Pictar One gives you a grip on your iPhone photography [Review]

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Because all accessories needed to be categorized, the Pictar One is an iPhone camera grip.

But the word grip kind of sells it short when you learn just how the Pictar One works to make the iPhone camera feel and shoot more like a DSLR.

The grip – because there’s no other word for it — generated a ton of excitement and cash on Kickstarter last year finally went on sale today as the device’s early backers just recently began receiving their units.

Smartphone camera grips generally provide a couple of advantages to mobile photographers. They give an ergonomic slip-free grip like a more conventional camera with a strategically placed shutter button. That shutter is more of a remote trigger that trips your native camera via Bluetooth with an app developed by the case maker.

The Pictar One, made by Jerusalem-based miggö, adjusts to most iPhones (there is a Pictar One Plus for the 6 Plus and 7 Plus) and covers about two-thirds of an uncased iPhone.

It’s not just a grip with a shutter button. In fact, the second-most valuable dial allows you to adjust your exposure, there is also a smart wheel for quick access to present modes, but if miggö made the Pictar One with only the shutter button, which locks your exposure and focus, and the exposure compensation dial, it would be worth the $99.99.

Pictar One
There’s nothing like a good button or dial.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

But here’s where the title of grip seems rather dull when you consider how the Pictar One does its job with is companion app. It does not use Bluetooth technology, but rather a series of undetectable frequencies that link the native iPhone camera with the Pictar app and Pictar device.

The Pictar One takes a CR 1/2 AA battery, which is readily available and requires replacement every four to six months.

miggö is a camera accessories company that tries to reinvent certain gadgets if only to make them a little better. The mini tripod seen in a couple of the pictures for this story is from miggö and is called the Splat. It molds into a stiff stand or wraps around a tree branch, which is great for action cameras.

The company also makes great waterproof camera bags, rain covers for cameras, tension-releasing camera straps and now the Pictar One.

If the price seems steep consider that you are likely to have the Pictar One for a couple of generations as it’s spring-loaded side adjusts to iPhones of any width and thickness. Some accessories companies have designed nice shutter cases for certain iPhone models, but don’t seem to follow up with a new case when the next gen model changes slightly. Manufacturing a new dedicated case with this sophistication gets expensive.

The Pictar One does deliver on the promise of making your iPhone shooting experience more DSLR-like in that your grip on the camera is more steady, comfortable and secure, and your ability to adjust your settings is more reflexive.

Pictar One
I like photography with the iPhone camera but the Pictar One makes it enjoyalbe to hold as a camera.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac
Pictar One
The Pictar App is simple and quick as it accesses your camera features.
Photo: David Pierini/Cult of Mac

This, of course, brings us to a negative about the Pictar One, which is more a statement about current battery technology than it is about miggö’s device. The camera turned on for an extended period will, of course, drain your iPhone battery.

You will have to factor in battery life and charging time.

Another concern I have is for the person who tends to drop their devices. The Pictar One is made of plastic and so I am not confident it is super durable.

However, the company does include a couple of safeguards to protect both Pictar and iPhone. The grip comes with a wrist and neck strap. There is also a nice bag in which to store the grip when it is not in use.

It is worth mention that if you like shooting with lens attachments from olloclip, Moment or any other company and use their cases to mount the lens, you may have to revert to a clip attachment. I have a case from olloclip and it actually fit inside the Pictar One, but not all mount cases may be that thin.

Price: Pictar One, $99.99; Pictar One Plus, $109.99

Buy from: https://mymiggo.com/

Cult of Mac received a preproduction sample from miggö for this review. Read Cult of Mac’s reviews policy.