Pictar could make your iPhone a better camera than it already is

It isn't the first case that's attempted to give your iPhone a more traditional camera look and feel, but it could be the best.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read

It's not a mystery that most people use their smartphones as their primary camera, if not only camera. So it makes sense that you'd want the experience of using your phone's camera to be a bit more, well, camera-like.

There have been attempts including cases and slide-on grips and LG recently stepped up with an add-on grip for the G5 smartphone, and now there's Pictar. Created by camera-accessory maker Miggo, this Kickstarter project claims to be "probably the best iPhone camera grip ever built."

That's not saying much given past options, but Pictar nonetheless boasts some impressive features enthusiasts might be willing to pay $90 for (approximately £60 and AU$115). It isn't a full case, but more of a holder with a grip. It expands to fit iPhone 4/4S, 5/5S/5C/SE and 6/6S models, but not the 6 Plus/6S Plus (which seems like a bad move since it's the one with optical image stabilization). According to Miggo, it's not compatible with Android devices because of the large number of devices and it relies on an iOS app to work.


Pictar gives you a grip and physical camera controls for you iPhone.


You see, instead of using a physical or Bluetooth connection like other grips, Pictar uses a high-frequency dual tone (18,500 - 20,000kHz) to talk to your iPhone. These tones, combined with the app, 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. It's powered by a watch battery, too, so there's no frequent recharging.

The whole idea is to not only give you a better way to grip the phone while shooting, but to give you more control over settings that are ignored when you stay in Auto all the time. This includes adjusting ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation. If that idea sounds appealing, you have until May 27 to back the project.

As always, please note that CNET's reporting on crowdfunding campaigns is not an endorsement of the project or its creators. Though Miggo is an established company, contributing to a crowdfunded project comes with risk. Before contributing to any campaign, read the crowdfunding site's policies, such as those for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, to find out your rights (and refund policies, or the lack thereof) before and after a campaign ends.