For years, we’ve been publishing monthly New Apps You Should Know features and damn near every one of them features a new iOS camera app that’s all but guaranteed to help you take better pictures…
Long before digital photography, single-lens reflex and mirrorless cameras, instant film and everything else you consider to be modern imaging–we’re talking like 16th century, here–there was the camera obscura which you might know better as…
Looking for a tripod? There’s no wonder. A tripod might be the signal most important tool for photographers and videographers, other than the actual camera, because it opens up a world of creative opportunities. It’s great for nighttime, landscape, wildlife and sports photography, or basically anything shot with a telephoto lens, plus it provides the much-needed stability for long exposures, hyperlapses and panoramas. And then there’s the relief aspect; photographers just don’t want to hold a heavy camera for that long.
So what kind of tripod should you buy? It depends on what type of photos you’re looking to take, as well as what kind of camera you’re shooting on (DSLR, mirrorless, point-and-shoot or even smartphone), but ultimately, here’s what you need to know: a big and heavy tripod is gonna do a much better job stabilizing the camera, which is why most professional studios you large full-sized tripods, but most people are willing to give up some of that stability for a tripod they can pack in bag.
Manfrotto 5-Section Compact Action Tripod
Best Tripod Under $100: Manfrotto makes some of the best and most popular tripods that you’ll find. This one, the 5-Section Compact Action Tripod, is great because it’s surpisingly durable and sturdy, plus it comes in at well under $100, making it a solid-buy for budget-conscious photographers. It has a joystick head to help you adjust the angle of your camera. And it’s really lightweight – less than three pounds – and compact. It’s an ideal tripod for photographers using an entry-level DSLR with a standard lens or a compact travel camera.
Manfrotto 500 Fluid Video Head with 190X Video Tripod
Best Video Tripod: Videographers shooting in 4K tend to need heavier, more supportive tripods because they are typically better at eliminating vibrations. This one by Manfrotto, for example, is over seven pounds and it’s sturdier than any other tripod on this list. It has a number of key features for video, too, like an innovative head with fluid cartridges on both pan and tilt axes, a leveling column and a five-pound counterbalance; all of which allow the photographer to move their camera smoothly and accurately. There are admittedly more moving parts in the system, but this Manfrotto tripod still manages to be pretty intuitive to use.
CamKix Premium 3in1 Kit
Best for Action Cameras: This is a simple, affordable and pretty great impulse buy for anybody with an action camera (or even a compact camera or smartphone). The tripod has a socket-ball mount with a locking switch that allows you to rotate the camera a full 180 degrees. And there’s a telescopic pole attachment, which you can use to achieve better height on your shots, or just use it as a glorified selfie stick. It’s worth pointing out that while compact cameras and smartphones can be attached directly to the tripod, your GoPro needs to be housed in a GoPro mount.
MeFoto Globetrotter Travel TriPod
Best Travel Tripod: As the name hints, the MeFoto Globetrotter is one of the best travel tripods. It’s compact and lightweight (less than four pounds), and it’s carbon fiber frame is strong enough to support larger systems (up to 26 pounds). It has five leg sections so you can set the camera to stand over five-feet high, and the cushioned legs actually come together to convert the tripod into a monopod, which is neat. This is an ideal travel tripod for anybody shooting DSLR or mirrorless.
Peak Design Travel Tripod
One for the Future: Peak Design’s first tripod is, as you’d expect, designed for adventurers and outdoor photographers. It’s super compact and packable, about the size of a water bottle, and everything on the tripod is designed to be efficient and intuitive. For example, there are latches instead of annoying twist locks, to quickly extend the legs; to adjust the orientation of the ball head, there’s a single adjustment ring instead of a series of knobs; and small levers let you spread the legs wider to help you take low-angle photos. It’s available in aluminum or carbon fiber, the latter being the noticeably lighter (and significantly more expensive) model.
The Peak Design Travel Tripod is available for pre-order today. It’s expected to ship in January 2020.
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DJI has been the biggest player in the drone market for as long as we can remember, which has led to them creating some amazing hardware and software over the years. They took all that…
If you’re a camera buff, you know full well the name Sigma — it’s the company that makes some of the best lenses in existence. Now, it’s launching the world’s smallest and lightest full-frame mirrorless camera, the Sigma fp.
The device is a “pocketable full-frame” shooter just 4.43 x 2.75 x 1.78 inches. This despite it having a massive 24.6-megapixel 35mm full-frame sensor. You still have to tack on lenses the Sigma fp, though. This can be awkward given how bulky some full-frame lenses are and how tiny this is. It might take some time getting used to.
The Sigma fp supports an ISO range of 100 to 25,600, offers a 49-point autofocus system, and boasts electronic image stabilization. It can also shoot videos in full 4K quality. Fans of the mechanical shutter might get disappointed with the electronic shutter here, but that should make shooting a lot quieter.
It’s the first camera to use Leica’s L-mount lens standard, for which three lenses were also announced by Sigma. You can use a handful of other Canon and Sigma lenses, of course, though you’ll need to have an adapter handy.
Despite its overall minute profile, the Sigma fp still boasts a bunch of ports and options. There’s a 3.2-inch touchscreen, SD card slot, and an HDMI port, for starters. You’ll also find support for flash sync, a microphone port, an external headphone port, and one for a remote shutter. There’s no electronic viewfinder, though.
The Sigma fp launches this fall. The company has yet to announce a price.
Photos courtesy of Sigma
Collaborations between companies and celebrities often go both ways. Depending on the amount of control allowed by the manufacturer, products could end up a hit or a disappointing miss. However, the allure of publicity that comes with a celebrity endorser is too tempting to pass up. One such success is the 2015 partnership between Lenny Kravitz and Leica. The limited edition Leica M-P features a hand-distressed finish that exudes a vintage vibe. The weathered look makes it look like a treasured imaging tool of the user.
Once again, the German company is rekindling its relationship with the music icon for another awesome gadget. The Leica M Monocrhom Drifter by Lenny Kravitz is the latest rock star camera making its debut. If you’re expecting similar aesthetics with the first model, there’s hardly any hint of it with this new shooter. Instead, the highlight is the stylish python snakeskin that wraps around the body of the device. By now, fans of the artist already know he is vegan, hence the premium-quality material is actually synthetic in nature. “I have always had a thing for reptiles since I was a child and love using it in design,” Kravitz points out.
The beautiful pattern of the vegan leather snakeskin melds perfectly with the Sepia Brown color scheme of the body. To add a little contrast, the thumb wheel, shutter, soft-release buttons, and the hot shoe are all in brass. The Leica M Monochrom Drifter by Lenny Kravitz is limited to only 125 units. Each package includes two lenses: a Leica Summicron-M 75 mm f/2 ASPH and a Leica Summircron-M 28 mm f/2 ASPH. Moreover, the bundle comes with a stylish brown faux-leather bag, two pouches, and cases for each of the two lenses.
Images courtesy of Leica
Editor’s Choice: Fuji GW690III
Editor’s Choice: If the Mamiya 7 II is too far out of your price range, get this. The Fuji GW690III is a rangefinder-style camera, just like the Mamiya, but offers slightly lower-grade optics and a greatly reduced price. It is known as the “Texas Leica” because of its hefty build quality and size. The other thing that the Fuji has going for it over the Mamiya is its massive 6 x 9 negatives. This giant negative size translates to higher-quality images and the ability to print them larger if that’s your jam.
Film: recording moments. Moments that have passed, even as the shutter clicks. It’s no wonder photography is bound so deeply to nostalgia, sending us down memory lane to simpler times. But the hobby — the art — is deeper still; the equipment you use says just as much about your craft as your subjects or the developed, framed end product. For many, that sense of history is best captured and enjoyed through a vintage camera context, and believe us, there’s no shortage of those on the market. So here’s our help: a list of 24 cult vintage shooters that’ll help you find your creative eye, set you apart from the shutterbug crowd and still produce photos that’ll make your (less talented) friends and family envious.
Additional reporting by Chris Gampat, AJ Powell, Henry Phillips and Tucker Bowe.
Why Shoot Film?
The Cost Effectiveness
I know this first one sounds like a joke but bear with me. Medium-format film has a bunch of really interesting advantages over puny 35mm roll film (and digital DSLRs). The depth of field is better because of the larger film area, images are sharper because they’re usually scaled up less than 35mm (they can subsequently be enlarged way more), and thanks to some optical trickery they more closely emulate what the world looks like to the human eye. A roll of medium-format film has 12 frames and costs about $10 to buy and develop. Shelling out nearly a dollar per picture might seem unbelievably expensive until you consider the digital alternative.
If you want to shoot medium format digitally, get ready for some sticker shock. A mid-range digital medium-format camera will run somewhere in the neighborhood of $15,000; an excellent one will be closer to $30,000. That’s the cost equivalent of a film-based Hasselblad 500C/M and 2,800 rolls of film. In fairness, you’ll need to buy a good scanner to get the best of your film shots, but even including that it’s still a significant savings unless you’re shooting a lot and getting compensated well for it. So concrete reason number one why I’m in love with film? I can get the amazing results of medium-format photography without auctioning off naming rights to my first-born.
Every DSLR has a manual mode and manual focus, but — be honest — how many times have you used it while shooting day to day? Picking up a fully manual camera got me back to high school photo classes and reminded me of rules of thumb like “Sunny 16” and guide number flash distance. Stuff that I had completely forgotten came back quickly as I tried not to throw away money on muffed exposures. These days when I pick up a DSLR I still use autofocus and auto exposure, but I feel more aware of what the camera is doing and why — plus I’m able to change it if it’s wrong.
It was hard to not be stoked when I got to use two iconic cameras that both cost less than a quality Canon DSLR lens. As far as quality per dollar, you can’t beat a lot of old film cameras. Hell, a good-condition Leica M6 body can be had for $1,500 and that’s one of the most legendary cameras you’ll ever find.
One of the best parts about film is that things look so great right out of the camera. Fuji and Kodak have spent years and millions of dollars perfecting their films for beautiful levels of contrast, grain and color so all you have to do is focus and expose. Sure, you can edit your scans in Photoshop like everything else, but you really just don’t need to (save for some exposure stuff here and there). Compare this to shooting in digital RAW — where the whole point is that images look like shit out of the camera and absolutely need post processing — and you can see why it’s so relieving not to spend hours in Photoshop adjusting color balances and tone curves.
This, like describing why you should do a kale juice cleanse, is the one that gets the most eye rolls when I try and describe why film’s great. And maybe I just have to concede and sound pretentious for a second. It’s really fun to shoot a roll of film, and that’s half because you have no idea what you’re going to come out with (if anything). The black box magic of photography is back. It isn’t a staid combination of ones and zeros that can be checked and adjusted ad infinitum, but rather light coming in and freezing little chunks of silver halide forever like Arnold Schwarzenegger. You won’t get to see the results until the moment has long passed — and that’s pretty scary if it’s something important. It’s a little bit random and a little bit terrifying, but so rewarding when you get it right. And that’s the thing about film: you can talk about it endlessly and rationalize it with however many hundreds of words, but until you load a roll and give in to the haphazardness of this 200-year-old chemical process, you’ll never quite know what everybody else is on about.
Vintage Cameras 101
Where to Buy
1. Do your research. Read this post, where our camera boffin has done the legwork for you. Read other sites. Read forums. Make sure you find some common prices before taking the plunge.
2. Skip the pawn shops. And Craigslist, unless you’re a pro.
3. Film, duh. You’re going to need some film. Check out our buyer’s guide at the end of this post for some suggestions.
4. What to look for: Typical problems areas that you’ll want to make sure are working: light meter, shutter, film advance, viewfinder, light seals (though imperfect ones might make for interesting shots), controls, lens.
Point and Shoot
Our Favorite Point and Shoot: Yashica T4
When discussing the Yashica T4, you’ll find it’s really all about the lens. Its fantastic 35mm f/3.5 Zeiss Tessar lens is far and away better than the lenses found on many of today’s top-end digital compact cameras. Aside from the lens, however, the T4 is a fun, simple and relatively cheap compact camera, great for taking to house parties and day adventures. If you want example photos, Google “Terry Richardson” — he’s made it famous.
Konica Hexar AF
The Hexar AF can arguably be called a fixed-lens, autofocus rangefinder. However, many may refer to it as a point-and-shoot. So how did a point-and-shoot become a cult classic?
The lens, a 35mm f2, rumor has it, was an exact copy of the Leica 35mm f2 Summicron for M mount cameras without the nosebleed price. Sprinkle some magical autofocus capabilities onto said lens and attach it to a compact camera body — you’ve got yourself a camera that can live in the inside pocket of your 1968 Vintage Bomber jacket. In English, this means it is perfectly aimed at the street photography audience.
Couple this with the quiet shutter and film advance, and you’ve got a load of reasons why the Hexar AF was (and still is) a cult classic. The camera comes with its caveats though; manual controls are a bit cumbersome. Thankfully, there is a built-in light meter, so judging exposures is a cinch. These cameras can be very pricey but usually stay under $1,000, which is much more affordable compared to an M-Mount Leica 35mm f2 lens.
Our Favorite SLR: Nikon F2
For a 35mm camera, it doesn’t get much better than the Nikon F2. It features interchangeable viewfinders, so if it breaks, it’s a simple fix. This F2 also works with almost any Nikon lens (we recommend checking compatibility here first) because Nikon has never changed its lens mount. Pair the F2 with a Nikkor 50mm 1.4 lens, and you have a street-photography setup ready to take on cities around the globe.
We’d be remiss if a Nikon 35mm SLR didn’t show up on this list, and the FE is one of our favorites for its combination of reliability, low cost and compact size (especially compared to its F2 and F3 brothers). Nikon is famous for over-engineering its film SLRs, and the FE is no exception; the alloy body and precision manufacturing mean that even though you’ll be spending less than $100 on the body, you won’t be getting something disposable. The FE was intentionally designed as an advanced enthusiast camera that eschewed electronic gimmicks, so you’ll want to brush up on your aperture and shutter speed knowledge before loading a roll in order to get the most out of it. Combine its rugged simplicity and low cost with nearly universal Nikon F-mount lens compatibility, and you’ve got the perfect camera for diving back into film.
