Now that manufacturers have automated focus, exposure and stabilization, what’s left? How about not having to frame your subject with your video camera, yet still being able to capture all the action 360° around you?
That’s the premise of the new Kogeto Dot, an add-on lens implanted in a snap-on bracket for an iPhone 4 or 4S. At a recent demo, I simply snapped the accessory onto an iPhone, held the phone horizontally and recorded everything going on around me. I was able to immediately play the recording on the iPhone and tug the view right or left to see who was standing behind me, for instance. The proprietary Kogeto software also lets you drag to spin the video on your computer. You use Kogeto’s free Looker App to watch the video on your phone and share the panoramic clips on Facebook, Twitter or Kogeto’s site. Because the panoramic view is optically created, there’s no stitching.
There are some drawbacks. The most comfortable way to use it is to hold the Dot-accessorized iPhone in front of you at or below shoulder level. But unless you’re raising the iPhone above your eyes, you can’t see the screen until playback. (If the product is successful, I’d expect someone will create an accessory enabling you to wear an iPhone atop your head, perhaps with an accompanying periscope.) And you do sacrifice resolution to get that panoramic view. On an iPhone 4, you can expect about 200 vertical x 1280 horizontal pixels. Moreover, using an iPhone 4S, there’s about a 40 percent increase in resolution, according to Jeff Glasse, Kogeto’s co-founder and CEO.
While the first iteration of the Dot is specific to the two newest iPhone models, Glasse says you can expect future versions for the iPod touch, followed by an Android version. The highly portable Dot will be arriving at B&H in December in four bracketed versions: Cheery Red, Hug-Inspiring Pink, Pitch Black and Surprisingly Attractive Green.