The best gear to give to the photographer in your life

If your favorite person has a love of video or photography, a camera may be the best gift they’ll ever get. Some may want to capture their adventures with an action camera, while others may desire a mirrorless camera for portraits, movies or artistic shots. The technology is better than ever as camera makers try to stay ahead of smartphones with faster shooting speeds, sharper video and incredible autofocus. We found the best models for budgets ranging from $400 to $2,500, along with top accessories to complement their existing gear.

GoPro Hero 10 Black

GoPro Hero9 Black / Hero10 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

For the adventurer on your gift list, there’s no better action camera than the GoPro Hero 10 Black. It bests the previous Hero 9 Black model in a number of key ways, thanks mainly to the faster GP2 processor. That helps it deliver improved image quality, with higher resolution at up to 5.3K/30fps instead of 5K as before. It also offers improved noise reduction, smoother stabilization, more faithful color reproduction and better handling.

Buy GoPro Hero 10 Black at Amazon - $499Buy Hero 9 Black at GoPro - $350

Sony Alpha A6100

Sony Alpha A6100 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Sony

Sony’s A6100 is a great gift idea for budding photographers, as it offers the best features of its APS-C mirrorless camera series at the best price. Chief among those is the incredibly reliable autofocus system with eye-detection and other AI tricks. Even with fast-moving action, the A6100 will nail focus for video or photos most of the time thanks to the extremely rapid tracking system. It also offers accurate colors, good low-light performance and a flip-up display that allows for selfies and vlogging, with sharp video capture at up to 4K. It’s also one of the best mirrorless camera deals around at $748, or $848 with a 16-50mm kit lens.

Buy Sony Alpha A6100 at B&H - $848

DJI Ronin SC gimbal

DJI Ronin-SC gimbal for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
DJI

A gimbal is a great gift idea for video shooters, helping them boost production value with smooth tracking, panning and other shots. If your loved one has a mirrorless camera, the best option is DJI’s Ronin-SC model. It weighs just 2.4 pounds, 41 percent lighter than DJI’s original Ronin-S — making it easier to use for longer periods. It can stabilize just about any type of video as well, thanks to the ActiveTrack 3.0 mode and AI that can lock onto and track human or other subjects.

Buy DJI Ronin SC at Amazon - $439

Panasonic GH5

Panasonic GH5 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If your gift recipient is into making YouTube videos, the Panasonic GH5 has been the vlogging camera of choice since it first came out . The 20-megapixel Micro Four Thirds sensor delivers pin-sharp 4K video downsampled from the full sensor at up to 60fps, with a 10-bit high-color option that makes editing easier afterwards. It also includes other necessities for vlogging like a flip-out display, in-body stabilization and dual high-speed card slots. With the arrival of the $1,700 GH5 II, the original GH5 is cheaper than it’s ever been at $1,300, giving your loved one a lot of camera for the money.

Buy Panasonic GH5 at Amazon - $1,300

Magnus VT-4000 Tripod

Magnus VT-4000 tripod for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Engadget

If your giftee is starting to get serious about video, the Magnus VT 4000 is the best budget tripod option out there. It’s lightweight at 8 pounds, but the anodized aluminum construction is strong enough to handle a mirrorless camera and accessories weighing up to 8.8 pounds. The lack of heft makes it practical for travel, while the fluid head allows for smooth tilts and pans. Other features include a middle spreader to keep things steady and legs that extend up to 64 inches so you can match the eyeline of your subjects.

Buy Magnus VT-4000 tripod at Amazon - $199

Canon EOS R6

Canon EOS R6 for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Canon

For a serious camera gift that’s around $2,500, Canon’s 20-megapixel EOS R6 is the best hybrid model out there. It delivers up to 20 fps burst shooting speeds while the Dual Pixel AF nails focus on nearly every shot, whether in bright sunlight or dim lighting. It’s also a solid pick for video, letting you shoot 4K supersampled video at 60 fps with 10-bit log and HDR options for maximum editing flexibility — again, with Canon’s Dual Pixel AF system that’s second to none. The caveat to that is overheating, which limits use for things like weddings and journalism.

Buy Canon EOS R6 at Amazon - $2,499

Joby GorillaPod 3K

Joby GorillaPod 3K for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Joby

Some of the most useful gifts out there for vloggers are Joby’s famous mini-tripods, and the best one for the money is the GorillaPod 3K. Attaching your camera using the secure clip-in mounting plate is dead simple, and you can ensure that everything is even with the built-in level. The flexible legs let you set your camera anywhere to shoot or even wrap it around a tree or other object. The most common usage is as a vlogging handle, as vloggers can bend the legs forward to fit themselves into the video and steady out their shooting.

