Tech Accessories

Cypod flash drive takes four types of data for a spin

USB flash drives are important tools for computer users, enabling them to save photos, text and video data, and conveniently take that information anywhere without having to schlep a PC around. But not all memory sticks are created equal. Many of them are small and can be easily lost, while others can be unreliable and many can only fit a small amount of data.

Cypod is a cylindrical flash drive that promises reliability and the ability to hold a huge amount of data. It also adds something missing from typical USB flash drives: the ability to, like a traditional hard drive, partition four separate types of data. Each partitioned area can be selected by rotating the device to access the four separate USB sticks that have been incorporated into its design.


LensRacks holds camera, lens, flashes and more; makes life easier for photographers

Any photographer knows that changing lenses quickly can be an important part of getting the best shot. One can’t be fumbling around with camera bags and costly equipment, or else they’ll miss a great photograph. However, there isn’t a great way to keep the camera’s accessories organized.

patent-claimedFor lenses, flashes, monitors, cameras and more comes LensRacks. This product is modular and customizable, using rails to hold camera accessories in place. To use, place lens holders, flash holders, camera adapters and more in between the rails. The lenses and other accessories easily twist on and off. This way, all the accessories needed are quickly and easily accessible to the photographer. LensRacks is currently only compatible with Canon and Nikon products. Backers can pay $49 for the triple rail kit with estimated delivery in August of this year.

There are plenty of products out there aimed at keeping lens caps safe—like the Hack x Tack—but few that focus on larger accessories. While perhaps a little bulky to tote around, LensRacks is still great for any photographer who has a long day of picture-taking ahead of them. Its customizable and modular design make it especially appealing.


Lume Cube portable flash brightens up your selfie, illuminates environment

Those who love high quality photography are moving farther away from cameras and simply relying upon their smartphones for a great shot. The smartphone camera has come a long way, providing folks with control over focus, exposure, filters and more. However, there are still a few key ways these phone cameras lag behind digital or film cameras.

Lume Cube provides the kind of light that’s hard to find when using a smartphone camera. Each cube is 1.5” and provides up to 1,500 lumens. With a strong magnet on the back and powerful suction cup, each cube can be mounted at least somewhere for the perfect shot. Or use the tripod it comes with to stand it up. Boasting two hours of battery life and no recycle in between flashes, Lume Cube can easily be used for continuous use.

Best of all, though, is the fact that these cubes sync up via Bluetooth to any iPhone or Android with its accompanying app. The app allows up to five Lume Cubes to be used at once. It also allows for dimming and either sporadic flash for photo taking or a continual flash for videos. Last, but not least, each cube is encased in waterproof silicone making it durable for wherever a photograph may need to be taken.

The campaign does a fantastic job of showing backers just how powerful this light can be, with some nighttime action shots and a before and after selfie. Lume Cube clearly delivers what it boasts. The only drawback is that they’re a bit bulky. If its creators can flatten these cubes out so that they’re less, well, cube-y, then they’d be much more portable which is the whole point of shooting with a smartphone. Backers can have one for $59 by February 2015. Lume Cube is looking to raise $56,000 on Kickstarter.

Imaging Video

Vela One delivers high-speed flash photography faster than you can blink

Being a photographer is an expensive gig, and treading into the waters of high speed photography, even more so. The equipment currently used to film those well-known shots of small events like water droplets falling and frogs jumping cost big money, so it’s not hard to see why it isn’t more prevalent. Matt Kane wasn’t a big fan of the excessive costs, and created the Vela One to make it more affordable to do quality high speed photography.

The Vela One does away with the need for a high-speed camera costing tens of thousands of dollars as an LED-based unit that packs one million units into a sturdy polycarbonate box. The Vela One is capable of pulses as short as 500 nanoseconds, 100 times faster than standard speed light flashes and fast enough to shoot a rifle bullet. Since the device isn’t based on high voltage sparks and doesn’t require dangerous equipment to operate, it’s so much more versatile and accessible. Photographers can combine the Vela One with the fps1000 for truly low-cost, quality shots, making the former practically necessary to most any photographer. A donation of £550 (~$856) will get backers a Vela One by May 2015 should the product reach its campaign goal of £25,000 (~$38,900).



