CE Week 2014 : Tools And Toys

At the half year mark, CES does a small preview coming products in the electronics field,and it;’s called CE week

It’s always a goal to see what may enhance your photographic life in the shape of smart thinking, manufacturers listening to the needs of the public, and I’ll admit, some cool gadgets and toys.

Please note- many of these items were seen and not tested. Some at market, some almost available for purchase.

Here are some highlights of what I saw:

This phone case looks just like a camera and has a module with lenses that flip out and over your phones lens.


With a flip-out cover to access your charging ports and speakers, the Ztylus will retail for $100, complete. Total package could be a sweet phone/camera case.


Like GoPro? Sure, who doesn’t? Everyone has at least one in their kit. Well, it’s so small that unless you have mounted it securely, you’re gonna get some shaky footage.

The company that brought you the Steadicam, have a sweet new design, The Steadicam Curve, for the GoPro. Check this out. Should sell for about $100.


Let’s talk bout some power. The folks at MiMoco always want you to have fun, and that includes your power blocks. About to be introduced in a variety of characters. $50-$60.


PNY has maybe the highest capacity small battery block at about 10,400 mAh. With a readout so you know what you have. About, you guessed it:$100.


Don’t have the power and your phone is dying? this sweet Thinium charger is one of the best designs I’ve ever seen.  Sleek, versatile and has 2 power options.


Pop out the Thunderbolt connector and put your phone right on it, Then choose whether you charge via built in USB, OR AC. There is a standard 2 prong plug that is hidden in the back and flips out. Plus they also make a USB cable in a card format with a retractable feature Look at the vid on the site.About $50 for the charger. Made for iPhone,Samsung, Motorola, and LG

Both items are already in my bag, where they don’t take up much space. Audio-Technica made one of my favorite shotgun mic, the AT-4073, and of course are also know for headsets. In a move to make the earbud actually comfortable they have come out with set that fits 3 ways: An curved piece, that fits in the flat of the era, various sizes of rubber covers, and  the SonicFuel ATH-CKX7iS headphones  features 360-degree rotating eartips that adjust to the angles of the listener’s ear canals, helping to create a perfect seal for maximum bass impact and sound isolation unique pivoting sound delivery system that ensures a solid fit.


Of course all buds have volume and phone controls, these are no different. About $80. Fit and sound great.

These days, a lot of smaller manufacturers, do a proof of concept and desire on Kickstarter or IndieGogo.

The problem: how do you get your media onto your iPad. Yes, I have a few workarounds involving my SD cards. Have a look at this iStick, coming soon.


KIM_4866-23and a sample product. This will ship with a variety of storage capability and will be priced based on size of media storage

Sony showed off the new RX100 III, and with a tiny form factor, great specs, and the same $800. price point, the unit they had at the booth had a rather flimsy feeling variangle LCD, and the finish on the metal frame of the screen had a sharper than normal edge to it.


Not the same firm feel of the NEX series  vari-angle LCD. Perhaps this was just a pre-production model. Hope so, It had been on my consideration for purchase list.

OK, when you need to prop up you phone, and you don’t have a tripod or stand, this little bit of engineering wizardry in plastic goodness, Pocket Tripod, not only fits in your wallet. but WORKS! Order it with sizer for your phone ,with case or no case, and this unit will transform into a cool stand that can change the angle of the phone with a solid feel for about $25.  Split it apart for horizontal viewing.


When you need to sketch out that idea, or communicate a design, or perhaps you’re not only a photographer but a graphic artist, there is a search for the holy grail of touch screen stylus’s. 53 Pencil may have found that solution. 90 min charge gives you a month of bluetooth usage. I’ve been using it, and loving it,  but have put one in the hands of a creative director for the truest test. Reporting back. Click the link for their website. Very cool design


Another item I’ve been tracking for years has been the LiveScribe pen.

Basically you write on a special page, pad, moleskin type notebook, and your scribblings are sent to the cloud, and the handwriting recognition gives you back a searchable document. Always a challenge since the days of Newton (too long ago?), this time it actually seems to work.  At the booth I wrote words, it converted them, and was searchable and found them. In my handwriting.  A big question was the special paper. Now you can print it out on your home printer. You still have one of those , right? And the pen now feels sooo much better.


Announced and revealed was our a lens set fro the iPad air and Mini from our favorite device lens company, Olloclip. About $70.

olliclip fro ipad

By the way, coming up is a detailed review of one of my favorite products from Olloclip, the Macro 3-IN-1  This one is a macro lens, with a built in hood to give you perfect macro shots every time.

And of course there were some toys. Smart toys. Robot toys. Toys that you can control with and app and gestures . All work and no play makes Jack  dull boy.

Check out MIP:


Yes, there were some cameras: Pentax had the 645Z , medium format digital camera with ergonomics that were amazing, $8500. price point, 51 mp,16 available lenses, your old Pentax 645 lenses will work, and it SHOOTS VIDEO! they can’t make em fast enough. Once one of those is in my hands, I’ll be able to tell you more. Killer reviews all over. SD cards


And at the same booth , the Ricoh dude showed me a 360º camera. Low-ish res but whaaaaaa? Can’t wait to check this out. Tiny unit, about $400. Indulgent but whatever.


STM, a company declaring to protect your digital cargo, does just that with an outstanding iPad protective case: lightweight, clear backing so you can see distinctive markings or bar codes (great for schools to keep track and scan iPads). Tested to meet or exceed US Department of Defense Standard 810F/G durability tests. I saw a video of a drop test, but heck, I won’t try that.

STM ipad

So there you have it: some good tools, some fun stuff, and there is more but we need to get some stuff in the hands to really let you know about it. In the next month or 2 some of the things I saw will be ready for market, and I’ll let you know if it looks like a purchase consideration. I think we may be after the same stuff.



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