Buy GorillaPod 3K at Amazon - $85

SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card

SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / SanDisk

Your favorite camera nerd can never have enough memory cards, but they can be a pretty pricey gift. SanDisk’s ExtremePro UHS-I SD cards are cheaper than UHS-II cards, but the 90 MB/s read/write speeds are fast enough for most types of photography and video. If your loved one needs that extra UHS-II speed, Lexar’s UHS-II SD 1667X (250MB/s) and 2000X (300MB/s) SD cards are solid picks.

Buy SanDisk Extreme Pro (128GB) at Amazon - $25Buy Lexar 1667X (128GB) at Amazon - $50Buy Lexar 2000X (128GB) at Amazon - $95

Rode VideoMic Go and Wireless Go

Rode VideoMic Go on-camera mic for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Rode

If the vlogger in your life doesn’t already have one, Rode’s wireless and shotgun microphones are solid, affordable gifts. The VideoMic Go is ideal for interviews and run-and-gun shooting, thanks to the crisp directional audio and relative ease of use. It comes with a shock mount to eliminate bumps or vibrations that could interfere with sound and doesn’t require a battery, unlike past Rode models. Meanwhile, Rode’s Wireless Go is one of the most popular wireless lavalier mics out there, functioning as both a microphone and wireless transceiver. It offers a reliable connection and good audio quality, or you can maximize clarity by connecting an external 3.5mm microphone like Rode’s $40 SmartLav+, the Sennheiser Pro Audio ME2 or others.

Buy Rode VideoMic Go at Amazon - $79Buy Wireless Mic Go at B&H - $199

Nanlite LitoLite 5C RGBWW Mini LED Panel

Nanlite LitoLite TC for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget / Nanlite

A good light is an awesome tool in your favorite photographer or videographer’s arsenal, and a relatively affordable gift to boot. One of the best all-around models is the Nanlite LitoLite 5C RGBWW Mini LED Panel. It weighs just 4.8 ounces, but offers dimmable lighting across a range of colors, with adjustments either on the fixture or via a smartphone app. It mounts on any wall or light stand via a magnet or quarter-inch threads, has cordless operation and a battery that runs for 1.5 hours at full power (charged via USB). The most interesting feature is special effects that range from a cop car’s flashing lights, flames, candlelights, a lightning storm and more.

Buy LitoLite mini LED panel at Amazon - $75

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L for the Engadget 2021 Holiday Gift Guide.
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Backpacks are life for photographers and video shooters, so they make great gifts — if you get the right one. Peak Design’s Everyday Backpack 20L is a good choice, thanks to the stylish weatherproof design, internal dividers for laptops, cameras, lenses and more, a wrap-around zipper and a protected laptop sleeve. It offers excellent build quality and Peak Design backs that up with a lifetime warranty.

Buy Peak Design Everyday Backpack at Amazon - $220

Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 17.2

Blackmagic Design - Davinci Resolve 17 app
Blackmagic Design

As someone who used to use Adobe’s Premiere Pro CC exclusively, I never thought I’d switch to another app. I did, though, and can’t recommend Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 17.2 enough (either the free or $295 studio version). You get a lifetime of updates, so it’s far cheaper than Adobe’s subscription program that runs $630 per year. Resolve is slightly trickier to learn, but far more powerful than Premiere for key tasks like color grading and effects. Most importantly, I’ve found Resolve to be far, far more reliable than Premiere on a wide range of computers, which is easily the most important “feature” on an editing app.

Buy DaVinci Resolve 17 at B&H - $295

Unique + Innovative Camera Designs that’ll majorly impress even the true-blue photography lovers!

No matter how advanced photography tech may get, there’s something about an actual physical camera and the fact that it always reigns supreme. We’ve reached a point where most of us use our smartphones to to click photographs and record videos! I mean, they are extremely accessible and easy to use. But anyone who owns a real deal hardcore camera – knows that the true joy of photography lays in this one gadget. They always take the utmost care of their precious camera, after all it is their most prized possession! However, cameras these days are going beyond the usual and quintessential DSLRs. They’re getting more innovative, savvy, and futuristic! And, we’ve curated a whole collection of unique camera designs to satisfy all the photography lovers out there. From DJI’s latest action camera that perfectly replaces the GoPro to a minimal digital camera for globe trotters – this wide range of camera designs is perfect for all kinds of photographers!

