Thursday 17 November 2016

The Kodak Ektra smartphone

The first piece of technology in my November 2016 'gadget guru' conversation with Dave Hodgson on TRE Talk Radio Europe was the Kodak Ektra smartphone:

This was announced at the end of last month and is due to go on sale next month. It’s been described as a 'hybrid' because some of the controls give the same type of functionality as if you were using a Digital SLR camera. Also suggesting a 'proper' camera is the Ektra name: this was first used by Kodak back in 1941, so there’s a lot of history there... and a fair weight of expectation, too.

If you just look at the basic spec, it’s pretty impressive: on the back is a 21 megapixel camera with an f2 lens, on the front is a 13 megapixel camera for high-quality selfies, there's optical image stabilisation (which helps if you’re not very good at holding the camera rock steady), 4K video capture (which is pretty much professional standard) and Phase Detection Auto Focus. That last one, also known as PDAF, is starting to turn up on high-spec smartphones. It’s been standard on Digital SLRs for a while; it doesn’t need to use the contrast between your subject and the background to focus – and because it doesn’t need to work this out, it’s faster and is also better in low-light or on moving subjects.

The new Ektra has its own built-in camera app with a Scene Selection Dial that lets you quickly choose settings, rather like a regular camera – so instead of leaving it in automatic mode you can choose preset settings for sports, close-ups, panoramas, low light... that kind of thing. And there’s a manual mode that lets you adjust exposure, the ISO rating, focus, white balance and shutter speed. Plus, almost inevitably, there’s a dedicated shutter button. And as well as all this built-in camera stuff, there’s also built in photo editing. It’ll even produce videos in the style of an old Super 8 movie camera.

Everything runs on the Android operating system via a 2.3GHz processor with 32GB of expandable memory. SIM-free pricing in the UK is expected to be £449.