the photos. It can even be used to remotely trigger the shutter release for selfies or group shots.

The machined aluminum body has an accessory shoe and tripod mount, and is home to the image sensor, a dual-core ARM system-on-chip for internal processing, 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth tech, and a 1,000-mAh battery.

The Pixii Camera is available in gray or black, with the Launch Edition coming in at €2,700 (about US$3,000). The 8-GB standard edition is priced at €2,900, we've no word on what the 32-GB model will cost.

Product page: Pixii Camera A1112

View gallery - 5 images
5 comments
Tristan P
Yikes! That's expensive. May as well save up for a real Leica. Or just get a Fuji X-series camera instead.
minivini
Wow - too much for a Leica clone with such limited capabilities. Cool camera design, though.
JeffK
If they can build all of this into an essentially manual camera, why can't the same digital portion be built into a cassette that fits into the film handling mechanism of any 35 mm SLR or rangefinder camera. This could be something akin to the old Kodak Instamatic film cassette with an adjustment for any width difference between camera models. The only modification necessary to the host camera would be removal of the film pressure plate to allow room for the sensor in its place. I know that I'm not alone in having a box, bin or shelf full of 35 mm film cameras and lenses. Something like that with a price point of $1,000 or less would likely be a huge success.
Tristan P
@JeffK - it's been done by I'm Back - https://imback.eu/home/
JeffK
@Tristan P - Nearly got a headache looking at the I'm Back website. I think what that does is make instant "artsy" prints with that big add on box, though I couldn't stand the disjointed presentation long enough to be sure. I would like a device that would snap into the film chamber of any 35 mm camera and have a full or aps-c size sensor that would occupy the focal plane. The camera's shutter and aperture controls would adjust the exposure just as with film, using the match needle or whatever system is organic to the camera. You would obviously have to manually set the iso speed on the camera, though the adjustments for the digital section, iso, WB, etc., would be set from a phone or tablet. We certainly have the tech to do it, the rest is just engineering. The designer wouldn't have to be concerned with all the mechanics of building a camera, simply the electronics to fit the available space. It would be great from a conservation standpoint too; think of all those fine old optical masterpieces getting a new lease on life rather than gathering dust.