A lot of people don’t carry cameras anymore, now that they have smartphones. But that means that you could miss opportunities to capture great moments, especially when you’re missing out on the great optical zoom available on some more expensive or specialized dedicated camera devices. That’s what Snapzoom hopes to fix with its binocular mount for smartphone cameras, and the best part is that it’s completely universal, meaning it fits a wide variety of both phones and binoculars.
The project got started when Hawaii-based co-founders Daniel Fujikake and Mac Nguyen started using their own smartphones to film their surf escapades via a completely DIY, garage-made mounting device that they hacked together. They saw the utility, and other surfers asked them about it every time they went out, so they partnered up with a professional designer to form HI Resolution Enterprises and build a proper prototype using 3D-printed materials.[gallery ids="810885,810886,810887"]
The duo took to Kickstarter to fund a production run for Snapzoom, and has already blown past its $55,000 goal in just over a week. The funding will help the two turn the 3D printed prototype into a glass-filled nylon injection molded retail product, which the company hopes to manufacture both in the U.S. and overseas.
“It’s going to be extremely tough, since it’s something that’s meant to be used outdoors,” Fujikake told me. “You can put it in your bag, you don’t have to worry about babying it, you can get it wet, you can drop it, it’s very very tough.”
Already, before even closing its Kickstarter funding, Snapzoom has had a lot of interest from well-placed retail partners, including U.S. camera equipment and accessory retailer B&H Photo. Based on funding interest and prospective retail partner enthusiasm, the team seems to have tapped a strong, unaddressed consumer desire, even if it is a bit niche. And it’s not just voyeurs who are interested; this is great for nature photography and action sports, too.
Snapzoom is looking to ship in September, and retail price for the mount is expected to be around $79.99, but currently pre-order backers on Kickstarter can get one for just $70. The team is working on stretch goals now, since it has already earned almost $10,000 more than its original goal.