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Sakar shows QX-style, Vivitar-branded modular smart camera

By dpreview staff on Jan 14, 2014 at 00:41 GMT

One of the stands we didn't get a chance to visit at CES 2014 was that of Sakar International. Its Vivicam IU680 (as seen by digitalcamera.jp) at first looks like a competitor to Sony's QX models and JK Imaging's Kodak Smart Lenses. However, a closer look reveals that the lens module is interchangeable. We say lens module, rather than lens because it appears to be the same 10-30mm lens/sensor combination shown by Sakar at last year's CES under the Polaroid brand.

The Vivitar-branded 'Vivicam IU680' extends the 'smart lens' concept of Sony's QX cameras by moving to a modular camera. (Image from digitalcamera.jp)

The 10-30mm module appears to be the same one that Sakar was offering with the Polaroid iM1836 before it was forced to take that camera off the market. Details of that camera were hard to find (but the oft-quoted 27-80mm equivalent range would give it a 1"-type sensor). The flashgun awkwardly mounted on top of the Vivicam has also previously appeared with the Polaroid brand name. Pricing and availability have yet to be released.

Look familiar? Sakar first showed these camera modules under the Polaroid brand at 2013's CES. (Image from digitalcamera.jp)
Via: PetaPixel, Source: digitalcamera.jp

Comments

Total comments: 79
panpen
By panpen (3 months ago)

Hideous. One camera I'd use if Vivitar paid me to do it.

0 upvotes
CaseyComo
By CaseyComo (3 months ago)

Solution in search of a problem.

2 upvotes
sean000
By sean000 (3 months ago)

The geek in me really likes stuff like this, but the photographer in me loves cameras. A dedicated camera is sometimes an elegant work of art that represents an ideal combination of form and function. This? Not so much.

1 upvote
qwertyasdf
By qwertyasdf (3 months ago)

ViVicam....
I feel awkward saying that name...

Nonetheless, the fanboys would say this particular camera has that "Zeiss" 3D rendering.

0 upvotes
Kipplemaster
By Kipplemaster (3 months ago)

That really is astonishingly bad! Especially the comedy flashgun which looks like they have recycled a design from 1982 intended for a Kodak disc camera . Good luck to them in making the software work properly, something Sony had certainly not achieved when I tried the QX10.

1 upvote
Spectro
By Spectro (3 months ago)

no body interchangeable lens system. with an adapter you can stick a telephoto zoom to your cellphone.

2 upvotes
naththo
By naththo (3 months ago)

LOL is all I can say. Can't stand those tiny thing invention that is not a real camera. Get a grip people if you don't like some comment here we have different opinion. If you don't like it, go somewhere to read than here. I prefer real camera than that gimmick phone camera with tiny lens that get dirty/smear and look hazy every time picture is taken.

2 upvotes
Neodp
By Neodp (3 months ago)

There's modular good, and modular bad. To much of the camera industry says something is bad; but only because of a poor implementation. That includes total photographic benefits.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (3 months ago)

I don't understand why some guys here don't like the idea of a modular camera. They offer lens interchangeability, the sensor is not ridiculously small, you can have them mounted on your phone (whenever you want), you can achieve far better image quality, can have easier software updates/upgrades, and even pay a lower price. Some guys are even complaining this news should be anywhere else! What is wrong with you, guys?

I love the idea! I have a Nokia 701. Imagine they have its software compatible with Symbian OS and I could buy a mount for, let's say, 200-300 bucks, and then a lens. Awesome! They can even offer handgrips!

The only problem I see with this kind of product is if they ask the same price as an equivalent camera.

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
Revenant
By Revenant (3 months ago)

It's not necessarily the modularity that people don't like, but the fact that it's a smartphone add-on, rather than a dedicated camera with more photography-friendly ergonomics and controls. The Ricoh GXR, for example, could have been really interesting, if Ricoh had made more lens mount modules for it, rather than "lensor" modules.

0 upvotes
iae aa eia
By iae aa eia (3 months ago)

It seems to me you are comparing it with a regular camera when you talk about being dedicated and more photography-firendly ergonomics and controls when it is, actually, a category of its own. Let's say, modular phone camera. What's wrong? 'phone' in there? Think about the better IQ it can produce for less money and the fact you are already saving the images to where some people prefer to have them stored, and not still having to transfer anything.

I've read some reviews on Sony's attemps and some folks saying there's not this port nor that button nor adequate ergonomics, etc, but they forget the purpose of the product, and buy it expecting it to become a transformer and turn itself into a heck of a camera. Not at all! Someone even complained there was no HDMI port. What?!

