One of the recurring themes in tech the last few years is companies trying to figure out where they fit into the changing modern world. Kodak, like many others, is no different. With Kodak reviving the Super 8 last year and its Ektachrome this year, they’re trying to find a foothold with consumers.
Imagine our surprise when venturing into the Kodak booth this year to find that they’ve partnered with British phone maker Bullitt to release a smartphone.
What is the Kodak Ektra?
The Kodak Ektra looks like you’d imagine a Kodak smartphone to look like. It looks like a classic Kodak camera from top to bottom. The most noticeable difference between the smartphone you’re currently using and the Ektra is the lens.
The lens for the camera protrudes slightly, giving the phone an elegant look without being overpowering like a standard camera.
The 21-megapixel fast focus camera sensor features a f2.0 aperture, with a front-facing 13-megapixel camera making it the industry leading on the market. The app powering the camera was custom built, making it more powerful than many built-in camera apps on the market and even most of the ones purchased to use with a smartphone camera.
The app uses haptic touch, SLR-style scene selection, and real-time adjustments can be made to a variety of settings, such as HDR, night time, and more. A smart auto mode will also be available for those who just want to “point and shoot.”
Here’s a breakdown of the Kodak Ektra specifications:
- Android 6.0 (Marshmallow)
- Professional results from a 21MP fast-focus camera sensor with F2.0, PDAF, OIS, Dual LED Flash
- 13MP phase detection auto-focus front-facing camera with F2.2 PDAF
- Helio X20 2.3GHz Decacore processor with 3GB RAM
- 32GB memory, expandable with MicroSD cards
- Advanced Manual Mode – adjustable on Exposure, ISO, Focal Length (Manual/Auto), White Balance, Shutter Speed, Aperture (fixed f2.0 main camera)
- Familiar scene selection dial experience – includes scene modes Smart Auto, Portrait, Manual, Sports, Bokeh, Night-time, HDR, Panorama, Macro, Landscape, Film / Video
- Integrated high-quality printing app
- Super 8 video recorder
- Integrated social media sharing
- 3000mAh, with USB 3.0 Type C fast charger
The Kodak Ektra was released in Europe in December 2016 and will be available for pre-order in North America in April 2017.
Hands On with the Kodak Ektra
I had the opportunity to go hands-on with the Kodak Ektra and speak to several reps about the company jumping into the smartphone game. From the moment I picked up the Ektra, I was surprised by the look, feel and weight of the device.
I put it in my backpack, where I normally keep my cell phone, and was surprised that even with the protruding lens, it wasn’t uncomfortable. I wouldn’t sit with the Ektra in my back pocket but for walking around and taking pictures, it’d work.
The Ektra is intuitive in how you hold it to take pictures, giving you a solid grip on the device as you point and shoot. You hold it just like you hold your regular smartphone to take pics and it features a grip for right-handers to steady the phone. A shutter button on top lets you focus, then take your pictures when ready. Taking pictures is easy, especially shuffling between modes to get the look you’re going for.
When talking to the folks at Kodak, they praised Bullitt’s dedication to the software powering the camera. Both companies understand that’s what holds back smartphone cameras on the market and by investing the time in the software, they could hopefully overcome a variety of challenges people find when taking photos with their smartphone.
They often refer to third party apps or go back to a standalone camera to take pictures; both companies want to change that.
I was impressed by the Kodak Ektra’s software and how it took pictures. Whether Kodak can make the leap into the smartphone world is yet to be told, but I suspect camera fans will give the Kodak Ektra a shot.
As more companies like Kodak look to the future, I expect more developments and partnerships like the Ektra to pop up throughout the consumer electronics market.
To learn more about the Kodak Ektra, visit their website here