Mobile Technology

Kodak's Ektra is a camera first, smartphone second

Kodak's Ektra is a camera firs...
The Kodak Ektra is a smartphone with a focus on photgraphy
The Kodak Ektra is a smartphone with a focus on photgraphy
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The Kodak Ektra's outward design is inspired by its camera history, from the shape right down to the dedicated, physical shutter button
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The Kodak Ektra's outward design is inspired by its camera history, from the shape right down to the dedicated, physical shutter button
The Kodak Ektra is a smartphone with a focus on photgraphy
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The Kodak Ektra is a smartphone with a focus on photgraphy
A leather finish continues the Kodak Ektra's classic style
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A leather finish continues the Kodak Ektra's classic style
Even the Kodak Ektra's accessories and software bring to mind the good old days of photography
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Even the Kodak Ektra's accessories and software bring to mind the good old days of photography
The 5-inch screen displays at a resolution of 1080p, and the power on the inside is similarly mid-range
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The 5-inch screen displays at a resolution of 1080p, and the power on the inside is similarly mid-range
View gallery - 5 images

It's been a while since anybody called a smartphone a "camera-phone," but photography stalwart Kodak may be breathing new life into the term. The company's first foray into the phone game, the IM5, was essentially Granddad's First Smartphone, but now it's drawn heavily from its history and announced the Ektra, a photo-focused phone with a 21-MP camera, a range of manual modes for setting up a shot, and a detailed editing app for fiddling in post.

While the name stumbles off the tongue a little, avid photographers may recognize the "Ektra" name from Kodak's classic camera of the 1940s. With that title setting up its roots, the Ektra is a camera first and a phone second, right down to the shape and texture of the device and the inclusion of a dedicated, physical shutter button. The hardware itself was developed by Bullitt Group, the company behind the chunky CAT phone.

The main camera boasts 21-MP resolution and an f2.0 aperture, alongside features like phase detection auto focus, HDR and optical image stabilization to make for better shots and 4K video recording. Facing forward, the Ektra's 13-MP selfie cam is closer to the standard for a phone's main camera. On megapixels alone, that main camera is above average but not unheard of: Motorola's Moto X line has had them for a while, and as far as we can tell, the Nokia Lumia 1020's crazy 41-MP camera is still leading the pack.

Continuing the classic theme, the Ektra's camera software is designed with a familiar SLR dial for selecting the mode, complete with some haptic feedback. These modes include HDR, Macro, Sport, Night, Video, Panorama and Bokeh, or a Smart mode that chooses the best settings for each shot. For the more hands-on photographers that the Ektra is targeting, a Manual mode allows them to fiddle with exposure, ISO, focus, white balance and shutter speed.

The Kodak Ektra's outward design is inspired by its camera history, from the shape right down to the dedicated, physical shutter button
The Kodak Ektra's outward design is inspired by its camera history, from the shape right down to the dedicated, physical shutter button

There are no shortage of ways to adjust the shots in post, either, with a built-in editing app that the company claims is on par, power-wise, with the software you'd usually find on a desktop computer. A Super 8 app overlays photos with nostalgic filters, and the software suite is rounded out by apps to easily share shots on social media or send them off to Kodak to print and deliver to you.

Under the hood, the Ektra runs Android 6.0 (Marshmallow) and is powered by a Helio X-20 Decacore processor, 3 GB of RAM and a 3,000-mAh battery – all fairly mid-range specs. There's 32 GB of storage space on board, but that can be expanded via micro SD cards. Back on the outside, the 5-inch screen displays in 1080p resolution, while the textured finish and camera hump and grip are reminiscent of old SLRs and can be complemented by heritage leather accessories to complete the old school look.

Kodak says the Ektra will be available in Europe before the end of the year for £449 (US$550), but hasn't yet mentioned any price or released dates for other markets.

Source: Kodak

View gallery - 5 images
8 comments
oldguy
This is great for my business. I often have to take pictures AND i have to carry my phone. Phone pictures are just okay, but this phone/camera promises much better pictures. Im sold.
zr2s10
I hope they offer that here! With those specs, it's one heck of a phone. I would definitely consider this for my next phone! I was looking at the CAT S60, but the internal specs aren't much better than my current phone. I could buy a FLIR add-on and use it on any phone (including this one) for much less.
Albert L
If they offer it to the USA I hope they do an unlocked version so people are not locked into maybe 1 provider as with the 41 mp Nokia. Be great if they could offer the 41 mp chip as outdoor photographers often need to zoom in distant subjects. Kodak could come back to life with this product if they make it right. Look what the iphone did to apple.
JonTrimble
MP's mean nothing w/o a quality lens and ability to shoot RAW/DNG.
danmar
It looks classy. Very nice.
IanRivlin
Will it have:- 1) RAW file capability? 2) Removable battery? Without those two factors, I wouldn't be buying it.
butkus
High MP-s are essential for oversampling, which can far surpass regular 1:1 px imaging, and to enable some degree of non-mech zoom allowing for less bulk and adding to reliability. A quality glass lens is no less important, and so forth. No corners must be cut on any parts for a system to achieve it's maximum potential. Not a single current cameraphone can claim having aimed anywhere near the precedences and benchmarks set by Nokia's 808 and 1020. Now this specific attempt from Kodak is essentially identical to Panasonic's (except for the latter having actually done their own engineering) foray into the camera-above-phone niche with DMC-CM1 (and then downgraded to DMC-CM10): a run of the mill 20MP sensor paired with an anemic LED blinker and uninspiring guts wrapped in an almost non-pocketable bulk. Nothing outstanding at imaging, the primary selling point, and neither at anything else. Design alone seems unlikely to sway that many people to decide for it over the endless row of similarly specced slabs with a projected 6-month lifetime as Panasonic's failure has so well demonstrated.