Point-and-shoot cameras are dead. Those Android-powered Nikons? Kaput. GoPros, well, depends how much you wakeboard. For most people, in most situations, smartphones are the beginning and end of a photography toolkit. And for those who want better pictures than an iPhone can muster on its own, accessories like the DxO One balance quality and convenience, augmenting a smartphone’s camera without getting too much in the way. Today, the DxO One gets even more useful–in even more places.
No company has enhanced the iPhone’s camera better than DxO, longtime maker of high-end photo software, and more recent camera manufacturer. The DxO One is a $500 palm-sized camera with a one-inch, 20-megapixel sensor as good as any point-and-shoot. It’s also an accessory that plugs into an iPhone’s Lightning port, uses your phone as a viewfinder, and dumps its gorgeous shots right into your Photos app for you to filter at will. Now, the company’s announcing a huge software update to the One that gives it wireless capabilities, and a line of accessories thats let you take the One places you’d never dare to bring your phone.
Every DxO One the company has shipped so far had a wireless chip inside it–it just wasn’t activated. Now it’s being turned on. With version 2.0 of the camera’s software, you can pair the camera to your phone via Wi-Fi just by plugging it in, skipping all the stupid direct-connection configuration (unless you’re in the woods and there’s no other network, in which case configuration it is). You can use your phone as a remote viewfinder for perfectly framed selfies, or mount the camera for long exposures away from your phone’s bright lights and moving parts. You can control a few settings on the camera itself, like switching from video to photo, but most fiddling still happens in the app. The real difference is just in the places you can fit the camera now–anywhere a deck of cards could go, the One can.
DxO would really like you to think of the One as kind of a GoPro for still shots. Sure, the GoPro shoots stills, but its super-wide fisheye lens doesn’t quite do its subjects justice. Using the One’s new Outdoor Shell, which comes in two models and starts at $50–a splash-proof one for taking on the boat, the other basically meant for deep-sea diving–you’ll be able to take more normal-looking photos and videos anywhere you can think of. There’s even a mount on the shell that will attach the One to most places you’d stick a GoPro.
There are a few other new accessories in the DxO lineup, like a simple stand, and a pouch that’s meant to attach to your belt just like you holstered a pager 20 years ago. But it’s the combination of wireless shooting and ruggedized housing that’s most exciting. It makes the DxO One a partner for your phone, rather than a parasite. Your phone can stay on shore while you stomp around in the water, or in your pocket while you carve down the mountain. DxO is already thinking about and working on integration with live-streaming video apps, too, which would be even cooler.
It’s the best of a point-and-shoot, a GoPro, and an iPhone, in a single package. And all the biggest upgrade costs is the time it takes to wait out a software update.