What the Action 2 gets right with its design isn’t just the camera (after all, DJI’s cameras are pretty fantastic to begin with) but rather how the camera is operated. The company designed an exhaustive list of modules, holders, and even accessories to go with their camera, all of which affix themselves to the Action 2 using an incredibly powerful set of magnets (a la MagSafe). The modules simply snap on or snap off, and give you a variety of use-cases, from being able to hold the camera in your hand, fix it to your chest/arm/head, attach it to your helmet, handlebar, or dashboard, place it on a steady surface, or even go underwater with it. If there’s a place you could take your Action 2, or an activity you could conduct with your Action 2… DJI’s thought of it and designed a module/accessory for it.

The Mi Action 360 overall champions a rather ‘less is more’ aesthetic. The two-button interface aside the camera’s body also has a battery level indicator, an in-built microphone, and two tripod mounts that let you hook your action camera onto tripods, selfie sticks, or a host of other mount-compatible accessories. It doesn’t match up to the DJI Action Cam’s magnetic mounting system, which I’ve declared my love for pretty publicly. That being said, the Mi Action 360’s core capabilities are entirely different, and judging by the size of the lens, this little bad boy should quite easily be able to capture 360° HDRI images in 4K, which would make for great immersive VR content. It’s a shame this camera’s just a concept… although here’s hoping that an exec at Xiaomi sees this design.

This smart camera has a powerful performance quotient – courtesy of the crossed section of closed lens that hide from plain sight in a series of plastic casings that move independently. Depending on the shot being taken, the lenses can be swapped with the push of a button. A telephoto for taking a portrait shot or a wide lens for shooting panoramic landscapes on a golden sun bathed evening. The viewfinder can rotate in 180 degrees direction for portrait shots or 90 degrees for a wide shot without moving the camera instead. The functionality is also kept to the bare minimum to let you focus on capturing memories. The flash intensity is controlled via the large wheel, while the positional switches lend the option to toggle between colored or monochrome photos or videos.

To make the instant camera appealing to this new wave of ‘content creators’, Polaroid debuted the Now+, an i-Type camera that comes with a slew of features that upgrade the instant camera experience with filters, lenses, art-styles, and a remote shutter feature through Polaroid’s own smartphone app. The snap-on lens kit features multiple tinted lenses as well as a ‘starburst’ lens for more vivid shots. The Now+ even comes with autofocus capabilities (a feature that was also built into its predecessor, the Now) and extensive creative control thanks to the accompanying Polaroid app. The app lets you adjust the camera’s aperture for either crisp, clear shots, or bokeh-filled low DoF images, while the camera intelligently handles the exposure to give you the best shot.


Weaver’s design focuses more on shock-value than actual physics or aerodynamics, which is precisely what makes the Jupiter drone concept fun to analyze from a design sense. The drone’s strange shape almost gives it the appearance of an all-seeing eyeball that levitates around everywhere, and according to Weaver’s visualizations, it’s the kind of drone you’d use to film the action around you – thanks to the presence of dual fisheye 4K cameras that can capture in 360°. It comes with the battery mounted on the top (weighing a commendable 400g) and has sensors at the bottom that detect proximity, allowing it to nail the landing – because without any bumpers or feet, the Jupiter can only take-off and land on your palm. The fact that the outer shell protects the internal propeller so well makes it perfect for this, as well as acting as a general buffer as the drone flies around filming the world around you!

Meet the NOTIC, a camera concept that takes instant photography to the next level. While most instant cameras are a mere two-step effort – clicking and printing (or developing if you’re pedantic), NOTIC adds a third intermediary step that lets you customize your photos before they print. The camera’s built-in stylus lets you doodle on your photos, adding notes, emojis, sketches, etc. to give your photo a more heartfelt, personal touch. The NOTIC camera concept is roughly modeled on the format of the Fujifilm Instax series, with its almost boxy appearance. It comes with a viewfinder in the top corner that lets you compose your shot, a flash for dark scenes, and an autofocus sensor that ensures your images are crystal clear. Once you’ve clicked the picture, a screen on the back of the camera displays your photo (which you can either accept or reject), and a pop-out-stylus built into the side of the camera lets you doodle on your photo before printing it out. Just experientially, it feels a lot like doodling on an Instagram story or a Snapchat snap before posting it, except this isn’t really ephemeral. Once you accept your final result, the photo develops on the instant film which slowly makes its way out of the top of the camera.