The Pentax K1000 exuded simplicity and reliability, and was widely used for a very long time. Many people shot the K1000 for both professional work and for hobby; but even until recently many students sought it because of its affordable price, sturdy body, excellent light meter and small size. Sling one around your torso with a single prime lens and you can shoot all day and night.
The K1000 has a very vintage appeal about it because of its chrome- and leather-covered body. Focusing the camera requires lining up two images in the split-prism viewfinder. Pentax still manufactures a number of interesting focal length lenses such as 31mm, 43mm and 71mm — and any Pentax fan will speak volumes on their quality. Fortunately, the K1000 also hangs on the budget-friendly side of the spectrum. If you’re making the initial journey into film photography, this is the vintage shooter for you.
The Canon AE-1 is arguably one of the first film cameras to make photography simple and more accessible to the masses. Your parents probably used one to photograph all those embarrassing shots of younger you in your Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get-up (way before Michael Bay tried to ruin your childhood). By giving users a full-program auto mode, shooting quite literally turned into a point, focus and shoot process.
So why did it find its way into the hands of enthusiasts, families and more? Besides being so simple your grandma could use it, Canon (and third-party companies) supported it with loads of accessories and lenses. Today, you’ll find photographers behind its iconic body for professional work because of the excellent FD mount lenses available, such as the 50mm f1.2. They’re also very well built and quite obviously withstand the test of time.
Rounding out this list is the Canon EOS A2, which was the first camera to have what some photographers still yearn for: eye-controlled autofocus. The film predecessor to the 5D series of cameras earns a place in the revolutionary cameras database for including this feature. The user could use their pupil movements for focus and other features like depth of field preview by simply looking at the top left corner of the viewfinder. But those wearing glasses couldn’t use it, which inevitably brought back horrible memories of “four-eyes” taunts. The feature also only worked if you held the camera landscape style — which meant it was perfect for your Grandpa photographing you terrorizing your sister in the backyard. Still, the pure technology behind the feature is something that should be rekindled in today’s world.
Our Favorite Rangefinder: Plaubel Makina W67
The Plaubel Makina W67 is regarded as one of the best medium format rangefinders ever made. It shoots photos in a 6 x 7 format (hence the “67”) and is equipped with a fixed 55mm Nikkor lens, which is considered one of the best lenses in all of analog photography. It offers a wide field of view that’s roughly equivalent to a 23mm lens on 35mm format. This is the ultimate grail of vintage cameras.
If the Mamiya 7 II is too far out of your price range, get this. The Fuji GW690II is a rangefinder-style camera, just like the Mamiya, but offers slightly lower-grade optics and a greatly reduced price. It is known as the “Texas Leica” because of its hefty build quality and size. The other thing that the Fuji has going for it over the Mamiya is its massive 6 x 9 negatives. This giant negative size translates to higher-quality images and the ability to print them larger if that’s your jam.
Rollei 35 S
The Rollei 35 S is, to this day, one of the smallest 35mm cameras on the market. Kitted with a Zeiss Sonnar 40mm 2.8, the tiny viewfinder camera packs a serious punch. It is small enough to easily fit in a pocket, making it easy to transport and great for capturing candid snapshots.
The Contax G1 is a titanium-clad, Japanese-made marvel that was introduced in 1994 as a high-end electronic rangefinder to compete with Voigtlander and Leica, and became host to some of the best camera lenses ever made. The Zeiss lenses made for the G1 (and its 1996 G2 revision) are all as good, if not better than their Leica equivalents with the 45mm f/2 and 90mm f/2.8 deserving the most praise. The G2 revision offers a bigger body, redesigned button layout, a better viewfinder (the G1’s is about as bad as they get) and improved autofocus. The G2 has driven most of the resurgence, and as a result, its body will cost something like $600 instead of the G1’s $100.
Regardless of whether you buy the G1 or G2, you can be sure that you’re getting one of the absolute best optics systems ever made and a reliable, workhorse 35mm rangefinder.
Leica cameras list amongst those coveted by many and owned by few. When the Leica M6 appeared, many people thought it was one of the most perfect M cameras ever made. It became one of the first full M cameras to include a working built-in light meter while keeping the size down (the Leica CL could also attest to this claim, but it lacked the feature set; the Leica M5 included a meter built in, but physically towered over every other M camera made). Not only that, but reading the meter became simplistic, as the LED arrows in the viewfinder conveyed the over- or underexposure.
The M6 included frame lines for lenses as wide as 28mm — which many rangefinder aficionados clamor for. The cameras themselves are designed for documentary and photojournalistic work, and most people don’t reach for lengths beyond 50mm. So when you’re pondering lens options, remember to tell your friends to fix their hair, because you’ll be getting quite close.
Leica M6 cameras still sell for a lot of money, and the lenses can rack up an even more costly price tag in the long run. Owning one means you’ll have your hands on a piece of history, but history that will last (the handmade German engineering that defines Leica includes precious care and various quality control checks). Voigtlander manufactures some very good and affordable alternatives, though, and they can introduce you into the Leica world.
Mamiya 7 II
The Mamiya 7 II utilizes a leaf shutter (which means that the shutter is actually in the lens) that can sync flash speeds to 1/500th of a second. But what also made the camera so famous is its ability to use wide angle lenses. It mainly shoots in the 6×7 format, though other sizes can be used to capture vast structures and scenes. The rangefinder looks bright and beautiful with very highly visible frame lines.
Most importantly though, this camera launched as one of the most quiet-firing on the market (and we’d even say it continues to hold the title today). Sometimes you can take a picture and not even know that the shutter fired. The Mamiya 7 II will steal the hearts of landscape and wedding photographers. Eventually, it may become the only camera you’ll ever need. Want one for brand new? Unfortunately, you can’t expect it to be cheap.
The Tech Dopp Kit 2.0 from LA-based brand This is Ground is the perfect way to keep your camera gear and other travel tech neatly organized. Learn more about it and find other amazing products in the Gear Patrol Store.
Our Favorite Medium Format Camera: Mamiya RZ67
Studio and wedding photographers should look no further than the Mamiya RZ67. While it’s not very portable (with the 110mm lens it weighs over five pounds), it offers convenience and excellent quality. Its changeable film backs can be preloaded with color or black-and-white film. And the backs also rotate to allow you to switch between landscape and portrait orientation without moving the camera or tripod.
Yashica Mat 124G
Compared to other twin-lens cameras like the Rolleiflex, the Yashica Mat 124G is a steal. It’s a great beginner medium format camera that’s available in two lens formats, a 75mm and an 80mm. The 75mm 3.5 Lumaxar taking lens is said to have been made in West Germany, and is of the Tessar type, making the optics and quality nearly identical to that of the Rollei.
Zenza Bronica ETRS
Think of the ETRS as the little brother to the RZ67. They boast many of the same features, but the ETRS is considerably smaller and lighter. It works great as a studio camera, but can easily make the transition to on-the-go street-style photography. It comes in a variety of lens configurations, all of which feature leaf shutters. Be careful when buying lenses, as the leaves are prone to jamming up from oils or fungus.
Also known as the “Hasselbladski,” the Kiev 88 is essentially a knock-off Hasselblad 1600 F. The camera was produced in the Arsenal Factory in Kiev, Ukraine, and is an excellent alternative to the more expensive Hasselblads (though some models are believed to have been poorly produced during certain years). The Kiev 88 is also compatible with one of the best fisheye lenses available, the Arsat 30mm f/3.5, which can be found for around $200, making for a rig that’s worth its quirks.
Pentacon Six TL
The Pentacon Six is a German-produced SLR-style camera built to shoot 120 film. It’s modeled after the convenience of 35mm cameras, with a similar layout and function. The TL in its name designates a metered prism viewfinder, though non-metered versions are also available. While the Pentacon Six is quite a bit larger than a standard 35mm camera, it’s still comfortable to wear around your neck.
The Pentax 67 is a monster of a camera. Its beefed-up SLR body weighs more than five pounds and a special-accessory wooden hand grip is pretty much required for hand holding. The sound of the mirror coming before an exposure is enough to start an avalanche. Though it’s a beast, the upsides of the SLR design are easy to spot. Pentax has made a huge variety of lenses to match any scenario (and the 105 f/2.4 standard lens is a gem), since the body style is relatively simple they can be had for cheap on eBay (look for the 6×7 MLU, 67 and the updated 67ii; avoid the oldest ones marked just “6×7”) and they’re no more complicated to use than any 35mm SLR. Because of their ubiquity and panzer-esque reliability, they’re still widely used for fashion and studio work while also providing a cheap gateway into oversized film.
The Hasselblad 500C/M makes for some very happy photographers with its stunning good looks and gorgeously vintage aesthetics. With a look-down-style viewing screen and a lovely hand crank on the side to advance your film, you’ll have a lot of fun using this baby. Despite how much fun and experience you’ll accrue, the original design targeted professional work, and Hasselblad’s prices clearly communicate that. The company has often been deemed the Rolls Royce of cameras.
Still, the optics and image quality rank among the top of the hill; many photographers rely on the 500C/M even today for their paid contracts. So if you’re dead set on a Hasselblad, we’d recommend ensuring that your photography skills rank above an amateur level.
This Hassy uses 120 film, which trumps 35mm in size and therefore gives you more bokeh, that beautiful blur that you see in so many photos these days. Coupled with some of the new Kodak Portra film, which the company designed for scanning, you’ll eventually create an online portfolio to be truly proud of. The combo will yield you prints well worth hanging up in your living room after being printed on white glossy aluminum.
Fast-aperture Zeiss glass? Check. 120 film in the 645 format? Check. Autofocus? Check. The ability to one day go medium-format digital? Checkmate.
Ask any medium-format photographer and they’ll tell how they feel about the Contax 645. Before digital became mainstream, this medium-format beast was in the hands of the crème-de-la-crème of wedding photographers and portrait-shooters. In the hands of an experienced snapper, it came across as simple to use, had autofocus with lenses as fast as f2 (which is extremely shallow in medium format due to the larger negative size), and could probably knock a thief out cold if one tried stealing it from you.
They are still highly sought-after but very rare; finding one is quite honestly like snagging a unicorn. And if you can find one in perfect working condition with an 80mm f2, 120 back and an AE prism, pony up the Benjamins.
If there is one Instant Film camera that will stand out in the minds of many people, it is the Polaroid SX-70. There’s a very good reason why this cult classic is in the hands of every hipster you know.
Sporting leather exteriors trimmed with metal, the camera folds down for compact storage and unfolds easily enough to snap a cat before it can escape (the sneaky bugger). Using the bright viewfinder, the user can manually focus the lens, and as long as the light meter next to it isn’t blocked, a beautiful piece of vintage analog love is always printed out right on the spot. Today, you can still get film for the camera from the Impossible Project — who have come a far way in developing and improving their formula. Be sure that you can snag one in good condition with no holes in the bellows.
If you’re looking to get into large format studio photography, a Horseman 4×5 is an excellent choice. There’s a host of lenses available (some of the best examples are made by Schneider) that mount onto lens boards sized specifically for your camera. The Horseman 4×5 also allows for the lens to be moved independently of the film back; this means that you can get some really funky planes of focus, which some might know as “tilt shift.” (Yep, before it was a tool on Instagram it was a physical process used to obtain an interesting field of view.)
Graflex Speed Graphic 4×5
This classic 4×5 film camera dates back to the 1940s. Unlike the above Horseman 4×5, which was a whole process to set up and carry, this was actually a portable large format camera. In fact, back in the day, it was the camera of choice for many traveling photographers and paparazzi. If you’re looking to get into large-format film, these cameras are great, are available with a host of different lenses and can be found for a relative steal.
Now, Get Some Film For Your New Camera
Portra is everywhere. Kodak’s most popular roll film is available in 160, 400 and 800 ISO but the 400 is the most versatile of the bunch, easily coping with being under- and over-exposed without getting too grainy. Portra of all speeds renders skin tones beautifully, scans better than most films and has an incredibly pleasant grain structure. Available in everything from 35mm rolls to medium format to sheet film, the 400 is our go-to when we need a color film on any shoot. $6+ (per roll)
|Kokak Ektar 100
Ektar is another gem from Rochester. It boasts more saturation and contrast than Portra and an amazingly fine grain structure. As a result, pictures tend to not look all that “film-y”, which can be a good or bad thing depending on what you want. It’s only available in 100 ISO, so you’ll need quite a bit of light, but the sharpness you’ll end up with is amazing. $6+ (per roll)
|Fujicolor Pro 400
Fuji negative films have always had a distinctive look that’s attracted loyalists. Compared to Kodak, Fuji usually has a slightly greener, slightly colder tone (compare the example links for Fujicolor and Portra to see what we’re talking about) that usually injects a bit more emotion into a given picture. Fujicolor Pro is a great film to keep in your bag if you’re looking for more contrast and moodier colors compared to Portra. Just be prepared to pay nearly twice as much for the privilege. $10 (per roll)
Color Reversal (Slide Film)
|Fujichrome Provia 100F
Ever since Kodachrome was retired at the end of 2010, Fuji has been the only game in town when it comes to true slide film (though Ektar does a pretty good job mimicking it). Luckily, they’re doing a damn good job. Slide film is characterized by strong, saturated colors, sharp contrast, fine grain, a more fickle exposure range (slide film can usually only be recoverable when under- or over-exposed by one stop compared to negative film’s three or four) and, of course, a color-positive film. Provia is Fuji’s more neutral option with natural colors and less contrast than their vibrant Velvia. You’ll need a lot of light and a good exposure, but the results are some of the best you’ll find for general-purpose shooting. $10 (per roll)
|Fujichrome Velvia 50
When people talk about slide film these days they’re almost always talking about Velvia. The strong contrast, strong color film has taken over Kodachrome’s place as the low-ISO choice for those wanting amazing results right out of the camera. It’s great for landscapes and still life but isn’t the best at reproducing skin tones because Fuji’s typical greenish-purplish cast is even more pronounced in Velvia. $12 (per roll)
Black and White
|Kodak Tri-X 400
Think of any iconic black and white photo you’ve seen; odds are it was shot on Tri-X. Kodak’s hallmark black-and-white film has been around forever and its easy development, good-looking grain structure, perfectly balanced contrast and killer shadow detail mean it won’t likely leave the throne soon. If you’re going to start developing your own film or just want a great medium-speed black-and-white film, Tri-X is the easy choice. $5 (per roll)
|Ilford Delta 3200
Boasting three extra stops of light sensitivity over 400 speed film (that’s going from 1/15 shutter speed to 1/120 at a given aperture), Delta 3200 is the only choice when you need a super-sensitive low-light film. The grain is definitely pronounced, but if it’s exposed right the grain is minimized into a really pleasing pattern that’ll leave no doubt what film you shot on. $13 (per roll)
|Ilford PanF 50
Just the opposite of Delta 3200, PanF 50 is the perfect black-and-white film when you have light to spare and want sharp images with minimal grain and excellent dynamic range — showing detail in the darkest and lightest portions of an image. Simply put, if you want the highest-resolution black-and-white film, this is the one you want. $12 (per roll)
From cameras with multiple lenses to one with a built-in digital projector, these are the most unique digital cameras available. Read this story
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In this episode of This Week In Gear: Eric Yang and Will Price test Breville’s countertop pizza oven, Henry Phillips discusses the $5K Leica Q2 and Nick Caruso raves about the all-new BMW X7. Also in this episode, a Bryan Campbell reviews the Honda Talon side-by-side – in 30 seconds – and AJ Powell explains why the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless earbuds are the last thing he bought.