1 upvote
neo_nights
By neo_nights (3 months ago)

I'm all for modularity. But, as someone else stated above, there's good modularity and bad modularity. As is now, things are just too kludgey.

A 'smartcamera' like Samsung's offerings makes much more sense to me as a camera-attached-to-a-phone than those current clip-ons lens-cameras.

1 upvote
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (3 months ago)

How well did that modular thing work out for Ricoh with their GXR?

If the big advantage of cell phone cameras is "they are compact, and always with you" then carrying around a lens/senor unit to strap on to it sort of defeats the whole purpose.

This is a Rube Golberg kludge device if every there was one.

0 upvotes
Flying Snail
By Flying Snail (3 months ago)

I'd rather ducktape my phone to my DSLR then use this monstrosity.

BTW: Why is this not on connect? It's phone accessory, not a camera.

3 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (3 months ago)

I believe you're only allowed one snark per comment?

9 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (3 months ago)

When those things go to Connect, people there complain "This is not smartphone/tablet, put this back to DPReview".

Also it seems people at Connect are on a vacation. Last update was one week ago.

0 upvotes
DaveE1
By DaveE1 (3 months ago)

These "things" need a site of their own :-) They don't fit in any existing category.

0 upvotes
kayone
By kayone (3 months ago)

What is 'duck'tape?

0 upvotes
Daedbird
By Daedbird (3 months ago)

While this one does not interest me as much as the Kodak models announced last week, I can really see a great use for these style of lenses....

.....as remote cameras.

Look, I have to cover court cases, and getting the best angle is very difficult, and you are locked into one spot once the case begins. With these lenses, I could place the 'lens' on the judge's bench, and control the camera remotely.

Or for sports, you could place this anywhere - attached to a backboard, or in a dugout, or if made waterproof-at the bottom of the pool. Less obtrusive than P&S with wireless capabilities, I think this style of camera will have many uses.

There are just a few things I would want to see:
1. Tripod mount - needed to put this camera anywhere.
2. Universal size/shape - not only for adapters, but also cases, say for putting underwater
3. Strong wifi - This really not work if the connection fails after three feet. I don't know what the sweet spot is but I think at least 30 feet.

0 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (3 months ago)

I may be wrong but as leaving the camera somewhere and controlling it remotely..... don't sports photographers do that already? On many event courts it's easy to see "unmanned" cameras around.

But, on a Judge's bench, a smaller 'lens-camera' would be better fitting (pun-intended) than a big and chunky dSLR.

You're not wrong in your line of thought, but as connectivity isn't SO great currently (just see many of the QX10's reviews and you'll a lot of examples of the lens-smartphone connection been cut off) that could be a problem as well.

0 upvotes
philflashes
By philflashes (3 months ago)

I think these so called 'smart lenses' are just ridiculous! Smartphones are ok if you don't have a camera with you, but if you're planning on carrying this kind of weight, why not buy a mirrorless camera instead? That'll give you better IQ and is often even less bulky and lighter!

2 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (3 months ago)

THIS!

I swear I'm not one of those photosnobs that think that taking pictures with smartphones is "OMG! HOW DREADFUL!". I don't carry my cameras with me all the time. Because I don't always go out with the sole purpose of shooting something/someone.

When I simply go out for the sake of it, I'm pretty satisfied with my smartphone. Or even when I want a quick snap at home.

BUT if smartphone users are willing to carry an extra BULKY thing (c'mon the QX10 is bulkier than an RX100 itself!), why not take a "real" camera?

Looks at this Sakar thing. It YELLS "kludge" all over! Old looking lens, cheap external flash...

It's like taping a phone to a camera and saying 'now I have a camera phone'.

5 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

If you want to take pictures on a sports event and share them over Facebook as you take them, what's the alternative?
And what is the cost for that alternative?
Replace sports event with place of choice.

With these, you can choose 'share picture' in the Facebook app, the camera app starts up, you take the pic, and share it.

0 upvotes
dyoon153
By dyoon153 (3 months ago)

@Eleson - get one of those wi-fi enabled sd cards (like Eye-Fi), transfer to tablet / smartphone. Pretty simple choice if you already own a decent camera that's compatible.
I got one around $100 (Eyefi pro x2 16gb) and it's probably cheaper than investing in those system, IF you already own a camera or invested in decent system.

0 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

Yeah, if you already have a smartphone or a iPad with 3G. And if you have a camera!
Also, you have think that this is not cumbersome:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtXxejw3GeU
Going to a webpage and configure it so that all the videos ( or pictures) I take from now on should be shared on facebook.