LEICA is known for creating bespoke cameras that are almost collectible. While this clashes with the idea of handing them over to a kid, the quality of the output they deliver are sure to encourage the kids into taking up this hobby with increased frequency. The form of the camera is designed to encourage exploration – with soft rounded edges and a viewfinder that resembles a donut. The design names the viewfinder the visual inspection tool – letting the kid peek through it to discover the world they want to click a picture of. The aesthetics use a soothing yet vibrant white-yellow combination, sparking joy in all they do. Functionality-wise, the camera has a viewfinder, a button to click, a battery level indicator, and a lot that shoots the printed paper out once we click the photo.

RayShaper’s camera’s unique hexagonal shape allows you to create a ‘honeycomb’ of multiple cameras snapped together. This array has two main benefits – firstly, the slightly offset cameras allow you to capture a wider shot without using a wider lens, and while provide spatial resolutions of over 1 billion pixels at 120fps. Secondly, the offset cameras allow you to capture depth information too, and even perform spatial recordings with 6 degrees-of-freedom (6 DoF) that are necessary for VR headsets. “Compared with ultra-high-resolution and light field camera systems currently on the market that use legacy architectures, BeeHive provides higher performance at a much cheaper cost”, say the folks at RayShaper. The modules allow you to add or subtract lenses on the fly, and give you the power to build up your camera setup without necessarily needing to upgrade by buying the newest cameras. Just add a few more modules and you’ve got a camera rig that’s much more powerful!

Sliding cameras on smartphones aren’t new, although Vivo’s concept takes it a couple of notches ahead. The patent shows a phone with a massive pop-out tray on the front. Within it, sits a tiny drone (sort of like the Air Selfie Drone from AirPix but smaller) with four propellers and a bunch of cameras and sensors. Fire your camera app and the tray instantly pops out and the drone takes off. A front-facing camera on the drone’s body lets you click photos (either of yourself or of landscapes) from a variety of vantage points, going above and beyond what your smartphone camera and your outstretched hand can do. Given how small drones, it isn’t entirely an idea I can actually dismiss… although what would Vivo’s marketing team call it? A Dronephone? A Smartdrone? A Phdrone?!

I bet you’re just as baffled as I am looking at Canon’s new RF5.2mm F2.8 L Dual Fisheye Lens. It almost looks anthropomorphic, with the way the two eyes stare at you, but in fact, what’s really marvelous is where Canon seems to be going with their cameras. DSLRs and Mirrorless cameras are already some of the most powerful shooters out there, and rather than ditching that entire ecosystem of cameras to move to newer camera types – like drones and AR/VR cameras, Canon has just embraced good old-fashioned innovation instead, with a newfangled lens that is compatible with their existing EOS range of cameras. The lens, when paired with the company’s 1.5.0 firmware update, enables the humble yet capable 2D camera to shoot SBS 3D content. Pair the lens with the EOS R5 mirrorless camera and suddenly you can perform high-resolution video recording at up to 8K DCI 30p and 4K DCI 60p.

The post Unique + Innovative Camera Designs that’ll majorly impress even the true-blue photography lovers! first appeared on Yanko Design.

DJI’s latest action camera just made the GoPro look like an expensive hunk of plastic





With an incredibly diverse eco-system of snap-on modules that let you practically attach the camera anywhere you want, the DJI Action 2 is what you get when you create a camera after intense research and design-thinking… not by simply copying what the rest of the market is doing.

Drone and gimbal makers extraordinaire, DJI seems to be completely disrupting the non-smartphone consumer camera market. The OM, Osmo, and Pocket give you a set of really powerful stabilized on-ground recording capabilities, while DJI’s drones really speak for themselves… With the Action 2, however, the company hopes to conquer yet another market that was up until now dominated by GoPro.

“The blueprint of an action cam is a familiar one – tough, waterproof, in a compact body”, says the narrator in the video above… and in doing so, perfectly describes the pit into which most tech companies fall – the pit of the ‘template’. It’s easy to be the second or the third best company in any domain… simply follow your biggest competitor and provide ‘the next best option’ for consumers to consider. This is something most action cameras have been doing by simply recreating what the GoPro pushed out. Once you hacked the template, you could make your action camera cheaper, have more memory, have a better battery, or cloud storage, and voila… your product was a worthy competitor to the GoPro. What the Action 2 aims at doing is redrawing that template by asking itself “If the GoPro didn’t exist, what would an action camera in 2021 look like?”

