Ever considered getting an actual camera but didn’t want to be bogged down by the cost or the naturally larger size of a DSLR? Sure cellphone cameras continue to evolve, but they traditionally will only feature digital zooming for closing in on those far shots. The form factor of the phone would be odd if they had protruding camera lenses sticking out, after all. Any good DSLR camera will get the job done for zoom shots, but not everyone is willing to log around something that large to conventions, trips, or other scenic endeavors. Enter the Kodak PIXPRO SL25 Smart Lens, a 16MP 25X zoom camera that uses your phone as a view-finder.
Specs, Features and Uses
|Total Image Sensor Pixels||16.76 Megapixels [1/2.3” BSI CMOS]|
|Recording Pixels (Still Image)||(4:3) 16MP: 4608×3456, 10MP: 3648×2736, (3:2) 14MP: 4608×3072, (16:9) 12MP: 4608×2592, 2MP: 1920×1080|
|Recording Pixels (Movie)||1920×1080-30fps, 1280×720-30fps; High-Speed Movie: 848×480-120 fps|
|Continuous Shooting||Approx. 6fps (Full Resolution)|
|Shooting Modes||ASCN, P, S, Face Beautifier, HDR, Burst Shooting, Low Light (WDR), Movie|
|ISO Sensitivity||Auto, ISO 100/200/400/800/1600/3200|
|Shutter Speed||1/1500 – 30 Seconds|
|White Balance Control||Auto (AWB), Daylight, Cloudy, Flourescent, Flourescent CWF, Incandescent|
|Storage Support||Mininum 4GB to Maximum 32GB MicroSD|
|Battery||Rechargeable Li-ion Battery LB-052, 3.7V 880mAh,|
|Approx. 210 Shots (Based on CIPA Standards)|
|Dimensions||2.80 x 2.30 x 2.57 in or 71.0 x 58.6 x 65.2 mm|
|Weight||7.4 oz. or 210 g|
|Compatibility||iOS 6.0 and higher, Android 2.3 and higher|
Coming in a dark gray as well as a white color sku, Kodak’s SL25 Smart Lens is pleasing to the eye. At a glance, anyone would figure that you’re using a standard camera. After closer a inspection, you’re bound to find yourself explaining to curious on-lookers what exactly you have attached to your phone. The SL25 connects to your smart device using wifi and can pair quickly using NFC. Your smart device then becomes the view-finder for the SL25 lens.
The SL25 has extending arms that’s ready to grasp even the largest of today’s smartphones to give you a close-to-home camera shooting experience. Through wifi connectivity, you’re more than welcome to control the camera remotely for as far the wifi connectivity allows. Of course, the more wireless traffic in the area, the more the chance of temporary disconnection between the SL25 and your smart device as you test how far you can keep the two apart. But while you’re connected wirelessly, you gain that much more flexibility. Taking stationary shots from a distance has its advantages. There’s even an opening at the bottom of the SL25 in case you want to connect it to a screw-in tripod.
As for the clamp on the SL25, it is quite strong and extends reasonably wide enough for even the 6-inch phones of today. Here it is in action holding onto an HTC One M9 and even an iPhone 6S Plus, with protective cases on each device. The hold is quite sturdy with only significantly impractical shaking to cause the SL25 to dislodge from the mobile device or vice versa.
Usage is quite easy using the free PIXPRO Remote Viewer app for both Android and iOS. First, you connect your smart device to the SL25 as you would connect to any wifi hotspot, complete with password. Once connected, use the PIXPRO app to control the camera just like you would with your mobile device’s native camera. The PIXPRO app’s interface is straight forward and easy to pick up for any novice to intermediate camera user. You have a selection of options for controlling white balance, ISO, and EV settings. You also have timer options for those times that you want to get yourself in the actual shots.
You can even review the captures saved on the microSD card that you have in your SL25 as you would a gallery on your favorite smart phone. It’s a pretty basic interface that welcomes you to try out options without making you feel like you’re in over your head. If you’re worried about security, you can even go as far as changing the default wifi password for your camera.
Additionally if you prefer more of a tactile interface with actual tangible buttons, you can simply use the shoot button and zoom switch on the side of the SL25 Smart Lens. In my experiences, I found using the T/W switch for zooming in tandem with the touchscreen shoot button to be the best course of action. The zoom switch on the side allowed for more accurate zoom control than simply pinching and pulling the screen on the PIXPRO app. Conversely, using the PIXPRO app’s touch control for shooting allowed my hands to be more stable when taking the shot. Otherwise, I had to have one hand holding my phone while the other held the SL25. Either my hands weren’t large enough, or it simply just didn’t feel natural to use this button in this sense.
The SL25 can also take shots independently without being connected to your PIXPRO app-housing device. This makes that shoot button on the SL25 actually come in handy when don’t have it clinging onto a smart device. You’ll just have to hope that the shot you took is clear without checking on the viewfinder. OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) helps you in this regard in case your hands were shakier than you thought.
The Kodak PIXPRO SL25 Smart Lens camera comes with a wrist wrap, removable battery, and charging USB cable. With MicroSD cards going up to 128GB nowadays, I would have liked to see the maximum storage hit at least 64GB. Yet, the SL25’s maximum-supported 32GB of storage should hold you off for a while depending on the volume of capturing you may be endeavoring. Removable batteries are welcome and standard with any respectable camera. The wrist wrap is not a bad idea considering how front heavy the combo of a smart device and the SL25 can be when the SL25 is clasped to your phone. Although, the grip of the SL25 is respectable enough that you’re not going to dislodge it from your phone unless you put it through some unreasonably vigorous shaking. If you expect to be jostled around in, let’s say, a convention setting, it would only benefit you to use this included accessory.