The Photo-Centric Kodak Ektra Smartphone Harkens Back to Legacy of 'You Push the Button, We Do the Rest'

The Photo-Centric Kodak Ektra Smartphone Harkens Back to Legacy of 'You Push the Button, We Do the Rest'

Eastman Kodak and UK-based Bullitt Group yesterday announced a new smartphone which capitalizes on image-making. The 21-megapixel Kodak Ektra comes with a 6-axis optically stabilized f/2 front camera which sports a 26.5mm equivalent lens and uses a 1/2.4-inch Sony Exmor RS IMX230 sensor.

The phone's physical design evokes old manual film cameras. The Ektra is covered with a dark leatherette and features a prominently placed two-step shutter button with Kodak's iconic "K" etched into it. Its software user interface, on the other hand, is patterned after something today's smartphone photographers will likely be more familiar with: a DSLR mode dial. The touchscreen dial has haptic feedback and includes the option to switch the phone into manual, as well as a bokeh mode.

Specs

The Ektra's secondary front-facing camera has an aperture of f/2.2 and a resolving power of 13 megapixels. The phone sports a 5-inch IPS screen with 1920x1080 resolution, a 3000 mAh battery, 3 GB of RAM, a Helio X-20 Decacore processor, and 32 GB of built-in memory. Memory can be expanded via microSD cards.

The phone is charged via USB-C 3.0 port and powered by Google's ubiquitous Android operating system. It runs Android 6.0 without modifications except for a Kodak camera app in place of Google's stock application and will be upgradeable to newer versions. The Ektra's camera app also integrates Snapseed image editing software and Kodak ordering software for photo prints. The phone shoots video in 4K resolution. Kodak includes filters to simulate Super 8, vignettes, and the grain and looks of some of its classic films.

Pricing and Availability

Priced at €499/£449, the Kodak Ektra will be available in Europe by December. A U.S. launch is planned for the spring of 2017. Available accessories for the phone include a leather bag reminiscent of the Eveready cases that were sold for mid-20th-century film cameras in either black or brown (priced at €70), and a leather slip case (€35).

It stands to reason that Kodak hopes its Ektra camera phone will do better than both its first foray into smartphone design, 2014's lackluster IM5, as well as its 1940s namesake 35mm camera: despite pioneering technical innovations, such as a parallax-compensated finder and lever film advance, the 1941 Ektra, priced at a stout $700, failed in the marketplace and proved to be an unreliable design.

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9 Comments

Fritz Asuro's picture

This is actually interesting! I was about to get a Samsung Note 7, but as we know it, they recalled it and completely killed the line. And now I'm in search for the perfect replacement to my last Apple product, iPhone 6 Plus.

The timing of their announcement after the Note 7 fracas is pretty darn good. I am kind of rooting for this phone, though it will have to prove itself in actual use.

Fritz Asuro's picture

Well there couldn't be a better time! Though my concern with this phones is the specs (mobile phone wise), it's more of a mid-range rather than a flagship. I guess Kodak doesn't want to put all their money on it, just in case the product doesn't sell that much...

Jason Vinson's picture

could they have given it bigger bezels? also, why does the front facing camera have to stand out like soar thumb?

I hope the software doesn't let it down. Even if it's not the best, that leather case is straight up beautiful

Agreed! I hope they keep the form factor in the future, so there's not a lot of phone-less cases in two years or so…

It has a diagonal of 7.487 mm if that helps. Sony calls it a "Type 1/2.4" sensor. I'll admit, these tiny sensor size designations are far from intuitive.

Anonymous's picture

Wonder how this will compare to Google Pixel. As interesting as this is for almost the same price I have to think Pixel is going to be a much better option, and its already gotten the highest marks of any phone camera.

Phil Newton's picture

Mixing it up with the smartphone crowd is I guess a competitive market decision but I think the market is prime for a company with some legitimate history like Kodak to release a 35mm manual-everything film camera (basically an old design with modern construction), have it fit with a few common lenses and offer reliable film availability and I think it'd sell very well. Maybe there's companies that offer this already but those old collectable cameras are really going up in price and I think a new old product would be snapped up while people are looking for a bit of nostalgia and something different.