The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Cameras

Hitch Up to Adventure with This Trailer

A trailer isn’t simply about carrying more gear. Rather, it’s designed to let you hitch up and take off for the backcountry at a moment’s notice.   

Enter AT Overland's Chaser, which lets you store your adventure-ready equipment in the trailer rather than in your SUV or garage.

The Chaser isn’t your normal cheesy pop-up camping trailer that you’d imagine getting towed behind the Griswold’s station wagon. No, the Chaser is the modern version of a classic military trailer—durable, functional, with some nice creature comforts inside. 

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With its high-tech, trail-ready Trailing Arm Air Suspension (TAAS 4.0) mounted to a laser-cut steel chassis, it’s very rugged and very capable. In fact, this trailer is likely more capable than the vehicle you plan on towing it with.

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The weather-resistant, six-foot long cargo box provides 46 cubic feet of dry storage—about three times the amount of storage you’d get in a Jeep Wrangler. You can outfit this space however you want, from a full glamping setup to a bare-bones storage unit. The Prescott, Arizona-based company specializes in customizing your rig.  

Options include: roof tents; awnings; hot water showers; freezer-fridges; bike carriers; and full kitchens. You can outfit the AT Overland Chaser the same way you’d outfit your vehicle—except you don’t have to drive it to work Monday morning.

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Single POV Action Cameras Are Dead

Single point-of-view shots are so old school. The future of adventure filmmaking lies in full-on 360-degree video, or at least that’s what Bill Banta believes. The pilot and avid skier is the CEO of CENTR Camera, one of a handful of 360-degree cameras due out in the next nine months that promise to revolutionize how we capture video.

“Over time, people have gotten to a point where they want to go back to living in the moment and experience things first-person,” says Banta, who was previously a part of Apple’s iPhone camera team. Because 360-degree cameras capture everything, “you’ll have the ability to relive those memories and share different pieces of them with different people.”

Perhaps even more important for adventure junkies is the camera’s versatility. “It allows you to much more easily capture the perfect shot,” Banta says. With some 360-degree cameras capturing up to 240-degrees of vertical as well, botched shots will be a thing of the past, and stories won’t be limited to what the people holding the camera see in front of them. “I can go flying and give you a video of what’s going on out the front of the plane, a picture of myself flying, and a picture of the passenger sitting next to me,” Banta says. “I can do all of that with one single shot.

The new crop of 360-degree cameras all work similarly, stitching together video from several small cameras. The CENTR, in particular, is a palm-sized disc that houses four high-definition cameras. The device patches all of the shots together in real time, so the video will be ready to share on a smart phone or computer immediately. No special viewing or video editing software required. And should you decide you want a single POV, CENTR lets you enable just one camera, so you don’t have to shoot in 360 all of the time.

The only drawback we've heard of so far? Battery life on some 360-degree cameras may be limited. Yahoo Tech reports that Giroptic’s 360cam battery lasts only an hour, though some may argue that’s more than long enough to capture what you want. (On the highest-power consumption setting, average battery life on GoPro’s HERO3 Black Edition is just an hour, too.) 

Many 360 cameras promise to be as easy to use as a GoPro, and might even change the way we watch video, making entertainment a more immersive experience. The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, for example, could allow viewers to look around as if they were actually in the video itself.

For now, we’ll take the expanded field of view on our normal screens—and the promise that every shot will be epic. “We’ve had beta tester videos of BASE jumping, wingsuit flying in Africa, paragliding, fighter jets, race cars,” Banta says. “The flexibility and ability to retell stories in creative ways is going to make 360-degree cameras a really powerful tool going forward.”

Excited for 360? Check out the cameras coming soon:

CENTR Camera 

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With its sleek design, the camera slides easily into a pocket. CENTR recently raised $607,628 on Kickstarter, falling short of its $900,000 goal. But Banta says he got valuable user feedback from the campaign that will influence the final design. CENTR’s currently working on widening the device’s vertical field of view from 56 degrees. As for battery life, the CENTR lasts "two hours with all four cameras recording at 720p HD resolution" on one charge, according to Banta. Expect to see the final product debut in early 2015 for $399.

360Fly 

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The 360Fly looks like a geodesic dome that can capture 240-degrees of vertical, making it “the widest viewing camera in the world.” Poised to debut this fall for about $400.

Geonaute 

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Marketed as “the first 360-degree action camera,” the Geonaute is about the size of a baseball and at 255 grams, it’s more than twice the weight of the 360Fly. But tech pundits declare it’s the most market ready considering it was supposed to hit shelves this spring. It’s currently on sale for $499 as part of a “pre-launch offer,” with no official sale date listed.

Giroptic 

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The designers of this egg-shaped camera are currently raising funds through Kickstarter. (They’ve already blasted through their $150,000 goal, with backers pledging $776,568 with 31 days still to go.) The current starting price for the French camera is $329, with an estimated delivery of November.

Bubl Cam 

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A tetrahedral design, this camera boasts 190-degrees of vertical view with shipping set to start in August. It carries the heftiest price tag at $579.

 

Eager to see what these 360-degree cameras can do? Check out this CENTR Cam video of heliskiing in Alaska:

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CENTR 360-Degree HD Camera

There’s a new wave of camera technology that stitches video together in real time to create 360-degree live filming. First, we noticed the 360 Fly. Now CENTR, a new unit that’s raised more than $450,000 on Kickstarter, looks poised to ignite the 360-degree camera world.

Already being used by the likes of Red Bull, FOX Sports, and the US Army, CENTR has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the panoramic camera to the masses. The company, founded by two former Apple employees, is still some $300,000 short of its $900,000 goal, but the camera has already generated some buzz.

The CENTR’s specs are, quite frankly, amazing—if they're all true. The Kickstarter page outlines 360-degree HD filming at up to 60fps, up to 4k panoramic video resolution, and even 20 megapixel panoramic stills. Plus, the camera is compatible with most tripod and GoPro mounts and it only weighs nine ounces.

We're still waiting to see if CENTR will meet its fundraising goal, and if the technology can carve out a place in the crowded action cam market. But for now, the camera’s most recent promotional video is pretty impressive.

$399, centrcam.com

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