Going gear-shopping for your favorite outdoors-loving friend or family member can be harder than trekking up Mount St. Helens as she’s about to blow. There are so many options, but so much crap.
To help you out with your holiday shopping, Cult of Mac waded through the endless lists of camping and hiking gear and gadgets to find the stuff your special someone will love.
Whether you’re looking for something for an adventuring buddy, or picking a present for someone you’d never want to be trapped in a tent with, we’ve found gifts for everyone. From hiking clothes to campsite gadgets, we’ve got you covered.
So you don’t have to slog through a lake of reviews and tips to find something you’re just going to put down after 10 minutes, Cult of Mac has waded through the web to compile our weekly list of the coolest new bits in movies, music, gadgets and anything else that should be on your radar.
This week we’ve been treated to a media blitz by Brad Pitt that’s produced one of the week’s funniest videos, an epic World War II tank movie, and a hilarious break-dancing competition. We’ve also found a nonfiction book with enough violence and betrayal to rival Game of Thrones, and a gorgeous iPhone 6 case that will replace your wallet much better than Apple Pay.
Take a smartphone stand that clamps onto your iPhone like a pair of jaws. Now add a tripod hole and a wrist strap. Now you've got the Shoulderpod, a device that has nothing to do with your shoulders. It can be used as a stand or as a grip, giving one-handed access to any app by placing your thumb over the on-screen shutter. It also works with a range of optional accessories. $35
This is a firestarter, a camping firestarter. It’s the self-igniting, cooking instigator. A tungsten-carbide striker, a campfire detonator. Rotating wear-avoiding, one-handed operating, works when saturated, makes matches antiquated. $19
Using a valve amp and high-end speaker to amplify your iPhone’s Bluetooth stream might be a little like shaving canned mushrooms onto your homemade “truffle” ravioli, but who cares when “just” $640 can bring you a beautiful wooden box with two glowing valves at its core? The Class A amp can also be hooked up with cables, connected to an external subwoofer and even has an on-board 24-bit DAC. $649
The name really says it all. This ribbonlike Lightning cable rolls up into a tidy reel and lays flat when charging. It also has tough, color-coded plugs, and costs the same as Apple’s own white plastic cable. Available in gray, gold or … blue? $20
The new white Airframe from Kenu turns the slats of your car’s ventilation system into a smartphone holder. The expanding jaws clamp your iPhone (or Android phone) in place, and the little prongs on the other side jam between the louvres of any car vent and hold fast. It’s the perfect way to add yet another dangerous distraction to your dashboard. $25
This neat package gathers your in-ride essentials together into one jersey-pocket-friendly place, and as it comes from Lezyne you know it can be relied on. The seam-welded zip-up wallet has a plastic window so you can use your iPhone while it’s inside, and slots for cash and cards (although no change pocket). Available in gray or black. Weighs 120 grams (4.2 ounces). $20
At last, a Lomo that’s as convenient as digital – the Lomo Instant has a built-in printer so it can pop out photos on the spot. The plastic-bodied camera can make multiple exposures on one frame, has a bulb setting for long exposures, a flash and interchangeable lenses. I can’t tell you how much I want one of these. From $79
I love my two-man Hubba Hubba tent from MSR, but if I was in the market for a huge tent that could fit a) me and a bunch of other campers or b) me, in a real bed, as if I were camped in 1920 Egypt to investigate an Agatha Christie-style crime, I’d take the teepee-shaped Meriwether. At 16 feet wide and 9.5 feet high, who cares if it weighs in at 65 pounds (almost 30kg)? That's what servants are for.$1,250
It’s here! The iPad-friendly Olloclip adds four great lenses to your iPad Air or Mini retina (they’re both equally thin, you know). The new Olloclip slips onto the corner of your iPad to cover the lens with any of four accessory lenses, all on the same mount. You get a fisheye and a wide-angle lens, and if you unscrew them you have 10x and 15x macros. The epoch of looking dorky while you take iPad photos is finally over. $70
Film or digital? Campfire or BBQ? Car or bike? Cable or wireless?
