Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

CAMpanion lets you mount your smartphone screen right behind the GoPro

The small size of the GoPro camera makes it perfect for shooting extreme sports activity. But its diminutive size also can make it difficult to use for shooting everyday subjects and activity where a steady hand is required.

The CAMpanion is a solution to that issue, offering a new mounting system enabling all GoPro models to be attached to any smartphone or tablet. In addition to making sure that every shot is perfectly framed, the mounting system also makes it more comfortable for the user to shoot. Attaching the GoPro to a smartphone or tablet also adds features including lighting via the mobile device’s flashlight app. The accessory holds promise, offering a simple but handy solution for the surging number of GoPro users.

Users can mount the GoPro in less than a second by just snapping the camera onto the CAMpanion mounting plate. The accessory will ship in May and cost $40. Its makers set a goal of raising $28,000 by March 28 through Kickstarter.

Tech Accessories

Monkey Latch limits monkeying around when switching camera accessories

It is often inconvenient when switching tripods or other accessories on an interchangeable lens camera. That’s because the mounting plate is often different. Monkey Latch camera mounts solve that issue because the system uses a one-click design that allows photographers to make quick changeovers from one accessory to another.

The Monkey Latch system is universal, working with all cameras using a ¼-20 mounting point. The system includes four products: a base plate that fits perfectly under a single-lens reflex camera and can be used with many other variations of digital cameras; a tripod mount that works with all tripods having a ¼-20 mounting screw; a pack mount attachment that works with most backpack straps; and a sling mount attachment that works with any sling that has a ¼-20 mounting screw.

Backers who pledge $60 CAD (~$50 USD) will get one base plate with either a sling or tripod mount. Those who pledge $70 CAD (~$59 USD) will get a base plate and a tripod and pack mount. The company is looking to raise $25,000 CAD (~$20,900 USD) on Kickstarter.

The mounting system seems promising–as long as it indeed can be used interchangeably between Canon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax and Sony cameras, as its maker claims.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries Connected Objects Tech Accessories Technology

PowerLite provides more powerful smartphone camera performance

The multi-functional PowerLite from Australia serves as a power charger, as well as a light accessory for iPhones and Android smartphones. As a charger, the PowerLite provides six extra hours of battery life, while the thinner PowerLite Slim version adds three hours of battery life. The device uses 14 light emitting diodes (LEDs) to generate up to 630 lumens of brightness, about equal to a typical 40-watt light bulb. The light is controlled through an app for iPhones and Android phones. Users can opt to keep the device in flash mode or have the LEDs stay on constantly to record a video or illuminate a shot. PowerLite also serves as a remote selfie camera shutter. The device can also be used to find a misplaced smartphone. Pressing a button on it sets off an alert for the phone to make a sound.

Backers who provide $19 for the Kickstarter campaign will get either SKU of the device when it ships in June. That’s 58% less than PowerLite’s maker expects it to cost at retail. Its maker is looking to raise $60,000 Kickstarter.

PowerLite’s multi-functionality and slim design gives it a clear advantage over rival devices including the Lume Cube. The relatively low pricing is also a plus.

Tech Accessories Technology

MicroJib camera holder boosts GoPro’s creative possibilities from all angles

The popularity of GoPro cameras has been a boon for the makers of camera accessories. The new MicroJib from a Denver, Colorado, inventor adds pan and tilt functionality to the GoPro, expanding the creative possibilities of the action camera.

Panning and tilting enables freedom in camera motions that weren’t previously achievable with other extension poles. Backers of the Kickstarter campaign who pledge amounts starting at $79 will be able to get a MicroJib when it ships in April. Backers who pay $99 will still be getting one at less than the expected $109 retail. Backers who pay $129 can get a  limited edition green and black model. The campaign is hoping to raise $24,000.

MicroJib seems like a good bet for GoPro owners. The accessory’s mount is only designed for GoPro cameras, which limits its potential appeal to owners of other cameras. But MicroJib’s maker is planning to offer a mount as an add-on that will let users mount any small camera to the device.



ProPalz enhances GoPro camera users’ extreme sense of humor

Using video to improve one’s game will do one of two things: it will either make one bitter or better. And better often includes bringing out one’s sense of humor. ProPalz may be able to help those who tend toward the extreme to take themselves less seriously when the stress and pressure to improve is on. The plush critters appear to serve a “duel” purpose in that they function both as a protective camera case and clip-mount. The padded case reduces shock during those extreme activities, and the clip camera mount offers the opportunity to attach the camera (while in the case) to a belt loop, back pack, golf club, guitar neck (or perhaps strap during performance), goal post, Harley handle bars or whatever one desires to make a ProPalz type of visual statement.

Of course, it might also work well for getting the kids to smile in videos, too. Other GoPro camera mounts that backers may want to check out include the Infinity Arm and SpinMount campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $6,500. For $100 backers get one product with an ambitious expected delivery of January 2015.

Imaging Video

SERVOSTAB keeps its motor running to smooth your video

The Premise. Home movies can be fun to make, but depending on the equipment used and skill of the videographer, they can be painful to watch. As digital cameras have helped us evolve into more sophisticated shooters, we have upgraded our requirements for decent video stabilization.

