Cyclops: The Pocket-Sized Interchangeable Lens Camera

The world's most popular camera is the iPhone. That isn't news anymore, but it does highlight a number of interesting points about how people consume photography these days. Firstly, if people have a camera on their person that's readily available, they'll take pictures. Although this is somewhat obvious, it does draw the eye to one of the drawbacks of DSLRs and ILCs: size. They are both invariably too big to have on your person at all times, but what if that could be overcome?

The Cyclops Pocket ILC camera professes to do just that. The camera body is around the size of a car key and the lenses are proportionate to the body in a traditional ILC sense. The Cyclops does boast an impressive arsenal of features, including 4K video capabilities as well as 1080p video at 60 fps, interchangeable lenses, a tripod mount, a built-in LCD screen, a 12-megapixel Sony sensor, USB and mini HDMI ports, and an impressive battery life.

The question is, which cameras is the Cyclops taking on? It cannot be the DSLR or ILC market for a great many reasons. The fact that its unique selling point is being pocket-sized would suggest that it's not even taking on point-and-shoots or bridge cameras, but rather phones. So, how does Cyclops weigh up against contemporary phones? Well, it's on par with most, spec-wise. The new iPhone 7 has the same resolution and can also record in 4K (albeit as slightly higher FPS), but does offer slow-mo (at lower resolutions) and time-lapse capabilities. The real point of separation has to come down to the interchangeable lenses, but more poignantly, the depth of field.

Now, although the iPhone 7 does offer a sort of faux bokeh, the depth of field is simulated. With the Cyclops, that's not the case. That is enough allure for many ears to prick up. There are times where a DSLR or ILC is too cumbersome and yet a phone simply does not cut the mustard. So, there is a niche to be filled here, although it comes down to the images this micro-ILC produces; however, with a camera body this small, DOF is going to be tricky anyway without a huge gap between subject and background.

Sample Images

The below images were provided by the Cyclops Camera Company.

Image taken by and used with the permission of Cyclops Camera Company

Image taken by and used with the permission of Cyclops Camera Company

Image taken by and used with the permission of Cyclops Camera Company

The images are undoubtedly a little on the soft side, but for an early prototype and some random snaps, they aren't bad either. Until the final production Cyclops gets used by an experienced professional photographer, it's hard to know exactly what can be produced with this little guy. Fortunately, a model is going to be made available to Fstoppers for an exclusive review which will comprehensively clear up any questions.

What we can tell is this: the Cyclops is minute for a camera with interchangeable lenses, the price is very reasonable indeed for both the body and the lenses, and the spec sheet (below) is impressive. In fact, regarding point two, Cyclops Camera Company informed me this morning that the zoom lens is going to be made a free option when you purchase the camera. The product images and the sample images are admittedly rough around the edges, but this is one to watch, and as soon as we get the test unit, we'll see just how much potential is in play. I have my reservations for a few reasons, particularly regarding size and DOF. A body this small will suffer from a lot of shake with video, although that can be overcome. However, the DOF it offers might be limited heavily by its size, but I can't get a real sense of this until I try it, which despite these reservations, I am keen to do; it's always good to see people pushing the boundaries of photography.

Image taken by and used with the permission of Cyclops Camera Company

Specifcations​

  • Video: 4K (3840 x 2160) 24fps, 2K (2560 x 1440) 30fps, 1080p (1920 x 1080) 60fps
  • Video format: MP4, H.264
  • Camera sensor:  Sony
  • Image: 12 megapixels (4032*3024) 
  • Image format: JPG
  • LCD display: Built-in
  • Micro SD card capacity: up to 64GB (not included)
  • Recording Time: About 100 minutes (1080p)
  • Battery: Replaceable Li-ion battery 950mAh/3.8V 3.52Wh
  • Mic and Speakers: Built-in
  • Video out: Mini HDMI out
  • USB in/out: Battery charging and computer transfer
  • Attachment: Built-in tripod mount on bottom
  • Lens mount: C-Mount and CS-Mount
  • Includes (1) One Lens: 16mm C-Mount TV Lens or 25mm C-Mount TV Lens or (1) 6-15mm Zoom CS-Mount TV Lens

You can support their Indiegogo campaign here.

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6 Comments

Love the concept, but the image quality is quite underwhelming.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

Hum ... that looks like a re-purposed SJ5000 action cam body.

https://www.amazon.ca/SJCAM-Original-Waterproof-Camcorder-Swimming/dp/B0...

This could be a decent BTS camera or if you need to fit a camera somewhere really small. the image quality is not superb but I've seen much worse.

I have an SJ5000 and I've used it for paying gigs (just plop it womewhere to get some wide angle inserts for talking head videos of events). It's a tool just like any other, you just need to figure out how to use it and when to use it.

Robert K Baggs's picture

Bravo sir, they do look incredibly similar! I suspect they're the same body just with the Cyclops adapted for interchangeable lenses. If the SJ5000 is useful then the Cyclops could be even more so, although they're using different sensors; the SJ5000's sensor seems to be slightly better on the face of it.

Eric Lefebvre's picture

I wouldnt go that far. It was acceptable for my clients but their expectations were not that high. I used about 15 seconds of footage from it to give a high wide angle view.

I like to use it for bts.

Will there be the possibility to live stream?

Paul Ferradas's picture

Agree, IQ doesn't look that great