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Kodak unveils second photography-led smartphone, the Ektra

By Shawn Knight · 12 replies
Oct 20, 2016
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  1. Kodak, perhaps the most popular brand in photography at one point in time, lost virtually all of its clout with the advent of digital cameras. The industry is in the midst of yet another massive shift as standalone digital cameras are giving way to smartphone cameras.

    This time around, Kodak wants in on the action although it’s debatable as to whether the approach they’re taking is optimal.

    Kodak on Thursday unveiled its second photography-led smartphone, the Ektra (named after its 1940s-era rangefinder camera). The Ektra features a 5-inch, 1080p display with a MediaTek Helio X20 deca-core processor under the hood alongside 3GB of RAM and 32GB of local storage that’s expandable via microSD card. It’ll ship running Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box.

    The star of the show, of course, is the camera around back – a 21-megapixel unit with f/2.0 aperture, optical image stabilization, autofocus, Kodak’s non-reflective lens coating and Sony’s IMX230 sensor. Up front, you’ll find a 13-megapixel autofocus camera with phase detection and an f/2.2 aperture lens.

    The phone includes photo editing software from Snapseed. Users will have access to advanced manual controls to adjust things like exposure, ISO, shutter speed, white balance and so on. There’s also a familiar scene selection option so you can select sports, HDR, macro, portrait, etc.

    The backside of the smartphone has been designed to look like a traditional film camera complete with camera bump, faux leather and metal-looking (but really plastic) sides. Kodak is no doubt hoping its design will strike a chord with brand-loyal fans but I’m not sure if this is the best approach. We’ve seen camera-first smartphones in the past – some with better features and true optical zoom – but none have ever caught on with consumers.

    Kodak says the Ektra smartphone will go on sale later this year in Europe priced at £449 (around $550). There are no plans to bring the device to the US although that could change, Kodak says, if there’s enough market demand.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 2,797   +1,537

    It's good to see the Great Yellow Father getting back in the game. You know, if their phone's don't explode they could be a solid option to "You Know Who" ...... ;)
  3. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,315   +537

    That's awfully expensive for a smartphone... If it's not flagship quality, it will fail...With the HTC, One and Galaxy phones all pretty much at that price point, it's hard to see why I'd choose the Kodak, if all it has is a slightly better camera.
  4. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,839   +1,183

    If you're buying it because it's a great smartphone, then their marketing has failed. I think this is supposed to be a camera first, smartphone 2nd. There are a lot of people out there who use smartphones for only social media - and you don't need a flagship processor to scroll through a facebook feed or take a selfie. But these people do care about their pictures - it's what they put online. Taking great vacation pics and making a great slide show on your phone would appeal to people.

    My worry is that it's heavy or bulky or easy to break. The phone part only has to be good enough - the camera will sell it.
    madboyv1 likes this.
  5. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,315   +537

    If you're paying that much for the camera, then just get yourself a good camera! You can get a "crappy" Android smartphone for less than $100 and then pay a few hundred dollars for an entry level SLR which will be better than this camera...

    Once you hit this price bracket, you better also be a good smartphone or it's a waste of time...
    mbrowne5061 likes this.
  6. yRaz

    yRaz TS Evangelist Posts: 2,146   +1,223

    I care about my pictures so I bought an actual camera that I carry around with me along side my camera.

    This is for those types that want to think they're a photographer but can't tell the difference between a Macro and a zoom lens. The only saving grace to this is that it's using a Sony sensor. Although, I'd rather see them use the 16MP variant because it has better low light performance.


    Or just keep your current phone and save your money for a real camera. You can pick up a Sony NEX-5 now for ~$250 used and it will take better pictures than any smartphone. Pair that with an adapter and "legacy" lenses and you've got a hell of a kit right there. a6000 is still a great camera and there has been a price drop since the a6300 has come out. They are going to release the a6500 soon so their will probably be a price drop on both of those if you want to buy new.
  7. Badvok

    Badvok TS Booster Posts: 159   +57

    In fact you could probably buy a much better simple camera for less than $100, you definitely wouldn't need to go the DSLR route.
  8. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,315   +537

    Agreed... my point is, selling this on camera alone is foolish, as you can get better cameras at cheaper/same prices... Unless this performs WELL as a smartphone, it's doomed to fail.
  9. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 7,995   +2,882

    It's not supposed to be a flagship device, it's a niche product with a decent camera and among it's target audience I'm sure it'll do quite well. It's for shutterbugs who'd find toting about a big, bulky DSLR, complete with a range of lenses and tripods everywhere an inconvenience. Nokia (and a few others) did the same thing with their devices and some did quite well, or so I'm told.
    madboyv1 likes this.
  10. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,315   +537

    And that is why it will fail... I agree it's not SUPPOSED to be a flagship device - but it is being PRICED as one... This makes it a huge problem to sell, as real flagship devices are vastly superior in the smartphone department... The camera will be the only selling point, and you can get better for far cheaper...

    As for Nokia, there's a reason that they got bought (and subsequently were jettisoned) by Microsoft... they haven't "done quite well" since the iPhone was released...

    Check out http://tech.firstpost.com/news-anal...cause-the-real-nokia-has-moved-on-341930.html for an interesting take on Nokia's prospects...
  11. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 653   +286

    Agreed. But if they think that a cell phone camera will be enough for them, then an SLR might be overkill. I would point them towards a mirrorless camera instead.
  12. Wendy Oltman

    Wendy Oltman TS Booster Posts: 129   +16

    If Kodak can make a comeback with truly good products I¿d be happy for them. In years past, Kodak go so big and behemoth-like, making rapid changes for the market was next to impossible. Maybe they have seen the light.
  13. m-tec

    m-tec TS Member Posts: 27

    Pentax made a tiny compact camera that had interchangeable lenses like an SLR called the Q. It had the same size sensor as a normal compact camera and cost £800, the killer was that it was worse quality than a normal compact camera costing £200 to £300.
    For the same price as this Kodak thing you could get a Panasonic CM1 with a 1 inch sensor, and WAY better quality in a small form factor with great build quality.
    Or you could buy a proper small camera....

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