Pictar Pro makes phones even more DSLR-like with viewfinder and better build

Who says smartphones can’t have viewfinders and physical controls? The Miggo Pictar Pro gives iPhone and Android phones a viewfinder and DSLR-like control wheels along with an extra battery. Even more impressive, the phone grip, like the original Pictar (see our full review), does it all without a wired or Wi-Fi connection with the phone.

The Pictar Pro is a photography-focused phone grip that’s designed to give smartphone photographers as many DSLR-like controls as possible. Like the original Pictar unveiled 2016, the Pictar Pro has a larger grip, control dials, and a shutter button to trigger photos. But the latest grip takes that even further by adding several new features, including a zoom toggle that works for photos and videos. 

One wheel controls exposure compensation to lighten or darken the image, while the second smart wheel selects the shooting modes that are available inside the Pictar app. The modes include auto, shutter priority, ISO priority, manual, macro, video, selfie, sport, and filters. The wheel also doubles as a button — pressing the wheel will scroll through the different flash buttons. Users can also change the function of the button using the app.

But perhaps even more interesting is the Pictar Pro’s optional viewfinder accessory. The viewfinder attaches via a dedicated slot and sits over the top of the phone’s screen, and then the screen is resized to fit the viewfinder. The viewfinder, with an optical plastic lens, blocks out the sunlight that can cause screen glare, making it viewable even under bright conditions. When not in use, it collapses into itself for storage.

Miggo also showed us the viewfinder, however, it was a non-working unit; Miggo claims the production version will work.

The grip also houses an extra battery that provides additional power to phones that support Qi wireless charging. A cold shoe connection at the top of the camera holds accessories, like a video light or microphone. And because the lens area of the phone is exposed, you can attach add-on lenses without the grip blocking the way.

miggo pictar pro kickstarter mic and lens

Like the original Pictar, the Pictar Pro doesn’t connect to the phone using Bluetooth or hard connection. Instead, it communicates using sound. Each control you make, sends out a different sound that the app recognizes. When the app recognizes the sound, it changes that particular setting. 

When we reviewed the original Pictar, we thought the case performed surprisingly well using those sounds to adjust settings, without a noticeable lag. The sounds are so high pitched, they aren’t audible to humans, Miggo says.

Besides the physical controls, extra battery, and viewfinder, the shape of the Pictar Pro gives smartphone photographers a more comfortable grip. The grip also has a tripod mount screw at the bottom. Like the original Pictar, the new version is inspired by historic cameras, but this time, from ’70s and ’80s designs using a satin-finish brass construction. The grip also includes a neck and wrist strap.

Digital Trends had an opportunity to see a sample of the Pictar Pro. It has a much more solid and robust metallic build quality than the original plastic Pictar, and is a tad heavier to provide a nice weight balance when shooting. The textured “shark skin” grip is also more substantial, and a spring-loaded mechanism lets it accommodate the largest of smartphones, whether it be iOS or Android. The Pictar Pro comes with a wrist strap and a neck strap, both made from parachute cord and leather.

Miggo is taking to Kickstarter to fund the project, with awards that include the Pictar Pro starting at $119. After the campaign, Miggo estimates delivery sometime toward the beginning of 2019. While the original Pictar was designed for iPhones, the Pictar Pro, as mentioned, is compatible with a long list of iPhone and Android models, with the full list of compatible models on the Kickstarter page.

Product Review

Yuneec’s Mantis Q will make you wish you bought a DJI drone

Yuneec’s high-end drones are arguably the ones to beat in terms of flight control, design, and their photographic capabilities. But the company has struggled to make a low-end drone that’s worth buying, and the Mantis Q is proof of that…
Photography

The Panasonic FZ1000 gets a much-needed update alongside the smaller ZS80 zoom

Panasonic's 2014 superzoom camera with a larger sensor has finally seen an update. The new Panasonic FZ1000 II has a sensor that's better for low light, more physical controls, and new 4K Photo Mode features.
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One controller has fantastic battery life, but eventually your batteries will still die. To make it even better and ensure you never have to stop gaming, follow these tips.
Mobile

Be careful who you bokeh, jokes Apple’s latest iPhone ad

With iPhone sales under pressure, you'd think there wouldn't be much to laugh about at Apple HQ. But the company has seen fit to inject some humor into its latest handset ad, which highlights the camera's Depth Control feature.
Photography

Nikon will bring eye-detection autofocus to the Z6 and Z7 in May

An upcoming firmware update will bring Eye AF to the Nikon Z6 and Z7 -- along with improved autofocus performance in low light. The update will also give the cameras support for the CFexpress format.
Product Review

Canon democratizes full-frame with the EOS RP, but keep your expectations low

At just $1,300, the RP is Canon's least expensive full-frame camera yet, but it was born into a world of high-end, high-cost lenses where it doesn't yet feel at home.
Mobile

OnePlus 6T vs. Honor View 20: We compare the cameras in these ‘flagship killers’

For less than $600, you can buy either the OnePlus 6T or the Honor View 20, two extremely capable smartphones with plenty of exciting features. But which one has the best camera? We found out on a recent trip to France.
Photography

Fujifilm’s X-T30 is a semi-pro, feature-rich camera that’s affordable to boot

Fujifilm's newest mirrorless camera delivers the premium features of the X-T3 without the premium price, giving aspiring enthusiasts a lower-cost option that can still match the image quality of Fuji's flagship.
Photography

Fujifilm XP140 squeezes more durability, low-light ability into a waterproof cam

Fujifilm's waterproof compact can now head even further underwater. The Fujifilm XP140 features several upgrades, including a more durable body, a wider ISO range for low light, and expanded auto modes.
Photography

From f/1.2 primes to the mysterious DS, here are Canon’s upcoming RF lenses

Canon's EOS R mirrorless series will gain six new lenses this year. Canon just shared a list of six lenses under development, including four zooms and two prime lenses. One has a mysterious new feature called Defocus Smoothing.
Photography

From DSLRs to mirrorless, these are the best cameras you can buy right now

From entry-level models to full-frame flagships, many cameras take great photos and video. The best digital cameras, however, push the industry forward with innovative sensors and improved usability, among other things. Here are our…
Photography

Photography news: Wacom’s slimmer pen, Leica’s cinema special edition

In this week's photography news, Wacom launches a new slimmer pen for pro users. Leica's upcoming M10-P is designed for cinema, inside and out, with built-in cinema modes in the updated software.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Photography

What’s the difference between Lightroom CC and Lightroom Classic?

Lightroom CC has evolved into a capable photo editor, but is it enough to supplant Lightroom Classic? We took each program for a test drive to compare the two versions and see which is faster, more powerful, and better organized.