We have smartphones with digital assistants. What about making our DSLR and mirrorless cameras a bit smarter? A lot smarter. That’s the goal of the Arsenal Intelligent Camera Assistant currently blowing up Kickstarter.

Arsenal is designed to give you magazine quality shots through the benefit of machine learning. Hey, if Google and Facebook can listen to our conversations to serve ads, I say it’s about damn time the consumer sees a benefit. Thankfully Ryan Stout and the team at Arsenal agree. It’s all about getting the perfect shot. Your Instagram followers will thank you.

Arsenal Features

Let’s knock out the hardware specs first:

  • Powerful ARM processor
  • Weighs 2 ounces (57 grams)
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and WiFi-enabled
  • Up to 100-foot wireless range 6-hour battery life
  • Charge while in use

Light and well designed. It uses 18 different environmental factors to factor the optimal settings for your camera. All you do is find somewhere worth a damn to shoot and pull out your smartphone — iOS or Android. The onboard AI has trained on thousands of images to figure out what works the best.

Lighting giving you an issue? Arsenal promises to capture scenes in HDR in seconds by combining multiple files into one RAW or JPG file. All with no post-processing. You will still want to keep your Lightroom subscription. We all have different tastes.

arsenal app

Focus stacking is another feature in which the onboard AI calculates the number of images needed for a scene to stay in sharp focus and merges them into one image.

No more ND filters? Everyone loves long exposure photography. What photographers don’t like is the constant changing out of ND filters. It promises rich colors and motion blur without carrying around a filter case.

Social sharing. Snapbridge letting you down? Me too. The compatible smartphone apps let you both control and view your photos without taking a picture of the LCD screen on your camera. Yeah, that alone is worth it, Ryan.

Here’s how it all works according to Arsenal:

  • Compares current scene with thousands of past images using a convolutional deep neural network. (The same algorithm used in self-driving cars)
  • Optimizes settings based on 18 different factors
  • Avoids settings that produce weak images on your specific camera and lens
  • Uses image recognition to identify subject-specific needs (e.g. fast shutter for birds)
  • Shows safe ranges for each setting based on situational constraints (e.g. vibration)

What Cameras?

At launch, it will support Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Fuji has the least amount of support, while the other three big manufacturers are covered. You’ll have a hard time finding a camera from the three not supported.

Some of the newest models like the Sony a9 are not listed, but I expect that’s an oversight due to the camera just releasing.

Arsenal Kickstarter

Ryan, you should have known this would blow up. The $50,000 goal has been smashed, and the campaign is nearly at $600,000 with 22 days remaining. Pricing starts at $150 with 108 of these Kickstarter specials left. From there the price jumps to $175.

Shipping? We are in for a bit of a wait with the expected ship date slated for February 2018. Yeah, I want one now too. Head over to the campaign page to learn more.

Gear. TV. Movies. Lifestyle. Photography. Yeah, I’m the type who sees a shiny object and is immediately captivated. Wait... There’s another. You can reach me at marcus@newsledge.com

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