I’m launching The Gadget Report with a look back at some of the most awesome gadgets of 2011. In the first episode, I talk about four of my favorite cameras released in the past year.
As the world moves away from touchy, feely analog products toward everything digital, soft and virtual, we’ll start to see more and more nostalgia for things like film, cassettes and vinyl records. The old Polaroid brand loved so much by Steve Jobs released a digital camera that prints instant photos.
The Polaroid Z340 has a 14 megapixel sensor and a 2.7-inch LCD display. The Z340 doesn’t use traditional Polaroid film. It has a Zink printer that doesn’t use ink … only special paper. Photos are 3 by 4 inches. Different border options let you print photos with or without borders. You’re photo can look like a traditional Polaroid snap shot, you can choose some various fun borders or create your own.
The Z340 sells for $300 and a package of 30 sheets of Zink paper costs $20 from store.polaroid.com.
Just like on GeekBrief.TV, I’ll cover gadgets I want to buy and some that just make me drool. The Canon EOS C300 takes what Canon learned from the adoption of the 5D Mark II and 7D by filmmakers. This camera is designed specifically for making movies. It has a Super 35-mm-equivalent 8.29 megapixel CMOS sensor with the same low-light awesomness Canon’s DSLRs deliver. The body is small and shaped more like a motion picture camera. It features the DIGIC DV III image processor and two CF card slots. It isn’t enough to justify paying $20,000, but the C300 has two XLR mic inputs which is usually how you know a camera is made for pros.
Much more accessibly priced and design for boys and girls who wanna have fun, the GoPro Hero 2 camera kits are designed to let you capture your outdoor adventures in glorious 1080p. Theres a kit for general outdoor adventures, one for motorsports and one for surfing. Kit’s cost $300 and come with different mounts based on what you’re going to shoot. Besides, 1080p, the cameras also shoot 960p, 720p and WVGA and has options to shoot at 120, 60, 48 and 30 frames per second. This is a camera I would never buy because I never leave my desk, but if you participate in any type of adrenaline raising activity, check out the HD HERO2 at gopro.com.
The Lytro camera doesn’t just make my camera list, it’s my favorite gadget of 2011. It is the epitome of Steve Jobsism. Innovation rarely happens without some different thinking, and Lytro is all about thinking different. To begin with, it captures a complete light data field which means you can refocus on anything in your photos even after the photo has been captured. You can upload or email a Lytro photo to friends and they can focus in on something else in the shot.
The Lytro camera has an 8X optical zoom and an f/2 aperture lens. The original tech for this camera was developed in a Stanford University lab 15 years ago. The supercomputing power that generated the first light field images has been reduced to fit in a camera you can hold like a flashlight.