The iPhone’s Pocket-Size Camera Sidekick


What It Is: A compact 20.2 MP camera that connects directly to the iPhone’s lightning port and uses the phone as a viewfinder.  
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Why We Like It: Any amateur photographer grapples with the same question just about every time they leave the house: Bring a camera or rely (again) on shooting with a smartphone? The clever DxO One is a step closer to solving that problem. It is a camera in itself — albeit a tiny one at a little over 2.5 inches tall and weighing less than .3 pounds. But what allows it to be so small is that it uses your always-on-hand phone as the viewfinder and display.
Set-up was simple. Plug into the iPhone’s lightning jack, and after loading the app, you can immediately start shooting. The iPhone 6’s retina display makes a stunning viewfinder, and having the DxO hanging off the end of it is surprisingly ergonomic. On the phone’s screen you can control the camera (change modes, settings, switch to video, etc.), and photos are saved both on a mini-SD card in the camera body (in full RAW format) and to your phone‘s camera roll if you tell it to do so. The latter means you can instantly share images on social media and even use any appropriate app for some quick photo editing.
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And the images? They’re excellent and much better than what you get from the iPhone 6‘s built-in camera. That’s due to both the One’s high-quality lens and a 1-inch CMOS sensor with backside illumination (in a package about three times smaller than any comparably equipped camera, according to the manufacturer). The icing is a selfie mode that initiates automatically when you mount the DxO with the lens facing you and bathes your face in a gentle yellow hue using the phone’s screen.
Nitpick: Not surprisingly, price is our biggest nitpick. At $599 (yup, you read that right), you have to start wondering if you should put that money towards a proper DSLR — and you’d be right to do so.