No matter which way you swing, this week’s gadgets have you covered. iPhoneographers can enjoy the Shoulderpod hand grip or slip the new iPad Olloclip onto their Mini or Air, and film nuts can get instant satisfaction with the new Lomo Instant Camera.
Camping? Take it easy in the giant Meriwether tent or go survivalist with the Blastmatch fire-starter. You can even choose how to arrive at the site, with accessories for your car or your bike. Happy traveling!
Quick-connect iPhone lenses are certainly less bulky than typical camera gear, but there’s a price to be paid for convenience. Photos: Charlie Sorrell/Cult of Mac
One December years ago, in London’s Piccadilly Circus, a Santa Claus sat in a pavement cafe eating lunch with an elf. Santa had a pint of beer in from of him. I raised my old film SLR, which was prefocused and had the exposure already dialed in, and took a couple of shots.
I hoped they’d turn out well.
“Who are those pictures for?” said a guy, shouting as he jogged toward me. He’d come from somewhere nearby because it was too cold for just a shirt on a December afternoon in London, and he wasn’t wearing a jacket. I ignored him — there are a lot of nutters in Piccadilly any time of the year.
SAN FRANCISCO — Moscone North has been packed with exhibitors for the last three days as they peddle their latest wares to the Apple faithful. We combed through all the booths, and while there were a ton of underwhelming products, Macworld 2014 did feature some really cool stuff and a couple surprises.
After some fierce debate among the Cult of Mac editors, we’ve settled on seven things that are truly deserving of a “Best of Macworld 2014’ title. So without further adieu, here they are:
This week in Cult of Mac Magazine – No Fail iPhone Photography, the best tips, tricks, and practical advice on using that amazing camera you carry around in your pocket.
We’re celebrating Apple’s astonishingly great iPhone camera with a whole issue dedicated to all things iPhoneography. Cult of Mac’s own photography guru, Charlie Sorrel, weighs in with some choice technical advice on photography that applies across all cameras, iPhone or not, while Buster Heine gives you the lowdown on all the greatest peripherals you’ll want to gear up with before the big shoot.
Olloclip’s Michele Baker drops some wisdom on how to best capture “silver” with your iPhone, in honor of the winners of this week’s Photography contest, and our very own Nicole Martinelli interviews one of the best street iPhonographers around.
We’ll take some time out to showcase the top ten entries in our #CoMSilver photo contest, with the top three winners and some fantastic runner ups.
Of course, we’ll start off with the usual Best Apps, Books, Movies and Music from the past week and then end with our famous “Ask A Genius” column, so be sure to subscribe and download the issue.
3-In-1 Macro Lens by Olloclip Category: iPhoneography Works With: iPhone 5/S, iPod Touch 5g Price: $70
Olloclip’s 3-In–1 Macro lens is extremely limited, but that’s by design: It’s a set of close-up lenses for the iPhone 5/S and fifth-gen iPod Touch (using the included adapter) which let you magnify the tiny world around us and put these wonders where God intended: on Instagram.
Yes, that’s an Olloclip lens on an iPad Air. Photo: Eli Milchman
LAS VEGAS — For years now, Olloclip has been making stellar lenses that slip over the iPhone’s camera lens and enhance iPhoneography with the ability to take fisheye, telephoto and macro photos. But there has apparently been a struggle within Olloclip about whether or not to offer an iPad lens. Now the struggle is over, and iPad-loving photographers have won: The first Olloclip lens for iPad will be available soon.
Chong Pak, the company’s design director, told us there were only a few hurdles to clear before Olloclip went iPad — but those hurdles were tall.
You know how Apple keeps last year’s iPhone around, maybe adds a color, and sells it for less than the current model? That’s what Olloclip is doing with the 3-IN–1 lens. Kinda. The lens now fits the iPhone 5C, comes in a rainbow of matching colors, and costs just $60.