What the Action 2 gets right with its design isn’t just the camera (after all, DJI’s cameras are pretty fantastic to begin with) but rather how the camera is operated. The company designed an exhaustive list of modules, holders, and even accessories to go with their camera, all of which affix themselves to the Action 2 using an incredibly powerful set of magnets (a la MagSafe). The modules simply snap on or snap off, and give you a variety of use-cases, from being able to hold the camera in your hand, fix it to your chest/arm/head, attach it to your helmet, handlebar, or dashboard, place it on a steady surface, or even go underwater with it. If there’s a place you could take your Action 2, or an activity you could conduct with your Action 2… DJI’s thought of it and designed a module/accessory for it.

In many ways, this holistic approach is GoPro’s undoing. The way DJI’s modules just magnetically snap on or snap off the Action 2 make it really easy to use the camera anywhere and anyhow… and the camera’s all-terrain + waterproof design, 155° Super-Wide lens, powerful digital stabilization algorithm, and the 4-microphone recording setup make the Action 2 an incredibly compelling purchase.

Perhaps the Action 2’s most defining feature (and you’ll see it practically all their images) is the snap-on touchscreen module. Traditionally, all action cameras have lenses on the front and displays on the rear… and that’s great for filming everything except yourself. DJI’s Front Touchscreen Module basically lets you turn the action camera into a wide-angle vlogging camera. The module snaps right on and lets you attach other accessories like the tripod, selfie stick, car-mount, etc. Moreover, snapping it on doesn’t just give you a front-facing extra screen… it gives you an extra battery pack too, doubling the Action 2’s recording time to 160 minutes, and also adds extra mics for crisper audio recording – a feature that vastly benefits vloggers and influencers who want to be in the spotlight.

Squid Game home security camera guards your home, keeping you safe without any violence!

While I would have wished the Squid Game security was themed on the cold expressionless masked character, the “Front Man”, this design is a perfect addition for every pop-culture enthusiast!

If you haven’t heard of Squid Game, you must be living under a rock! Hunger Games was already your cup of tea, then a highly viral South Korean dark series trending on Netflix should be on your binge-watching list. If you’ve already watched the 9 episode Squid Game series, then it’s highly likely you’ll fancy this home security camera. The accessory themed around Squid Game is inspired by the workers monitoring the activities of players on a CCTV monitor.

The ruthless workers in the viral series will now adorn the secure corners of our homes, as the security camera keeps us safe – well, a cliche of sorts. The rotating lens positioned right where the eyes of the character would provide a 180-degree view of the surroundings for complete security. The movement is actuated by motion and an audio sensor that sets the camera into action, tracking the movement. Since most security cameras attached to the servers can have access to all the inside activities when not intended by the user, the creators of this concept add a useful feature. To make sure there are no hacking attempts or unauthorized access to the footage, there is a privacy mask that physically blocks the FOV when the camera is not in use.

Since we are living in a world where Zoom meetings and online classes are the new normal, the Squid Game camera has its own light illumination. The light intensity can be adjusted as per the user’s need or level of ambient lighting in the room. The designers Cheon Ryong Choi, Soonook Kwon and Jaeyeon Nam have created two other themed versions of this cute little home security camera. One carrying an oxygen cylinder on the back like an astronaut and the other dressed in a raincoat and umbrella. Personally, I will stick to the Squid Game character, if ever such a security camera met fruition.

Designer: Cheon Ryong Choi, Soonook Kwon and Jaeyeon Nam

This “Polaroid-for-kids” gives your children their first taste of instant photography




The myFirst Insta Wi can click photos, record videos, print images on thermal-ink paper, and even print out labels. It’s designed to be uncomplicated enough for a child to use and is built with a cute-yet-robust design that can easily tolerate more than a few accidental drops or throws.

Designer: myFirst

Click Here to Buy Now: $79 $129 ($50 off). Hurry, less than 72 hours left!

Your child may have to wait till they’re 18 to legally join a social media network and share their images with friends on the internet (although whether that’s a good thing is a completely different argument), but they shouldn’t have to wait till they’re 18 to get their first taste at photography. The myFirst Insta Wi is an adorable little instant camera that allows children to click photos, apply filters, print images out, and even record videos right on a powerful yet simple device that makes photography easy to understand without constantly needing to be connected to the internet… or even requiring expensive instant-developing photo paper. The Insta Wi does, however, come with a companion smartphone app that lets you transfer the photos to your phone, edit them, and even design ​labels​/stickers​ for your kid to print out and mark their belongings like an adorable little mini-Monica!

The camera comes with a child-friendly design featuring a rounded-rectangle body with soft corners, ears on the side to anthropomorphize the design, an easy-to-use interface, a vibrant color scheme that matches the Pantone Colors of the Year, and perhaps its most underrated feature, a lanyard that lets the kids carry the camera around their neck just like a pro photographer (while also ensuring the camera stays on them and doesn’t get lost).

