Cool digital photo gadget bargains
Looking to do more with your digital camera? No matter what kind of camera you have—an iPhone, a point-and-shoot, or a digital SLR—you can find a multitude of inexpensive gadgets and accessories designed to help you take better photos, shoot more effectively, and generally have more fun taking pictures. Here are some cool camera accessories that you might want to check out.
Lightscoop Junior: The little flash units on some compact point-and-shoot cameras are just a tease: Despite promising improved results, they yield ugly photos with harsh lighting. One solution to this problem is Lightscoop Junior ($19), a tiny reflector that adheres to the front of your compact camera and bounces the light for softer, more diffuse illumination. I’ve used Junior’s big brother–the Lightscoop–with digital SLRs for years, and I like its diffusing effect. Lightscoop Junior stands ready to do the same for your compact camera’s flash photos.
Triggertrap: If you’ve been to a professional portrait studio in the past few years, you’ve probably noticed that the photographer shoots with a camera that's tethered to a computer. This arrangement enables the photographer to control the camera remotely and do all sorts of things that aren’t easy to do with the camera alone. Triggertrap is sort of like that: It tethers your digital SLR to an iPhone or Android phone, and the Triggertrap app dramatically expands the capabilities of your camera. Use the Triggertrap to help take time-lapse photos or to use face recognition or sound to activate the shutter, among other things. The mobile app is free, but you’ll also need to have the appropriate $25 cable for your particular camera (about 280 models are supported).
Eye-Fi Pro X2: We’ve gotten spoiled in recent years by memory cards with huge capacities, but what if you had a card with infinite capacity? Or a card that automatically and wirelessly uploaded your photos to your computer?
You’d be describing the Eye-Fi Pro X2. In your camera, it works like an ordinary 16GB SD Card; but the Eye-Fi is also equipped with WiFi–so it automatically transfers photos to your computer whenever the camera is turned on and within range of your network. In “endless memory mode,” it deletes photos from the card as they upload, so you never run out of space. You can also configure it to post your photos automatically to a service such as Facebook or Flickr. The 16GB Pro X2 costs $99; other models start at $40.
GloCase With CamHoodie lens hood: If you’re going to put your iPhone in a case, it might as well be a case that improves flash photos, right? That’s the idea behind the soft, $25 GloCase With CamHoodie. The case includes a tiny rubber lens hood that reduces glare from stray light that would otherwise enter the lens and diminish the contrast in your photos. The entire case glows slightly when the flash fires–a bit of bling that may appeal mainly to younger users.
PostalPix: Countless sites let you create custom prints from your digital photos, but how about making prints etched into aluminum? That’s what PostalPix, a free app for the iPhone and Android, offers. You can order prints ranging from 4 by 4 inches to 8 by 10 inches, and priced at $10 to $25. The PostalPix site delivers prints on 1mm-thick, high-grade aluminum with a glossy, scratch resistant surface. You also get mounting tape for hanging the print on a wall and magnets for sticking it to a fridge.
ProDot: The ProDot might be the most unassuming digital camera accessory you’ve ever seen–but it’s a clever device designed to steady your photos by passively absorbing finger tremors. For $10, you get two rubbery, padded dots in your choice of color (black, clear, or red). The dots adhere to your camera’s shutter release, and you can remove them easily without having to deal with any sticky residue. The dots have a soft, comfortable feel under your finger, and they appear to reduce shutter jitters during the crucial moment of snapping a photo. ProDots emerged from a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Ipico hand-held projector: $129 may be pushing the upper end of “inexpensive,” but give this gadget a chance: It’s worth it. A pocket-size portable projector for your iPhone, the Ipico is about the same size and shape as the phone. You slip your phone into its dock to project photos and video at sizes of up to about 50 inches on a wall or projection screen. The Ipico is compatible with most iPhone and iPod touch models (but not the new iPhone 5); it has a resolution of 960 by 540 pixels and can run for about 90 minutes on a charge.