Tech News on G4
Gadget Gifts for the Photo & Video Lover
Dec 23, 2009
By Greg Gazin - Apple Gazin’ - G4 Canada
If you find yourself scrambling to find just the right thing for the photo & video lover, here are three gift ideas for enthusiasts that you might want to have a look at.
WebCam Goes HD Widescreen
While many computer have built-in webcams especially laptops, many of them have a small 0.3 or 1.3 megapixel CCD that yield no better than VGA quality. But these days HD is king - even on YouTube and the new Microsoft LifeCam Cinema HD ($79.99) is just what the video doctor ordered. It's also 16:9 widescreen, autofocus, auto-exposure and auto white balance aluminum webcam with a highdef 720p sensor that captures up to 30fps. And using Microsoft's ClearFrame technology, it yields a fairly smooth video reproduction even when lighting isn't optimal.
LifeCam Cinema has a high precision glass lens that yield respectable 5 megapixel still photos. It also features a built-in noise cancelling digital microphone. I like its flexible rubberized attachment base that allows you to clip on to a variety of surfaces without scratching them. It also comes with Windows Live Movie Maker and Photo Gallery applications (PC only) and is optimized for Windows Live Messenger.
PC & Mac
You will need an above average PC (Windows 7, XP, Vista) to run it - requiring at least a 1.6GHz dual core processor 1GB of ram and 1.5GB of free hard drive space. It will also work natively on a Mac. I had it running nicely on a 2.4 GHz MacBook with an Intel Core 2 Duo and 2GB Ram.
Enhance iPhone's Photo Functionality
Getting that great picture is more than just hitting the shoot button, so it’s nice when a little application comes along with optional hardware that allows you to expand and enhance its photo functionality - it's called Blur Tripod.
First, it has a horizontal level indicator as well as leveler option that works in both portrait and landscape mode. It also allows you to add a time delay of up to 15 seconds before the iPhone take a photo. Using the iPhone's familiar scroll selector wheel, the multi-shot option allows you to select from up to 10 pictures to be taken at intervals from 2-15 seconds as well as a 24-hour option that will shoot 144 pics. The latest version acknowledges time delays with its beeping alert sound.
Simply launch the app and you're ready to roll. Surprisingly, there is no splash screen, product acknowledgement or get info files - although its use is fairly self-explanatory.
The application is available from the Apple App store for $0.99. You can also get a package directly from Mechatronics at BlurTripod.com for $17.99CDN. It includes the Blur Tripod software and an actual mini tripod with a removable screwmount iPhone adapter allowing it to seat just nicely for optimal shooting.
It’s a great way for ensuring you have time to get in the shot, making sure they are nice and level and ideal for creating time-lapse movies.
Stylish WideScreen Eyewear
-> INSERT Photo of Vuzix Wrap 310, courtesy Vuzix
They look like an unsuspecting pair of sunglasses, but when you wear the Vuzix WRAP 310 it replaces your video display screen whether you're watching a movie or playing a video game. What you see is equivalent to a virtual 55" inch screen as seen from about 10 ft away.
It supports many devices including camcorders, cellphones, video game consoles and even personal computers with VGA output as well as the iPhone. It has zoom capabilities and you can select either standard 4:3 or 16:9 widescreen modes. It also supports both standard 2D as well as 3D formats.
And just like binoculars, it has a diopter focal adjustment. In fact you can adjust both the left and right eye separately. It's also designed to fit right over most eyeglasses.
The unit is expected to run for 6 hours on 2 AA batteries. It sells for $249US and includes iPhone and RCA adapters as well as a pair of noise isolation earphones.
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