Ditching complex assemblies and cartridges entirely, the Camera ships with a cradle to dock it on, and runs on a built-in 1,500mAh battery that gives up to 5 full hours of continuous usage. It comes equipped with a memory card slot, so you can store photos and videos digitally on an SD Card, and even lets you transfer media via WiFi to a parent’s phone for editing or posting on social media on behalf of the child.

If you DO want to transfer media to other devices like a laptop, a USB2.0 slot on the side lets you easily connect the camera to your computer for transferring images, editing them in professional software, and printing them out in color on your desktop printer. For everything else, the Insta Wi comes with its own thermal printer that makes printing easy and cost-effective without requiring complex parts like expensive ink cartridges.

A roll of thermal-in paper sits inside the camera’s body, and with the push of a button, kids can print out any of the photos they’ve clicked. The smartphone app also turns the Insta Wi into a label-maker, allowing parents and kids to design labels that can then easily be printed out on adhesive-backed thermal-ink paper (like the ones you find in label-makers).

Using the camera is an absolute breeze too. The Insta Wi comes with two cameras, a main front-facing camera with a focus distance of 50mm, and a rear selfie-cam with a focus distance of 20mm for those closer shots. The camera can click pictures at resolutions of 6, 9, or 12 megapixels, and even perform HD video recording at 1080p or 720p (at 30fps) with audio, while a 2.4″ IPS LCD panel on the rear of the camera acts as your viewfinder, letting you compose your shots. To make things even more interesting, the Insta Wi comes with its own set of pre-installed filters and frames to make taking photos and videos a great deal of fun… without having to hand your kid a smartphone!

Each myFirst Insta Wi camera ships with the dock/cradle, the lanyard, a USB data/PD cable, a MicroSD Card and Card Reader, a user manual, as well as 5 different rolls of thermal-ink paper (regular, sticker-paper, and label-cut). The camera uses any regular 57mm-wide roll of thermal-ink paper (26mm roll thickness), and you can buy additional rolls of regular as well as transparent and colored paper rolls as an add-on purchase. The camera set is available on Kickstarter for a holiday-discounted price of $69 and comes with a 1-year warranty. It even ships right before the holidays for the first 5000 backers, making it a perfect Christmas gift for shutterbug enthusiasts of literally all ages!

Click Here to Buy Now: $79 $129 ($50 off). Hurry, less than 72 hours left! Raised over $90,000.

This digital camera for globe trotters focuses on minimalism + taking things easy

Henry Smallbone’s FLANEUR digital camera bends the general notion of how a smart camera needs to look like and how’s one going to use it. The unique design and functionality are the USP of his creation, and I like the idea completely!

Taking things slow is associated with being wise – just like a tortoise. The FLANEUR digital camera is the result of this very philosophy to slow down and being considerate in the digital world. Just like the tortoise, the camera motivates the user to not just go berserk with clicking photographs (simply because it could be done) but take a slower approach to every aspect of everyday life. The camera stores 37 photos in its memory for that very intent – making the user mindful of limited clicks he/she has at her disposal.

In fact, “Flaneur” in French means a person who’s a stroller. This term was used in the 19th century by French poet Charles Baudelaire to denote an observer of modern urban life. Now, it has taken up the meaning for someone who meanders around observing things keenly. The camera’s design is inspired by this notion – hence, the very colorful, casual form factor that one can carry around. Henry gives the accessory a bold aluminum casing design with large buttons and dials, inviting curiosity by onlookers.

The smart camera has a powerful performance quotient – courtesy of the crossed section of closed lens that hide from plain sight in a series of plastic casings that move independently. Depending on the shot being taken, the lenses can be swapped with the push of a button. A telephoto for taking a portrait shot or a wide lens for shooting panoramic landscapes on a golden sun bathed evening.

The viewfinder can rotate in 180 degrees direction for portrait shots or 90 degrees for a wide shot without moving the camera instead. The functionality is also kept to the bare minimum to let you focus on capturing memories. The flash intensity is controlled via the large wheel, while the positional switches lend the option to toggle between colored or monochrome photos or videos.