Yeah, that'll probably work, and if you have a great camera you will upload som great quality videos.

But if you don't have the camera things change, doesn't it?

Also, if you connect over your router to the phone at home, that won't work in he zoo right, so there quite some more to this to be transparent and fluent.

0 upvotes
Jogger
By Jogger (3 months ago)

Sony is already making the 1/2.3-type sensor standard across their mid-tier and flagship devices; this is a far more sensible approach then these half-phones.

2 upvotes
Thoughts
By Thoughts (3 months ago)

A micro 3/4 mount would be very interesting to mount those pancake lenses.

1 upvote
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

I'm a bit surprised by the lack of imagination from many posters here, " not understanding the product".
For many (actually most) taking pictures is not about having them, it is about sharing them. Something 95% of current cameras suck at.
And for most, a lower quality image that gets shared is worth a helluva lot more than a great picture that noone sees.
Simple as that.

2 upvotes
nekrosoft13
By nekrosoft13 (3 months ago)

i would never consider a phone a photography tool... and as far as sharing most people share and like to share photos, I personally share with family and friends and email works just fine. All this social media bs is annoying.

5 upvotes
AlanJones
By AlanJones (3 months ago)

@ nekrosoft13 You say social media is annoying yet you share your opinion using a form of social media. That's annoying!

4 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

"i would never consider a phone a photography tool"
And that's fine. It is your choice. But other choices are also okay.

1 upvote
philflashes
By philflashes (3 months ago)

I'd consider a smartphone a photography tool if I forgot my camera! But if I was planning on taking images, i'd bring one of my cameras. And if I wanted to share those images, i would use an eye-fi (or similar) memory card. What's the difference? Yep, better IQ!

2 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (3 months ago)

Eleson....

It may be a cultural or generational thing. Or one of priorities.

Many of us old timers think photography should be deliberate. You should plan the shot, execute it well, then post process carefully. Then... decide whether to share it or not.

Many of the younger shooters think photography must be instantaneous. You see something interesting, whip out your cell phone, and within 5 seconds you have posted it on facebook. So everyone can see what you ate for lunch.

Sometimes these two methods come in conflict, and some of us will sacrifice the ability to "share with lighting speed" for better quality results. While others will sacrifice better quality results so they can share everything they see, immediately after they see it.

4 upvotes
everiman
By everiman (3 months ago)

"I told Wilbur and I told Orville, it'll never leave the ground"

Like or not this may be the future. A digital camera is optics, a sensor and a dedicated computer. A smart phone is an increasingly more powerful and capable fully programmable computer. When camera makers are freed from having to develop the computer part, they can concentrate on just optics and sensors. Think beyond the awkward strapping of a phone to a lens, that is no longer necessary with wireless connections, This stuff is still in its infancy.

2 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

@Marty ....
Unfortunately, I'm pushing 50 at a higher speed than i think i necessary :-)
Bur then again, I would never buy this. I think ...
But as a gearhead it just might happen.

I don't think eye-Fi solves the 'need' for some to share a cool pic from the Zoo, amusement park or a sports event on Facebook.

0 upvotes
Mario G
By Mario G (3 months ago)

What's difficult with sharing by popping out the SD card from your camera and plugging it into your computer a few hours later? Most photos don't really need real-time sharing, photo sharing existed also before smartphones... and having a proper look at them on a big screen can only be beneficial to actually see what sort of photos you've taken.

And if you really need this sharing to be real-time, as suggested above you can use an eye-Fi card, or even better a camera with native Wi-Fi support... how is this "smart lens" going to be any better than a GX7 remotely controlled by your phone using the Panasonic Image App? At least with the GX7 once you realise how tedious it is to use a proper camera through an app you can always shut the app, grab the camera, and use it properly...

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 59 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (3 months ago)

No, I don't like this concept either. Because I don't do um, 'photography' with a smartphone.

However people seem to in fact DO um, 'photography' with a smartphone and can't imagine doing it any other way. This is for those people who just want to take photos in the usual smartphone style but with some extra stuff like zoom.

In a recent interview with Sony's execs, they said their QX sell like hotcakes.

And honestly I'd rather have people using this stuff than just the smartphone itself. I'm so incredibly tired of all the 35mm shots of food, feet and whatnot. Maybe at least they'll try other motives with these addons. Probably will still run it through Instagram to get a 512*512 lomo crap but we're getting somewhere slowly.

7 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (3 months ago)

i was surprised how big the QX was, but I don't have a smartphone so the concept is wasted on me.