Panlight sets the plan right to remotely position cameras and flashes

Professional photographers use a beefed up flash system for extra light. They’ll set up these speedlight flashes and then move around to get the best shot. Unfortunately, to adjust the flash, they have to lower down the stand, angle the flash properly and hope it’s in the right position.

Panlight uses a remote control to adjust the speedlight for you. From up to 100 feet away, the photographer can move the flash up and down 180 degrees and 360 degrees around. In addition, Panlight offers the perk of being able to attach your camera to it in order to control that remotely as well. This will let your DLSR reach new heights of photography without having to climb a ladder. This product works with standard tripods and camera stands. It can support mirror-less cameras up to two pounds. To power, use four AA batteries.

This is certainly a nifty device that will help tons of photographers. Weddings in particular are difficult to photograph because there’s so much going on. A remote control will certainly make the entire process easier. It’s too bad, though, that Panlight is powered by batteries. A rechargeable battery would make more sense. However, there’s always the possibility of running out of juice in the middle of a wedding, in which case spare AA batteries would come more in handy than having to recharge. For £95 (~$149) backers will receive their very own by March 2015. The UK made Panlight is looking to raise £23,000 (~$36,000) on Kickstarter.


BounceLite angles for maximum flash in and out of the studio

BounceLitePhotographers know that light is what makes the difference between a quality photograph and a waste of memory. BounceLite is a camera attachment that allows a photographer to manipulate light for a great photo. It features a hinged white square that angles light wherever it needs to go. The attachment also features colored gels that are easy to install in order to give a photo a different mood or quality. BounceLite eliminates the need for bulky reflectors and makes professional-quality photos easier to capture. It looks like a handy camera accessory that will be attractive to advanced amateurs and pros. This British product will cost backers £88. BounceLite hopes to raise £28,000 on Kickstarter.


Flekt shapes and diffuses your DSLR’s popup flash

The Premise. To get that perfect shot, serious photographers rarely rely on just a camera in their hands. Any photographer’s assistant can tell you that there’s plenty of ancillary equipment like tripods, beauty dishes, extra lenses and external flashes that needs to be lugged around. But sometimes one needs to lug a little less.

The Product. Flekt is a diffuser that works with the built-in flash on your DSLR in order to eliminate the need for a much larger piece of equipment. Photographers use diffusers to prevent the harsh contrast of dark shadows common when using a flash. The accessory attaches to your DSLR via a magnetic piece called a Magattach inserted into the camera’s hot shoe. Light is then redirected by the reflector onto the Flekt attachment with a white, silver or gold reflector. The purpose of Flekt is to give professional photographers and advanced amateurs a way to achieve studio-quality lighting using just the camera’s pop-up flash, eliminating the need for other equipment. One can bend the shape of Flekt to create some variety in its lighting effect.

The Pitch. Flekt’s inventor, Preston Vance, and partner Max Beach present the concept of Flekt and explain the details that went into the product’s design. Preston  explains that he hired 10 photographers to give him feedback on the initial beta version in order to refine later product designs. While Flekt is the first in this product line, Preston’s ultimate vision is to have the photography community design attachments and reflectors which will then be created by his team.

Reading the rest of the campaign page, you’ll see that Flekt has been seven years in the making and that the founders are looking to raise $70,000. Other tidbits include sample photos and a few gifs which show how easily the system comes together. In a bold move, the site compares an image taken with an iPhone to an image taken with Flekt on a DSLR. While not really comparing apples to apples, it does capture the potential of image quality the product versus the common alternative.

The Perks. Material rewards for Flekt backers start at $65, which nets 150 early birds a Flekt system with the white reflector coating. From there, options continue to $150, which provides backers with the entire Flekt system including all three audaciously named reflector coatings – Lambertian White, Silver Exciter and Gold Exciter. If the project meets funding goals estimated, delivery of the systems will be September – October 2014.

The Potential. Several camera accessory brands have versions of pop-up diffusers, but Flekt is unique in that it offers a full system of interchangeable reflectors and was designed with several camera brands in mind. The photog community will likely put Flekt through a variety of tests to understand whether the innovation truly stands up in terms of image quality. The flip side is, that if Flekt passes the test, it will likely be eagerly embraced. What Flekt has going for it is its portability, simplicity and versatility.