Designer: Henry Smallbone

Apple iPhone 13 – Marginally Better Camera, Smaller Notch, Recycled Plastic (An honest guide to the new iPhone)





The fact that you’re here reading my opinion on the new Apple iPhone 13 is a responsibility I take incredibly seriously, but I’ll be honest… a lot of times innovation just gets sugar-coated. Throwing statistics like saying an iPhone is 40% faster and 10% lighter sounds incredibly enticing, but at the end of the day, a consumer is hardly expected to sit and measure an iPhone’s screen to see how much larger it is compared to its predecessor, or simultaneously run games on both phones and see if the newer one has 20% better graphics thanks to a 5-core GPU. As much as nerdy stats sound exciting, they honestly mean nothing to 99.9% of consumers when push comes to shove. So here’s my simplified overview of the new iPhone 13 – no technical jargon, no over-complicated charts, just simple facts.

The simple reason behind why I’m choosing this format is because there’s nothing measurably better in this year’s lineup. I’ve honestly seen the climate go through more drastic changes in a single year than the iPhone has this year. (And I’m not knocking on Apple… I just think this forced tradition of launching a new phone every year is getting tiring)

Apple introduced 5G and MagSafe with last year’s iPhones, so this is almost like a placeholder year for the company as the world combats a pandemic + chip shortage, and also as Apple prepares for much higher demand next year as people who bought the iPhone 11 and 12 will want to upgrade to the iPhone 14. So what’s new with this year’s iPhone? Not much if you’re looking for major changes. The notch is now slightly smaller (yet still very noticeable), the battery slightly bigger, the chip slightly better, the cameras have night mode, and you can now shoot cinematic videos where the focus shifts from one subject to another, like in films. Oh, and the iPhone 13 also uses plastic from recycled bottles in its antenna strips.

What just about visually sets the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini apart from last year’s iPhone 12 and 12 Mini is the marginally smaller notch (although a 20% size reduction isn’t really enough to make a difference), and the new camera layout on the back. The new diagonal layout, Apple claims, adds more space between the two lenses, allowing the internal sensors to be bigger. It’s enough to make this year’s iPhone 13 camera as good as last year’s 12 Pro. Pretty cool, but it isn’t unexpected to see cameras get better every year.

The new iPhone 13 and 13 Mini run on the A15 bionic chip, come with a slightly larger battery, and house a stronger Ceramic-Shield glass on the front. The antenna strips on the side of the phone use recycled plastic (from single-use bottles) along with recycled rare earth magnets, tungsten, gold, and other materials used in the phone. Like their predecessors, they support 5G and MagSafe, are available in 5 colors, and will ship without a charger.

The iPhone 13 and 13 Mini are accompanied by the 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max, which come with the same shimmering stainless steel body and glass front and back. The front sports the smaller notch, while the back looks exactly the same. The Pro series come with 3 lenses, although Apple claims they’ve made major changes to all three of them, giving all of them Night Mode and the ability to shoot incredible shots no matter the lighting. A notable upgrade to the iPhone’s camera capabilities is the addition of Macro photography, which lets you now zoom in on really small subjects to capture tinier details.

The new cameras on the 13 and 13 Pro editions also support a rather interesting video feature called Cinematic Mode – which allows the camera to automatically and intelligently shift focus from subject to subject while you’re taking a video, just like in Hollywood films. Here’s a quirky little short film they shot entirely on the iPhone to show the Cinematic Mode in action.

Ultimately, the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro aren’t as game-changing as one would expect, although I partly blame us consumers for having such lofty standards each year. Yes, they’re incrementally better (as they absolutely should be), but not in a way that’s directly measurable… or warranting of an upgrade (unless you absolutely need it). If you’re looking at your iPhone 12 and wondering whether to line up outside the Apple Store for an upgrade, I’d tell you to sit this one out. Apart from a slightly smaller notch, you’re really not missing much; and if you want longer battery life, perhaps a $99 MagSafe battery pack could solve your woes?

Designer: Apple

Xiaomi just announced its Augmented Reality Smart Glasses… and the timing couldn’t be more interesting!





Doesn’t it strike you as odd that Xiaomi would randomly drop such a massive product teaser just a day before Apple’s September event? And hold their own even a day AFTER Apple announced the new iPhone? I’m not an expert analyst, but it seems like they’re trying to beat Apple to the punch, given that a lot of people are expecting Apple to launch their own smart glasses soon. The announcement a day before and the event a day after Apple’s California Streaming event is just Xiaomi’s way of rolling its sleeves up and trying to grab the news cycle by its horns before Apple floods the internet. Moreover, the Smart Glasses also end up firing shots at Facebook, who just announced their own camera-enabled wayfarers with RayBan. Gossip and speculation aside, here’s what the Xiaomi Smart Glasses are all about.

