Although DSLR cameras have LCD screens, they also have eyepieces that allow photographers to get a close, glare-free look at their shots. So, what if you use a smartphone for your photo-taking/video-shooting, instead of a DSLR? Well, that's where Oko comes in.
Created by inventor Shai Goitein (who previously brought us the PowerUp series of powered-paper-airplane kits), Oko consists of a silicone smartphone housing, on the back of which are two eyecups equipped with 6x magnifying ocular lenses. That protruding eyepiece section is eyeglasses-friendly, and folds down when not in use.
The wrap-around silicone serves to shield the phone's screen from glare, although users can still reach in through its open bottom in order to access the phone's touchscreen controls. This feature also allows multiple people to review photos at the same time, without having to remove the housing.
Shots can be taken by tapping the phone's onscreen shutter release button, or by pressing one of two buttons built into the the housing – depending on whether users go with a left- or right-handed setup, one or the other of those buttons will depress the phone's volume control switch, which doubles as a shutter release on compatible phones.
Along with glare-reduction and an increased ability for photographers to "immerse" themselves in the shot, another one of Oko's claimed advantages is the fact that it allows users to get a better grip on their phone, allowing for more stability. That said, the device is clearly optimized for getting horizontal landscape-format shots and video, as opposed to vertical portrait-format shots.
If you're interested, Oko is currently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign. If everything works out, a pledge of US$39 will get you one, along with a basic neck strap. The planned retail price, which will include a fancier strap, is $99. For higher pledge amounts, backers will also get a hard-shell carrying case, along with one to four add-on lenses for their phone.
Oko is demonstrated in the following video. A list of compatible smartphones is available via the link below.
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