HookUpz 2.0 from Carson (IS-200)

hookupz-2-0_19-600x600So, I’ll be reviewing a lot of iPhone 7 accessories and pretty much everything else for the holiday season, and this particular product is from Carson (or Carson Optical, in case the company has re-branded or something). This is the HookUpz 2.0, which is clearly a sequel, and I tried to use the best picture that I could to show you what it could do.

Simply put, it connects a smartphone to something optic like binoculars, monocular, spotting scopes, telescopes, microscopes, borescopes, slit lamps, night vision and more. How does it do that?

Well, you put the iPhone 7 or other compatible smartphone (it can do many) or even phablets in this cradle, and then you connect it to the optic thing. The HookUpz 2.0 is made to handle anything with a an outer eyepiece diameter of 25-58 mm.

It looks a little awkward, but you can make recordings that are boosted by your optics on your smartphone or phablet. I am sure that this is a thing, because who wouldn’t want to some more magnification on their smartphone?

You should be able to get the HookUpz 2.0 on the Carson site, for an MSRP of $89.

Our Review of Tiffen’s Steadicam Smoothee

Smoothee-Site-2Well, we had a chance to try out something that most smartphone users need, or at least those who use their smartphone for videos. That is the Steadicam Smoothee from Tiffen.

You can see it in the image here of what it looks like, and let’s just say when I was putting it on my smartphone, my wife came in while I was doing it. Yeah, it looks a little weird, because yes, this thing looks a little weird.

However, it works, what can you say? I’ll talk about what it was like getting it out of the box. First of all, you have put your phone in this brace thing that you put on top, and that is what holds your smartphone there so you can take videos.

Just to let you know, I have to admit that there was an issue with my phone. The clamp things that hold it in was hitting the power button, but I was able to work around it. That was the first issue.

The second issue was that you will need to get this calibrated. For that, you might need to use a weight that it comes with, plus adjust the weight on the front that has the Steadicam logo on it. When I first used it, the thing kept tilting on me. Then it is required to adjust the red horizontal and vertical knobs until it is really balanced out.

Before I get to the small problems that I had with it, I wanted to talk about what it is like to shoot without a Steadicam Smoothee. This is the video that I took while I was taking my dog for a short stroll.

Okay, you can see how shaky it is, so I then put on the Steadicam Smoothee and took my dog for another walk. It’s like one of those bad action films that over-compensates its lack of good fight scenes by just shaking the heck out of the camera.

Now, I want you to notice how that there is no shaking, even though there is some veering from side to side. This is because the way the Smoothee is set up has a handle that balances on it, and unless it is perfectly balanced, it has a difficult time staying in a certain place.

I don’t want anyone to think that this is a negative review of the Steadicam Smoothee from Tiffen. In fact, I highly recommend it. Like I said on the second video above, it will take a little bit of practice before it is second-nature, which is how everything works, really. In fact, there are some videos that I found about it here, which sound like they are narrated by Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation.

Anyway, if you want this, you can buy it here for $149.95.

Lifeprint is the Coolest Tech that I have seen so far this year

Lifeprint PrinterI realize that it is difficult to say that anything is big deal, and I really should have reported on this when I saw it at CES 2016. Yes, I did say that the future is “mesh”, as if to substitute the last word from “meh”, but honestly, the Lifeprint is very good.

I can’t remember what after-party that I saw this at CES, but some man just came up to me with a photo and then made it into a video. How did he do this? He held up a mobile device, and through the screen, I could see a video. I posted a video of it below so you can see what it is about in case you can’t visualize it.

Needless to say, this was one of those times at CES where my eyes bug out because I am impressed by some new technology. The Lifeprint is able to print Apple Live Photos, vines, and GIFs, and then animate them with Augmented Reality (AR).

I believe that this comes with a printer so you can print out a still shot from a video, and then use the augmented reality function to make it move. The guy at the booth said that “it’s like Harry Potter”, and I have to admit that we really should have the tech to make the newspapers of Harry Potter come to life, perhaps using tablet technology.

This though, it turns a photograph, which is a great memory in and of itself, into a greater memory. This is one of those Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects, so I don’t really have a price as yet. This could be a product that everyone could have around the house, especially if you want to keep a photo album or scrapbook.

The iOttie MiGo Selfie Stick Review

iOttie Selfie StickSome of you might remember that I just reviewed a Selfie Stick from Vivitar, and now it looks like I had a chance to review one from iOttie. Let’s just say that after reviewing my second selfie stick, I was thinking that they are all alike. However, this MiGo Selfie Stick from iOttie is pretty good.

In fact, I hope to review more iOttie products soon, but that is another story that I will hopefully tell at another time. I’ll start by giving the specs, like how it can extend from 8.7 inches to 32 inches. It has the spring-loaded cradle to hold devices that are 1.9 inches to 3.5 inches. Instead of the remote like the Vivitar one has, this one has a button that syncs up really easily with the device that I was using.

The only thing that I can think of that would make this different is how it has a threaded hole that the bottom made to accommodate tripods. The MiGo can also connect to a GoPro in a unique manner, but I am not really certain how that works.

This MiGo Selfie Stick is available on the iOttie site for about $39.95.

Belkin NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision

Belkin NetcamI have reviewed many Belkin products and they really have a huge diversity for what they make. This particular product reminds me of the Dropcam, another product that I have reviewed in the past.

This NetCam allows for streaming video just about anywhere to your smartphone and tablet, and there is no computer required, just connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi router. It is as simple as downloading the Netcam App, plug in the Netcam HD+, connect to the camera, and launch the application. It is designed to work with the WeMo family of products from Belkin.