Designed to look like a regular pair of eyewear, Xiaomi’s Smart Glasses actually come with a holographic display built into them. The tiny MicroLED display (which Xiaomi says is smaller than a grain of rice) is built into the temple stem, and reflects a simple UI onto the right eyepiece of the glasses. The specially crafted eyepiece uses a series of microscopic “optical waveguides” to project the display into your eye, allowing only you to see the augmented reality elements when you wear the glasses.

The Smart Glasses come with a rather bare-basics interface, although it’s still incredibly advanced for its time (not to mention the fact that Xiaomi managed to fit all this technology into a ridiculously slim piece of eyewear). The holographic display can display messages, alerts, notifications, and time, although Xiaomi’s most impressive flex was showcasing a live translate feature, that took an English food menu and overlaid the Chinese translations on top of it. Aside from the MicroLED holographic display, the Smart Glasses also come with a camera lens that captures the world around you, allowing you to not just take pictures, but also analyze images and text. Whether all that live translation and processing power happens within the spectacles themselves is yet to be determined, although we can expect much more information on the 15th, when Xiaomi holds its product event.

For now, the Smart Glasses are just a concept teaser with no price, no tech specs, and no foreseeable launch date.

Polaroid’s ‘most creative instant camera yet’ lets you edit photos, use lens filters, and click long-exposure shots




Polaroid is, once again, at a crossroads. It famously survived the death of celluloid film cameras as everyone pivoted to digital media, and somehow managed to remain a relevant product even as smartphone cameras became more and more popular, but now as people are constantly pushing to create content and be more ‘creative’ on social media, a simple click-and-print instant camera doesn’t sound like a big deal anymore. To make the instant camera appealing to this new wave of ‘content creators’, Polaroid debuted the Now+, an i-Type camera that comes with a slew of features that upgrade the instant camera experience with filters, lenses, art-styles, and a remote shutter feature through Polaroid’s own smartphone app.

Polaroid’s always had a reputation of being a cool-kid toy, although the definition of ‘cool’ has certainly changed over the years. The Now+ keeps that in mind, with its unique set of features that let you capture images with a twist. The camera comes with snap-on lens filters that give your images different effects, while the camera now even supports capturing styles like long-exposure photography and double-exposure photography.

The snap-on lens kit features multiple tinted lenses as well as a ‘starburst’ lens for more vivid shots. The Now+ even comes with autofocus capabilities (a feature that was also built into its predecessor, the Now) and extensive creative control thanks to the accompanying Polaroid app. The app lets you adjust the camera’s aperture for either crisp, clear shots, or bokeh-filled low DoF images, while the camera intelligently handles the exposure to give you the best shot. The camera works with a tripod too, and can be remotely triggered via the smartphone app – a feature that’s integral to the Now+’s long-exposure photography mode that can be used for light-painting amongst other things. You can combine and photos too, for double-exposure photography – a feature that’s new to the Polaroid lineup.

The Polaroid Now+ supports both i-Type and 600 Type film. It comes in 3 colors (black, white, and blue-grey) and costs US$149 with the accompanying filter kit.

Designer: Polaroid

Interesting Drone concept with 360° cameras looks like a magical floating orb from a sci-fi movie

The reason the drone archetype exists is because it’s a tried and tested format. Four propellers on either corner (or six if you’re lucky) and a relatively aerodynamic design with legs for taking off and landing. Throw in a few cameras and sensors and you’ve got yourself a drone that’s easy to recognize. However, break this archetype and you’ve got yourself something quite unrecognizable – like the Jupiter drone concept by Anton Weaver.

Weaver’s drone has a monolithic orb-esque form that defies both gravity as well as the ‘rules’ of drone design. It uses a large single propeller, and what I imagine is an internal gyroscope to move around in the air, stay upright, and even twist and turn while in mid-air. The drone’s unusual design is further characterized by the presence of fisheye lens cameras that allow it to capture everything it sees, sort of like a levitating GoPro.

Weaver’s design focuses more on shock-value than actual physics or aerodynamics, which is precisely what makes the Jupiter drone concept fun to analyze from a design sense. The drone’s strange shape almost gives it the appearance of an all-seeing eyeball that levitates around everywhere, and according to Weaver’s visualizations, it’s the kind of drone you’d use to film the action around you – thanks to the presence of dual fisheye 4K cameras that can capture in 360°.

It comes with the battery mounted on the top (weighing a commendable 400g) and has sensors at the bottom that detect proximity, allowing it to nail the landing – because without any bumpers or feet, the Jupiter can only take-off and land on your palm. The fact that the outer shell protects the internal propeller so well makes it perfect for this, as well as acting as a general buffer as the drone flies around filming the world around you!

Designer: Anton Weaver