Hello and hei hei (as we say in Norway), dear backers!
It's Victor here with our monthly Fjorden update. We have lots of news, so here's a "too long; didn't read" summary:
- We've improved the Fjorden Grip based on your feedback during the campaign.
- The manufacturing timeline is tight, but still on time.
- We'd love to have you as beta testers for the Fjorden iOS app! Sign up below.
- The new Fjorden webstore is live at fjorden.co.
- Yes, we're making cases for the new iPhone 13 series!
Please read on to find out more!
Fjorden Grip improvements & manufacturing updates
Over the last few weeks, our industrial design team has been busy with making improvements to the Fjorden Grip and getting our manufacturing team in Hong Kong/China up to speed. Here's a quick rundown of the changes:
Battery: Making sure you can find one anywhere, anytime
As some of you pointed out during the campaign, the coin cell battery we had chosen (CR 2430) was an "oddball" size that was hard to find in stores. We had made that choice because the CR 2430 has a higher capacity in a slightly slimmer package than the more readily available CR 2032, and we thought that having a 2-3 week "low battery" warning in the Fjorden App would be enough time to find a replacement CR 2430.
However, having mulled it over, we believe you're right (thanks Drake and George!). During our prototype testing, we encountered the problem of finding replacement CR 2430s ourselves: Yes, they're available on Amazon and some electronics stores - but in a pinch, you can find a CR 2032 at every corner store.
We estimate that even the CR 2032 will give the Fjorden Grip at least 6-9 months of battery life - and we wanted to make sure that if you ever run out of battery unexpectedly during a trip, you can find a spare battery anywhere, anytime. Hence, the switch!
Magnetic latch: Because magnets rule!
In the original design, when folded "flat", the Fjorden Grip is held in place by a small physical latch and a corresponding slot in the iPhone case/universal adapter plate:
Sometimes, when folding the Fjorden Grip "flat", we needed a few tries to find the latch slot. We wanted to make this a smoother experience, so we tried a different solution: A magnetic latch and two small "nubs" that secure the Grip in place. It works much better and provides a satisfying "snap" when the Grip folds down!
Here's our industrial designer Karin demonstrating a prototype (hence the rough look; it's 3D-printed and held together by sticky tape):
Two wrist strap attachment points to enable a "loop"
One of our backers (thanks Pascal!) suggested adding a second strap attachment point to our Fjorden iPhone Cases so that it becomes possible to use a hand strap like on a DSLR.
We're currently looking into this and are pretty confident we can make it happen. In any case, the strap attachments will be optional - you can choose whether to install them in your Fjorden iPhone case.
Here's a render of what it could look like:
Manufacturing timeline: Tight, but still on time
Meanwhile, our manufacturing team focused on the electronics side. We finished the first test run of our PCBs (printed circuit boards), and things are looking good:
A batch of these is currently on their way to Oslo, where we will do further tests and tweak the firmware.
As for the manufacturing timeline, the global chip shortage has squeezed it a bit, even though things are still on track. Specifically, the lead time for our Bluetooth module increased by several weeks in the span between us receiving the quotes (pre-Kickstarter) and placing the order (post-Kickstarter).
Fortunately, we were able to "spot buy" several hundred units from different online stores, so we have enough Bluetooth modules for our manufacturing test runs this autumn. The units we ordered from our supplier should arrive in time for assembly in January as planned. Fingers crossed, and we'll keep you posted if things change.
Join the Fjorden Camera App beta!
We are excited to finally share the first beta version of our Fjorden Camera app with you. It took us a bit longer than anticipated - sorry about that! Please be aware that this is very much a beta: Some features are missing, and others might (well, they most certainly will) break.
But that's how every app starts! We'd love to hear what you think, what we need to fix, and which features we should build next. We've created a development roadmap at https://fjorden.co/roadmap, which gives a glimpse of what we have planned. Feel free to add suggestions and up-vote ideas you like!
How to join the beta
Enter your name and email at https://fjorden.co/testflight. Ideally, use the same email address you used when backing us on Kickstarter/Indiegogo or pre-ordering at our shop. We will be in touch shortly with an invite from Apple TestFlight. In the meantime, you can prepare by installing TestFlight from the App Store (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/testflight/id899247664) if you don't have it already.
How to give feedback
The best way to get in touch is via email@example.com or make a suggestion on the roadmap (https://fjorden.co/roadmap). The Fjorden app also has links to these and an easy feedback mechanism via email.
What the Fjorden Camera app can do at the moment:
- Full Auto
- Manual camera controls (Exposure, Shutter Speed, ISO, White Balance)
- Manual focus & focus peaking
- Separate AF (autofocus) & AE (auto exposure) points that can be locked
- Face detection & tracking for AF & AE
- Shoot in RAW & ProRAW
- Lens switching
- Digital zoom (only available in HEIC/JPG/ProRAW, not in RAW)
- Grid overlays & self-timer
- Basic photo gallery and metadata display & embedded GPS location
Our Fjorden.co webstore is live
Our Fjorden store went online today at https://fjorden.co! If you have friends & family who missed out on the amazing Kickstarter deals, please point them to our new store. We're still offering fantastic pre-order deals with discounts of up to $40 on future retail prices.
New iPhone 13 lineup & cases
Apple announced their new iPhone 13 lineup yesterday, and we're thrilled. The new iPhones pack massive improvements for photographers and videographers:
- The iPhone 13 and 13 Mini inherit the camera modules of the previous top-of-the-line 12 Pro Max, with much larger sensors and sensor-shift image stabilisation.
- The iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max gain even larger sensors for up to 2.2x improved low-light capability, Night Mode on all lenses, macro photography on the ultra-wide lens down to 2cm, and a new 77mm telephoto lens (up from 58mm/65mm on the 12 Pro/12 Pro Max).
- All iPhone 13 models gain "Cinematic Mode" with computational bokeh in videos, including an embedded depth map - meaning the focus/aperture can be changed afterwards! We'll have to see how well it works in the real world, but the possibility is super-exciting.
And yes: We'll be making Fjorden MagSafe Cases for all new iPhone 13 models. You'll be able to choose them or add them to your pre-order in our BackerKit survey (coming later this year).
The Camera of the Future
One last bit! At the end of August, I was supposed to travel to Berlin Photo Week and give a talk about "The Camera of the Future". Unfortunately, just before the trip, I came down with a pretty nasty flu (though at least not COVID) - so I decided to record my talk instead, and the organisers streamed it at the conference.
What does the camera of the future look like? Will dedicated cameras always be better than smartphones? Check out the answers - including Star Trek tricorders and why/when we'll see Full Frame sensors on iPhones: