Cameras to Fill a Room with a View

Professional-Grade Accessories, Pt. I

    Photo: Eric Swanson

For his latest film, NSX Lights Out, British Columbian filmmaker Todd Fiander clamped VIOSPORT's Helmet Cam ($150) to the head of teenage fat-tire stunt rider Thomas Vanderham to capture his view of a sickening 30-foot free fall from the top of a Victorian-house-size boulder. Fiander credits the innovators at Viosport with finally producing an affordable, high-quality, portable video system that allowed him to nail this cinematic feat, previously the domain of big-budget thrill productions like the X Games. While not quite waterproof (apologies to those paddlers among us), the Helmet Cam saves wanna-be extreme filmmakers from demolishing pricey electronics should they auger into dirt, snow, or pavement—by keeping the camcorder (not included) protected in a backpack or fanny pack (meaning you can take hands-free video where you never dared before). Simply Velcro the Helmet Cam's cigar-size, 4.5-ounce lens to your headgear, plug it into your camcorder (we like Sony's palm-size PC-9 MiniDV, pictured at left, with sound-track dubbing and special-effects package, $1,040), and go. The state-of-the-art lens uses Panasonic image sensors to record broadcast-quality footage, and a no-fuss shutter mechanism keeps the subject in focus while adjusting to changing light conditions. As for durability, Fiander claims, "You could probably drive a car over it and it would be just fine." (906-226-9393, www.viosport.com)
—Dan Oko

Say good-bye to Fotomat. HEWLETT-PACKARD's Photosmart 1315 printer ($400) prints photographs on regular paper or high-quality glossy stuff up to 8-by-10, producing a richly colored print that's hard to differentiate from its lab-produced cousin. Print directly from your computer, or plug a media card into the printer and edit, crop, and retouch photos via the HP's 2.5 inch LCD panel. It's a little too easy; ten minutes after opening the box, I was printing glossy enlargements for $1.30 a sheet, 4-by-6's for half that (paper sold separately through HP). (800-752-0900, www.hp.com) —D.G.
Last summer while researching a book about forest fires, I hauled a LOWE PRO Mini Trekker pack ($110) all over Idaho. It easily carried cameras, lenses, tape recorders, notebooks—not to mention sandwiches, Snickers bars, and a Gore-Tex jacket. Adjustable padded dividers make it easy to reconfigure the pack for two 35mm camera bodies plus several lenses and a flash, or for a simple camera and a weekend's worth of gear. Think of it as a sort of infinite-space-making device, with seemingly endless places to store things safely. (800-800-5693, www.lowepro.com) —Douglas Gantenbein

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