The Product. SERVOSTAB is a small motor intended to stabilize your DSLR or interchangeable lens camera to help you create more professional-looking videos. In full stabilization mode, your camera will remain stable on its axis, even if the camera mount is moving. Ideal if you commonly shoot video while walking or otherwise moving, this setting will reduce the amount of camera shake experienced. The second mode, called follow stabilization is interesting because the camera will follow your various movements, but will do so in a controlled and smooth manner. This is great for making smoother scene transitions and reducing the camera jerk which tends to nauseate viewers and happens when the videographer’s attention suddenly shifts.

The Pitch. Absolutely created for the techy, SERVOSTAB’s campaign video employs a computer-narrator who explains the different modes and advantages of SERVOSTAB’s motor compared with a typical servo motor. or simple weights that characterize most crowdfunded stablizers. She (it?) also narrates over someone plugging in SERVOSTAB to a computer to configure the product setting preferences from included software. The campaign page includes information about each piece of technology that goes into making SERVOSTAB in addition to other general campaign information.

The Perks. SERVOSTAB is estimated to be available in September-October in the $100-150 price range. If you choose to help support the project, you can obtain one of the first SERVOSTABs available in September with a donation of $179. Interestingly, there are three levels which net backer perks of a discount on the product once available. Assuming the project is funded, this could be a nice compromise for people who are on the fence. For $599 you can back the project and receive three SERVOSTABs engraved with your name, logo or a picture.

The Potential.  SERVOSTAB could be a great addition to the videographer’s toolbox. A much less compact, less affordable and overall less promising product with a similar concept is looking for funding on Kickstarter. If funded, SERVOSTAB could make a relatively inexpensive way to bump up video quality a few notches, without the need for you to shell out for a new cam. It’s unclear exactly which cameras the device is compatible with – the campaign references “most DSLRs” but features a Sony interchangeable lens camera. This will be important information that potential backers will want to know. The campaign goal is $25,000 in flexible funding so founders will receive all funds raised over the campaign’s 60 days, even if it does not make goal.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

Ember takes low-light iPhone photos beyond the flash

The Premise. According to a 2013 study, 23% of all smartphone users take at least one photo a day with their phone’s camera. While the result is more visual media than ever and the meteoric rise of the “selfie,” the ever-popular camera doesn’t always provide best results. Every new generation of phone promises more and more megapixels, but what about lighting? What will it take to get more than a basic flash?

The Product. Enter the Ember, an iPhone accessory that naturally attaches to the contours of the iPhone 5 and 5s, providing warm light that makes photos pop and stand out. The Ember makes the phone’s back panel a 56 LED light source with an independent power source that lasts for up to 4 hours of continuous light. Because it’s independently powered, the Ember can even be removed and held in a different position to provide my dynamic staging to any otherwise low-light photography. Color and diffusion filters are available that can be slid in and out of the housing without any fuss. Additionally, the top of the device can be removed to support any peripheral lenses.

The Pitch. With a video that calls out to the heart of every Instagram addict and selfie genius, the Ember introduces itself as a fully capable addition to any 5-series iPhone. What really makes the strongest point however, are side-by-side comparisons of night photos taken with the built-in iPhone flash versus the Ember. The colors are warmer, the details more natural, and the overall aesthetic is much more pleasing. Naturally, Instagram is among the social networks that Ember is present on. Creator Jedd Goble needs $30,000 to make his dream of well-lit mobile photography a reality. At this time the only stretch goal available is that at $50,000, Ember will be fully funded for large-scale production.

The Perks. Getting an Ember in choice of white or black, with tripod adapter and warming filter, takes a pledge of $59. The Pro Package at $99 will include additional colored filters.

The Potential. While a bit big and ungainly, the accessory perfectly complements the modern Bohemian market that Apple has worked so hard to cultivate. Attaching an Ember makes any iPhone scream business in the front, fashion shoot in the back. The features of the Ember stand out against its competitors and are well-designed to appeal to the finicky perfectionism of professional photographers while being simple enough for the late-night party crowd. The Ember might not be for everyone, but people who always have their phone out taking pictures for social media will definitely want to pick one up.


Air Strap seeks picture-perfect comfort

The Premise. If you’ve ever experienced the common vacation activity known as “the walking tour,” you may be familiar with some of the hurdles which come with trying to document it. Traveling with a camera can be cumbersome and annoying, yet having the ability to look fondly back on memories of past trips can deem the activity “worth the hassle”.

The Product. Not to be confused with an awesome accessory for your best air guitar, the Air Strap has many hopeful photographers and photography enthusiasts looking forward to a more comfortable future in photo capturing. While traditional straps rely on a single important benefit like ‘coming in the box for free’ many users have found them painful and hard-to-adjust. The folks at Custom SLR hope to remedy this with a wide, lightweight neoprene alternative that helps avoids the dreaded sweaty neck and shoulder syndrome.

The Pitch. Custom SLR keeps the campaign video simple following a photographer taking shots around San Francisco while the narrator points out the strap’s advantages — comfort, quick loosening to facilitate framing the shot, and air holes that let the strap breathe and dissipate the kind of sweat a hardworking photographer can work up.

The Perks. A $25 pledge nets an Air Strap and Laptop Strap Attachment, which is a pretty good deal compared to some of the more professionally oriented slings. From there, rewards escalate to include a number of other accessories. They culminate to include a free dinner in San Francisco (sorry East coasters, transportation is excluded).

The Potential. The camera strap is a commodity item, often thrown into the box. On the other hand, there are a number of higher-end products such as those from Black Rapid that offer a place at your side and conveniently allows you to quickly position to grab a shot. The inclusion of a laptop case adapter, though, should provide some added utility, appeal and value.