I know people who do have them though and love the ease of picture taking, it's all they want, add on a gadget like this and you can do more and have the large screen and familiar interface of your phone. It's a win win.

I'm glad if Sony and co are selling them it will only get more people into photography. My facebook friends love my pics but I tell them they need a raw shooter and lightroom to achieve my look. And the seed is sown....

Comment edited 1 minute after posting
0 upvotes
DaveE1
By DaveE1 (3 months ago)

How exactly is this thing more convenient than a camera?

At least Sony can be applauded for trying something different; and there is hope for their version, as they are the masters of miniaturisation.

It seems that some companies have a basic "what the others are doing with a few extra buttons" attitude to R&D.

2 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (3 months ago)

In theory using your phone (always have that with you, right?) as a screen for your camera means your camera can be smaller. In this case though the camera is still quite big despite not having a screen...

0 upvotes
TFD
By TFD (3 months ago)

Why not just get Canon or Nikon to make cameras with a built in cell phone.

3 upvotes
Eleson
By Eleson (3 months ago)

... but until they do it ... ?

1 upvote
quiquae
By quiquae (3 months ago)

These days, the only people who make money selling cell phones are named Apple and Samsung. Canon and Nikon do not know how to make cell phones, and will be crushed like a bug if they try. The best they can hope for would be a Carl Zeiss business model, but neither companies are pushed far enough against the wall to want to put their logos on someone else's product.

0 upvotes
viking79
By viking79 (3 months ago)

Agree, Samsung already has a large sensor interchangeable lens camera that could double as a phone. It is called the Galaxy NX. It doesn't technically have voice phone app, but it has 4G and can always use VOIP.

Eric

0 upvotes
Marty4650
By Marty4650 (3 months ago)

Many cellphone users today hardly ever make phone calls. They use their smartphones as gaming devices, GPS units, cameras, ereaders, web surfers and everything else except making phone calls.

It has come to the point where some cell phone providers are giving away unlimited free minutes to get you to buy a larger data plan.

0 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (3 months ago)

It is not so easy as it first seems to make a multi device. It is hard enough to make one functionality in a device and make it user friendly, but the problem is squared when trying to do two.

BTW - just a thought - why do not Nikon and Canon do mobile phones already? Why do not every company do mobile phones? Maybe because there are some few manufacturers that already have that market.

Sony do make phones though. And they make cameras. That is a good start.

Samsung also make phones and cameras ... and they do have some Android cameras. That is an even better start.

0 upvotes
bloodycape
By bloodycape (3 months ago)

You also forget Sony is making some money off cell phones seeing as they are supplying the optics to Apple, others(I know LG is one of them).

0 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (3 months ago)

Canon and Nikon moves too slow. The likelihood of Samsung taking over Canon or Nikon in the semi-professional photography market is greater than Canon or Nikon establishing themselves in the smartphone market.

0 upvotes
Alexander Tolchinskiy
By Alexander Tolchinskiy (3 months ago)

In my opinion, this is not serious ... How much is this "toy"?

2 upvotes
Michael Ma
By Michael Ma (3 months ago)

Whenever you see a forward firing flash, take it as a sign that the manufacturer has more interest in making a quick buck and less interest in you taking a good photograph.

0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (3 months ago)

You mean like all those DSLRs with built in flashes?

5 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (3 months ago)

The manufacturer doesn't take your photos for you, but regardless, there plenty of situations where "forward firing flashes" (a/k/a 99% of all built in flashes ever) are useful.

2 upvotes
Resom
By Resom (3 months ago)

There is now a good chance for low end p&s cameras to survive, because they are smaller, cheaper and looking better.

btw - waiting for a 500mm lens, connected to a iPhone, called "the iBazooka"

1 upvote
Kuppenbender
By Kuppenbender (3 months ago)

Here's an 82mm lens (which gives a 600mm 35mm equiv.)
http://dckina.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=4_16_154&products_id=1525
It's not called an iBazooka, but I'm sure the manufacturers would appreciate the suggestion.

An actual 500mm lens for an iPhone would be into astrophotography territory.

1 upvote
avicenanw
By avicenanw (3 months ago)

Hard to believe someone got paid to come up with this.

3 upvotes
Digitall
By Digitall (3 months ago)

Wait till you see the version of Hasselblad of this "thing".

14 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (3 months ago)

the designer of the mount should have a vision of 300x zoom lens.

0 upvotes
SergioMO
By SergioMO (3 months ago)

Make it rectangle , flat and thinner !