“All the improvements feel iterative, deliberate and genuinely helpful to the end user. The Q was my general price-no-object recommendation for a great camera for basically everyone. The Q2 takes that place no problem.”
Note: Purchasing products through our links may earn us a portion of the sale, which supports our editorial team’s mission. Learn more here.
The Leica Q has been one of our favorite everyday cameras ever since it was released a handful of years ago. The brand’s follow up to the beloved Leica Q is finally here with the…
Late last night, Leica announced the Q2 ($4,995) to wild American applause and approving German nods. The company’s greatest modern success story finally has a sequel. To tell the truth though, about three weeks earlier in the meeting where Leica gave me a loaner unit, the new camera was sitting on a conference room table for five minutes before I realized that it was, in fact, the Q2. I promise that’s a good thing.
What made the original Q so good was that it wasn’t minimal for minimalism’s sake and it wasn’t as feature-packed as alternatives from Sony or Fujifilm. It was just this goldilocks of a camera that was intuitive enough to make you want to pick up and shoot and produced images that were so good that they made you want to keep going. It justified (or at least made a really good attempt at justifying) a price north of $4,000. Plus, on the other side, it made many of the longtime M rangefinder users that I know think slightly differently about what a Leica has to be in order to satisfy those who talk endlessly about the “Leica look.” Can a “real Leica” have autofocus? An electronic viewfinder? (Gasp) A fixed lens?!
At the core of what made the Q great was not only the fact that it asked these questions that are paradigm shifting for a company that has been famous for making (nearly) the same product for 50 years, it’s that it went a really long way towards answering them.
Does the Q2 ask new ones? Does it re-re-define what a Leica can be? Or does it prove that there’s a reason Leica’s really only famous for the M instead of the million other cameras it’s made? I had a couple of weeks with the camera to find out.
The Good: As it turns out, Leica nailed the sophomore album by basically releasing a remastered version of the first. The original Q was great — with some notable faults — and with the Q2 Leica does it’s best to address them.
On the UI/UX side menus and button interfaces are cleared up, gone is the stupid power switch that always sent you into continuous shooting mode, the WiFi connection is infinitely better (largely thanks to Bluetooth LE). The IP52 splash- and dust-sealing is a welcome addition.
Then there’s the actual shooting experience. There’s a massive new 47-megapixel sensor that helps things like the Q’s signature “rangefinder digital crop” feature work much better (and include a 75mm equivalent crop that still leaves you with a 7-megapixel image). The 28mm f/1.7 stabilized lens is as great as it ever was, not stumbling at all when presented with nearly twice the resolution. Rounding out the operation is the new Maestro processor which manages to push those crazy big files around just as fast as before.
Generally, the great part about the Q2 is it doesn’t mess with the special sauce that made the original Q so great. The manual/automatic mix, the EVF, the lens, the size, the speed, the portability — it’s all still there, and it’s fully up to date.
Who It’s For: Honestly, basically everyone who wants a Leica and is thinking logically. Don’t get me wrong, the M10 is an astounding camera and the associated lenses are beautiful, but the list of drawbacks for general everyday shooting feels like it’s getting longer. [Full disclosure: because I refuse to think logically, the day Leica told me a Q2 was coming, I bought a silver M10 and a 35mm Summicron.]
Have kids? Get a Q2.
Like autofocus? Q2.
Want wide open shots to actually work? Q2.
Want higher res than any Leica camera currently in existence? Q2.
Want to take travel photography that is mindless and fast enough to not make you “the camera guy?” Q2.
Want a slightly abstruse lesson on the history of photography and to use one of the most iconic and refined pieces of design on earth? Buy the M10.
Watch Out For: Oh come on, you knew this was coming. It’s $5,000. You could buy three Fujifilm X100Fs to throw at Youtube commenters who say the Q2 is too expensive and still come out ahead.
Aside from that, there’s not too much off with the Q2. Leica hasn’t fully embraced the idea of Instagram ready photography and in-camera JPEG settings reflect that so you’re going to have to ship that massive DNG file over to your phone and play with it a bit before it really starts to sing.
Did they really need to shoot the moon with a 47-megapixel sensor? Probably not, I think 30 would’ve been just fine but my hunch is that you’ve seen something very similar to that 47 in the new Panasonic S1R and you’re probably gonna see it in the SL2 and M11 whenever those decide to drop. I guess big is the new normal.
The only other notable foibles are that you really have to nail focus for the digital crop to feel like a useful feature and I think that in redesigning the ergonomics slightly, they made the lens a bit uglier and less elegant on the Q2 compared to the original.
Alternatives: Despite my jokes about X100 throwing, there actually isn’t an apples-to-apples alternative to the Q2 – and I think that’s what makes it so special. Sony does technically still sell the RX1R II but the interface isn’t particularly pleasant to use and it just feels like a souped-up point and shoot. The Fujifilm X100F is a fantastic camera that will get you the most similar shooting experience, but you drop the full-frame sensor and a bunch of resolution (if we’re being kind to the Fuji, it’s also nearly 80-percent cheaper than the Q2). The M10 is a quasi-alternative but see the abbreviated list above for why the comparison doesn’t really hold water. Perhaps the best alternative? The original Q. Because all these updates are more evolution than revolution, the Q still totally holds water — even 5 years later — and hopefully prices fall enough that it can get into the hands of more users.
Verdict: In this case, and in my time using the Q2, no news is good news. I liked the original Q so much that I didn’t really see what Leica was going to improve with the second act. Really though, they listened to critiques from Q users and addressed as many as they could. All the improvements feel iterative, deliberate and genuinely helpful to the end user. The Q was my general price-no-object recommendation for a great camera for basically everyone. The Q2 take that place no problem.
Leica hosted us and provided this product for review.
Hot takes and in-depth reviews on noteworthy, relevant and interesting products. Read the Story
veryone, hands up if you’ve ever been in a road accident. Okay, keep those hands up if it was your fault. None of you? Really? We’re sorry, we’re sure you’re all excellent or at least pretty good drivers, but we find that hard to believe. If only there was a device that could determine whether or not you’re telling the truth. Well, there is…car dash cams.
You might remember these from the ten-thousand or so bizarre videos from all over the world that always seem to capture the very worst moments of someone’s life. While that’s (mostly) very amusing, the car dash cam’s actual purpose is supposed to provide unarguable evidence in the event of a crash, accident, or traffic violation.
This provides the owner with protection when challenged over the truth – as long as it’s not their fault.
This is great news for the careful and responsible drivers among us. Meanwhile, it could be an issue for the less talented drivers among us. That’s right, we know who you are!
If you’re tired of being blamed for accidents that weren’t your fault, however, car dash cams will help you out. Heck, you could even exert some revenge on those who’ve wronged you by following them all day to capture proof of their depravity.
That said, buckle up and join us to check out the best car dash cams on the market today.
What are the main things to consider when buying a dash cam?
We see you’ve decided to purchase a dash cam. Congratulations, from now on you’ll never need to worry about the back and forth uncertainty of ‘He said, She said.’ Plus, you’ll never need to feel concerned about how safe your car is and you’ll also pick up a couple of hilarious videos along the way.
Before you settle on which car dash cam is the best one for you, there’s a couple of things you’ll need to consider first. This will help you out by making sure you don’t get taken for a ride.
In the 21st century, everything is high definition, perhaps too high definition sometimes. Whatever car dash cam you choose to buy, you can rely on it having a satisfactory image resolution. However, there’s still a range of different image qualities that you’ll notice when it comes to car dash cams.
The most common to run across is 720p, 1080p, and 1440p.
You may not know what this means, which is totally cool, few do. These same things can be seen in computers and televisions too. That said, what does 1080p, for example, actually mean? The “P” in the example stands for “progressive.”
You may see 720i as well, where the “I” stands for “integrated.”
Both are the same type of thing, it’s simply the way pixels are laid out. In the P version of things, pixels are up and down. Meaning from the top of an image to the bottom, pixels are formed. This gives an HD, defined image or video that you might see a movie in.
Meanwhile, the I version has pixels that go from side to side. This offers a crisp, sharp image or video. The P version is often better at these things which is why it’s used for car dash cams.
The higher the resolution is, the more likely the video will catch the smallest of details.
Car dash cams with looping capabilities allow you to avoid the need for switching the camera on or off. The reason for this is due to the loop allowing the camera to automatically turn on. It’ll begin recording as soon as you switch your car on thanks to hardwiring.
If you’re somebody whose memory isn’t as great as you’d like, this is essential. Even if you have a great memory, it could be insanely useful. Plus, it’ll be another thing you won’t have to worry about.
Cameras with great night vision will save you a lot of stress if an accident occurs in low-light conditions. Night driving is in some ways safer due to there being fewer cars on the road, but this is not 100% true at times. It’s also a time where people feel perfectly happy to not only hit but also run.
Hey, think about it, it’s dark, nobody saw!
Unfortunately for them, if you have a dash cam when you’re involved in a nighttime collision, they can’t truly get away. Some cameras have better night vision recording than others, however. That means you need to be sure to find one that provides as clear an image as possible once the sun goes down.
Finding and purchasing a car dash cam with G-sensor capabilities is essential for protecting your footage. It’ll help keep it perfectly fine in the event of a crash or collision without it getting overwritten by the newer footage. Cameras with G-Sensor technology will automatically switch off when they recognize the car’s ignition has been turned off.
It will then ‘lock’ the footage to ensure that is doesn’t disappear into the ether.
Sometimes there’s a lot going on while your driving, but you’re a good driver, right? It may not matter. Clearly, you can’t be expected to do this successfully all the time sadly. In fact, you might not notice something until it’s too late.
To prevent this, the car dash cams come with collision and pull-out alerts.
This recognizes potential disaster before it happens.
Not only will you have some proof after an accident, but you’ll also be able to prevent accidents altogether. This pretty much makes you a superhero. Who needs the Batmobile anyway?
Worried about your car at when you’ve parked it? Maybe there’s been a spate of vandalism around the neighborhood recently? You’re not going to sit up all night waiting to catch the perp, after all, you shouldn’t have to.
Why do all the work when your dash cam can act as a lookout for you?
Parking mode operates using motion sensors, so you don’t need to worry about wasting the battery overnight. If someone comes within range of the car, the camera will switch on. This is sure to catch crooks and idiot kids and hopefully makes sure they don’t cause any more damage.
You might also get the occasional curious critter, but we can live with that.
Finding a car dash cam with both front and rear camera functionality ensures you get the widest range of protection possible. You can drive wherever you please without fear of possible accidents they are not caught on camera. Clearly, the best cameras can give you this.
However, it can be a bit more expensive…so you need to think before you buy.
Do you need a rear cam? We’d say it could sure offer more protection in the event an accident occurs…especially in the back of the vehicle you happen to drive. However, the normal car dash cams can do a lot for you too. That said, this will just depend on how much you’re willing to spend.
Most car dash cams will have a built-in memory function that’ll record and subsequently save any footage that’s captured during your drives. However, what will you do once you run out of space? By using high definition video, you’ll be treated to excellent and clear footage that will identify culprits without a shadow of a doubt.
The problem is that this awesome quality also means a lot of storage space is used up. Those files can get pretty large. Cameras with high-capacity storage will be a great asset to you, without a doubt. You may also want one that can install a microSD card for even more space.
This will save you the hassle of deleting footage all the time, without much time in-between.
What are the main benefits of car dash cams?
Car dash cams are tremendous for most. The reason is mostly due to what they provide the average, every day, driver. Think about it this way, your protection and how people believe your story could hinge on these things. Car dash cams have gotten police officers out of hot water as well as fired.
That is some major power to hold.
Imagine too if you’re a young black man in America. Traffic stops are routine for them, as well as Hispanic men (even if you do nothing wrong). Most tend to go well, but at times things can get really bad.
Car dash cams can be maneuvered to get the entire ordeal on tape if something goes bad.
It’s your word against the officer’s word, which means your word is useless without proof. However, this tape you happen to have will help exponentially prove he or she was in the wrong. Heck, even the presence of one will help. This is useful for a number of other instances too, so let’s go over them.
Many of us have suffered an accident, been on the wrong end of a fender bender, or encountered some douchebag who thinks he owns the road. However, if we had a car dash cam, we could have had an excellent way to prove that we were, in fact, in the right.
Memories might be pretty clear, but there’s no substitute for video evidence. It’s an eyewitness that doesn’t blink, so take advantage while you can.
Peace of Mind:
Even if we have a good idea of where our vehicle is, we may still worry if it’s safe. It could be the area you’ve parked in, it could be the place on the road, it could just be that you’re very protective. Maybe too protective perhaps? With a car dash cam, any fears will be (mostly) alleviated.
The dash cam won’t necessarily save your car from damage when you leave it parked somewhere. However, it will help you identify who was responsible. This will help the local law enforcement hunt them down, then you’ll finally get the justice you deserved all along.
The unfortunate truth is that some drivers will go out of their way to cause collisions, accidents, and other inconveniences. They will then try to make it look as if you were at fault for their mistake. How horrible, right?
With car dash cams, you can become a hero of the road.
Well, you’ll be your own superhero. You won’t be a Batman or Green Arrow out there or anything…this is only a dash cam. However, you’ll help you avoid dealing with people who try to make you look at fault. These frauds need to be stopped and you can do just that.
Not Just a Camera:
Well, it still is a camera, but the dash cam is so much more. It can act as a parking assistant, provide collision alerts, and parking protection. Furthermore, most cameras will also have GPS capabilities. This will not only pinpoint exactly where an accident occurs but will also show your speed.
This will allow you to make sure you never go over the speed limit. We know you will, but at least you’ll have an idea of the speed limit in areas you are not familiar with.
That GPS thing is pretty handy, for sure.
Car dash cams are mostly associated with covering you or somebody else in the event of an accident. However, you can also use them to record your road trips! Seriously, you can.
This is pretty awesome if you ask us.
If you like packing up your stuff, jumping in the car and saying goodbye to the city for a couple of days, the dash cam will be there. It’ll catch everything so you can watch how things went when you’re done. You can check out the gorgeous scenery and marvels of nature you came across.
Heck, you can even put together in a travel video as a memento that won’t go anywhere.
We’ve all seen those hilarious/interesting videos captured by the sheer luck of a driver having a dash cam. If you haven’t seen them, trust us, you’re sorely missing out. While entertainment was not the intended purpose of car dash cams, you can have endless hours of weird and wonderful examples.
You can come across some of the strangest goings on in everyday society, especially when people don’t think they’re being watched. Just remember not to use these powers for evil. That’s not cool, dude.
Is it easy to set up and install car dash cams?
It really should be easy to set up car dash cams. However, that is not exactly the case regardless of how good it would be. There are certain rules regarding placement and other issues that you really need to pay attention to.
Not doing so could result in footage not working well or even become useless in court under certain situations.
Heck, you could even be breaking the law! To avoid your jail time, we wanted to make sure we made you aware of key things you need to know about. Check this out.
Where can you mount it?
Dash cam mounting isn’t as simple as the everyday hands-free mount you’ve used with your smartphone for years. Instead, it must be placed behind the rear-view mirror. This allows the image to be perfectly centered and it captures the widest angle of the road.
This includes both lanes, as well as any signs that you pass along the way.
‘But what about the cables?’ you lament while ignoring everything we’ve just said. Well, hold on a second. Car dash cam wires are long enough to reach a power source. This ensures there’ll be no issues with connectivity.
What kind of mount, though?
Car dash cams come with either a suction-mount or one that employs double-sided tape. Both work well, but the suction cup is much more reliable than the double-sided tape version. This is mostly due to it being easy to reset and start over if you put it somewhere wrong.
It can also go from vehicle to vehicle without much issue.
Remember, with every incorrect mounting with double-sided tape, you’ll lose precious adhesiveness. That could result in your camera tumbling from its perch, probably just before an accident occurs. With that being said, we’d advise the suction version.
How do you connect it?
Your car dash cam will come with the aforementioned wires that’ll connect to ports within your car. This will more than likely be the cigarette lighter port. However, you can elect to hardwire your camera, which will connect it to the main electronics of the car.
There are a few benefits from this, including having the wires hidden. It can also turn on whenever you switch on the ignition so you’ll never forget. Most car dash cams can be hardwired, but you can’t do it yourself. This means you’ll need to employ a professional to make sure it’s done correctly.
That said, it’s an extra expense you may or may not want.
What are the laws related to car dash cams?
Car dash cams were mostly designed to help you in the event of collisions. However, you need to be careful about whether or not you’re using them in a legal way. Remember, laws are a bit annoying but we must follow them. We know, we thought they just handed out chocolate bars too.
Why can’t we just take them, right?
That said, we put together a guide on a few nations and their laws regarding car dash cams to help you out a bit. Take a look.
In the United States, car dash cams themselves are not technically illegal. However, in the majority of states, windshield obstruction is, in fact, illegal. As long as you’re not impeding your own view of the road, then you should be okay.
We’d suggest getting in touch with a lawyer, police officer, or local DMV just to be on the safe side.
There’s also the issue of data protection, which would inhibit the privacy of anyone traveling in your car. A solution to this, though, is to either turn off the audio recording or simply inform them that they’re being recorded. Some states do not have any laws on recording someone.
This is the same for video and audio recording, as there are not as many specifics.
In many states, only one side has to know of a recording. That means, since you’re the one side, you’re good. Not every state is the same, so call up local police stations or a DMV to see what they suggest.
However, you truly want to tell someone even if you don’t have to. Proper ethics, of course.
There are no laws about installing a car dash cam of any kind in the country of Canada. In fact, recording your journeys on the road is perfectly fine as they are considered public areas. This means you’re not intruding on anyone else’s privacy.
However, if the camera is not mounted correctly, you could suffer similar charges to those in the United States.
Obviously, you don’t want to operate one while driving, as this is very illegal in Canada as it is in America. This falls under the same type of charge as using cell phones while driving. It may be a bit minor, but too many can add up.
Car dash cams are perfectly legal in the United Kingdom, throughout every single area. However, if it is mounted incorrectly, you could face fines from local police who see this.
You could even have any footage you’ve recorded deemed inadmissible in a courtroom setting.
If you work for a ride-sharing company like Lyft or Uber or even just as a taxi driver, then you need to inform the passenger that they’re being recorded. This is technically needed in both Canada and the United States in states or provinces that have such rules.
In case you’re planning a trans-continental trip, we should mention that you’re prohibited from having a car dash cam at all. This includes countries such as Switzerland, but could also apply elsewhere in the world.
Before going anywhere, do your research and save yourself the hassle.
Most of the time, taking car dash cams overseas or to nations close by would be weird. After all, there are a lot of rules on rental cars and most airports won’t let you take stuff like this on a plane. That said, avoid assuming it’s okay. You honestly don’t need it in many nations.
Simply use a normal camera if you’re worried things might get bad somewhere.
1) Rexing V1 Car Dash Cam
The Rexing car dash cam is designed to blend in seamlessly with the car to keep your focus squarely on the road, as well as ensure that it doesn’t look too obvious for other drivers. This model offers plenty of features to get excited about.
One of them is the full HD recording, which ensures crystal-clear images both day and night. Furthermore, the 170-degree lens achieves an incredibly wide angle, which manages to get nearly every inch of the road.
For increased protection and driver safety, there’s also accident auto-detection.
This will activate long before you’ve even realized something is up. This should offer a minor alert to allow you the ability to avoid possible accidents before they happen. Of course, this should allow everyone to make it to their destination with very few issues.
Now, isn’t that what we all want from car dash cams? We think so.
2) Garmin Dash Cam
Garmin is a major leader for the technology you’ll use in or for your vehicle. It comes as a shock to no one that they made excellent car dash cams too. The video quality is better than most normal cameras, which is saying a lot. Filming at a remarkable 1440p, you’ll never be straining to see the content in videos again.
This will make you the best eye-witness on the road.
Also included are exceptionally accurate lane departure and collision warning systems. This is sure to save you and others from potential crashes during the busiest times of the day. Furthermore, voice-recognition software means the whole camera is entirely hands-free.
This allows you to switch it on and off with simple voice commands. Don’t focus on pictures on a screen, focus on the road and let the camera do the hard work for you.
3) Lukas LK-7900 Car Dashboard Camera
The Lukas HD car dash cams come with a provided 16GB of internal storage. Included is an array of awesome and incredibly useful driving features you’ll absolutely love. With 1080p HD video, the footage is exceptional and clearly capable of getting every detail.
Meanwhile, the powerful auto exposure feature means that regardless of the weather conditions, you’ll always have perfectly viewable images.
There are also four different recording modes that can be adapted to suit your preference on how you want to record something. These modes include continuous recording and motion detection. This will surely come in handy when the car is parked overnight, at the game, or out to dinner.
4) Anker Roav Dash Cam
With motion activated sensors and extreme temperature resistance, the Anker Roav Dash Cam is a superb product. It is able to withstand all elements, situations, and conditions. It isn’t just designed for your annual adventure across Antarctica sadly.
We know, “technology,” right?
The camera delivers more than enough features to keep you and your car protected no matter where you drive it.
Its Nighthawk Vision means that you’ll receive awesome, clear videos during the darkest of nights. Meanwhile, the built-in WiFi smartphone transfer means it’s never been easier to view your videos. This will be filmed in expansive panoramic views to capture as much as possible.
Anker gets it done with several other products, but their car dash cams are absolutely stunning.
5) Vantrue N2 ProDual Dash Cam
Offering nearly 360-degrees of coverage, the Vantrue N2 ProDual Dash Cam is an awesome choice for anyone. Especially those who wish to get home safe or like to capture crazy people on the road.
This camera provides you with both road camera and interior camera viewership.
This ensures you capture as much as possible so you are always able to back up any claims. We have to agree with the late Billy Mays who once said, “wait, there’s more!”
These car dash cams are also equipped with a 24-hour parking mode. This will detect motion should someone or something get a little too close. Meanwhile, the G-Sensor and looping mechanism ensure that you can set it and never worry if it’s recording. It surely will be.
6) Garmin Dash Cam 35
Garmin is back again, this time with the Dash Cam 35 model. This car dash cam provides accurate forward collision warnings and G-Sensor incident detection. This guarantees constant vigilance on the road and protects your footage as soon as something happens.
Along with this, you’ll also have a dash cam player. This allows for clear playback of anything that does happen, without having to upload it to another device.
There’s also a red light and speed camera warning system. However, you do need to pay extra for this privilege. It fits comfortably above the rearview mirror and the suction cup is very reliable, even on the most uneven roads or during heatwaves.
Be sure you’re aware that there are no audio recording capabilities. This is good and bad. While you won’t be recorded as you belt out your favorite tunes, it also won’t record audio in the case of an incident during a traffic stop.
7) Transcend 32GB Drive Pro Car Video Recorder
With a 32GB internal memory, you can record hours of road trips. Even if it’s just to and from the office (although we recommend you get out more, dude). Overall, the Transcend Drive Pro allows you to do exactly that.
You can drive like a pro without being concerned it won’t work or back you up in the case of an accident.
This is due to the built-in G-Sensor that’ll protect any recordings upon a crash, as well as snapshot features to capture the clearest images possible. For your convenience, these car dash cams also have access to the exclusive DrivePro520 application.
This means you can download and stream all your adventures, then identify when that idiot pulled out in front of you without warning.
8) Z-Edge Z4 2K Dash Cam
The perfect camera to give you the edge over other drivers on the road, this Z-Edge Z4 Dash Cam comes with 2K video capabilities. It truly is an awesome camera that will hang nice and discreetly from your windshield. It’s also packed full of useful features that make it more than a simple camera.
This includes collision detection, 150-degree wide angles, and parking monitor motion sensors. All of this combines to give you some of the best protection available from the sea of car dash cams. The Z-Edge also comes at an excellent price when compared with other cameras and ensures (essentially) endless hours of recording.
Just remember to overwrite existing footage. Otherwise, you may run out. That endless thing isn’t exactly infinite apparently.
9) KDLinks DX2 Super Wide Angle Car Dash Cam
If you’re looking for the most complete coverage you can possibly find, the KDLinks super wide front and rear dash cam is the product for you. With 290-degrees of filming capability, it uses a 2-lens system that makes sure to capture every single detail.
Meanwhile, the superior F1.6 six-glass lenses provide night vision capability unseen anywhere else in the world.
Along with this, these car dash cams also come with emergency lock buttons to protect footage. This also comes with an auto-switch to turn the dash cam on as soon as you turn on the ignition. This ensures that you’ll always be protected even on those days where your brain hasn’t caught up to your body yet.
With so much high-quality coverage, the KDLinks DX2 is the answer to getting every angle you need. Plus, it could lower those insurance premiums a bit.
10) THINKWARE F800 PRO 2 Channel HD Dash Camera
The THINKWARE F800 PRO may very well offer the car dash cams that are perfect for the thinking man. It contains both front and rear filming capabilities, but this is just the tip of the filming iceberg. It’s designed to offer you the utmost coverage and protection from both sides of the road.
It also provides incredibly crisp night time footage that will keep your car alert even when you’re not driving it.
The THINKWARE makes this possible with its reliable motion sensors that activate whenever someone walks too close. As for the performance on the road, there’s advanced driver assistance.
This will recognize when hazards are present and let you know before it’s too late.
Meanwhile, you can also keep an eye on everything from afar by using the mobile viewer. Sure it’s on the expensive side, but for those of you who are truly “in love” their cars, money isn’t an object.
11) Transcend 16GB DrivePro 200 Car Video Recorder
The Transcend 16GB is a high-capacity piece of tech that’ll ensure you won’t have any mysteries during your drive-time. Coming with a 16GB microSD card, you’ll have more driving footage than Top Gear and maybe even more entertaining shots too.
The camera comes with a free app and WiFi connectivity. This makes it easier than ever to view, stream, and share your footage with the world.
Well, at least the relevant authorities.
With a 160-degree angle lens, you can ensure you’ll get greater coverage than you thought possible. Meanwhile, the G-Sensor is more sensitive than other cameras and will have your back in the event an accident with emergency recording.
Unfortunately, these car dash cams don’t come with parking mode or GPS. However, for a budget product, there’s still a lot to give you peace of mind while driving.
12) TomTom Rider 550PAPAGO Car Dash Camera
The PAPAGO Car Dash Camera boasts incredible HD recording footage that ensures you’ll capture every little thing possible. Along with top quality images, there’s 64GB microSD support that’ll capture hours of video. Plus, all of this can be viewed with the complementary app.
Unfortunately, this app is only compatible with Android, for now at least. However, if you’ve embraced Android over Apple, then this is perfect. You also get two different mounts to suit you and your car, which is pretty cool. It also comes with a Driver Assist feature that goes that extra mile to keep you protected and keep that insurance low.
If you’re looking for good car dash cams that more than provides what you need at a reasonable price, the PAPAGO is a tremendous option.
13) YI Compact Dash Cam
If compact is your style, then the YI Compact Dash Cam might feel like it’s been designed especially for you. One of the cheapest products on our list, it still boasts a range of great features that feel like it should cost much more.
These features include high-quality day footage and even good footage for night time recordings.
Despite its size, it’s also very sturdy and should withstand knocks or tumbles with ease. On the software side, the app is relatively straightforward to use. It also provides the opportunity to look back on exactly what happened in any situation you run into.
For those in warmer areas, the built-in cooling system will keep it protected against the sun. However, there have been some instances of melting, so be careful.
14) APEMAN 1080p Dash Cam
Our final choice for the best car dash cams is the APEMAN Full HD Dash Cam. It lives up to its name with high-quality video footage that allows for seamless video recording. It even does this during the day and night, both with clear results.
While the camera doesn’t technically have night vision, it still offers F1.8 exposure that’s ideal for low-light situations.
These car dash cams also come with a built-in G-Sensor that recognizes exactly when a crash occurs and locks the footage for your protection. Meanwhile, the 170-degree wide angle lens captures the majority of the road, so even the most inconspicuous happenings are recorded.
Our only real issue is that you can only mount up to a 32GB microSD card. This is a good amount, but we’d like it if there was potential for just a little bit more storage. Otherwise, feel free to go ape-man, over the APEMAN
On a Collision Course, Or Maybe Not…
With so many car dash cams on the market it can be a challenge to choose one that’s right for you. However, you know your driving, know your area, and know which is the best for your needs. When it comes to car dash cams, it doesn’t need to be the best, the brightest, the fanciest.
Instead, it needs to be something that you trust will keep you protected in the event of a collision.
The thing about car dash cams is that they’re not just there to place the correct blame. In fact, they’re also there to keep you honest too. It’d be great if everybody drove like they had a car dash cam, but we all know that’s not the case.
Instead, it’s up to people just like you to do your bit in keeping yourself and others in check.
We’re all prone to the odd bout of road rage every now and again. However, with proper car dash cams, perhaps things will be a little different. Why not shift into a different gear and take it a little bit easier?
It would make the road a much more peaceful place to be.
hese days, we’re more used to getting instant gratification than ever before. We want to buy something – no problem, we just go online. Soon, it’ll be delivered right to our front door. It’s no wonder then that instant cameras are making a comeback.
The instant camera reached stratospheric heights during the 1970s and ’80s. Now, it’s back again for the 21st century and it has even more to offer. If you want speedy snaps to share with friends, you’ll find one of today’s top 12 instant cameras will be ideal.
When you’re excited by the idea of an instant image materializing before your eyes, you’ll love an instant camera. They’re not just a throw-back to a bygone simpler age, they’re actually a cutting-edge photographic tool. In fact, they’re one that could take your shots to a completely different level.
With so much choice out there it can be hard to know which model to choose. You don’t want to waste precious time fiddling around with settings or getting blurry shots. In today’s Instagram generation, you need an instant camera that can tick all the boxes.
With that in mind, we’ve taken all the hard work out of making the right choice. We’ve tested some of the top selling models on the market today, and we have the best of the best. Before we get to those, however, there are some FAQs to get to first.
What are the main things to consider when buying an instant camera?
Although instant gratification is your goal when buying an instant print camera, it’s important to take your time. You don’t want to make mistakes when it comes to your purchasing choice. The wrong instant camera can be a drastic mistake, as you may not be used to using certain kinds.
On top of this, you may not like how one functions.
This is not uncommon, as many people like certain types and prefer them more. Some photographers swear by one brand and never use anything else. We want to make sure you get what you want, but we don’t swear by one brand at Men’s Gear.
In fact, we love all types of brand and will show that below.
However, before we get to this we need to make sure you know a few things. There are some very important factors to consider before you buy. Check them out.
Ease of use:
You don’t want to spend ages fiddling with the film pack wasting time when you could be pointing and shooting. You need to choose a model that makes it quick and easy to set everything up. Most instant cameras are easy to use. It’s pretty much snap and go with them.
However, with the rise of the digital instant camera…they have gotten far more advanced.
Due to this advancement, instant cameras are not like those of the past that we grew up using on vacations. This means you may have trouble using certain types. It’s best to look at each version and see how they operate or look into their operation before you buy.
When you’re buying an instant camera, it’s important to remember the ongoing costs too. It isn’t just about the upfront expense of buying the camera. Some come with refillable film, which means you can take out the old and put in the new. This also means that some need to be developed.
Meanwhile, others are one-time use and that is all you get with them. All of these things are relatively affordable. If a camera nearly breaks the bank in the instant genre, you don’t need it. You could get a major camera for that type of price if we’re all honest here.
The instant camera is beloved due to affordability, so most will be relatively low with all its parts also being reasonably priced.
The best instant camera will give you creative options to choose from. Although simply pointing and shooting is great for beginners, at some point you might want to make adjustments and changes. Finding an instant camera that lets you customize your shots is best.
Obviously, proper cameras will let you set up some amazing shots. Creative options are a bit limited with these cameras honestly. That is more for the expensive type, so don’t assume white balance and all sorts of other things will be in all instant cameras.
However, the creative thing it does bring is the opportunity to be creative.
What we mean is, most instant cameras allow you to make the choice about what you capture. They’re often lightweight and some are even waterproof. This means you can go wild and find awesome shots. The instant camera just gives you the tools to be the creative person you always were.
You don’t want to have to bring several sets of batteries with you wherever you go. You’ll want the freedom to be able to take a large number of shots before your battery runs out. The best instant cameras will let you take a minimum of 100 images before the battery dies.
Others do not use batteries at all. However, these are mostly disposable cameras. A lot of cheaper options tend to use less to no batteries at all. The more pricey the item, the more likely it is that it needs a recharge. Some come with certain types of batteries you can recharge at home too.
Ultimately, this depends on what you prefer.
Some instant cameras are only suitable for use as an instant printing camera. Others have Bluetooth connectivity or a MicroSD slot, which allows them to be a printer type as well. This makes your purchase an even better value for the money since you can print the shots.
You can do it with ease from your smartphone as well as from the camera itself.
You can also store images on the camera and then peruse them later to choose which ones to print. This is pretty awesome when you think about it.
While battery life is an important consideration, it’s also important to think about the type of battery each model uses. Some use AA batteries while others have an internal rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Some have a CR2 battery. The type to choose is really up to you.
A rechargeable battery may be the most convenient, although a model that uses AA batteries may be more appropriate. Especially if you plan to use your camera while out and about and have no power outlet available for recharging.
Not every brand of instant camera uses the same type of film, which could have an impact on your decision. Fujifilm cameras, for example, use Fuji Instax films. Whereas Polaroid cameras use 600 or i-Type film. Meanwhile, some other models use 4Pass.
The availability and the cost of the film type your chosen camera uses should be kept in mind. Film types are often overlooked in purchases for some reason. Don’t be that guy who forgets about it!
One of the main reasons to choose an instant camera is its portability. Think about this, honestly. It’s a lot of fun to us while out and about with friends at parties or social gatherings. Therefore, you should look for a small, compact, and lightweight model.
This will allow any instant camera to be easily carried around with you. On top of this, it can fit into a bag or pocket on the way out of the door.
What are the main benefits of instant cameras?
Instant cameras offer a host of benefits that a standard camera just can’t offer. While they aren’t the perfect choice for every application, they’re a great way to have fun with friends. Here are just some of the benefits they provide:
- User Friendliness – instant cameras are usually really simple to use. Many are just point-and-click models that let even a complete beginner take shots with ease.
- Fun to use – an instant camera gives you a level of fun that you just don’t get from your regular DSLR. The excitement of seeing how your shots are going to turn out adds something to your photography experience.
- Processing time – most instant cameras have a virtually instant processing time, although you do have to wait for the picture to dry afterward. That could take as long as 40 minutes.
- Extra features – some Polaroid instant cameras come equipped with extra features. A flash is a common extra, which is quite useful. It’ll allow you to take shots in low lighting conditions. Some also have self-timers letting you join your friends in the shot.
- Useful for practice shots – if you’re excited to find out how your shot is going to turn out with your regular camera, you can use an instant camera first. This was a common use for Polaroid cameras back in the day and its use in this respect is back on the rise. Also, instant cameras are great for taking instant images when recording unusual natural finds or for archaeological digs.
- Heat resistant – instant cameras are also known to be more resistant to high temperatures than a regular DSLR camera. This makes them a good choice when on vacation in a hot climate.
What are the main brands of instant cameras?
There are several brands of instant cameras out there. Some are even synonymous with quality manufacturing and image production. There are three that stand out above them all, however. One of the biggest names has to be Fujifilm – they are one of the oldest Japanese brands in the photography industry.
Fujifilm is one few manufacturers still producing instant cameras today. Ultimately, due to being so well-known for them, it makes sense. Fujifilm’s Instax range is very popular and beloved by even professional photographers. Thanks to their fun colors and small designs, the Fuji instant cameras are ideal for taking out and about.
Another major name in the business is Polaroid. They became so well-known for their cameras that people actually called pictures “Polaroids” for a very long time. The Polaroid instant camera has a strong reputation in the photography industry and is the oldest manufacturer still making instant films and cameras today.
A third big name in instant cameras has to be Kodak. Like Polaroid, Kodak is synonymous with photography. The term “Kodak image” was massively popular for years, in fact. You can depend on a Kodak instant film cameras to produce impressive results.
Well-designed and highly functional, Kodak models cost a bit more than their rivals. However, the functionality and quality of their manufacturing make them well worth the additional expense.
How to take good photos with an instant camera
Since you don’t have a lot of time to spend setting up a shot with an instant camera, it’s important to have some expert tips in mind first. After all, you don’t want to waste your precious film since you usually only get 10 shots in a pack!
When you’re using a smartphone camera or a DSLR, you can take numerous shots and delete them if you don’t like what you see. With an instant camera, you don’t always have that luxury. That means you have to go back to the good old days when you used to have a one-time shot!
Whether you’re taking a portrait or a landscape shot, knowing how to get the most out of your instant camera is an absolute must.
Here are some tips to help you take good photos with your instant camera so you can impress your friends:
Keeping your distance:
Instant cameras usually have a minimum focusing distance of around 30-60cm. That means if you’re too close to the subject of your shot you’ll end up with a blurry shot. Keep the shooting distance in mind before you press the shutter button.
A lot of the cameras will have viewfinders in there to allow you a chance to see your shot. With newer cameras, you’re getting an HD thing today. Back in the day, you did not have to wait as much for a shot. Today, you need to as HD needs time to set up.
Usually, this takes less than 5 seconds, but that is a truly precious 5 seconds.
Distance shots are often the easiest to get in a fast period. Whereas an upfront type may take slightly longer to focus. Weird, we know.
Don’t stand too far away:
Although you shouldn’t stand too close to the subject of your shot you shouldn’t stand too far away either. Most instant camera prints are small in size. This means you won’t be able to see the subject of your picture if it’s too small in its frame.
5 to 6-feet away from your subject is ideal. Of course, you could be longer but this is often the best set-up compared to others.
Don’t obscure the flash:
It can be tricky to avoid getting your fingers in the shot when using an instant camera. You’ll often end up obscuring the flash because of the lack of handgrips and small size of the camera itself. Take care how you hold your camera before you shoot to ensure that you won’t be affecting the quality of your image.
The best way to do this is to consider how you hold the camera from the beginning. If you’re holding it high, you’ll likely feel your finger near the snapper. The bottom of your finger can be felt at this point. This means you’re up too high and of great risk to get your finger in the shot.
You want to make sure you have the knuckle and up in this area. This will allow you to get a better image without a finger jumping in the way.
Use natural light:
Whenever you can, try to shoot in natural light while using an instant camera. You’ll notice that your images can look very washed out when using other light sources. You might find that deactivating your flash will produce a better subject definition and contrast when shooting indoors.
Natural light is often the best thing to have. However, this can be an issue on overcast days or even ones where it’s far too sunny. The flash will be of use in the darker points, but never use the flash when the light is large. If you do, your image may turn out crazy.
Consider different angles:
You don’t want to waste your expensive instant film. That means you need to think carefully about the angle you choose for your shot first. Once you take the image, you’ll thank yourself for doing this. Consider whether you should shoot upwards or downwards towards the subject.
You may also want to consider if you have to move at any point. If so, you’ll need side angle shots or possibly overhead shots. All of this can be done with ease if you plan it out perfectly.
Choose the right subjects:
Not every shot looks great on an instant camera. Close up portraits lend themselves well to this type of photography. However, if you’re looking for detail you’ll need to stick to your DSLR. The subjects you’ll use will tend to be non-moving shots like buildings, statues, etc.
You’ll also take still images of family members on them too.
The ultimate goal really is to find the best possible shot. However, some subjects may not stop moving or you may not be able to get a certain shot. That is okay, as some shots are not for you to get sadly.
Choose the right background:
When using an instant camera, the best backgrounds are typically light-colored, blank, or white. This works especially well if the subject is dark in color. While it may seem a bit wrong, if you put a black man in front of a black building, some instant cameras will wash him out like a man wearing green in front of a green screen.
You can avoid this by simply picking the better building or you can simply have that person move up in the shot. This will allow you to set them apart from their background.
Double exposure experimentation:
Not every instant camera offers the possibility of double exposure. However, the best instant cameras will. You might want to try experimenting to see what kind of effects you can create. This is not really something you “need” in a camera.
Despite this, it’s still cool to have and most people love it.