It is able to capture video at 720p HD, which can be seen on a smartphone or tablet touchscreen. It also comes with a wide-angle video format for “big shots”.

In addition to getting video, you can keep it as well, thanks to the power of Cloud+ Premium Services. You can store videos in the cloud to watch them later, and it is also possible to receive notifications on a mobile device when the camera’s motion sensor is triggered.

belkin-dogIt is also possible to communicate with whoever is on screen with the push-to-talk function. This can be used to scold a pet, like in a place where the Chocolate Lab is ready to devour a chocolate cake, like the one in this picture. I personally think that is pretty hilarious.

By the way, the camera has some infrared night vision function with a Day/Night filter to improve the picture on the device for some good images, even in dark settings.

If this is something that you are interested in, head on over to the Belkin site and pay about $129.99 for it.

Apple Watch can work with a GoPro, will Apple buy GoPro?

GoPro HeroThere is a new Apple Watch compatibility application that allows the watch to control GoPros. That’s right, imagine controlling one of those cool cameras that everyone has to have.

This application will allow GoPro users to record videos, preview shots, and adding “HiLight” bookmarks. This has allows a lot of videos to show up on YouTube done with Apple Watches.

You want to hear some more interesting news? As it turns out, it is rumored that Apple is going to acquire GoPro. Now, Apple hasn’t made any formal announcement of this, and this could be a rumor just to get GoPro’s stock price to go up.

Hello rumors! I’ve never heard of Apple buying something like this, but whatever. So, this might not have any bearing, but hey, you realize that I report on news that could happen, not necessarily about what will happen or has happened.

Source 1 and Source 2

MokaCam is a GoPro Killer and Everything that Implies

MokaCamGoPro is big. Big, period. Big, exclamation point. This is not a GoPro, but the MokaCam is a “GoPro Killer”. Oh yeah, they said it.

Yeah, this is MokaCam, and it is a 45 x 45 mm with 4K video potential. Yeah, let’s see the GoPro Hero do that! Oh, yeah, it does. There is a battery with magnets so you can stick to metallic surfaces. I don’t think that the GoPro Hero can do that.

The MokaCam is water resistant, and there is some housing that can be purchased in case you want to go fully underwater. There’s a motion detector to make the MokaCam for monitoring your home.

This is an IndieGoGo project, and it should cost $169, which is a small price to pay for killing GoPro.


Our Review of the D-Link Full HD Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera

D-LinkI’ve reviewed a lot of D-Link products in the past, and the last camera was The Outdoor HD Wireless Network Cloud Camera. I was fortunate enough to receive another from D-Link with the Full HD Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-2630L), and something else came with it as well.

The company sent me these glasses that had these blinders on them, so my field-of-vision was limited. I decided not to take a picture of myself in them, but to quote Dennis Hopper from the movie Speed: “You got your blinders on!” I have no idea how much field of vision an actual human has, but this Ultra-Wide View Wi-Fi Camera has a 180 degree view, with 1080p resolution. What is interesting is that the view feels like a movie theater rather than the fisheye lens in some 180 degree cameras.

This camera can record video footage to a microSD card up to 128 GB. This allows for up to a week of continuous clip recordings that are accessible through web portal and the MyDlink application. By the way, the camera begins recording automatically to a microSD card when it senses changes in the home. You can even add up to three additional D-Link Wi-Fi cameras and make a kind of homemade security system.

The camera itself has a lot of interesting bonuses, like a built-in microphone, and it can even send alert notifications if the sound gets loud, like with broken glass. There is also a light sensor in case the camera needs to see in the dark.

If this sounds interesting to you, it is available for $199.99 at Best Buy and the D-Link shop. You can find out more information about it here.

The 360 Fly takes 360 videos on the…do I need to say it?

360 FlyWhat you are seeing here is not a small grenade, but hopefully the TSA will figure that out before there are any Ahmed Mohamed mistakes. This is the 360Fly, and it is a single lens-camera that can capture seamless content at 360 degrees on the horizontal and 240 degrees on the vertical.

I’ve tried out other 360 cameras before such as the V.360, and I’m hoping this one will be as simple to use, once you get used to it. The 360Fly is able to pair with a free iOS and Android application that will allow a smartphone or tablet to act as the camera viewfinder and remote.

This allows for taking videos as well as shooting, editing, and sharing content. This application will also enable an immersive virtual reality experience when mobile devices are paired with the Cardboard VR goggles.

If you want to see some 360 videos for yourself, head on over here to the 360Fly site and check them out. By the way, I’m hoping to get a review unit of this later, so I can review the 360Fly just before the holidays. It is going to be available exclusively at Best Buy after October 5th, and can be pre-ordered for a price of $399.99.

Case Logic Kontrast DSLR Shoulder Bag

Case Logic KontrastWell, I had another chance to try out some Case Logic products, and was pleased to receive the Kontrast DSLR Shoulder Bag. I have to admit, when it arrived, I thought I had received some kind of lunchbox or some kind of old-school binoculars case. I don’t know how many of my readers got that reference, if you will even call it that.

The zipper on top is made to open up and you can insert your DSLR camera. Then there is a place for the camera as well as a lens with this thing that looks like it could hold a drink. You can even take out the lens holder, as Velcro is the only thing that keeps it in there.

Then there are some terrific pockets for whatever. There is one on each side, one in the front, and there is even a pocket on the lid itself.

Now, carrying this around could feel like you are carrying a heavy burden, but it fortunately comes with a strap. You can know that it will be safe, and the DuraBase gives a sense of security to all you photographers out there.

You can get the Kontrast DSLR Shoulder Bag on the Case Logic site for about $79.95.