0 upvotes
zodiacfml
By zodiacfml (3 months ago)

Put a small lcd at the back so I could verify framing then I would be interested...with an Rx100 sensor, at least.

0 upvotes
Zeisschen
By Zeisschen (3 months ago)

And a grip maybe? Oh wait...

7 upvotes
rpm40
By rpm40 (3 months ago)

It was a stupid idea the first time, when Sony did it. The third time around, the idea hasn't gotten any better...

7 upvotes
Zeisschen
By Zeisschen (3 months ago)

I'll put a canikon badge onto the lens and squash in a flipping mirror and suddenly it becomes a very good idea for many ;)

11 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (3 months ago)

Yup, I have come to accept the fact that many Nikon and Canon users can't accept the fact that others are innovating while their cherished manufacturers are standing still in the water.

3 upvotes
photo perzon
By photo perzon (3 months ago)

Ugly

0 upvotes
springsnow
By springsnow (3 months ago)

LOL @ the Zeiss iPhone case.

7 upvotes
dark goob
By dark goob (3 months ago)

Yeah way to sneak the Zeiss logo in there :/

2 upvotes
Samuel Dilworth
By Samuel Dilworth (3 months ago)

Too weird. Surely Zeiss doesn’t make iPhone cases. And if Zeiss did, it wouldn’t want to be associated with this Sakar business. I have a feeling Sakar hasn’t seen the last of a courtroom.

0 upvotes
Bruce McL
By Bruce McL (3 months ago)

I don't know what Sekar's game is, but I do know that they do not, can not, and will not make innovative cameras. They make innovative press releases, and then somehow try to turn that into making money. Maybe they are trying to scam potential investors.

2 upvotes
samfan
By samfan (3 months ago)

And you're judging that by... What exactly? Because they look somewhat similar to existing products?

Is anyone else making an interchangeable lens addon for a smartphone with a flash?

1 upvote
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (3 months ago)

@Bruce. Go back some few years and all Japanese companies could do was ugly, lousy, cheap copies of European and American cameras. And ... look what they can do now!

0 upvotes
Bruce McL
By Bruce McL (3 months ago)

@samfan I judge by paying attention over a long period of time, not just reading one article. Sakar makes it's money from putting other brands, both living and dead, on generic cameras. Once in a while they put out a wacky press release to get attention.

@Roland have you checked out Sakar's website? The japanese companies did not go from Hello Kitty and Gummi Bears to the RX100 in one year. Also, I don't see in house design or manufacturing expertise in any shipping Sakar camera. They are all white label cameras bought from mid level manufacturers.

1 upvote
nyer82
By nyer82 (3 months ago)

Kludgy yes, but this is definitely where the future is headed. Eventually, the phone will snap onto the lens/sensor assembly with a pre-fit standard that will allow this.

Next up will be an unfoldable or unfurlable electronic screen (10,000p resolution of course) that will pop out of the lens/sensor assembly. And all of this will be electronically linked to whatever iphone20, or Android v 20 we are using by then.

When the networks are fast enough to allow for it, I also forsee a new web standard like JPG but that allows lockable raw files to be uploaded straight onto the web that can be dynamically resized and adjusted on one's super facebook/flickr/tumblr/blog/website.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
neo_nights
By neo_nights (3 months ago)

Oh! C'mon! Buy a frig**n' camera already! One lens attached to a smartphone seemed clumsy enough. Now you're adding a flash unity?

Can it get any MORE "cludgey"????

3 upvotes
completelyrandomstuff
By completelyrandomstuff (3 months ago)

Wanna bet a lawsuit from sony?

3 upvotes
Provia_fan
By Provia_fan (3 months ago)

Well, unless it was somewhat licensed ala Sony licensing Apple with the design of a rectangular phone with a single button in the front. *Fact*

But watch this post now start a massive flame war too :D

Fanboys....when will they ever learn?

Comment edited 46 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
Andy Crowe
By Andy Crowe (3 months ago)

And Nikon, looks like they're still using the ripped-off lens styling that got them in trouble with the Polaroid iM1836

0 upvotes
mick232
By mick232 (3 months ago)

Do they also come in pretty?

15 upvotes
gerard boulanger
By gerard boulanger (3 months ago)

Read my lips: this stuff to be connected with Wifi then to the "cloud" will be a big deal for casual photography.
It could even be more with a prime lens or a more modest but good IQ zoom, like a 28-60 equivalent

2 upvotes
WT21
By WT21 (3 months ago)

This is a placeholder. Cameras in glasses, watches, etc. will kill this off quick.

0 upvotes
Total comments: 79