10 Top Tech Marvels For Better Digital Photography

Want to enhance your photography? Here's some well thought-out gear to watch!

From printers that print wirelessly from your camera phone to more comfy neck straps and remote control heli-cams, changes in low- and high-tech are having an impact on photographers.

We love new technology! Here are ten products that demonstrate technological innovation or simply rethinking an older concept in a way that makes getting great photos just a little bit (or a lot) easier. 


Print On Demand

With the popularity of smart phone cameras eclipsing compact digital cameras, new products have come out that take advantage of their abilities to transfer and print images via Wi-Fi. The Fujifilm Instax Share Wireless Smartphone Printer ($204.95 at Adorama) produces high-resolution 254dpi 2.4x1.8-inch mini prints from Fujifilm Instant Color Film 20-packs, which are available for $19.69. Each image can be printed with a "real time template" indicating time, place and weather conditions on the frame, making each print unique. You can also print images uploaded to social networking services such as Facebook and Instagram, taking image sharing to a new level.

Great Neck Relief

You might not feel it at first, and it may not seem like such a big deal. But after a few hours of shooting with a DSLR equipped with a pro-grade lens (think f/2.8 constant-aperture zoom) you're going to feel it in your neck and shoulders. The Op/Tech E-Z Comfort Neoprene Neck Strap ($9.95 at Adorama) is a basic affair, without any camera brands emblazoned on the strap. The material is bouncy and stretch so it acts as a shock absorber and keeps your neck from feeling the weight as much. I've switched to a Neoprene strap, and my neck is happier.


The Drone Zone

The latest in remote-controlled quadricopter technology now allows you to get great HD video footage as well as stills from above. Chopper shots are no longer a high-budget production, and quadricopters are easier to fly than helicopters. If your interest is only in video, the Parrot AR.Drone 2.8 (Adorama price: $299.95) is a Wi-Fi controlled Quadricopter with an on-board HD camera. If you want to supply a compact digital action camera that you can control remotely and can capture both stills and video, consider the DJU Phantom ($479 at Adorama).


World's Fastest Zoom Lens

If you wanted an f/1.8 lens so you can photograph in low light without flash, and take advantage of the narrow depth of field it produces, you basically had no choice: It had to be a prime lens. Sigma's engineering department has been working overtime and produced this gem: the world's first f/1.8 constant aperture zoom lens, an The Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8, designed for DSLRs with APS sensors. With a 35mm angle of view equivalent of approximately 28-50mm, this lens could be considered a "normal prime plus" with the ability to zoom out. It is available for Canon, Nikon, PentaxSony and Sigma DSLRs at the surprisingly reasonable (for what you're getting) Adorama price of $799.


Second Life for 35mm Film Canisters

File this under "101 uses for a dead film canister": Newfocus has collected old discarded film canisters and turned them into USB flash drives. Honestly, they're a little more expensive than the more generic variety, but they'll give you serious street cred with the retry-style crowd. When you order one, the brand and film canister is chosen randomly but is certainly going to be a well-known Kodak or Fuji variety, and will likely be a conversation starter. Available in in 2, 48 and 16GB capacities, Newfocus 35mm Film Canister Flash Drives cost between $17.95 and $49.95 at Adorama—and hold a lot more than 36 exposures.


Add Some Color To Your Flash

If you want to transform a scene, there's nothing like placing a color photo gel over your flash. It's a great way to experiment, and thanks to the Rosco Strobist Collection, available at Adorama for just $7.95, it's stupid cheap. In fact, for this price you might as buy one for each flash so you can mix and match when doing multiple-flash set-ups. Use gaffer's tape to keep it in place.


Steady as You Go

When it comes to keeping your camera steady for nature, some travel, architecture and macro photography, a tripod is virtually a requirement. But when you need to move quickly (such as when you are shooting sports from the sidelines) or can't afford the bulk and weight of even e fairly lightweight tripod (when traveling, for instance), a Monopod is a good option and among monopods, the Manfroto 682B self-standing monopod kit  ($143.26 at Adorama) offers the best of both worlds, thanks to three feet that extend from the bottom to give you just a bit more stability. Kitted with the Manfrotto 234RC Swivel Tilt Head, the monopod can handle up to 5.6 pounds, which is enough for a DSLR with a long lens.


Hard Drive Faster

As resolution improves and files get bigger, transferring image and video files can become a time-consuming chore. The LaCie Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2TB External hard Drive ($399) rushes images from computer to drive at a speed-racing 190MB/s data transfer rate. You'll have to drink that cup of coffee a little faster. You can also play back HD video without any hiccups direct from the drive.

A Light Load

Sometimes you're a one-person show, and you don't have a second set of hands to hold a big reflector and bounce light into your subject's face, and you can't set up a stand. No problem: A small reflector is better than no reflector, and the Lastolite 12-inch Circular Collapsible Disc Reflector can practically fit in your pocket (it collapses down to 4 inches) and reflects either silver (if you want neutral color) or gold (if you want to warm up your subject's face). If you're shooting a close head shot, you can aim the reflector so the light hits the face just right. At $12.95, there's no reason not to have this valuable tool.


Have a Blast. Have Another. And Another

Just in time for Wedding season! For wedding and event photographers, keeping multiple flashes powered was either an expensive or wasteful proposition—oftentimes both. If you rely on AA batteries, you could end up going through several dozen in a day of heavy shooting. If you use power packs, the up-front cost could be well over $1,000 to power two or three flashes, and that doesn't count back-up units. Now along comes Flashpoint with a less expensive but just as powerful Flashpoint Blast Power Pack, which has 4500mAh of juice for $350 including a replaceable battery that's good for 1800 pops at full power. You can buy extra batteries for $100 and swap them out rather than buying additional full back-up units. Available for Nikon, Canon, MetzSony and Flashpoint shoe-mount flash systems, these are already receiving a warm welcome from pro shooters.


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