Gadget Watch: Cameras, cameras and even more frikkin’ cameras

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Gadget Watch: Aug. 29, 2014

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.

Fujifilm X30

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

Pentax K-S1

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 Soba

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

GoPro Fetch

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.

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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.

Schiller X1

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.

Olympus 15mm Body Cap Lens, Just $39

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Olympus was always the company with the best gimmicks, the smallest cameras and the coolest TV ads (in the 1980s UK, at least). And that (apart from the ads) continues to this day. Almost a year ago, the company showed off the Body Cap Lens, and now it’s available to buy. As in, “buy from Amazon today.”

Get Close To Nature With Olympus’s “Nature Macro” Lens & PEN E-PM2 Camera [Review]

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OlympusPEN

We checked out Olympus‘s gorgeous new M.ZUIKO DIGITAL ED 60mm f/2.8 “Nature Macro” lens, along with this fall’s additional release to the Japanese company’s excellent PEN series cameras, the PEN E-PM2 ($599). This new PEN compact system digital camera will please both experienced and neophyte photographers alike.

One truly great feature of these PEN series cameras is the highly responsive touch shutter release, which instantly autofocuses on the tapped area of the camera’s high-resolution 3″ LCD screen and captures. It’s amazing, allowing intricate images of even the smallest close-up subjects at lightning-fast speeds.

Olympus 17mm ƒ1.8 Micro Four Thirds Lens With Awesome ‘Snap-Focus’ Mode

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The natural upgrade for iPhoneographers wanting a little bit more than their awesome cameraphone can offer is Micro Four Thirds — it’s small but gives fantastic results.

And the obvious, almost obligatory Micro Four Thirds lens was — until now — the Panasonic Lumix 20mm ƒ1.7, a fixed-focal-length wonder: perfect for low-light and amazing shallow depth-of-field images.

But there’s a new challenger from Olympus: the M.ZUIKO DIGITAL 17mm f1.8.

Olympus Announces Two Mirrorless PENs And A High-End Compact

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Olympus joins the Photokina news bukake-fest with two new PEN cameras and a smart compact.

Olympus is entering Photokina week with three new cameras: the E-PM2 and E-PL5 for its PEN Micro Four Thirds lineup, and the X-Z2 as a flagship compact camera.

Both PEN cameras feature a 16.1MP CMOS sensor, a max ISO of 25,600, in-body image stabilization, a 3-inch touchscreen, touch shooting, 8fps continuous shooting, photo filters, RAW files with in-camera editing, and 1080i HD video recording.

The Best Cameras [Best Of]

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We know that you Cult of Mac readers are also a bunch of photo nerds, so we thought that this week’s best-of list could be about cameras. You’re iPhone might be great (and even makes it into this list) but sometimes you need something more powerful, more rugged or just plain better. Here’s our list of the best cameras out these.