In the 90s DVD technology emerged. And guess what, porn manufacturers were the first to take the most advantage of it (some argue that DVD took off because of the porn industry). Often they marketed their their unsavory videos with multiangle shots. Please, it was a total marketing ploy and instead of an alternative angle all you got was a reversed image. However, that wouldn’t have been the case if they had themselves the Kogeto Dot.
The Kogeto Dot is currently only available for the iPhone, but they plan to have a version for Android any day now. We first saw the camera accessory on Kickstarter.com, where they raised further funding to make their idea a reality. In effect it’s a camera lens that wraps itself around the back of the iPhone and provides the appears of a Kaleidoscope like contraption. In some regards it’s just that, but instead of distorting the image the apparatus is a fisheye lens on steroids that is enables Apple’s handset to capture a 360 degree image.
Attaching the Kogeto Dot onto the iPhone couldn’t be simpler. There is only one way to attach it and the plastic frame quickly and easily latches around the edges of the iPhone and effortlessly places the built-in lens over the iPhone’s camera. Thanks to the special 360 degree lens, it creates quite the wart on the iPhone’s back (more than twice the handset’s thickness), but despite that it is relatively light weight. The frame is finished in an eye popping green, while the lens portion is crafted from plastic, enabling the Kogeto Dot to survive the bumps and folleys that are often associate with filming video on Apple’s handset.
The acccompaning app, called Looker, is pretty cut and dry. Recordings are capped at just over 7 minutes and they can be shared on their proprietary network if you so choose, as well as be posted to Facebook and Twitter directly from the app. After attaching the Dot I had to calibrate the app. The process is easy enough and simple calls for you to align a green dot over the black dot (the center of the Kogeto Dot). This allows you to achieve an optimal if not full 360 degree image and remove any obstructions from camera’s field of view. Once you’ve done this you can lock it for future use, though during my testing I had to adjust it here there because I could occasionally see the outer frame of the lens. All in all it’s a no frills app. But it’s actually the real magic behind the Dot, quickly if not instantly translating the recorded images (no stitching involved) into immersive 360 degree video, allowing you to view any angle simply by swiping your finger left or right across the touchscreen. So, in other words, without the Looker app, you’d just see an unwatchable donut like image.
I tested the Kogeto Dot in a variety of scenarios. Don’t expect video footage that is comparable to the iPhone’s camera sans lens. Remember, you’re squeezing 360 degrees of video into one hole, so there will inevitably be a degradation in image quality. That said, the brighter the setting the better, and the darker the setting the more noise that will appear in the footage.
During my testing I couldn’t help but notice there was a slight sheen over the image, which I believe to be a result of the plastic casing that surrounds the lens. So it’s my assumption that in Kogeto’s desire for perhaps a more affordable and durable product, they’ve compromised ever so slightly on image quality. I’ve got not qualms with this, though it would be interesting to capture footage with an all glass Kogeto Dot since glass refracts less light. Nevertheless, show the footage off to anyone, regardless of the quality, and they’ll be wowed that such a little tool as the Dot can achieve such a bit feat. Suffice to say, everyone is impressed, if not dumbfounded by the simplicity and ability of the Kogeto Dot. Then you tell them the price and they say: “I want one.”
- Easy to install, setup and use
- Durable plastic build means it can take some bumps
- Real time, user controlled angle video
- Plastic lens cover reduces clarity of image
- Requires brightly lit scenarios for good image quality
- Makes the iPhone more than twice as fat