It was a pretty bold move for the pioneering but fading photography icon Kodak to launch a smartphone dedicated to serious photographers one month after Apple’s release of the highly anticipated iPhone 7 Plus.
The Android handset was released in Europe and Australia and some lackluster reviews soon followed. But Kodak and its partner in smartphones, Bullitt, still have high hopes in putting the Kodak Ektra in the hands of more photographers.
Early this month, Kodak posted a video of well-known street photographer Thomas Leuthard putting the Ektra – named after a popular Kodak camera from the 1940s – through its paces.
Leuthard does make some nice still images with the Ektra, uses the camera’s setting to give video footage a nostalgic Super 8 feel and uses the photo editing app, Snapped, to show off the camera’s social media integration.
But as well-versed in the language of light and composition as Leuthard is, he could probably figure out how to make a good picture with a potato.
The iPhone is 10 years old this year and much has been written about the increasing camera quality over each generous and the shoot-and-share ecosystem that led to an explosion in the popularity of photography – and left traditional camera companies a bit in the dust.
The iPhone 7 Plus has been arguably groundbreaking because of the improvements to the camera, featuring a bigger sensor for low-light photography and two lenses, one of which is a small but true optical zoom.
The Kodak Ektra specs seem to be on par with other quality smartphone cameras, like the iPhone, the new Google Pixel or the Samsung Galaxy phones. Kodak’s handset has a 21-megapixel sensor with a lens that opens up to an aperture of f/2.0. Settings can be quickly changed with a dial on the interface and a variety of scene modes paves the way for creativity.
There’s no word of the Extra hitting the U.S. market. In the United Kingdom, the camera-forward phone runs the equivalent of $550.
Some reviewers said the tech on the Ektra offers nothing special and doubted whether it would lure mobile photographers to put down their iPhones.
I give Kodak and Bullitt points for trying and hope the two companies push the technology if the project can survive long enough for a second generation. My hope is that the Kodak Ektra inspires the companies that have catered to pro photographers to find a way to integrate social media and mobile phone networks into the menus of DSLRs, which remain go-to tools for commercial and editorial shooters.
A WiFi-enabled camera paired with a smartphone is great but adds a step and a little bit of time that in a world that expects immediate streaming or publishing from the scene.
Source: The Phoblographer