By Greg Mitnick
The world of photography moves fast, especially when everyone is equipped with a camera on their smartphone. These technological advances—to cameras themselves, as well as accessories and gear—have made the craft even more fun while broadening the capabilities for professionals and novices alike. Below we’ve highlighted some of the new photographic tools we’ve included in our Camera Lovers gift guide, found in its entirety in our BUY section. Some are very high-end, others are simply helpful gadgets. Altogether, there’s something here for all manners of skill and curiosity.
Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II
Beyond the 18-frames-per-second sequential shooting OM-D E-M1 Mark II ($2000) everything else in Olympus’ recently released professional camera—the OM-D E-M1 Mark II—stands for precision. Housed in a lightweight weatherproof magnesium alloy body, features likes 121 Cross-Type On-Chip Phase Detection AF points and up to 5.5 shutter speed guarantee clean captures. This is a powerhouse of a tool, with built in WiFi and 4K video capturing as further evidence. (Lens pictured not included.)
Nikon KeyMission 360 Degree Camera
The world lives in all 360 degrees, so it makes sense that our cameras have made the necessary steps to capture it this way. Shooting 4K UHD video and still, in a full spherical 360 degree field of view, Nikon’s KeyMission 360 ($497) uses two Nikkor lenses and two image sensors to pull everything in. It’s also wifi and BlueTooth compatible—but more importantly, it’s water and shockproof meaning you can take it absolutely anywhere.
Sun Surveyor App
Natural light doesn’t have to be the trickiest part of taking a photo. Built for professionals, the Sun Surveyor app ($10) tracks everything pertaining to the sun and moon—golden hour, blue hour and beyond. Further, there’s a location-sharing feature to let colleagues and collaborators know your movements. This is a planning tool that offers plenty of foresight and even includes an interactive map.
Golden Section Finder
Find perfection everywhere you go with this pocket-sized Golden Section Finder ($10). A well-known rule in design, the golden ratio relates to ideal proportions—found in nature and human-made objects. You can use this nifty accessory for fun or to figure out the perfect photo, and it’s available in blue or yellow.
The first thing one notices about Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack ($260) happens to the be the ultra-clean aesthetic. It’s quite deceiving, in a very good way, as the design conceals a plethora of substantial storage spaces. There’s a patented MagLatch top access, allowing for a quick retrieval of goods, a dedicated sleeve for laptops (up to 15″), internally padded accessory pockets and that’s just the start. Two expandable external side pockets make for fast stowing but the FlexFold dividers in the central compartment offer reconfigurable organization in this truly versatile bag.
Sigma 85mm F1.4 Art Portrait Lens
Whether on the field or in the studio, Sigma’s latest high-performance 85mm F1.4 Art lens ($1200) can capture an array of photographic material, but makes for an ideal portrait lens. Among the key features for this professional-level camera accessory, are an updated Hyper Sonic Motor granting super-efficient autofocus (there’s also a full-time manual focus, of course) and a nine-blade rounded diaphragm that highlights the subject while establishing background bokeh.
Pulse Camera Remote
Offering a 100 foot bluetooth range, Alpine Labs’ Pulse Camera Remote ($99) plugs directly into one’s camera by way of the USB port, and pairs with a dedicated smartphone app. More than just letting a user snag a photo, the remote delivers wireless control of ISO, shutter speed and aperture. It’s all intuitive to use, but the freedom (and reliability) it grants when setting up an ideal photo marks the true value.
Designed to offer adjustable brightness for all GoPro and smartphone camera photos and videos, each Lume Cube ($80) delivers up to 1,500 lumens when capturing a shot or take. Connected via Bluetooth and paired with a dedicated app (that can control up to five Lume Cubes at once), this is an intuitive system with tangible impact. And as it’s been constructed to light scenes up on the fly, the Lume Cube is entirely waterproof for those potentially tricky scenarios.
Images courtesy of respective brands