When using an instant camera, candid shots are often best. Asking subjects to pose doesn’t always lend itself well to this type of photography. You truly do want great shots that people are not always expecting. It turns out better and very organic.
Although, we’re not telling you to break into the women’s locker room and raid the showers to get images.
This will not only get you punched and/or kicked very hard but likely killed by some women. If not them, their boyfriends or husbands. What we mean is, catch your sister or mom eating at the cool Hardrock Cafe. Try getting a crazy image of your brother when you’re on a cool raft down some insane rapids.
As the first rapid comes up and he hits the sky scared for his life, it’ll be the perfect time to get him. They won’t expect these images to come out of your camera, but that is the point. It is organic and worth it really.
1) Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Camera
If you’re looking for a user-friendly and affordable instant camera that’s perfect for beginners, the Fujifilm Instax Mini is the one for you. Powered using 2 AA batteries, it’s cheap and cheerful. It won’t blow you away with features, yet it’s convenient and low-cost to take for nights out with the guys.
The chunky, plastic construction features large buttons for ease of activation and the bright colors make it especially visually appealing. You get 10 prints per pack of paper and the end result is a credit-card-sized print that measures 54mm x 86mm.
There is an inbuilt flash that allows you to take shots in poor lighting conditions or indoors, meaning you have greater versatility over where you shoot. If you’re worried about your appearance when taking a selfie, you don’t have to be here.
These instant cameras come with a handy mirror at the front so you can see how you look first.
You can select different shooting modes quickly and easily by simply turning the lens ring. They even illuminate when being used so you can see at a glance which mode is in operation. You can take close-ups near to you with ease at just 35cm.
Thanks to the point-and-shoot design, it’s never been easier to take those shots on the fly.
2) The Polaroid Snap Instant Digital Camera
The Polaroid Snap camera lets you relive the good old days of the classic Polaroid shots of yesteryear. Its compact size lets you easily put it into a pocket to take anywhere. Yet there’s no compromise on the quality and vibrancy of the photographs.
All can be instantly shared without any need for a computer connection.
Thanks to the Zink technology, there’s no need for any toner and the results are instant. You’ll be able to print out full-color shots that measure 2” x 3” and are completely smudge-proof. Thanks to the 10MP sensor, you’ll be able to capture quality images.
Compatibility with 32GB microSD cards means that you can also save your shots.
These instant cameras have various modes, also a selfie mirror to make sure you look awesome first. Images can be posted quickly on any surface due to their adhesive backing. You can choose from different filters and tones to get the perfect shot to suit your needs.
Whether you’re looking for a nostalgic or modern image, you can get the perfect picture.
The camera comes with an inclusive USB cord and wrist strap for extra value. As an extra bonus, this is a particularly affordable option. That makes it a perfect camera for taking on vacation.
3) Fujifilm Instax Mini 8
This compact instant camera is small enough to easily fit into your pocket and light enough to use anywhere at 10.8oz in weight. Its rounded edges are stylish while its range of colors makes it especially attractive.
With its 60mm fixed-focus lens, you can capture shots from as close up as 2-feet up to infinity. The field of view is a little tighter than you might expect when using your DSLR or smartphone camera. However, you should still be able to get some great quality shots.
Powered by 2 easily replaceable AA batteries, these instant cameras are incredibly convenient. Lining up film is done with ease. Simply line the yellow stripe up with the mark on the compartment and you’re good to shoot away. Just to capture the old-school feel, there’s even an old-fashioned analog counter on the back to tell you how many shots remain.
Activating the camera is a breeze, you just have to get it to the right light exposure. The light settings you can choose from are bright, sunny, cloudy, or indoor conditions. There’s even a Hi-Key mode to intentionally over-expose images to achieve different effects.
The inbuilt flash means that you can easily take photos in poor light and indoors and thanks to the placement of the shutter button. This makes it a perfect camera for portrait shots. It’s also incredibly affordable, so you’ll easily be able to push the limits of what a camera can do with this model.
4) Kodak Mini Shot Instant Camera
Packed with excellent features, this Kodak instant camera delivers impressive 10MP quality pictures in just seconds with point-and-shoot functionality. One excellent advantage of this model is that it has Bluetooth connectivity. This allows you to instantly send your favorite snaps to your Android or iOS smartphone or tablet for viewing and editing.
As an added advantage, you can actually send your images from your phone back to the camera to print. This just makes it doubly useful as a standalone printer as well as a camera. With its portable size, it can easily be carried wherever you want to go without compromising on power or features.
With its white balance and gamma correction, auto exposure and focus and 1.7 inch LCD viewfinder, you can really capture your creative side. It also has a long battery life, allowing you to take up to twenty prints on a single charge.
Meanwhile, its 4Pass printing technology produces stunning prints.
5) Polaroid Originals 4723 Camera
If you love the old school Polaroid camera, you’ll love the Polaroid Originals 4723. With its original look and its user-friendly operation, this quality camera is an iconic model.
Using the classic 600 film type, these instant cameras couldn’t be easier to use. That’s regardless of you wanting to take black and white or color snaps. There’s nothing complex about this instant camera. You simply point-and-shoot and it does the rest for you.
The built-in flash allows you can take shots anywhere you like, even indoors or in poor lighting conditions. Meanwhile, there are no batteries needed with this model. With this, you won’t have to worry about the hassle of charging up every time you want to take your camera out with you for the day.
6) Polaroid POP Camera
This Polaroid snap camera is an impressive 20MP model that brings quality to each image. Allowing you to snap pictures that measure 3.5” x 4.25” instantly, they even have the iconic Polaroid border for an old school feel.
There’s no need for any ink, computer, or printer when using this camera. It also has an intuitive 3.97” touchscreen, enabling you to see what you plan to photograph before you press the shutter button.
Suitable for shooting anything from portraits to landscapes, the Zink technology prints and dries without any need to flap or wait and the colors are vibrant and beautiful. There are also many different fun borders, filters, stickers, captions, and emojis to customize your shots.
As an added bonus, the Polaroid POP camera gives you the perks that come with other modern digital cameras. This includes HD video, built-in speaker, as well as a microphone. With a digital zoom and a built-in flash, these are impressive instant cameras despite their diminutive size.
7) Fujifilm Instax Mini 90
The FujiFilm Instax Mini 90 is capable of automatically detecting the brightness levels of the surroundings. These instant cameras can adjust the shutter speed and flash to make photos the best possible quality. There are also a number of creative modes offered by this camera.
This includes a macro mode, kids mode, bulb mode, and double exposure mode. All allowing you to create the perfect effect for each shot.
The high-performance flash makes it a breeze to take shots indoors or at poorly lit locations. On top of this, its compact size and lightweight design make it very simple to take anywhere you need to go. With its stylish old-school appearance, this is one of the most attractive models on the market today.
Despite this, it doesn’t compromise on functionality.
8) Polaroid Originals 9010
Designed to emulate the original Polaroid camera, these stylish instant cameras are incredibly easy to use. In fact, they perfectly capture the bygone era of instant photography! With an impressive 60-day long battery life, you’ll have no difficulty capturing all the photos you like.
A powerful flash comes with this camera, allowing you to take photos in dim light or indoors with ease.
The self-timer mode is a great addition to this instant camera, allowing you to get in on the action yourself. Meanwhile, the Bluetooth connected app lets you send images to anyone you like. Other creative features include double exposure mode, light painting mode, and even a noise trigger mode.
You can also choose between 2 different lenses. The portrait lens allows you to take snaps from as close-up as 1-foot while a standard lens is made for distant shots.
9) Polaroid PIC-300 Instant Camera
From the popular Polaroid brand, this high-quality OneStep+ camera is very user-friendly with point-and-shoot technology built in. Despite its ease of use, it still boasts some fun features and it even has a Bluetooth compatible application that will show those features off even more.
These instant cameras are compatible with both i-Type film and 600 film types in either black and white or color. This camera is easy to carry, allowing you can take around with you wherever you want to go. Thanks to the energy saving mode, you can even save even more battery life.
10) Fujifilm Instax Wide 300
If you’re looking for an instant camera that has the look and feel of a more solid model, the Fujifilm Instax WIDE is the one for you. Delivering bigger than average sized prints, it produces some seriously impressive images and yet it’s incredibly simple to use.
Although it has a larger size, these instant cameras have a plastic build. Therefore they weigh less than you might imagine, making it easier than you might have thought to take anywhere you want to go. The inbuilt flash is also larger than usual and is automatically operated so you won’t have to even think about it.
There are controls to help you adjust the fill-in option on the flash and the level of brightness. Meanwhile, the quality of the shots is exceptional. The cameras offer excellent prints that are close to the same dimensions as those of a standard photograph.
11) Fujifilm Instax Square SQ6 Instant Camera
If you’re an Instagram fan, this Fuji instant camera is an excellent choice. It offers several different shooting modes including automatic, normal, macro, double exposure, landscape, darken and lighten. These instant cameras also boast an inbuilt flash with suppression mode.
This is something rare to see in an instant camera.
You can even get into the shot yourself with the self-timer addition. Especially if you don’t have long enough arms to take useful selfies. Two CR2 Lithium Ion batteries are included with some extremely long battery life. In fact, FujiFilm claims it takes up to 300 shots for it drain down. That is saying a lot.
The square format prints of this camera are ideal. Meanwhile, the selfie mode, choice of body colors, and three different color filters can be attached to a flash drive. That means it’s possible to get a wide range of shots to suit your mood.
This is a very simple camera to use, even if you’re a complete beginner. Plus, with its affordable price tag, you can take as many shots as you want. This is also the perfect instant cameras to give as a gift.
12) Kodak PRINTOMATIC Digital Instant Camera
The iconic Kodak brand has produced the Printomatic instant camera to cash in on the demand for speedy prints. They use today’s Zink technology for excellent quality pictures that see a 2″ x 3″ measure. These instant cameras are capable of shooting in either color or black and white.
The inbuilt flash allows you to take shots in any kind of environment. Meanwhile, the user-friendliness of this model means that even a complete beginner can produce impressive results.
It’s incredibly compact and lightweight, making the camera portable and capable of taking nearly anywhere. Due to the MicroSD slot, you can conveniently store images and print favorite later on with ease. These instant cameras can either be used as a 10MP camera or as a simple standalone printer thanks to that incredible MicroSD slot.
The images are quite small – just under the size of a regular credit card. This allows easy picture storage. Plus the camera is very affordable, making it a perfect gift.
Unlike many of its competitors, this instant camera has an internal battery. Instead of having to constantly stock up on AA batteries, you can just plug in your camera via the USB cable and charge it up between uses. These water-resistant prints aren’t as high-quality as those produced by some.
However, the great functionality and great appearance make up for this.
Making It Snappy!
You could be looking for a fun camera to capture exciting times with your friends or long to recapture the good old days of the original Polaroid. Regardless, an instant camera is a really cool accessory to add to your photographic equipment.
Keep in mind, instant cameras are not supposed to replace your trusty DSLR or even your smartphone camera. They’re simply a really great way to enhance social events or to break the ice at gatherings.
If you’ve decided to make the investment in an instant camera, you won’t have to spend a fortune. Most models are very affordable, putting them well within easy reach of everyone. Even complete beginners with very little previous photography experience can use them with ease.
Too many people make the mistake of thinking that all instant cameras are the same, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are some major differences between the different brands and different models on the market.
We pointed that out above.
To decide the instant camera that’s right for you, our buying guide presents you with all the considerations that you should keep in mind.
This should allow you to end up making the right decision. It doesn’t matter if you want to replicate the look of old-school Polaroid cameras. Nor does it matter if you want the same functionality of modern cameras with an instant print feature. A lot of them are two-in-one like this, giving you all you want.
By following our guide, you’ll avoid making a costly mistake. All while finding the perfect instant camera to capture the good times in the most fun and appealing way.
icture this – you’ve spent the day taking photographs or filming footage, channeling your inner filmmaker. You sit down ready to check the fruits of your labor, excited about the professional results you’re sure to see. Then, disaster! Instead of beautifully shot images and video, all you have is a collection of wobbly images and shaky footage. Sound familiar? The solution is simple, DSLR shoulder rigs.
DSLR cameras are designed to be light, making them great for use over an extended period of time. However, they’re not the easiest to deal with for handheld shots or footage. Without using any of the brilliant DSLR shoulder rigs available, it’s likely your images will be vulnerable to the effects of the day. Making them turn out shaky or unfocused.
In the old days, cameras were much bigger. This actually played a valuable role in stabilizing hand-held shots. However, even those old-school cameras were often shoulder-mounted to stabilize the shots even further. Shoulder mounts are dynamic pieces of equipment which move along with the operator of the camera.
Unlike a tripod, filmmakers can easily move around and make every movement efficient to the shot. The hand-held approach to filmmaking might work for certain types of footage, but it certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. If you want your work to look like The Blair Witch Project, shaky filming might be the answer.
However, if you aren’t going for that, DSLR shoulder rigs will solve the problem admirably.
As you might imagine, not all shoulder rigs are fantastic. We’ve made it easier to decide on the right one for you so that you can avoid making an expensive mistake. Check out our list of the top 13 shoulder rigs on the market today and find the ideal one to suit your next filmmaking project.
What are the main benefits of DSLR shoulder rigs/ mounts?
DSLR shoulder rigs or mounts aren’t needed by every filmmaker. Not all projects have a need for them, to be honest. However, most of the top people in the business will have one or something similar to do the same job.
A shoulder mounted camera is perfect for a number of things, but it often can help deliver a proper narrative viewpoint. This puts the viewer right in the middle of the action. Think war or action movies, where we’re seeing the fight sometimes from a near point of view appearance.
The viewer goes from spectator to part of the actual scene.
DSLR shoulder rigs can ensure the camera’s proper can movement by helping it capture video or images in a controlled way. Energy is present in the scene, giving an additional frantic element to major, climatic moments.
Shoulder rigs, as we mentioned slightly above, are perfect for action shots. They offer the stability you need for mobile and speedy shots. Tripods and monopods are unneeded here, and you feel closer to the action.
