Cameras, cameras, cameras. German photographic trade show Photokina is just around the corner, and the big names are outing their latest models before the news pipes get completely clogged with the tangled hair and soap scum of new releases. So this week we have a bunch of cool new cameras and accessories, including a GoPro harness for your pooch, along with the usual mix of gadgets designed to make you want to part with your cash.
An update to the already-discontinued X20, this compact swaps the old optical viewfinder for a hi-res electronic finder, gets a bigger tilting rear LCD and adds a control wheel around the lens. It keeps the amazing X-Trans II sensor and 28-112mm (equivalent) ƒ2-2.8 zoom, and packs a new Classic Chrome film mode. I want this so hard. $600
Evernote Pfeiffer Collection
Evernote’s Pfeiffer Collection is not – as you might hope – a range of productivity tools designed by 1980s actress and icon Michelle Pfeiffer. It is instead a set of desk tidies, made from various materials including walnut and “bright.” They’re intended to hold old-school detritus like paperclips and pens, plus modern junk like iPhones, SIM cards and even an iPad. $106
The best part of Pentax’s new mid-level K-S1 is the strip of pulsing LEDs on the hand grip. Pentax missed a chance to build the “Knight Rider of cameras” with its choice of green over red LEDs, but still. This pointless addition will flash to count down the self timer, and the light around the shutter release will turn red in video mode. $750
Bluelounge’s Soba is a cable-routing kit that will wrangle wayward wires, keeping them tidy in a “Vortex” tube and letting them exit where you need them. The kit comes with 10 feet of zip-closed tubing, a y-splitter and mounting caps (brackets). I have one here and ready to test, but it looks like there’s some effort involved in planning it all out, so maybe I’ll just have one more coffee first… $25
Of course GoPro’s dog harness is called the Fetch. Of course. The Fetch straps onto the dog’s back, secured around its shoulders, chest and belly, and the camera can be mounted up top or down below. This is probably my favorite product of the year so far, and the photo above is definitely the best product shot for 2014. If I had a dog I’d be out with one of those playing frisbee right now. $70
Olympus Pen E-PL7
Olympus makes the best Micro Four Thirds bodies right now (and that’s coming from someone who owns a great Panasonic). This one’s even better, with a 180-degree flip-screen that activates “selfie mode” when fully extended (there's a shutter button on the touchscreen), built-in Wi-Fi to share that selfie to your iPhone, a 16MP sensor and a 14-42 mm (equivalent) ƒ3.5-5.6 kit lens. From $700.
Moleskine Livescribe notebook
Moleskine’s newest notebook has an almost-invisible dot pattern on the pages that makes it work with your Livescribe pen. The pen has a camera in its nose that tracks your every stroke and scribble and sends it all to your iPhone or iPad as editable text, creating a perfect digital copy of your paper notes. Now you can continue your Moleskine habit, but with added digitization. $30
iPhone magnetic lens plates
Love: accessory iPhone lenses. Hate: Those stupid stick-on metal rings the lenses’ magnets stick to.
The answer is the new magnetic plate that now ships with every set of lenses sold by Photojojo. The plates, color-coded to your iPhone, stick over the entire glass strip at the top rear of the iPhone 5/s, so you can use these lenses and still get the iPhone in a case. Bonus – you can slide the lens out of the way when not in use. From $20.
This Schiller water bike is to the pedalo what a sweet S-Works road racer is to a recumbent bike. It’s slick, speedy and way overpriced. A Gates carbon drive turns a NuVinci transmission, which turns two propellers. You can even use the handlebars to steer the thing, and it’s only $6,500.
It’s hard to come up with a reason you wouldn’t buy the Jimi, a little dongle that plays the hell out of your iMac, then smashes it all over the stage and sets fire to it, all while continuing to kindle sweet electric guitar music from its dying body.
Wait, that’s not the same Jimi? The Bluelounge Jimi is a little j-shaped USB extension that lets you plug your peripherals into your iMac from the front? That sounds pretty cool.
Kii by Bluelounge Category: iPhone Cables Works With: Any iPhone or iPad Price: $19.95-39.95
We’ve all been there: out of juice on the road and with no charging cable on hand. You can, of course, carry around a 30-pin or Lightning charging cable with you, but that takes up space. There’s something to be said for a small footprint and peace-of-mind.
Enter the Kii by Bluelounge. It’s sync-and-charge piece of mind on a keychain, in a very convenient form factor.
There’s a fair few accessories that put an iDevice charging cable on your keychain, but I think I like Bluelounge’s Kii the most, in that it’s actually housed in a key. It’s pricy, though: $20 will get you the 30 pin model, but if you have an iPhone or iPad with a Lightning connector, it’ll cost you twice as much to have a charge-and-sync cable that you’re always drunkenly trying to thrust into your house lock.
MiniDock by BlueLounge Category: Docks Works With: iPhone 5, iPad mini Price: $40
Bluelounge’s new MiniDock really is mini. It’s a tiny little dock which perfectly matches the cuboid charger that came with your iPhone or iPad mini, and turns it into a wall-mounted dock. The device is as portable and effective as it is handy, especially if you never use a case. I have one here in Cult of Mac’s Spanish HQ, and I have been putting it through its paces in our Extreme Test Lab.
My huge 27-inch iMac is currently hanging on the wall thanks to a VESA mount and adapter, which means I’m intimately familiar with the heavy aluminum leg that used to hold it up. I have been looking for something to do with it other than using it to gather up dust under my bed, and now I think I have it: An oversized iPad stand.
Or I could just give Bluelounge $40 for the Mika, a “Universal” stand for anything vaguely tablet-sized.