UNBOXED: Reviewing the miggö Pictar One Plus iPhone Camera Grip
Much can be made about the impact that the smartphone has had on the digital imaging market. There’s no denying the direct correlation between the rise in smartphone and the drastic decline in point-and-shoot camera sales over the past decade. The second these devices in our pockets obtained the ability to shoot better-than-decent pictures, the writing was on the wall for the digital camera.
There are certainly still plenty of use cases for dedicated photography equipment—just talk to the guys in our video studio or art department here in the office. But even I have a hard time anymore justifying lugging a DSLR camera body and two lenses with me to trade shows just to take some pictures. My iPhone X does me just fine. (The photos accompanying this review, in fact, were shot on that very device.)
Much like I still enjoy reading a print paper, though, I can easily and immediately relate to consumers out there who argue that the camera experience on a smartphone is less than ideal. Sure, phones today take highly-detailed and gorgeous images. But that’s not really the problem with smartphone cameras. Rather, it’s a matter of stability and device security. And that’s exactly where a product like the Pictar One Plus iPhone Camera Grip by miggö fills what some might consider a crucial need.
This $100 device comes with the promise of turning the iPhone into a DSLR experience. And though I wouldn’t go so far as to print that on the packaging (which miggö did anyway), the Pictar One Plus does offer a much friendlier point-and-shoot experience on the iPhone. Immediately after securing the phone into the product, the improved grip is apparent. Beyond the fact that you get more material to hold in your hand, the device comes with a wrist (or neck) strap. Having that tiny little piece of fabric available to you while using your device as a camera is more satisfying than I’d normally be willing to admit. But knowing that I won’t see my $1,000 iPhone go crashing onto the ground below me if it happens to slip out of my hand is such a major weight off of my shoulders—no exaggeration there whatsoever. So, the improved grip and the added security of the strap alone carry this product.
Then there’s the improved camera software experience. Though Apple’s own Camera app is sufficient, it’s really nothing more than just that—sufficient. Pictar has its own proprietary app that the device syncs to, and there are a whole host of feature upgrades available to the user there. For starters, similar to the old digital camera experience, a half push on the shutter button of the Pictar One Plus initiates an autofocus function that will clear up the picture prior to the user snapping that shutter. Additionally, you get a simplified exposure system, a smart wheel that’s fully programmable, and more.
The existence of the app also produces some gripes with the Pictar One Plus—namely, the way the app syncs with the device. Miggö developed a patented sound frequency system that connects the app to the product. That’s cool and all, but it means the user can’t actually use this product with the iPhone’s own camera app, or any other photo-taking software for that matter. That could be a deal breaker for some consumers. Additionally, I did find that the app would crash on occasion. It didn’t happen often, but one of the things you hope for in photography software is a stable user interface because the last thing you want is to miss an important or special moment because your camera app crashed.
The Pictar One Plus itself is a well-built product. Some reviews knock the device’s buttons as being clunky or cheap feeling, but I really didn’t have a problem with them. It is strange having to put a 1/2 AA battery into the device, which was probably the first time I’ve ever even heard of a 1/2 AA battery. But knowing that you’ll get a few months use out of it before having to search for a new one is comforting—and a far better option battery-wise, on miggö’s part, than tasking users with remembering to recharge this thing before every use. An added bonus for retailers here is that miggö built this product with accessories in mind, and they have an extensive line of ons for the Pictar camera grip, including flash components, tripods, and more.
While there may be other more-premium offerings on the market—or even some lower-budget dedicated cameras you could find today—the Pictar One Plus feels like the ideal camera grip solution for the iPhone. It fills a critical need in providing that more-secure and realistic photography experience with the added bonus of an improved camera app.