Thanks to their anti-shock, sturdy design they stabilize even the shakiest hands. This offers smoother-looking videos that are completely flicker-free. As an added benefit, they distribute the camera’s weight evenly over the shoulders for longer shooting sessions.
This is due to the ease of making things less difficult on the cameraman, making them less tired.
Carrying even the lightest DSLR camera around for extended periods can be tiring, and a shoulder mount eliminates that problem for a more pleasant shooting experience.
When you invest in a shoulder rig, you won’t have to worry ever again about shaky and wobbly footage making you look like an amateur. You’ll enjoy wonderfully smooth shots that are precise, well-focused, and professional.
What are the different types of shoulder rigs/mounts?
Not every shoulder mount is designed for the same camera or even the same purpose. The two main types are offset shoulder mounts and straight shoulder mounts. Due to what each can do and why they are both important, we felt it would be best to go over them with you.
DSLR shoulder rigs are incredibly useful, but you often need to know your way around the best.
Even the greatest shoulder mount will cause the user some trouble if it’s the wrong thing. It might also not do well for certain people if the type they use is fine for the camera, but not for them. That said, let’s check these different rigs out.
Offset Shoulder Mount:
Offset shoulder mounts are ideal if you’re using a DSLR with an LCD monitor that opens up sideways. This will allow the viewfinder to remain in front of the eyes of the operator instead of beside them. Overall, the viewfinder often makes a huge difference.
The reason this is so important to keep in mind is due to how you’re seeing the action.
Trying to record something you cannot see can really be troubling. Offsets allow you to see everything like you normally would through a camera. Offsets also are known for being used in a handheld fashion, like on the ground with a camera operator running or walking with them.
These are what you may call the “mobile mount.” Though both are mobile, the offset’s viewfinder ability makes it less complicated to use in this format.
Straight Shoulder Mount:
If you use a straight shoulder rig for the same type of camera you’ll find the viewfinder is offset to the side. This can make it harder on the camera operator, as they’ll have trouble viewing. On the other hand, if you really like this set-up than you can easily use an off-camera monitor for your DSLR.
You’ll also be able to place your monitor into the hot shoe mount of the camera as well. However, the most common way to use one is on a rail support system. This will allow you to get the shot, but you’ll be immobile as you’ll need the rails to push a dolly support-type of thing with you on it.
This can be great for shots, however.
These types of things are cheaper than an entire dolly set-up, so it can be a cheaper option to get the same results for independent filmmakers. However, if you’re using a huge studio, the huge dolly set-up won’t even be a discussion. It’ll be there.
How Their Design Plays A Role:
Shoulder mounts come in several designs. Some have flat metal surfaces that allow the camera to be attached to the top. As we referred to above, some have a rail system. While the right one for you will depend on your own preferences and filming style, the rail system is often considered to be better since it can be adapted to more shooting scenarios.
Also, a rail system can be added to over time. Adding on attachments is much simpler with a rail system and if you’re likely to need accessories like lens support or follow focus, a rail system will suit your needs perfectly.
Not every type of shoulder mount can carry the same amount of weight either. Even a small and apparently light DSLR camera will become heavy over time. Especially once you attach a telephoto lens or other accessories to it. The longer your shooting session, the heavier your camera will start to feel.
If you want to avoid the strain of carrying a rig, camera, lenses, and attachments, you might want to consider a type of mount with chest support or arm. The arm will rest against the chest of the operator, and this helps the camera’s front to be supported.
Many DSLR shoulder rigs are also supplied with a choice of counterweight options. When you add batteries, monitors, lenses, and microphones to your shoulder rig, it will start to be front heavy. You can combat the imbalance in weight by attaching weights onto the rear of the rig to rebalance it.
What are the major mistakes people make when buying shoulder rigs/mounts?
DSLR shoulder rigs won’t just make you look like a professional, it’ll also help to improve your stability during shooting. This is a simple fact of film-life for directors and camera operators alike. You’ll be able to film effortlessly for long periods of time without experiencing any aches or pains in your arms and/r hands.
However, if you buy the wrong shoulder rig, you’ll end up causing more problems than you solve. Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes that filmmakers commonly make when choosing a shoulder mount.
DSLR shoulder rigs are versatile devices, but if you’re going to get the most out of your purchase you need to consider the material it’s made with. Some are made from steel, which is very durable and long-lasting. On the other hand, it’ll be heavy to handle for extended periods.
An aluminum rig is going to be just as durable but will be much lighter and easier to carry all day on a longer type of shoot. This makes it a much better choice. It’s also worth looking out for a powder coated rig since it will be corrosion and rust-resistant. This makes it ideal for outdoor shoots.
We keep talking about the rail system, but that is simply due to the importance it has. The primary concern it’s for is the stabilization of your DSLR camera. If it has been well designed, it will make your shots stable even if you aren’t as skilled as you thought you were!
Make sure that you select a rig that has a good rail system with a diameter that properly fits your DSLR. You also want it to be made from a durable material like carbon fiber. If you make the mistake of choosing a rig with a poorly designed rail system, you’ll be throwing your money away.
Simply put, the stabilization won’t be good enough to ensure smooth footage. Meaning you need to look out for this big time!
When buying your rig, look at the placing of the matte box. This is essential for securing your lens filters, something you’ll obviously want to to do. If you’re planning on using these accessories, you need to ensure that your chosen rig’s matte box is in the right spot for you.
The role it plays is pretty crucial to the safety it can provide, of course.
You’ll want to make sure that it can accommodate the type and size of filters you’re planning on using. People often buy stuff like this without considering the stuff they’ll use. Before you do, make sure you have a list of what all you’ll need that should fit into one of these.
Follow Focus is a relatively big deal thing to consider, but what is it?
This first needs to be described going over what type of focus people like. Some camera operators like when their camera auto-focuses. Basically, it focuses on the type of shot it will need to do in order to get the complete focused image without blur anywhere.
If it does, it typically gets everything in front of it with blur only happening at distance images.
Meanwhile, other operators like to manual focus. Meaning they do not want an auto-feature affecting the type of image or video they’re working on. They want complete control. They want some blur at times or some far off look. Perhaps they want to focus on closer objects than an entire image or a further one while they’ll unfocus the front objects.
It’s truly up to them. Mounts will be big to consider here because they can be in the way of trying to focus your camera. If you cannot reach in easily to focus the camera during shoots on the fly, it can really be annoying for these types of people.
Auto-focus types won’t care either way.
One of the primary reasons to buy a DSLR shoulder mount is to make shooting videos easier. If you buy a rig that isn’t easy to use, you’ll be wasting money. Choose a lightweight rig is simple to use in whatever environment you’re going to be filming.
Make sure the design is well-balanced and has all the essential features you need to get the most out of your filmmaking. You’ll be golden when you do. If you struggle when attempting to use any DSLR shoulder rigs, then this could be an issue. You want a user-friendly approach.
You’ll be using these things a lot, of course. That means you need the best for you that YOU can operate easily and won’t cause you any grief.
What kind of camera will you be using for your filmmaking? If you’re planning on using a larger model you’ll require a shoulder mount that’s able to effectively balance that extra weight. Otherwise, you’ll find it difficult and awkward to handle your equipment, especially on a longer shoot.
Balance can be a huge asset to consider for a ton of reasons on top of this. Think of the word itself, as well as what it means. You’re balancing. Imagine having one side with too much weight on the right or left. It can really do a number on your body but it’ll also look bad when you look back at the footage. It’ll be tilted!
You want even distributed weight for sure.
Add-Ons And Extras:
Planning on adding accessories like battery packs, microphones, and monitors to your set-up? You’ll need to make sure that your chosen rig can accommodate them. Most DSLR shoulder rigs can hold up just fine to a lot of add-ons. However, some can only handle so many.
If you can take away or add on features while you’re out on a shoot, your shooting experience will be better. Overall, you’ll want to have things close by. This makes things easier in every way, so you’ll want a rig that can handle this. However, again, the biggest thing to consider is simply the amount of the extras and even what these add-ons might weigh.
1) Ikan ELE-OFLY Flyweight Offset Shoulder Mount
The Ikan ELE-OFLY is a great choice for both professionals and amateurs on any project they might be working on. Its soft padded shoulder support is comfortable to wear. It’s surprisingly light on your shoulder even for extended periods of filming.
Meanwhile, the rubber handles are comfortable to hold and ensure the best possible grip during use.
Designed for use with DSLRs, this mount fits perfectly in its frame, offering top quality, reliable performance. These DSLR shoulder rigs truly come with all the features of a professional rig. Best suited to small and mid-sized cameras, it can be adjusted easily to obtain optimal comfort even when shooting from unusual angles and heights.
If you’re a beginner, there’s no need to worry about getting to grips with the ELE-OFLY. It is very intuitive and user-friendly, making it an easy rig to operate. On top of this, it only requires minimal assembly, so you can put it together without much of a challenge.
The 15mm rods also allow for vertical adjustments to keep the camera at the perfect height for you every time.
Solidly constructed from anodized aluminum, this rig is durable and strong while also being light enough for extended use. Overall, this makes it quite useful for all kinds of projects you might need it for.
2) Movo MFF400 Premium Motorized Shoulder Mount
The Premium motorized Movo MFF400 shoulder mount is compatible with virtually all DSLR cameras. It’s ideal for either professionals or amateurs to use, making them a universal product to have for either. Strong enough in construction to last for the long haul, this well-designed model contains highly durable, premium motors.
Together with zoom memory, it allows for smooth photography and a more precise and accurate focus. You’ll be able to use these DSLR shoulder rigs all day long and still enjoy smoothly operating motors.
Boasting silent operation, this mount gives you full control over every shot. It truly could not be easier to use. This is thanks to the speed settings on the control switches that are placed in a highly accessible location. It comes protected by a one year manufacturer’s warranty and has a very affordable price tag for peace of mind.
3) Neewer Film Making Kit
From the terrific and high-quality Neewer brand, these DSLR shoulder rigs are the perfect thing to have for any filmmaker. It comes standard with a follow focus, matte box, and shoulder mount itself. Overall, this gives you complete flexibility to shoot indoors or outdoors while maintaining ultimate portability.
Designed to be entirely gear driven, it ensures accurate, slip-free movement. Meanwhile, its adjustable locking system ensures the perfect comfort and functionality every time you pick up your camera. Thanks to its flexible design, it couldn’t be simpler to adjust this rig to different shooting modes.
On top of this, the handgrips and shoulder mount are well padded for comfortable shooting even over long periods of time.
Capable of supporting a maximum lens of up to 77mm, these DSLR shoulder rigs are made from ABS and anodized durable metal for lightweight support. All of this makes it designed to stand the test of time. You can even mount the gear drive on either side to suit your needs whether you are left or right handed.
4) Neewer FilmMaker Portable System
Back yet again with the Neewer brand, we know they can kill it when it comes to DSLR shoulder rigs by now. They do it again with this product, which came to the shock of no one.
These highly portable DSLR shoulder rigs make filming outdoors a breeze. Its lightweight frame makes it easy to transport wherever you need to go and its maneuverability is outstanding. It can secure the majority of DSLR brands while its sturdy construction stabilizes even the shakiest hands.
Its handles are well padded with foam for extra comfort during long shoots. Meanwhile, the comfortable and broad shoulder pads ensure that you won’t suffer from any pain while filming. There’s also plenty of room on this rig to add on any accessories you need.
Its ¼” universal screw holes are ideal for supporting virtually every camera with plenty of space for add-on lenses and accessories. Made from highly durable and strong aluminum, this is a lightweight product that is still built incredibly.
5) SunSmart DSLR Rig Set
SunSmart comes into the batter’s box with this stabilizing shoulder mount that ensures you can film completely shake-free. It can be easily adjusted to accommodate your height and can even be mounted with a follow focus to allow for even more accurate focus control.
Constructed to withstand heavy-duty applications, these DSLR shoulder rigs are made from stainless steel and aluminum. Its ¼” universal thread means that it can easily be mounted onto a standard tripod for even greater flexibility.
With its gear-driven design, this shoulder rig ensures accurate, repeatable, and slip-free focus movement. Its adjustable slide-mount mechanism can be adjusted to fit a wide variety of lens in different diameters as well. The gear drive can either be mounted on the right or left to suit your needs whether you’re left or right-handed.
All the while, the padding improves the comfort of use and the swing-away mechanism ensures speedy lens changes.
6) Morros DSLR Rig Movie Kit
If you have very shaky hands, the Morros DSLR rig movie kit is the ideal solution. With its low price tag, it’s perfect for amateurs who want to take their filmmaking up a notch. Meanwhile, pros on a budget will love it too.
With its versatile and durable design, it even has a focus flow knob for precise control focus and optimal results.
Despite its relatively low price tag, the Morros rig is built to last with an aluminum heavy-duty frame which is robust but lightweight. It is also designed to be corrosion and rust-resistant for outdoor use. Its gear-driven, innovative design means impressive accuracy.
You’ll enjoy repeatable focus movements that improve your footage quality.
The non-slip grip on its three handles and adjustable slide-mounting design makes it even more effective. The ¼” thread also means that these DSLR shoulder rigs can be attached with ease to any tripod for even greater flexibility.
7) Movo SG100 Shoulder Rig
There’s no need for any of the DSLR shoulder rigs to be heavy or bulky in order to offer optimal stabilization camera. The Movo SG100 mount is easy to maneuver and helps you to save energy during a long day of shooting.
With its well-balanced and lightweight design, these are some incredibly sturdy DSLR shoulder rigs that are suitable for use with virtually every DSLR. Eliminating hand-shake admirably, it boasts a cushioned handle and shoulder pad for even greater comfort during long periods of use.
Thanks to its heavy-duty aluminum construction, this advanced support rig is very durable and capable of supporting weights of up to 5lbs. Making sure there are no worries about breaking or bending. This model also comes complete with an SGW-5 counterweight to add more stability.
8) Jag35 KSRV2 Full Shoulder Rig
The Jag35 KSRV2 camera rig boasts active stability control for even better results. Paired with a full 2-rod counterweight system, it offers two sturdy yet wide handles. Overall, this combines for the perfect footage!
