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Mobile Accessories

Pictar Pro makes your phone feel more like a premium camera

It even adds a viewfinder.

Miggo

Camera-accessory maker Miggo's latest Kickstarter project is designed to fix a major shortcoming of shooting pictures with your phone: ergonomics.

The Pictar Pro is tailor-made for phone photographers who crave physical controls, miss having a viewfinder or simply want a steady hold while shooting. The slide-on grip, which works with iPhones and Android phones, builds on the original Pictar Miggo launched in 2016 with better materials and bigger controls.  

I had a chance to use one briefly and the satin-finished brass Miggo gives the Pro grip a nice weight and a premium feel. Instead of an awkward spring clamp to hold your phone in place, it has a quick-release ratchet clamp. Just open it and squeeze it tight around your phone. And even with your phone in it, there's space to attach add-on lenses.

miggo-pictar-pro-specs
Miggo

Larger metal dials on top are used for changing shooting modes, adjusting exposure compensation and other settings. The shutter release has a more pronounced half-press mechanism to help you focus accurately and its zoom lever smooths out the performance and its speed is adjustable.   

These features are all made possible by Pictar's app and your phone's connection to the Pro. But instead of using a physical or Bluetooth connection like other grips, Pictar uses a high-frequency dual tone (18,500 to 20,000kHz) to talk to your phone. These tones allow the grip's physical buttons and dials to control camera functions. This means you can just slide the phone in, launch the app and start shooting.

Also, just below the Pictar Pro's cold-shoe mount is a small slot that lets you connect a folding eyepiece. When attached, the app's interface shrinks down to fit inside, essentially becoming an electronic viewfinder. It happens instantly and means you can shoot without fighting glare.

Pictar Pro's viewfinder in action. 

Miggo

The battery is improved, too. While the original Pictar is powered by a watch battery, the Pro has a built-in 1400mAh battery with Qi wireless charging. This will not only let you wirelessly charge the grip, but your phone as well. 

A $119 pledge, which converts to approximately AU$165 and £90, gets you a Pictar Pro, but you'll need to pay $159 to get the full kit with the viewfinder, a case and neck and wrist straps. 

Miggo met and blew past its Kickstarter goal of $25,000 long ago and its campaign comes to an end on Nov. 21 2018 at 9 a.m. EST. The Pictar Pro is expected to ship in March 2019.

As always, please note that CNET's reporting on crowdfunding campaigns is not an endorsement of the project or its creators. Before contributing to any campaign, read the crowdfunding site's policies -- in this case, Kickstarter -- to find out your rights (and refund policies, or the lack thereof) before and after a campaign ends.

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