Thanks to its intuitive design, these DSLR shoulder rigs allow the operator to get to grips with the equipment quickly and easily. Despite its ease of use, it boasts plenty of impressive features. The two-rod back section ensures there’s plenty of space for attaching all kinds of accessories without affecting the balance of the rig.
The front of the rig stays uncluttered so you’ll be able to easily focus on the target of your filming. It also allows for quick lens changes and easier camera operation. With its tall and well-balanced top handle, it’s possible to easily capture low angle shots.
Thanks to its versatile design, it can be easily customized, rearranged, or upgraded to suit your individual filming needs for every project.
It’s easy to smoothly tighten to rails or to remove and add handles as necessary thanks to the array of configurations that this rig makes possible. The surface is incredibly smooth and capable of us with any brand of rods. Since the knobs are also machined for a stronger, tighter grip, you can ensure the most durable and rigid rig.
To top it off, since it is a single knob system, disassembling and assembling your equipment is speedy and efficient.
9) Ikan ELE-CINEFLY DSLR Shoulder Mount
If you’re looking for convenient DSLR shoulder rigs capable of being customized to meet your individual shooting requirements, the Ikan Cinefly is ideal for you. Its non-slipping metal rosette system ensures that the handles are very simple and quick to adjust.
This allows you to bring your arms closer into your body so you can guard against fatigue during long periods of use.
This rig comes complete with the Ikan BlackMagic cinema camera baseplate that features well-placed exhaust holes to ensure optimal airflow. This can guard against potential overheating that could cause damage to your equipment. It can also be used with the Ikan DSLR baseplate for even greater versatility and convenience.
It’s surprisingly lightweight, despite the sturdy construction. It’s designed with cinematographers and filmmakers in mind, as they need quality products yet affordable pricing. This rig guarantees a solid construction together with impressive reliability for outstanding performance.
Designed for speed and ease of assembly and disassembly, this rig works perfectly with any brand of DSLR or any other small cameras. Its small baseplate features tension knobs which are fully adjustable for high-quality, stable shots every time.
Its heavy-duty grips paired with the 18” rod system means that adding all the accessories you need will be simple.
10) FilmCity DSLR Shoulder Support
Durable with outstanding build quality, the FilmCity DSLR shoulder rigs will give you all the professionalism you need at a price that even an amateur can afford. With its stylish and sleek appearance, it boasts a number of handy features that will take your filmmaking to the next level.
Its quick release plate is a convenient addition, taking it a mere few minutes to set up and disassemble your equipment. Its shoulder support pad is very comfortable, allowing you to film for extended periods without suffering from any strain or pain.
Meanwhile, the inbuilt counterweight ensures that you’ll be well balanced and stable.
This is the perfect piece of equipment for a run and gun shoot and offers outstanding value for money. Even though it is very lightweight to carry, it is surprisingly durable. Its adjustable brackets can be moved from 6” up to 9” to suit your requirements.
The inclusive matte box is also capable of accommodating lenses of several sizes, up to a maximum of 95mm to suit a range of needs. It also has adjustable top and side doors as well as 4×4 filter holders and a front-located height adjuster for even greater convenience.
11) Neewer DSLR Shoulder Mount
Stop us before if we’ve mentioned the impressive Neewer DSLR shoulder rigs. Chances are, you won’t be disappointed by this product. With its durable and versatile design, this mount improves the quality of your video for even more professional filmmaking.
Designed for use both indoors and outside, this DSLR shoulder support rig has a sturdy construction that retains its shape perfectly. This is regardless of which brand of camera you use. Suitable for both camcorders and DSLRs, it’s very versatile and flexible.
Lightweight enough to take anywhere, this maneuverable rig is comfortable and won’t strain your wrists or hands while you shoot video footage. Both hands have been equipped with a rubberized non-slip grip for extra comfort and support.
Meanwhile, the angles and position of the rig can easily be adjusted to improve your video quality.
Very customizable, these DSLR shoulder rigs feature a C-shape holder that supports the vast majority of add-ons and accessories like lenses. That means you’ll get even more use from your rig. Its aluminum construction is robust and long-lasting yet surprisingly light, and it won’t break or bed over time.
12) Ikan TT-03-TL Shoulder Mount
The Tilta TT-03-TL DSLR shoulder rigs come complete with a follow focus and counterweights making it a great option if you’re looking for value for money. Built with the needs of professional cinematographers and videographers in mind, this rig offers quality at a surprisingly low price.
Extremely reliable, it has been designed to be solidly constructed and it boasts every essential feature to guarantee a professional level of performance. It comes with a baseplate designed for use with DSLR cameras as well as a follow focus that has adjustable hard stops.
Compatible with virtually every DSLR camera, this rig’s baseplate can snap quickly onto its 15mm support rods for a removable registration pin. This keeps the camera firmly in place and stable during filming.
The inclusive follow focus simply snaps onto the rig, while its adjustable tension controls and adjustable hard stops ensure completer precision focusing that works perfectly with a photo-type lens. It also features two counterweights with a 15mm rod adapter to mount onto the rear of the rig allowing the weight to be evenly distributed.
This ensures perfect comfort even during a long day of filming. To guarantee this further, the rods have mounted handgrips that can be adjusted through three different points and feature texture for a sturdy and solid grip.
You’ll also benefit from a carrying case that comes free of charge with this rig. This makes it a breeze to transport or store between uses.
13) Neewer Film Movie Video Making Kit
Coming from the Neewer brand, these robust DSLR shoulder rigs come with everything you need to get started with filmmaking. It comes complete with the shoulder mount, matte box, follow focus, top handle, and C-shape bracket.
Designed for use with mid-sized and small cameras, they’re perfectly compatible with your DSLR. Plus, this model boasts with features that can help lead to high-quality shots. The extremely affordable price tag makes this a great cost-effective option for beginners who are making their first jump to filmmaking.
The inclusive C-shaped bracket features a top handle grip that can transform the rig into a hand-held, which allows for filmmaking on the go. It comes with an inclusive counterweight, which distributes the rig’s weight to better the stabilization and balance.
You can adjust the height of the matte box by up to 45mm to suit your camera’s lens size and it can also work with a standard 15mm rail for extra flexibility. The inclusive follow focus allows for more precise shooting and focusing as well, making shot options endless.
The soft shoulder pad ensures complete comfort of use, even for extended periods. Meanwhile, the dual-hand handgrip is comfortable to use all day long. Quick to assemble and disassemble, this user-friendly rig is ideal for people at any stage.
Focusing On Shoulder Rigs
If you’ve decided you need a shoulder rig, congratulations! To us, it’s the perfect way to get the best footage and shots possible. We feel one of these DSLR shoulder rigs we highlighted above will do the trick.
Designed to take all of the hard work out of shooting, a shoulder mount will take the weight for you and eliminate all the problems associated with hand-shake.
Never again will you need to worry about the jitters after that super-strong espresso before filming!
Whether you’re a filmmaking pro or you’re just an amateur starting out on your shooting adventure, it doesn’t matter. One of these high-quality DSLR shoulder rigs may turn you into the next Steven Spielberg! You’ll love the convenience these rigs provide, especially due to their ability to work both indoors and outdoors.
On a low budget or capable of spending a little more on your filming equipment, you’re sure to find a shoulder mount among our top 13 selection to suit your individual needs. We’ve done the hard work for you. We’ve brought you all the key information you need to make a well-informed purchasing decision and avoid making an expensive mistake.
Whatever suggestion we threw out that best suits your needs, you can be convinced that you’ll be benefiting from great quality and excellent value for money. It’s time to make a snap decision!
OPKIX wanted to create the industry’s smallest and most compact mountable camera yet. Not only that, they also wanted one that can capture stunning footage and images. As a result, they came up with the OPKIX One, proving big things can come in very small packages.
OPKIX engineered its camera to let anyone record footage in whatever fashion they please. It’s so tiny that you can put it anywhere you like and use it however fits you. You can attach it to your body, wear it around your neck, or place it in other unusual areas to get very cool footage. The OPKIX One camera allows consumers to see the world in ways they haven’t before. Because of this, not only does it allow for more flexibility when it comes to capturing unique content, it also makes seeing the world feel more personal and intimate.
That’s an ability unique to the OPKIX One. Sure, you can swap it out and get a GoPro. But good luck beating the OPKIX One’s miniature form factor and utter versatility. Not to mention its high-resolution lens and robust build, too. It’s the wearable accessory you didn’t know you needed.
The device comes with a 1,080 x 1,080 screen that plays videos in 30fps, and it has IP67 certification for dust and water resistance, so you can use it even in terrible weather conditions. You also get an aluminum aerospace case to keep the OPKIX One in, plus a ring mount, sunglasses mount, necklace mount, and other accessories that truly make this camera a must-buy.
Born in Southern California and raised from what he calls “humble beginnings,” Tim Davis has built an enviable career as a photographer. First starting out in graphic design, an internship at Patagonia eventually led him to shift his focus behind the lens. Now, 13 years into his tenure as a staff photographer at Patagonia, Davis spends the chunk of his time in the field, shooting gear in action, with refreshing reprieves in the studio and editing deskside.
By nature, most of Davis’ work in the outdoor space has required him to be somewhat removed, an observer documenting as a photojournalist. But in his free time, Davis has been taken by the more intimate nature of portraiture. He’s studied the work of the masters of the craft, recreating classic set-ups and dialing-in studio lighting. His go-to has been the Leica M10, favoring its history, timeless craftsmanship and slender design. Davis took us along on some of his recent portrait shoots, behind the curtain at Patagonia’s creative studios and into his own home workshop to share more about this nuanced form of photography and how he approaches it. Read on for a look into his world.
On becoming a photographer:
“I’ve had an affinity for still photography since I was a kid. My uncle was a special effects photographer in the film days back in the ‘70s-’80s in New York City. I remember being 7- or 8-years-old and visiting his studio, being really impressed. My grandfather also owned a little camera store. My first camera was a little Kodak; I can’t even remember what it was called. It had discs of film and I would blast through them. By the time I was 16 or 17, my mom got me my first SLR, which was a Minolta with three lenses. It wasn’t a quality camera but I thought it was amazing.
Initially, in college, I was a fine art major. But I came from pretty humble beginnings so I had to figure out how to make a little money. I knew I wanted to do something in the arts. But I knew being a fine art major and making fine art was a really sketchy gamble. At first, getting into graphic design was amazing because you start making a little bit of money, but it was too much computer time. When I was at UCSB in the Graphic Design Department, I freelanced at Patagonia doing graphic design. While I was freelancing as a graphic designer, I switched [disciplines] and went to Brooks Institute of Photography back when it was located in Santa Barbara. Photography and filmmaking was a really neat way to see the world and be out and shooting amazing stuff. You do still get some technical stuff. You work really hard and then you get back in the office and have a more civilized environment with a cup of coffee at 8:30 in the morning and you get to process.”
“The drawback to outdoor photojournalistic photography, at least for me, is that it’s a lonelier experience. You’re not involved, ideally, in the making of a photo. You’re just there to document it. That’s a neat experience, but the advantage to portraiture is that you’re involved in creating the photo. Portraiture is a lot more intimate in that sense. You get to work with the subject. If you look at the Henri Cartier-Bresson approach to it, he looked at the camera as a tool. In a way, it could encumber the process if you let it. It was about you and me and if I did my job right, I really captured the moment. It’s as simple as that.
When you’re taking someone’s portrait, it’s case by case. When working with a professional athlete or model, someone who has been photographed a lot, it’s a really easy process. They do what they do and I do what I do, and hopefully, we make something really great. If you get someone that’s nervous in front of the camera, the direction becomes more nuanced. You want to evoke the right look but you don’t want to make them feel more nervous. It’s a delicate balance. We have a finite limit to how long we can be photographed; I think a human can be photographed for maybe 8 minutes.”
On shooting with the Leica M:
“For photojournalism, it’s really nice to show up with something small and lightweight and unobtrusive. If you show up with a big SLR, and you’re trying to be stealthy, it’s just not going to happen. If you show up with the Leica M with a small 50mm on it, they might not know you’re shooting amazing photos on it. And the beauty of a manual camera like the M is that it makes a different photo.
There is something really special about a camera that’s been relatively unchanged for 100 years. These really teeny beautiful lenses are handmade and these camera bodies still look the same. There’s something tactile. They’re heavy. It’s handmade with brass and glass and someone is making each one.”
Leica took its expertise from more than 60 years since launching the M Series — 11 making digital M Cameras — to create the Leica M10. It is the slimmest digital M ever made with dimensions as slender as analogue M-Cameras. Combining heritage with technology, the slim and elegant camera uses a specially developed 24 MP, full-frame CMOS sensor and a Maestro II image processor, delivering extended dynamic range as well as ISO values up to 50,000. Learn More
On photographic legends:
“I have a slight obsession with black and white portrait photographers. We don’t use a ton of portraiture here [at Patagonia], even less black and white, so developing those ideas happens outside of work. Researching the old images and techniques of the legends (like Avedon, Newton, Elgort, Demarchelier, Lindberg and so on) is so rewarding: a Bob Marley portrait shot on auto with Kodak film bought at the local drug store; Avedon teasing his subjects or his 8×10 wooden camera with a white seamless taped to a barn; Bresson’s 50mm that he shot his entire career; Nachtwey’s focusing techniques and Tri-X film; Capa and Gerda Taro and love, war and death; Mark Seliger’s brick studio stairwell; Leibovitz and box studios. There is so much to learn: the techniques, the mistakes, the complexities, simple solutions, love of the medium and their subjects, the heartbreak, drugs, death, insecurities or regrets. It’s all so amazing and so human. I’m fascinated with the old legends and their lore.
Everything that’s happening in photography has been done and has maybe been done 100 years ago. It’s at least been done 50 years ago. We’re almost 70 years past when Richard Avedon was at his prime and Irving Penn was at his prime — and the fashion magazines on every shelf today are clearly influenced by these guys. I’m just trying to pay homage to the legends.” — Tim Davis, Senior Photographer, Patagonia